8 September 1944 — Moselle River
My Uncle Harold was born 2 July 1923, Columbiana Ohio to Walter and Thelma (Mentzer) Firestone.
Harold was the eldest of 7 children. Two would be born after his death.
He graduated from Columbiana High School.
He enlisted in the army along with cousins and classmates. My great-grandmother Firestone would have 1 son and three grandsons and two son-in-laws serving their country.
He was a member of "B" Company, 23rd Army Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division. They left the States June 7, 1944 from NY and arrived in England June 14. They trained at Tidworth Barracks in Wiltshire, England. They landed on Omaha Beach 9th of August and entered combat 14 August,1944 at La Ferte Bernard, Sarthe, France.
The Lorraine Campaign began the 1st of September.
Sep 6, General Thompson ordered the 23rd to push on to the Moselle River. About 0400 on the 7th of September, the 23rd reached a little cluster of houses know as Le Chene on the river just north of Dornot. As daybreak came, they were met with German mortar fire and bullets from both sides of the river. Late in the afternoon the 23rd attempted to put a patrol across the Moselle and it was driven back by direct machine gun fire. Two of the three boats were destroyed and a large number of men in the patrol were killed.
Rain fell on the morning of the 8th of September and made the narrow roads slippery and treacherous.
The 1st and 3rd Battalions were ordered to cross and use the 23rd to augment General Irwins infantry.
Around 0600 they reached the rivers edge. This would be a frontal attack against what appeared to be a well fortified position. General Irwin decided to postpone the attack unril his artillery could be displaced to new firing positions. Eventually the commanders organized the crossing attack. By this time the 23rd had incurred such losses they were reduced to less than half their normal strenghth.
Pvt. Harold Firestone was one of these losses. A few rounds of mortar fire landed close in on their position causing several casualties; he received a number of severe shrapnel wounds which caused his death in a few moments. His body was later recovered in a lull of the firing and he was taken to the rear to be buried in the US. Military Cemetery #1 at Andilly, France, Grave #132, Row 6, Plot K where he was laid to rest with full battle field honors. A Memorial Service was held for Pvt. Firestone and his fallen buddies during a rest period after the action along the Moselle River.
He was awarded the Purple Heart. His remains were returned after the war to be buried in the Columbiana Cemetery.
His name is on the war memorial with other KIA's at Columbiana Cemetery.