4 Jan. 1939 — Born in Arizona
Lendora Ann MAJOR had three sons in World War 11. Her second son, Melvin, was injured very badly and was in the hospital for months and for a year he could only eat baby food. He was walking down a street in Europe and a grenade was tossed into the group of men he was with. Melvin was the only one that survived. His stomach was damaged very badly.
Her youngest son, Bennie died in Holland.
Private Benjamin Sylvester Upon
82nd AIRBORNE, 508th PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT
2nd BATTALION, 3rd PLATOON
COMPANY D, 2nd SQUAD
BORN: 10 APRIL 1925, CAMP VERDE, ARIZONA
ENTERED SERVICE FROM; OXNARD, CALIFORNIA
17 SEPT 1944, JUMPED "OPERATION MARKET GARDEN' IN HOLLAND.
22 SEPT 1944, KILLED IN ACTION ON THE WYLERBAAN, IN HOLLAND.
BURIED: NETHERLANDS AMERICAN CEMETERY, MARGRATEN,
THE NETHERLANDS, PLOT L, ROW 10, GRAVE 2
This letter was written to Mother when Benny was 14 years old. He was living with his father at the time.
Santa Paula, Calif.
Rt. 1 Box 191 A
January 4, 1939 (I was born Aug. of that year)
I hope you are well. I am feeling great. We have dancing at school now. It has been raining for the last two or three days. It's been a good year with not much rain here. I am 5 feet 6 inches now, and weight 135 pounds. I hope you can read this terrible writing and spelling with sense in it. I just took a bath awhile ago. It is just about time to milk, and feed the horses. You should see the size of my shoes, they are nines. I have some hair on my chest. I will have to close.
Your loving Son
Bennie Upton XXXXXXXXXXXX
TO THE BATTLE FIELD
AND TO THE PLACE OF DEATH
THE PLACE OF SCREAMING SHELL
AND WITH THE BATTLE OF DEATH
IT'S WAR WITH DEATH
AND PEACE WITH THE LIVING
SO TAKE MY ADVICE AND
LET IT BE PEACE.
It's not so good, but has a meaning B.H. (WHEN YOU READ HIS POEM HE WROTE WHEN THERE WAS NO WAR AT THE TIME , AND SEE HOW HE DIED FOUR YEARS LATER,YOU WONDER ABOUT LIFE'S PLAN. HE HAD QUITE AN INSITE OF WAR.) HE DIED IN A PLACE OF A SCREAMING SHELL.) MY COUSIN ALBERT CONDER FOUND OUT ABOUT BENNIE, ALBERT DIED LAST YEAR.
April 9, 1989
Dear Albert Conder: (his cousin)
This is written in response to a notice in 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Ass. News Letter, of April, 1989, regarding Bennie S. Upton, who was killed in action in Holland on Sept. 22, 1944.
Bennie was a Bazooka man, with his best buddy Charles B. Tuttle. (Bazooka's required a two man team) in the third platoon of Co. D. His platoon leader was Lt. Sickler and his platoon Sgt. was a Sgt. Brey (I don't recall their first names). I'm not sure who Bennie's squad leader was. I was in the third platoon of Co. D and got to know Upton the Tuttle (as we called them). After forty plus years my mind is a little fuzzy on details and I can't say much about specific events involving Bennie. I recall him as a very spunky person who didn't like to take any crap from anyone. Like most of the G.I.s, he did his share of bitching about anything from work to food. I recall him being in excellent physical shape and very capable of taking care of himself, both in the field and with anyone that wised-off. Also, he was a neat looking soldier and always neat and sharp, with highly polished jump boots, which I know he was proud to wear.
As you probably know, Bennie entered the 508, as a replacement after the 508 came back from their stint in Normandy. I was in the same situation. I believe that Bennie finished his jump training at Fort Benning, Ga. and was probably home on Pre-overseas shipment furlough sometime in early June of 1944. If I am not too far off base, I think he went to Europe via Camp Shanks, New Jersey on an old world war one ship that was taken from the Germans and converted to a troop ship for world war two (renamed the George Washington). If this is correct, the boat was part of the large convoy (ships as far as the eye could see) that took more than a week to cross the Atlantic. The G. Washington landed in Liverpool and from there our group eventually got to Nottingham, England. The 508 was encamped at Wallaton Park (part of the legendary Sherwood Forest of Robinhood days). I think this would have been in early July. We were green horns, but quickly acclimated to the old timers (who were excellent people and treated us well) and the training, passes to Nottingham, and the pubs in Beeston ( a village less than a mile from camp ). In late August, we were alerted for a combat jump and were trucked to a nearby airfield. As it turned out, the jump was to be made near Lille, Belgium, this didn't materialize and the regiment went back to camp.
On the 14th (or so) of September the regiment was alerted and sent to the airfield for the Holland jump. On a beautiful fall Sunday, on the 17th, we hopped in the planes and crossed the Channel to the mission near Nijmegan. I don't know if Bennie was in the same plane (C-47) with me. If he was, he landed in a turnip field near a village called Kamp. Our immediate mission was to secure the flat open land for glider fields. The gliders came in like geese (some toppled nose over as they landed). Enemy contact was minimal in our sector of the landing. A small number of C-47's we shot down by flak, but we had good fighter air cover on the way over. The second day, we were straffed by a German fighter, but no one was hit.
Our company did some moving around the first couple of days after the landing until we were posted along a road near the villages of Kamp and Voxhill. The company mission at that time was to keep the Germans from penetrating into the American sector and cut-off the main road to Nijegen(can't read the spelling well) (called hell's highway because it took such a pounding.)
IT WAS WHILE THE PLATOON WAS DUG-IN ON THIS SMALL ROAD (MOSTLY BEHIND HEDGES THAT WERE PLANTED ALONG THE SIDE OF THE ROAD) THAT BENNIE WAS KILLED WITH HIS BUDDY TUTTLE. THERE WAS A FARM SITE IN FRONT OF THEIR POSITION (WHICH WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A FOX HOLE BEHIND THE HEDGES) I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEIR TARGET WAS (PROBABLY SOME ENEMY MOVEMENT AT THE FARM SITE).,BUT THEY FIRED A COUPLE OF ROUNDS FROM THE BAZOOKA. A LITTLE MORE THAN A HALF A MILE TO OUR FRONT WAS THE GERMAN RIECHWALD FOREST, WHICH WAS CRAWLING WITH GERMAN SOLDIERS, TANKS, AND FIELD GUNS. APPARENTLY A GERMAN TANK OR FIELD GUN OBSERVED THE FLASH FROM THE BAZOOKA. AN 88 MM ZEROED IN ON BENNIE'S POSITION, WHICH RECEIVED A DIRECT HIT. THIS IS VERY SAD TO SAY, BUT AS THE REST OF US SURMISED, THAT ALSO SET OFF THE BAZOOKA AMMUNITION THAT WAS STORED NEAR OR IN THE HOLE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, NEITHER OF THOSE TWO BRAVE BOYS SUFFERED.
I BELIEVE THE BODIES WERE REMOVED FROM THE IMMEDIATE AREA FOR BURIAL. A FEW WEEKS LATER, AT THE SAME AREA, THE PLATOON FELT THE WRATH OF A VERY HEAVY AND ENDURING GERMAN ATTACK FROM THE FOREST TO OUR FRONT. IT WAS REPELLED, BUT WE CERTAINLY COULD HAVE USED UPTON AND TUTTLE ON THE NIGHT OF THE ATTACK. THE GERMANS WERE IN FRONT OF US, THE SIDES OF US, AND IN BACK OF US WITH FOOT SOLDIERS, TWO TANKS, AND HALF TRACKS. (?) I KNOW THEY WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THEIR SHARE OF THE ENEMY.
AS I STATED BEFORE. THE EARLIER PART OF THIS STORY IS FUZZY AND PROBABLY NOT CORRECT. THE SITUATION OF BENNIE GETTING HIT WILL REMAIN IN MY MEMORY FOREVER.
IF YOU WOULD HAVE A PHOTO OF BENNIE WHEN HE WAS IN UNIFORM OR PRIOR TO HIS GOING INTO THE SERVICE, I WOULD CERTAINLY APPRECIATE A COPY. ALSO HIS HOME TOWN AND WHEN HE TOOK JUMP SCHOOL.
BENNIE WAS A GOOD SOLDIER AND A GOOD PERSON. YOUR FAMILY CAN BE RIGHTFULLY PROUD. IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU. SINCERELY AND BEST WISHES TO YOU, NORB STUDELSK
FROM SOME OTHER PAPERS SENT TO ME.
SEPTEMBER 17-24, 1944
Shortly after 10 A.M. ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17,1944, FROM AIRFIELDS ALL OVER SOUTHERN ENGLAND THE GREATEST ARMADA OF TROOP-CARING AIRCRAFT EVER ASSEMBLED FOR A SINGLE OPERATION TOOK TO THE AIR. IN THIS, THE 263RD WEEK OF WORLD WAR 11, THE SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, GENERAL DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER, UNLEASHED MARKET-GARDEN, ONE OF THE MOST DARING AND IMAGINATIVE OPERATIONS OF THE WAR. SURPRISINGLY, MARKET-GARDEN, A COMBINED AIRBORNE AND GROUND OFFENSIVE, WAS AUTHORED BY ONE OF THE MOST CAUTIOUS OF ALL THE ALLIED COMMANDERS, FIELD MARSHAL BERNARD LAW MONTGOMERY.
MARKET, THE AIRBORNE PHASE OF THE OPERATION, WAS MONUMENTAL: IT INVOLVED ALMOST FIVE THOUSAND FIGHTERS, BOMBERS, TRANSPORTS AND MORE THAN 2500 GLIDERS. THAT SUNDAY AFTERNOON, AT EXACTLY 1:30 P.M.,IN AN UNPRECEDENTED DAYLIGHT ASSAULT, AN ENTIRE ALLIED AIRBORNE ARMY, COMPLETE WITH VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT, BEGAN DROPPING BEHIND THE GERMAN LINES. THE TARGET FOR THIS BOLD AND HISTORIC INVASION FROM THE SKY: NAZI-OCCUPIED HOLLAND.
ON THE GROUND, POISED ALONG THE DUTCH-BELGIAN BORDER, WERE THE GARDEN FORCES, MASSED TANK COLUMNS OF THE BRITISH SECOND ARMY. AT 2:35, PRECEDED BY ARTILLERY AND LED BY SWARMS OF ROCKET-FIRING FIGHTERS, THE TANKS BEGAN A DASH UP THE BACKBONE OF HOLLAND ALONG A STRATEGIC ROUTE THE PARATROOPERS WERE ALREADY FIGHTING TO CAPTURE AND HOLD OPEN.
MONTGOMERY'S AMBITIOUS PLAN WAS DESIGNED TO SPRINT THE TROOPS AND TANKS THROUGH HOLLAND, SPRINGBOARD ACROSS THE RHINE AND INTO GERMANY ITSELF. OPERATION MARKET-GARDEN, MONTGOMERY REASONED, WAS THE LIGHTNING STROKE NEEDED TO TOPPLE THE THIRD REICH AND EFFECT THE END OF THE WAR IN 1944.
THANKS TO ALBERT CONDER MY COUSIN , WE HAVE THIS STORY OF BENNY, HE WENT TO HIS GRAVE SITE IN HOLLAND. MY MOTHER WAS NOT ALIVE AT THIS TIME, SO SHE NEVER KNEW THE DETAILS OF HER SONS DEATH. AS A YOUNG GIRL SHE TOLD ME SHE THOUGHT HE HAD BEEN KILLED WHILE LANDING IN A PARACHUTE. I REMEMBER SHE ALWAYS HAD HIS PICTURE SITTING ON HER BEDROOM TABLE BY HER BED. I WAS VERY YOUNG WHEN HE DIED,BUT I CAN STILL SEE MOTHER IN MY MIND VERY UPSET, AND TO ME IT SEEMED LIKE DAYS BEFORE SHE LEFT HER BEDROOM. I REMEMBER BEING TOLD THAT MY MOTHER USED TO SING AND HAD A VERY NICE VOICE, SHE NEVER DID MUCH SINGING AFTER BENNY'S DEATH. SHE USED TO TELL ME THAT HE REALLY LOVED ME AND THAT HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO WALK. AS SOON AS I JOINED THE CHURCH I HAD HIS TEMPLE WORK DONE. LOVE MOM
World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas
Name: Bennie S Upton
Inducted From: California
Combat Organization: 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Death Date: 22 Sep 1944
Monument: The Netherlands
Last Known Status: Buried
U.S. Awards: Purple Heart Medal
DEATH: U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945
Name: Bennie S Upton
Cemetery Name: Margraten (Permanent Cemetery), Margraten, Holland
Grave Number: l 10 2
Service Branch: Army
Service Number: 39419451
1930 United States Federal Census
Name: Bennie S Upton
Home in 1930: Humboldt, Yavapai, Arizona
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1925
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: Eldridge H
Mother's Name: Lendora A
Parents' birthplace: View image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Eldridge H Upton 33
Lendora A Upton 28
Marjorie A Upton 11
E Lee Upton 10
Melvin J Upton 7
Bennie S Upton 4 10/12
Written by Patricia Major Miller. (Bennie Upton's sister) Pat's mother remarried Harry Major.