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HUGE WWII POW grouping - Survivor of Battle of St. Lo July 1944


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This group was purchased by me at the SOS last week, and is probably one of the most complete and extensive POW groups to an infantryman I have ever seen. The first thing I thought was " How in the heck am I gonna get all this stuff home" since I flew in for the show. It basically fills up a trunk and a half ( and it came with his Army trunk!) . What I am going to post here only is the tip of the iceberg. His complete service record fills and entire apple box on its own.


I almost feel like I know him because in the group is almost 3 hours of videotape of him describing his WWII experiences taken in 1997 at a reunion . Real life experience is better than fiction.


"The 134th Infantry regiment, part of the 35th Infantry Division from Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri, reported for active federal service in December 1940. Following three years of extensive stateside training, the 134th sailed for England in May, 1944. On 5 July, one month after D-Day, the regiment landed at Omaha Beach and moved swiftly inland with the rest of the 35th Division. The 134th waited in reserve as the U.S. V and XIX Corps struggled to liberate the vital town of St. Lo. Strong German positions atop Hill 122 north of the city had all but stopped the attack of the combat-weary and understrength 29th Division, which had assaulted Omaha Beach one month before, and the 30th Division, which had been in combat almost as long. On 11 July, the 35th joined in fellow National Guard divisions in the fight for St. Lo and quickly discovered the special difficulties posed by the formidable tangles of rock, earth, and trees called "hedgerows." Used all over Normandy to separate farmers' fields, the Germans had reinforced these natural defensive barriers. For four days, the 35th Division's 137th and 320th Infantry Regiments made difficult progress against the hedgerows on the lower slopes of Hill 122. On 14 July, the 134th Infantry, commanded by future chief of the National Guard Bureau, Butler B. Miltonberger, received orders to secure the hill. The Cornhuskers began their attack early on 15 July, and after taking the fortified farmhouses in the hamlet of Emilie in fierce fighting, reached the upper slopes of Hill 122 by nightfall. With the 1st Battalion leading the 134th advanced despite withering small arms and artillery fire. Upon reaching the crest of Hill 122, the Nebraskans repulsed a determined counterattack and supported by other divisional elements, launched a final counterattack of their own. Their capture of this vital hill opened the way for the liberation of St. Lo itself on 18 July. The 134th Infantry had lived up to its Spanish-American War battle cry, "All Hell Can't Stop Us," and the 1st Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. But the cost has been high: The regiment suffered 35 percent casualties in two days, including 102 men killed, 589 wounded, and 102 missing. "


Sgt. Markworth was one of the 102 missing, being captured on July 17, 1944.


Here are his own words from a website devoted to the 134th Infantry. The credit goes to this website : http://www.coulthart.com/134/markworth.htm


" I joined the 134th Infantry in 1942 in California as a private, after I enlisted to do my part in the war. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought out my patriotism so I quit college at Iowa State College and enlisted for the duration of the war plus six months. I trained in California, walked the beaches with a rifle on my back guarding the West Coast from the Japanese expected attack (which luckily never came). We trained in Ojai, California, went to Mines Field (now Los Angeles International Airport) and guarded the airplane factories there. We went by train to Fort Rucker, Alabama in early 1943 and did more training - platoon, company, and battalion until October 1943 when we went to Tennessee on winter maneuvers. In January we went to Camp Butner, North Carolina and continued training, including mountain training at the Champe Rocks in West Virginia. In May 1944 we moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and boarded the U.S.S. A. E. Anderson for shipment to England, where we continued to train and prepare for the invasion of France in June of 1944. We fought in the hedgerows going to St. Lo where our Division lost over 2,000 killed or wounded capturing the key defense of the area. My platoon was surrounded and pinned down by the Germans. When we ran out of ammunition, four of us were all that remained and were captured by the Germans. Why we weren't killed too, I will never know.


The 35th Division did an outstanding job defeating the Germans across France, the Battle of the Bulge, and crossing the Rhine into Germany.


I spent 6 ½ months in the German POW Camps and finally was liberated by the Russians at Stalag IIIC about 90 kilometers east of Berlin. The Russians made us walk back to Warsaw, Poland where we were processed and sent to Odessa to board ships to France, England, and Italy and on to America. I got into the Polish underground and was fed and cared for until the war was over and they got me and two other sergeants who were with me, through Czechoslovakia back to the American Army in Austria. We were processed and sent to France and on to America via a Kaiser Liberty ship.


After my convalescent leave, I reenlisted and remained in the service until 1970 when I retired in the grade of CWO, W-4. I had two additional tours in Germany, one in Korea, and one in Alaska during my service. Being a Warrant Officer in Personnel Management, I got to serve with Infantry units, Artillery units, the Missile Command in Colorado Springs, Signal Corps units, and the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters, as well as Post Headquarters in Fort Richardson, Alaska and finally at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation where I retired in 1970."




This thread is dedicated to a true hero.








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His WWII German POW Dogtags. His first camp was a transit camp STALAG 12A where his POW number was assigned. He was transferred to Stalag 3C, but he was not given a new number and this tag is blank.






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His officially named ( small machine engraved ) Purple Heart and hand engraved Bronze Star. The paperwork trail for both of these documents is complete.


He was wounded in both hands by shrapnel on the day he was captured. The PH was issued to him after he was released from the POW camps. The Bronze Star is a CIB conversion award issued to him in 1950 .









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BEAUTIFUL set of dress blues tailored in Japan in the 50's . The ribbon bar woth the bullion CIB is outstanding.







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These are personal possessions he kept with him while he was a POW, his spoon , a German canteen, a bible given to him and marked by the Germans, and the best piece ... his YMCA , A WARTIME LOG diary.


He made a cover for his diary out of a blanket.








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These are some of the pages from the diary . the content is typical if what you see in these. They wrote poems and dedications to lost comrades. Food labels from parcels arte glued in. Names and addresses of fellow POWs ETC.









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This document is a pass issued to him by the Russian Army after they liberated his camp. It was translated by a forum member as stating:


{Peoples Kommissariat of defence of U.S.S.R.}

Office of Military

Commendant of town Miedzychod

February 10, 1945

10/246 {registration number of the paper}


With it follow

former POWs


Four Americans through the route

Pniewy. Szamotuly

Gniezno, Kutno, Sochaczew-Warzawa,

Fembrzhitz {???}


Military commendants and check points

and local authorities

should assist in feeding {providing food},

night lodging and transportation


Military Commendant of town Miedzychod

Mayor / Novikov



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There are 20+ pieces of POW mail in the grouping. Here are some examples including the capture card he sent home from Stalag 12A.







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The next part of this thread will feature documents related to his WWII experiences including some seldom seen transmittal letters for his awards to include the ENGRAVING ORDERS from the PQMD. When I reference "official engraving" in threads I have done in the past, all would have had these types of documents with them at some point, usually in the service record.





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This document is the application he filled out to request the issue of the Purple Heart based on the wounds he received in July 1944. It was submitted to the AGO.




This document is the transmittal letter and ENGRAVING ORDER for the Purple Heart. It only took 1 month from the time he applied for it until he was awarded the medal. Notice the engraving instructions in the top right of the document. This also shows small machine engraving was being done in Oct. 1945. Frank Smith and I did a study of Official WWII US Army Purple Heart engraving for the OMSA Journal back in 1995. It was this type of documentation we used to determine what was " Official" and what was not and to date each specific style.




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The application, engraving order , and letter orders for his Bronze Star . This proves slant hand engraving was still being done in 1950.








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These cards were filled out by all POWs once they were liberated and being processed.




After the Russians liberated his camp, he was moved to Poland by them. This letter is from an American from the Red Cross who saw him there. The Russian Army kept him in Poland from late January until June 1945.




A statement from him about his treatment as a POW.



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After the war he applied for benefits based on his experiences as a POW and for his time in Poland as well.


These documents, I found, were some of the most interesting to read of anything in the group.






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Sgt. Markworth stayed in the US Army and retired in 1970 as a Chief Warrant Officer. His service to our country spanned decades.


When watching the video of him describing his service in WWII, it became apparent quickly why these men are called the " greatest generation".


My hat is off to you Mr. Markworth.

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That's an incredible group. Any chance of posting his video up on YouTube or something like that so it could be watched?



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