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D-Day Helmet Of Elmer "Buck" Buchholz - USN


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This helmet is attributed to Elmer Norbert Buchholz (1923-2010). "Buck" lived most of his life in Kiel, Wisconsin(30 miles from my home), and that is where he’s buried. In December 1943, Buchholz was assigned to duty on the S.S. Charles Morgan. On June 6, 1944 this ship left Wales with cargo, crew, and 142 others, including 27 U.S. Navy Armed Guards, of whom Buchholz was one. The ship anchored a half mile off Utah Beach and began unloading men and materiel. You can see his pride in his home state on the back of his helmet.

A huge shout out of thanks to my friend Bill47 for making sure that this helmet got to make it's way back to Wisconsin!


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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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"Buck" made sure everyone knew who he was. . At dawn on June 10(D plus 4), a German plane dropped a 500-lb. bomb squarely on the deck of the Morgan. Eight were killed and the ship settled by the stern. All hands remained on board for a full eight hours as final preparations were made to abandon ship. The Morgan was lost. Buchholz personnel file shows him as one of those who escaped, and so he is officially listed as "SURVIVOR."

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Buchholz was sent home immediately after the loss of the Morgan. After a rest period, he shipped out to the Pacific, where he remained until the end of the war. The photo below is of the Morgan shortly after it was hit.

 

 

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S.S. Charles Morgan.jpg

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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The man

Elmer Buchholz.jpg

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Hi

 

 

That is a really dodgy "Mug" shot.... I love it.

 

It is great to be able to trace the history on these items.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Regards

 

Tom

THE OVERLORD COLLECTION


a virtual museum at theoverlordcollection.co.uk

www.m-1helmets.co.uk

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is this the actual helmet he wore aboard the S.S. Charles Morgan? or the helmet he used after his rest period when he was shipped back out to the Pacific until the end of the war? it's a very interesting helmet , most of the time helmets dont have this kind of detailed history of the war time use.

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Thanks guys, I've been waiting for this one for quite some time but, Bill was the guy who made this happen. He wanted it back in Wisconsin!

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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SCOTT--- DID YOU NOTICE ITS A SWIVEL bail? IF THIS IS A D-DAY LID IT TELLS YOU SWIVEL BALES WERE ISSUED EARLY NOT LATER IN 44.

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No idea about the swivel bail or use in Normandy; however, I have seen another helmet in that color. A surplus dealer I know went to Hoboken, NJ in the early seventies where a Liberty ship was being cut for scrap. There were unopened crates of medical gauze bandages, etc. the owner was selling. In one cargo hold were helmets that the owner didn't think were valuable enough and were going to be scraped with the ship. He agreed to sell them for $2.00 each if the dealer would take all of them. I remember one was this color and was sold as "Beachmaster Blue" whatever that means. Some of the helmets may have been stored after the war. I don't know. FYI

 

Neal Perry

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...is this the actual helmet he wore aboard the S.S. Charles Morgan?

 

It was uncommon for a Navy helmet to ever leave a ship. The seaman moved but, the helmet stayed. However, Buchholz was not on a Navy ship(technically) he was on an armed cargo ship and the Navy provided the personal that would man the guns, so the helmet was likely carried by the sailor. Also, the Morgan was in an active combat area and the men would have been wearing their helmets the day they were attacked by the Luftwaffe. When the order to abandon ship was given, he was probably still wearing the helmet.. Since the Morgan was lost, it is easy to speculate that the helmet came with him. After the D-Day experience, Buchholz spent the remainder of the war on an LST and then later some other Liberty ships in the Pacific.

 

SCOTT--- DID YOU NOTICE ITS A SWIVEL bail? IF THIS IS A D-DAY LID IT TELLS YOU SWIVEL BALES WERE ISSUED EARLY NOT LATER IN 44.

Sorry, Mitch, I don't have the smoking gun, it's an early fixed loop.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I note the Welsh connection. The Morgan would have sailed from either the ports of Newport, Cardiff, Barry or Swansea. Any idea which one?

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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PS. I just researched it. It was actually Newport.

 

http://home.comcast.net/~cshortridge/LIBSHIPHIS/CLIBSHIPL/SS_CHARLES_MORGAN_R.pdf

 

 

She was damnably unlucky to be hit as there was almost no German air activity over the invasion beaches as the allies had air superiority from day one!

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Here's some close-up shots. It looks like Elmer tried to scratch off his nickname from the front of his helmet.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Scott,

As always, GREAT helmet and history! Also love the additional pictures.

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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PS. I just researched it. It was actually Newport.

 

http://home.comcast.net/~cshortridge/LIBSHIPHIS/CLIBSHIPL/SS_CHARLES_MORGAN_R.pdf

 

 

She was damnably unlucky to be hit as there was almost no German air activity over the invasion beaches as the allies had air superiority from day one!

Thanks Ian, from the report, it looks like the attack came during the night thus making friend/foe identification hard. I'm sure most of the gunners thought it was a friendly plane right up until they were hit.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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The cemetery where Buchholz is buried.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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The cemetery where Buchholz is buried.

You should request a photo of his tombstone on Find a Grave website

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This crowd has gone deadly silent, a Cinderella story outta nowhere. Former greenskeeper and now about to become the masters champion....Carl Spackler

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You should request a photo of his tombstone on Find a Grave website

No need to Mike, he is buried less than 30 miles from my home. My wife and I went there a few weeks back, found Elmer's final resting place and took our own photo's.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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  • 4 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Grant and I have to agree, there are a lot of "D-Day" helmets but few have provenance. I am happy to have this one.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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