Cpl. Royal "Roy" Thurber
Royal (Roy) Thurber was a charter member of the Reedsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars, Thurber-Greenwood Post 1916. He is one of the veterans honored by having his name attached to the Post title.
Thurber was inducted into service on June 3, 1916 as a member of Company A, 128th Infantry of the Wisconsin National Guard. His unit was sent to the Mexican border where they served with General Pershing to chase Pancho Villa along the Texas border and into northern Mexico.
The Wisconsin troops were again activated in 1917 as the U.S. declared war on Germany. After a period of intensive training, the Wisconsin Guardsmen were redesignated as the 128th Infantry, assigned to the 32nd Division and sent to France. In the closing months of the war, the 128th Infantry participated in several major campaigns including Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne. For their fury in combat, the nickname "Les Terribles" or "The Terrible Ones" was given to them by the French. As they pierced the famed Hindenburg Line, the 32nd Infantry Division became known as the "Red Arrow" Division - a name that has remained to the present day and is reflected in the shoulder patch.
Corporal Thurber was wounded in action during the Third Battle of Aisne on August 31, 1918, when a bullet struck his pocket watch which in turn is credited with saving his life. The Third Battle of Aisne was the Spring offensive staged by the Germans in an attempt to capture the Chemin Des Dames Ridge before the American forces completely arrived in France. The Battle began on May 27, 1918 and while the Germans were able to advance to the Marne River by mid summer, the arrival of the American forces put an end to the advancement. Corporal Thurber convalesced from his wound and finally sailed for home on April 20, 1919 and was discharged on May 6, 1919.
Upon returning home, Thurber worked as a carpenter, never married and lived in the home of Mike Daley. He was considered to be of a kindly nature, was generous and minded his own business. But on the afternoon of Saturday, October 4, 1930, his body was found near the barn on the former Tom Carlin farm 3 miles northest of the city.
Royal Thurber was murdered on the night of Thursday, October 2, 1930 when he was struck in the head 5 times with a stone chisel. The perpetrator of the crime, Tom Newberry, also of Reedsburg, was eventually arrested and sentenced for the killing. Upon discovery of the body, a search began to find out what happened. A coroner's inquest convened the following Monday with District Attorney F. B. Moss conducting the hearing in the absence of the Country Coroner.
The jury consisted of Glen Kleeber, Frank Wheeler, Guy Albertus, Harry Strand, Floyd Daniels and Gus Laschinski. Seventeen witnesses provided exhaustive testimony. The verdict came to the conclusion that Thurber was murdered with a stone chisel and the motive was robbery. Thurber was in the habit of carrying substantial amounts of cash with him and there was a rumor he had $300 in his pocket the day before he was killed.
Additional witnesses stated that Thurber had been seen in the company of Tom Newberry, age 23, on that Thursday afternoon prior to his disappearance. According to his testimony, Newberry and Thurber had spent the afternoon drinking and by evening, Thurber had become too drunk to drive his car at which point Newberry took over driving.
Newberry stated that they spent some time driving to various locations in pursuit of more liquor. Somewhere along the line, Newberry placed the stone chisel in the car with the intent of robbing Thurber who was carrying $45 at the time. Newberry drove out to the Carlin farm, dragged Thurber out of the car and struck him 5 times in the head with the stone chisel. The stone chisel weighed 5 pounds and was mounted on a handle that was 2 to 3 feet long. According to the coroner, any one of the blows was sufficient to cause death and 4 of the blows penetrated into the brain.
Newberry stated that he became frightened from what he had done and drove to Madison and then onto Rockford, Il. Myron Howland received a tip that Newberry might be in Rockford. He contacted the Rockford police department and the Winnebago county sheriff and they were able to verify that Newberry was holed up in a nearby roadhouse. Howland, along with officer Frank Camp and deputy sheriff Oscar Olson of LaValle, went to Rockford to arrest Newberry. He was captured without resistance and was taken to Madison the next day where he pled guilty before the court and was sentenced to life in prison. He was immediately transferred to Waupun to begin serving his sentence. The time from capture to incarceration at the state prison was 23 hours.
Royal Thurber was survived by 2 brothers and 4 sisters and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, block 2.
Cpl. Edmund J. Greenwood
Cpl. Edmund J. Greenwood from LaValle was killed in action on June 16, 1944 while taking part in the invasion of German occupied territory in France, 10 days following D-Day. Cpl. Greenwood was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and entered service on March 24, 1942. He left his job at Kingery and Doering garage in LaValle and ended up in Camp Clairbourne, Louisina were the 82nd Infanrty Division was redesignated the 82nd Airborne Division, the Army's first airborne division. The Division was under the command of Major General Omar Bradley. In April 1943, the paratroopers to North Africa to participate in the invasion of Italy. The Division's first two combat operations were parachute assaults into Sicily on July 9 and Salerno on September 13. The 82nd then moved to the United Kingdom in November 1943 to prepare for the liberation of Europe.
With two combat assaults under its belt, the 82nd Airborne Division was now ready for the most ambitious airborne operation of the war so far, the invasion of Normandy. On June 5th and 6th, these paratroopers, along with parachute artillery elements, and the 319th and 320th, boarded hundreds of transport planes and gliders to begin history's 2nd largest airborne assault (the biggest being Operation Market Garden which took place in August in the Netherlands).
The 82nd Airborne Division spent the next 33 days in bloody combat without relief or replacement, leading the Allied advance west across the base of the Cotentin Peninsula. Every mission was accomplished and no gained ground was relinquished as the Army fought its way towards Berlin. During this assault, there were 5,245 troops killed, wounded or gone missing. It was during this phase of combat that Cpl. Greenwood was killed in action at the age of 36 years. In honor of Cpl. Edmund Greenwood, the Reedsburg Post of the VFW added his name to the Post name along with Roy Thurber. The Post is known as the Thurber-Greenwood Post.
Cpl. Edmund J. Greenwood RIP
A message from Jill Archembo;
A childhood friend of mine, Sherry Coldren, now lives in Amberg, Germany where she works on a nearby military base. She spent this Memorial Day weekend touring Normandy beach. As part of sharing her experience, she described the overwhelming sadness she felt when seeing all the cross headstones. The following are quotes from her Facebook posts:
"I grew up in a military family, have spent most of my adult life working on a military base and am extremely grateful to all veterans. This year I want to give a special shout out to a few Wisconsin boys that never made it home - CPL Edmund Greenwood, PFC Leonard Sandberg, PVT Jerome Adelmann, TEC S Bruno Sievert, PVT Richard Richtman, T SGT John Stopka, PVT Harvey Muehler, PVT Anthony Bojarski, PFC Raymond Tucker, PFC Herbert Wyss, PVT William Berndsen, PVT Elmer Olson, and PVT Mike Murray. Gone but never forgotten."
"After attending the memorial service we had 15 minutes to walk around, not a whole lot of time. Started walking the rows and it's just so overwhelming, there are so many graves. I thought about some family members and friends that have never left Wisconsin and wondered if any of the Wisconsin boys ever had a visit from home. I made that my mission. I walked the rows and read the names and places on every headstone. When I came to the Wisconsin graves, I kissed my fingers, placed it on the graves and said a little prayer."
Today she posted the attached picture. The name finally hit me, Edmund J. Greenwood, a name I have heard for years. I thought perhaps it would be good for all of you to know someone from "home" was there this Memorial day, remembering and saying a heartfelt prayer for one of your own.