Finding Richard Wiegand

On this website, I have described the story about Richard Wiegand: the 75th Infantry division soldier who stopped the German advance in Trou de Loup.
After publishing the story, I was wondering who this man was. We knew the story, but we didn’t know how he looked like.

Richard F. Wiegand

At that time had contact with Jay Puckett and had visited his website lots of times.
I decided that it might be a good idea to read all the entries of the guestbook of the 75th infantry website.
After a long time I found the adress of Richard Wiegand, a nephew of the soldier, who stopped the German tankcolumn.
It was an old entry, but I gave it a shot and with succes.

The family Wiegand knew what happend to their brother and uncle. It always stayed a sore place in their hearts: their brohter and unlce was killed during a German attack, somewhere in the woods, just outside a strange hamlet, called Grandmenil.
Richard and Vicky Wiegand sent me a picture of Richard Wiegand.

All of a sudden, this unknown soldier had a face: this was the man who gave his life to stop the German advance. Who knows what would have happened, if the Germans had broken through that thin American defensive line…. They would have reached Briscol, where the 75th infantry division and 3rd armored division assembled….

A little while after I made contact with the Wiegand family, I found out that there were plans to erect a monument in Trou de Loup for Wiegand.
The initiative came from Dimitri Detroz and the community Manhay approved the initiative.
I contacted the family again and told them of the plans. For them it was impossible to come to Europe and attend the ceremony. So, I decided to film the whole ceremony and sent it over to the US.
And so I did.

Eddy Monfort, Dimitri Detroz and me (dec 12th, 2009)

On december 12th 2009, there was a ceremony in Trou de Loup. The US anthem was played, there was a moment of silence and a large group of people witnessed the inauguration of the monument for Richard F. Wiegand.
Since then there is a large stone on an old road in the middle of the woods, where once was a fierce fight……

And that’s it? No. The Wiegand story attracks a lot of people. And not only tourists. Once a while I recieve an email with questions or comments from family of US soldiers. It gave much more information. And, there was the astonishing story of Jan Griffin and veteran Bryan Sperry.

 

 

Monument for Richard F. Wiegand

The next generation

Lest We Forget: preserve history

One of the purposes of this site, is that the next generations won´t forget the story´s of the battle of the bulge.

Often I speak about the battle of Grandmenil with guests of our bed and breakfast Bo Temps. For them it is unthinkable that in this beautiful environment once a fierce battle was fought.
I also organize battle tours to show guest what happend in this area.

On august 10th, some children were visiting Bo temps with their parents. These five kids wanted to search for shrapnel in the area and asked a lot of questions about the war.
The same day we visited a spot in the hills around Grandmenil and searched for war-things. Within an hour, the kids not only found huge pieces of shrapnel, they also heard the story’s of Grandmenil.

The things these kids found, may not be interesting for experts. Bu these kids were proud about what they found and the history that lay behind it. The shrapnel was transported to the Netherlands, were shown at school. This way, the storys of the battle will not be forgotten and will be spread.
Lest we forget!

Meeting vets of the 517th PIR

Eddy Monfort informed me after Kauffmans visit, that Manhay would be visited in august 2009 by veterans of the 517th parachute infantry regiment. The 517th fought from december 26th on december 27th in and around Manhay.

On sunday, august 9th, Ben Barrett, Ludlow Gibbons and Gene Frice came, with their familys,to Manhay for a short ceremony.
The men told some stories about Sospel and Manhay. Signed books, photoalbums and maps were shown. Relatives told me that they where in Europa for over a week now, visiting the places where their fathers fought.

In the townhall of Manhay was a short ceremonie, held by the deputy mayor, who honoured the veterans in his best English. After exchanging some gifts, the veterans drove to the monument in Manhay by American jeep. Here, there was a moment of silence for the fallen.

Gene Frice told me, that he still had his original jacket. He left it in the hotel, but would pick it up later tha day. Because we were very busy with our bed and breakfast, I did not see his jacket, unfortunately…

To Frice I made a promise, that I would make a story about the 517th on this website. A promise I will fulfill.

Ludlow Gibbons, Ben Barrett and Gene Frice

517th parachute infantry regiment

With an American jeep to the monument in Manhay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With deputy mayor Pascal Daulne in Manhay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterword:
Ben Barrett passed away on februari 26, 2010. May he rest in peace
Ludlow Gibbons passed away in december 2011. May he rest in peace