The cabin in the woods

In november 2011, we recieved an email from David Myers, from Seattle/ Washington.
David wanted to know if I could guide them into the woods to a memorial place, dedicated to his uncle, Staff sergeant Robert V. Myers, who got killed in action on december 25th 1944.
I immediately knew what David meant: The cabin in the woods!

james-d-deane-robert-v-meyersIt was in the first weeks that we moved over from the Netherlands to Grandmenil, my parents in law went for a long hike in the direct area. When they came back, they showed me a picture of a plaque, attached to a cabin, hidden deep in the woods.
That cabin kept bothering me for a long time: I wanted to know what happend there.
With the writing of David Myers, we finally had the oppertunity to find out more.

Robert “Bob” Myers and James “Jim” Deane were sent out on patrol to make contact with  company E, who were near the village of La Fosse and wich got kind of lost. Radiocontact could not be made, so these two man took off to find company E.
They took of from the village of Briscol, went into the woods and disapeared.

Bob’s mother, mrs. Anna Myers, received a letter on february 22th 1945 from S/Sgt. Harry Maxwell:
“Holland, Feb 22, ‘45
My Dear Mrs. Myers,
I hardly know how to start this letter, but knowing you would be glad of some information about your son, I thought I would write to you.
Bob and myself have been in the same platoon since the division was first formed and have been good friends since that time, and all of us are hoping that he is a prisoner or has been with another division.
After our first attack on Christmas Day, Bob and another Sgt. were sent out to contact another company and have not been heard of since.
This is the only information that there is at this time and I surely hope you hear good news of him soon.
Sincerely yours, S/Sgt. Harry Maxwell.”

In April, 1945, Anna Myers received a letter from the War Department that there was no further information concerning Bob’s status as missing in action.
Later  Bob’s parents were advised that Jim was officially declared killed in action.
In May 1945, Jim’s father wrote a letter to Bob’s family. The two were missing for five months, and Jim’s father had the information that they probably were POW’s, because they did not had find any bodies in the area where they got lost.

james-and-bobIt took a year before the family of Bob Myers and Jim Deane recieved news:
In February of 1946, a U.S. Army unit charged with locating American bodies and identifying them, interviewed a farmer by the name of Edmund Farion in the village of Sadzot, which is about one mile south of Briscol.  Mr. Fairon’s written and sworn statement indicates that in November of 1945, he found an unburied body of an American soldier whom he identified as Jim from his dog tags.  He states, ‘Around that body, there were 5 German graves which were made by the Germans and possibly one American grave.’

Mr. Fairon, who made this horrible discovery, died in the ’60s, but his brother, Ariste, has verified the location of the graves. According to Artiste the cabin is called “Le Vieux chalet”, meaning the old house. Mr Ariste Fairon passed away on june 5th 2011. But, his grandson Denis  Fairon is keeping the memory of the battle in and around Sadzot and his own small museum.
ariste-faironSo, it was Edmond Fairon who found 5 German bodies, buried. And one American body, also buried. The body of James Deane was not buried and discovered first by Edmund.
We believe that Bob and Jim run into a German patrol and got into a skirmish fighting, killing at least 5 Germans. After that both Bob and James got killed.
What happens then, we can only guess. Were Bob and James buried by the Germans, as a kind of respect? And if so, why wasn’t Jim buried? Was he undiscoverd? Or, was he hiding for an overwhelming amount of German soldiers, that overrun his position and died later that day? To us, it is unlikely that James also got killed at the same moment as Bob.
we asked the Fairon family if they remembered the exact spot where the bodies were found.
Unfortunately, they did not.

Bob was buried in Margraten, the Netherlands in February of 1946 (Plot XX, Row 1, Grave 22), and was reburied in Yellowstone Cemetery near Cartwright, North Dakota, on January 22, 1949.
Jim’s remains were returned to this country in April of 1949 and were finally buried in Old Greenwich, Connecticut in a family plot.

cabin-in-the-woodIn 1999, a commemoration plaque dedicated to these men was put on the hunting chalet and a picnic held in their honor in the lodge. In addition, the Forestry Commission of that area placed a plaque in front of one of their experimental tree farms near the lodge, dedicating it to the ‘strong resistance of the 1st Battalion of the 289th Regiment of the 75th Infantry Division.’ The following was written by the family for use at the commemorative ceremonies:
“In Memoriam
Sgt. James D. Deane, Jr., Riverside, Connecticut, United States, b. August 7, 1922
Staff Sgt. Robert V. Myers, Cartwright, North Dakota, United States, b. April1, 1923
Killed in action close to the hunting lodge when they were tasked to contact
the e companie December 25, 1944. The bodies of five German soldiers were found
in one place. We know nothing more. It can all rest in peace.
Tribute to the memory of Fairon,  Edmond of Sadzot decently buried the bodies
of these two heroes, in this place and went to their homeland.”

We will never be certain of what happend that day when those two young men went into the woods, just outside of Sadzot.
May they both rest in peace.

Many thanks to David Myers who supplied the information

Where can you find the cabin?


David and Hali Meyers at the cabin.
December 2012

Where can you find the cabin? (click on map)


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