Dutch people in the US Army? For a new project I am researching Dutch and sons of Dutch immigrants that served in the US Army during World War II.
Nick van Beek, 9, emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1893. The Van Beek family came from Bennekom (GLD) and settled in the state of Iowa. Nick grew up and married Agnes Snoek, who had also emigrated from the Netherlands to the US with her parents. Nick and Agnes had five children together, the youngest of which was born in 1925. His name was Cris van Beek. He was drafted into the US Army in early 1944 and shipped to Europe in the fall of that year. On December 21, 1944, Cris was added as a replacement to Company E, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. He became a member of a machine gun squad and spent Christmas with his unit in Metz, France.
On December 26, the 35th Division was sent to the front in the Ardennes. Ten days earlier, the Germans had carried out a large-scale attack on the front in Belgium and Luxembourg, the aim was to recapture the port city of Antwerp. In the process, the American 10th Armored Division and the 101st Airborne Division became surrounded in the Belgian city of Bastogne. The task of the 35th Division was to move from Metz to Luxembourg to attack the southern flank of the Germans and move towards Bastogne. Cris was baptized by fire on December 29 and was killed two days later in the woods near Lutrebois on December 31, 1944. He was only 19 years old.
Two months afer his death, the 35th Division was occupied an area in Southern Limburg, the Netherlands.
I wonder if Cris was hoping to see his parents’ country. Perhaps he spoke Dutch himself and would have liked to talk to Dutch citizens? I hope to find out as my research continues.