Letters From The Frontline: KIA Near Bastogne
January 12, 2015 joedemadio 1 Comment
Two weeks ago, a man contacted be regarding a possible video idea. He was talking about a “correspondence” feature, where people can send in V-Mail from their relatives. As an example he sent me two letters of his cousin who fought in World War 2 and died near Bastogne on January 11th 1945. I thought it was a great idea to feature these letters on my website and on my Youtube channel. And so my research began!
All the information I had was that his cousin was Killed in Action near Bastogne on January 11th 1945. I wanted to know more about his cousin and so I studied the letters. The unknown soldier was called Willard Meek and he served in A company of the 312th Engineer Batallion. All this information was visible on both letters I received. I did some more research and found out that the 312th Engineer Batallion was attached to the 87th Infantry Division.
The first letter was written on December 12th 1944 and the second was written on January 2nd 1945. On December 12th the Division was positioned in Northern France, relatively close to the Belgian border. 4 days later the battle of the bulge broke out and the division was ordered to cross into Belgium. I have a book about the 761st Tank Batallion which, at the time, was attached to the 87th Infantry Division. I found out that the 87th had been fighting in and around the area of Tillet. Especially the Tillet Woods, also known as the bloody forrest, was struggle for U.S. troops. The second letter of Willard must have been written in this area.
On January 10th and 11th, the 87th Infantry Division captured Tillet and it must have been in this area that Willard Meek was Killed in Action.
I’ve put all the information in one video and released on January 11th 2015, exactly 70 years after he was KIA. His cousin allowed me to share his letter with you, so that you have a little idea about how it was to be soldier living on the frontline. I’ve done my best on making this video, so I’d love it if you could share it with your friends and family.
“If only Willard knew back then that
his V-Mail letters would some day have the potential to be read around the
If you have V-Mail from one of your relatives send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to tell your story!