Robert Wallace Herne was born September 7, 1925. He was a younger brother to my father. The family lived in Beaver Dams, NY, near Corning. November 26, 1943, at 18, he became PFC #42027779, a paratrooper with the 17th Airborne Division.
The Battle of the Bulge began on December 16, 1944. Hitler’s plan was to decimate the Allied air power. On January first 1945, within two hours, German planes bombarded Belgium, Holland, and northern France demolishing many airfields. Hitler did a great deal of damage, but the end result was devastating for him.
More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. When the battle ended, January 28, 1945, the casualties were — 81,000 U.S. with 19,000 killed, 1400 British with 200 killed, and 100,000 Germans killed, wounded or captured.
PFC Robert Herne, 19, was reported missing in action on January 4, 1945 in Belgium. Killed in action.
Every time my Dad would speak of his brother, he said, “Those boys (paratroopers) were sitting ducks for the Germans.”
Bobby’s division, the 106th, played a major role in the success of the Allies. They were credited with holding the Germans back.
The Germans expended the majority of there air power and men in this offensive. The Allies, however, still had plenty of men and equipment. Germany’s final defeat was only months away.
Uncle Bobby, who died before I was born, is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium. If you read the tiny print on the scrapbook page above, it states a different cemetery, a temporary resting place. Between 1948 and 1951, the bodies of soldiers in temporary cemeteries were exhumed, recasketed, and reburied in the new cemetery created to honor them.