On this day in 1945, Donald Edward Lawrence (1915-1945) died while fighting with the United States Army in France in the Second World War.
Donald was a private in the 276th Infantry Regiment when he lost his life on February 22, 1945. He was 30.
Just a few weeks before his death, Donald fought in Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive of the war on the Western Front.
More than 10,000 American soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle fought between New Year’s Eve 1944 and January 25, 1945.
His battalion – part of the 70th Infantry Division – helped in capturing and liberating the French village of Wingen-sur-Moder in January 1945.
Only one building in the village was left undamaged and the streets and buildings were littered with dead soldiers before the battle was won.
Donald, who joined the US Army in 1942, was buried at Epinal American Cemetery in France – situated 100ft above the Moselle Rover in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains.
He is also remembered on the Genesee County War Memorial in his home town of Flint, Michigan.
Born on September 25, 1915 in Flint, Genesee, Michigan, Donald married Helen Effie Babcock (1915-2006) on March 21, 1936 in Flint. Helen, born on June 14, 1915 in Michigan, married William Thomas Olsen (1905-1981) on November 8, 1947 in Flint. She died on October 7, 2006 in Michigan, aged 91.
Donald was the son of Dewitt Erwin Lawrence (1889-1955) and Blanche M Cousins (1888-1983). Blanche was the daughter of John E Cousins (1861-1954) and Nellie Lawrence (1861- 1916). John was the son of Francis Cousins (1821-1916) and Hannah Roberts (1827-1871), who emigrated to America in 1850. Hannah was the daughter of William Roberts (1791-1875) and Frances Hodge (1796-1873). William was the son of John Roberts (1766-1834) and Elizabeth James (1767-1861). John was the son of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather,
The cross marking Donald Edward Lawrence’s grave at Epinal American Cemetery in France. Photo by Dwight ‘Andy’ Anderson, who served 30 years on active duty as an infantryman in the US Marines 1968-69 (Vietnam) and 1974-2002 US Army.
Epinal American Cemetery, photographed on August 29, 2005 by Cham (Cham, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Epinal_Cemetery5.jpg)