Treasure Chest Thursday: Becker Bier Artifacts

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My aunt very generously shared many items with me over the holiday weekend and I’m thrilled to have acquired a few items related to Bierbrauerei Becker in St. Ingbert. I am somehow related to this brewery and am getting closer to figuring out the connection thanks to some photos we scanned this weekend.

German Wild cousins of mine married into the Becker family. When my grandfather was stationed in Germany, he took his wife and kids to the brewery and there they collected several souvenirs, including postcards and the ashtray below.

An ashtray bearing the Becker Bier insignia.

Bierbrauerei Becker postcard

The same view, in a color image, on the cover of a booklet about the brewery.

My understanding is that the brewery no longer makes beer. I had hoped to try it someday, but instead settle for asking anyone I know who’s been to Germany if they tried it and what did they think.

Lina Hoyer

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Today is the anniversary of the death of my 2nd great-grandmother, Lina Hoyer, who passed away in 1915. She was the daughter of Julius Hoyer and Sophia Heimel, both German immigrants who raised her in San Antonio, Texas. She married Fridolin Wild and together they raised seven children, including my great-grandfather Herman Wild Sr.

In prepping for this blog post, I was reminded that photos of her gravesite have been added to FindaGrave. The memorial there also includes text from her obituary in the San Antonio Light, which includes her last street address, 206 Lavaca Street. Here is a Google Street View image of that address (apparently taken on trash day):

206 Lavaca Street, San Antonio

Lunch with President Kennedy

When my grandfather was serving in the Army in Germany, he was invited to a luncheon in honor of President Kennedy. One of my aunts showed me the souvenirs that he held onto after the day, including his ticket and the program with menu. I took photos of the items (click on the images for larger versions).

Something tells me presidential luncheon menus have gotten a bit fancier since the 1960s. Also, can you find the typo in the menu?

Treasure Chest Thursday: Doorprize Painting

When my grandparents and their fam were staying in Heidelberg in the 1960s, my grandma won a door prize at an event for the “Comptrollers Wives” club (my grandpa was an accountant with the U.S. Army). The prize? A painting that was done by an artist on the spot during the shindig.

A bit hard to read. It says "Comptroller Wives, Heidelberg, 1964-1965"

Pretty neat, huh? The frame’s in pretty bad shape, so I’m going to have that redone. Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to hang it on these *&%^& plaster walls.

Happy Birthday, Fridolin Wild

Depiction of Aibling (Wikimedia Commons)

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My great-great grandfather Fridolin Wild was born on 6 Mar 1844 in Aibling, Germany. He arrived in the United States in 1868, via Buenos Aires, and lived in San Antonio, Texas, until he died in 1919.

Fridolin held various positions in sales throughout his life. He was a traveling salesman and returned to Germany briefly in 1889 according to a passport application and ship passenger list. The 1910 census appears to show that he was a partner in the wholesale liquor business. I hope it wasn’t Prohibition that did him in.

Fridolin married Lina Hoyer in 21 Sep 1872. Her parents were from Germany as well.

His grave can be viewed on FindaGrave.

History of the 81st Field Hospital, Page 11

This is the eleventh in a series of posts in which I’m transcribing a document that belonged to my father titled “History of the 81st Field Hospital.” It details the hospital’s preparations in the U.S. before deployment and operations in Germany during WWII. This field hospital eventually reached German concentration camp survivors. Read from the beginning here.

[Page 11]

Packing and crating was completed ahead of schedule and from last week in July until embarkation date, 9 August, a training program was in effect, consisting of classes and swimming, volleyball and other supervised sports.

Unit Returns to United States

On 9 August, the unit boarded USN Transport General George O Squier, bound for Manila, Philippine Islands. Only detail for the unit was dispensary assignment.

In the wake of continual suspense and excitement, beginning with loosing of the first atomic bomb on Japan, the entry of Russia into the war against Japan, and semi-official reports and rumors of peace, Japan finally surrendered unconditionally on 15 August and there was great jubilation aboard ship.

Even more enthusiastically received was official notification that the ship’s destination was changed and we were bound for the United States, our port, Norfolk, Virginia.

Administrative detail to facilitate possible furloughs, discharges, or other plans for the organization were completed on board ship and we docked at Norfolk on 20 August, proceeding to Camp Patrick Henry for further orders.

Groups were sent to appropriate reception stations from Camp Patrick Henry on 21 August with orders to reassemble as a unit at Camp Sibert, Alabama. Temporary duty was extended for a period of 15-days and the unit began reassembling 12 October. Those eligible for discharge were not returned from reception stations. The remainder of the unit completed assembling 23 October.

Move to Crile General Hospital

In mid-October movement orders were received directing that the 81st Field Hospital proceed to Crile General Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. Further instructions directed that the remaining nurses and those enlisted men with an ASR Score above 59 be separated from the unit.

On 1 November 1945 the unit entrained at Camp Sibert, Alabama, and proceeded to Cril [sic] General Hospital. The operation had been well-planned and was accomplished with singular smoothness.

Upon arrival at Crile, the personnel of the 81st, with the exception of the Headquarters Section, were assigned to on-the-job training assignments in virtually all departments of the splendid general hospital. The experience of our men, abetted by the genuine consideration manifested by the administrators of Crile General Hospital, rendered the merger of personnel effective and harmonious.

A separate 81st Field Hospital Headquarters was set up by Major Moring and his staff. All administrative matters pertaining to the 81st were handled by this headquarters.

On 14 November 1945, Major Moring received orders transferring him to Wakeman General Hospital, Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Captain Naif L Simon, next ranking officer in the unit, assumed command 20 November 1945. However, the following day, Major Moring’s orders were rescinded and he resumed command of the 81st.

[Continue to Page 12]

History of the 81st Field Hospital, Page 10

This is the tenth in a series of posts in which I’m transcribing a document that belonged to my father titled “History of the 81st Field Hospital.” It details the hospital’s preparations in the U.S. before deployment and operations in Germany during WWII. This field hospital eventually reached German concentration camp survivors. Read from the beginning here.

[Page 10]

A 250-bed hospital was set up and a typhus immunization team and insect extermination team sent through Allach Camp. In a period of 24-hours, 9400 typhus immunization were given. However, before any official admissions to the hospital were made, orders came to move to another site 15-miles away.

Unit B Moves to Goggingen

The contemplated site however proved unsatisfactory for a hospital and Seventh Army permission was grated for the unit to select its own site. A German military hospital in Goggingen, formerly a Catholic school and nun’s cloister, was selected. Fifty of the 211 German patients were evacuated immediately and the rest as soon as  they were transportable. A 100-bed hospital was set up to admit American GI’s from the Munich-Augsburg sector.

The average census was 80-bed patients, but a high of 92 was recorded. Many patients were treated in the dispensary. Unit B’s stay at this location was the only time that American GI’s were admitted as bed patients to the 81st Field Hospital during its stay in the ETO.

On 5 June, orders were received to evacuate all patients to other US Army hospitals in the region and close the hospital.

Headquarters Unit

After the units separated at Dieberg, Headquarters Unit made a number of moves setting up at points as nearly as possible equi-distant from the various units and at the same time in close proximity to Army Headquarters. This was thought more effective than setting up routinely adjacent to or with any of the operating hospital units.

All Units Move to France

On 11 June 1945 unit departed Schwetzinger, Germany, via train for staging area at St Victoret, France. After a three-day trip by converted boxcar, the unit arrived at the staging area, one of the first to reach the rocky dust-swept bowl off the Mediterranean Coast. The men were quartered in pyramidical tents while the nurses remained in Marseille where they were billeted with the 235th General Hospital.

For several weeks, the unit was at rest. During the month of June organizational strength remained static, despite changes, with a total of seven enlisted men lost and seven gained; two officers lost, two gained, and two nurses lost and gained.

Notable event during July was the accidental shooting and woulding [sic] of Lt Col Banks, Commanding Officer, resulting in his hospitalization. On 26 July, Major John B. Moring assumed command of the 81st Field Hospital and Lt Col Banks was released and transferred the following day. Lts Anne Y Williams and Betty J Snead were promoted to 1st Lt. In the last week of July, unit began packing and crating of equipment for overseas shipment. Except for addition of a Red Cross worker, no strength changes occurred, the unit gaining 12 enlisted men for an equal number lost, and five officers for five transferred out.

[Read Page 11 here.]