Bio: Schoolcraft, James "Jim" R. (Tribute - 2008)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Schoolcraft, Thompson, Flood, Olson, Teeples

----Source: Banner Journal (Black River Falls, Jackson Co., WI.) July 23, 2008

My friend, Jim

To the editor:

My good friend, Jim Schoolcraft, passed away the other day. We used to play together when we were little boys over 80 years ago. His aunt Bessie Thompson married my uncle Wilfred Flood, and they owned the present Mike Olson’s farm in the Wrightsville area. It is there we spent many happy hours together. Aunt Bess sent each of us a little prayer book when we were serving overseas during World War II.

There are few American soldiers who spent more time in combat than Jim did. All together, he served 30 months on the front lines. On Nov. 8, 1942, he experienced his first beachhead landing in French Morocco, Africa. While there, a German submarine got in the harbor and sank five of their troop transports. From there his unit went on to Tunisia and joined Montgomery’s forces coming across the desert. Next, they went on to a beachhead landing in Sicily where very little resistance was met until they got to the northern tip of Sicily where they again encountered heavy German fighting and lost about 75 percent of their regiment.

The next push-off was a beachhead landing at Naples, Italy. His regiment fought on to Foggia where Jim was wounded in the leg and hip. The Germans had them cut off from his battle patrol and the wounded lay there for three days before help arrived.

After leaving the hospital, Jim rejoined his outfit again and they landed on Anzio beachhead. He said they were there four months and it was real hell. His division turned over personnel three times there, as many of their troops lost their lives. Finally, in April they made an all-out counter-attack and drove the Germans back toward Rome. His unit fought for 52 hours with little sleep.

His final action was another beachhead landing in southern France. There was no action at the initial landing, but heavy resistance was met as they made their way toward the Rhine River. It was here Jim was wounded a second time and was sent back to the hospital for two months.

When the Germans finally surrendered, he was at DéJohn, France, and the Americans went out in the street where the chaplain led them in a prayer of thanks that the long war was over.

Jim carried battle scars and pieces of shrapnel in his body to his grave. May God rest his soul.

Sincerely, Bob Teeples Black River Falls



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