Edwin Albunis Fritz

July 8, 2013

Last year in May I applied for an adoption grave at the American cemetery at Margraten in the Netherlands. Unfortunately all graves were adopted. About two weeks ago I received the delightful news that some graves became free to be adopted and I was asked to adopt a new adoption grave. I was able to retrace the people that first adopted the grave of Edwin Fritz, right after the was. The grave was adopted by Mrs. Helene Dinjens-Daniels from Maastricht, the Netherlands. Thank you for the care of the grave! I am now proud to announce I have adopted the grave of Edwin A. Fritz.

Before the war

Edwin Fritz was born on March 1, 1926 in Klacking Creek, Ogemaw County, Michigan. His parents were Nicholas and Frances Fritz. He had one twin sister, Edwina, and three brothers, Earl, Elmer and Millard. His father emigrated from Canada in 1917.

Michigan, USA

Ogemaw County, Michigan

Edwins father and mother divorced somewhere in the early 1940's, his mother Frances raised all children by herself. This off course made it harder for her to take care of them all. They lived in a small home in West Branch. The picture below is that same house, according to Jim Carroll, cousin of Edwin and son of Frances' sister Ruth, it hasn't changed much. The family lived here all their life, except for the very early years.

The house where the Fritz family lived and where Frances had to raise her children alone (photo: Google Earth)

Frances worked at a meat-packing plant just down the street of their home where she went by foot. Jims dad often stopped by to ask if she needed help, but she was a very independent woman and loved doing everything by herself, including repairs at her home. She never remarried and died in 1984 when she was 79 years old.

Frances would ride in the Memorial Day Parade every year in memory of her son Edwin. The Parade went through downtown West Branch for which she lent a convertible car to ride in. She was a heavy smoker and lit her cigarettes with wooden sticks. She kept the sticks and when she had enough she always created something from it, like jewelry boxes, card tables and many mother items. She made a card table for each of her kids and for her sister, this is the one from her sister and it's still standing at Jims place.

The card table Frances made for her sister Ruth

Edwin attended St. Joseph's school, and at the time he went into the Armed Forces, he was working for the Chadwick Trucking company at the Borden plant.

Edwin Fritz was not married, it is not known if he had a girlfriend. When he was in the army, he sent his entire pay check to his mother every month because he knew she was having a hard time making ends meet. He must have been a special kid. Jim Carroll said it in the best way: "the good die young".

In the army

Pfc Edwin Fritz entered service from Michigan on April 21, 1944. He spent time at Fort George Meade, Maryland where he was a member of the 51st Parachute Division, D Company.

Fort Meade, Maryland

It's not sure when he transferred to the 331st Infantry Regiment of the 83rd Infantry Division, but he went overseas in January of 1945 and had been awarded the Combat Infantryman's badge. Fritz was a member of 1st Battalion, B Company.

On January 4, 1945, sixty-five reinforcements were attached to the 331st. They were in the region of Villers-Sainte-Gertrude (Belgium). Edwin Fritz was possibly one of these men. This period the men attended mass and sometimes ate three hot mails per day. They were billeted in homes. On the evening of the 7th, the men prepared for moving out. On January 8 the regiment began to move to the vicinity south of Lierneux, in Verleumont. All men were billeted indoors.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion were to take the bridgehead south of Langlire on the 9th of January. The attack began at 11h30. Considerable resistance was met by tanks, high velocity artillery and air-bursts from anti-aircraft fire. Harrassing fire fell throughout the area all night.

Men of A Company of the 331st Infantry regiment in the advance on Langlire, Belgium
(source: http://abmc.nomadmobileguides.com)

1st Battalion remained in reserve in the assembly area in Lierneux on the 10th of January. On the 11th they remained in position prepared to move to the assembly area north of Bihain to support the regiment's attack on Langlire. In the morning the Germans made a counter attack. At 10h15 1st Battalion attacked moving south and to the east of 2nd Battalion in the direction of Langlire. The enemy withdrew and was pursued by artillery fire. In the evening the attack was resumed and by midnight they reached the edge of Petite-Langlire.

By 13h00 the 1st Battalion had seized Langlire and occupied defensive positions around the town and prepared to move out to the next objective south of Langlire. They were relieved by the 329th Infantry with instrucions to attack along the road south to Lomré. They continued the attack on the 13th against heavy resistance from infantry and tanks, because of that progress was slow. B Company reached their objective at 07h00 and started to dug in again. They were relieved in the evening and moved into the assembly area near Langlire.

On the 14th of January the 1st and 3rd Battalion jumped off at 10h00 from positions east of Langlire to clean woods to the east and southeast to the edge of woods east of Courtil. B Company was leading and knocked out an enemy strong-point in the woods between Langlire and Courtil, and took 20 prisoners. They continued their advance and occupied a line from west of Courtil to the south west of Sterpigny. Patrols were sent to the vicinity of Courtil.

The patrols kept on going on the 15th and ran into the enemy on the road to Courtil southwest of the town. More attacks by other Companies kept going on but Courtil was not taken yet in the evening. 1st Battalion remained in position during the 16th. On the 17th A and B Company were relieved and moved to the assemby area west of Courtil at 6h00. Plans were made for the 1st and 2nd Battalion to attack to the southeast at noon. 1st Battalion had to cut the road into Courtil from the southeast and 2nd Battalion was to block to the south and southwest across the road from Courtil to Cherain. The attack began at 12h00. 2nd Battalion accomplished their mission by 18h00, 1st Battalion reached a line of defense on the road south of Courtil. The enemy launched a counterattack on the left flank of the 1st Battallion around 14h00. About 10 tanks and a company of infantry, but the infantry was destroyed and three tanks were knocked out, so the enemy withdrew to Courtil.

On the 18th January 1st Battalion sent patrols to their objective southeast of Courtil. They had little resistance and the Battalion moved forward at 9h00, clearing out the woods before them during their advance. By 14h30 A and B Company were on the objective and controlled the road southeast of Courtil. At 18h30 a column of German tanks and trucks came from the direction of Halconreux and moved north in the direction of Courtil but the Regiment held the line.

In the afternoon of the 19th the 1st Battalion was relieved and on the 20th 1st Battalion moved from the vicinity of Langlire at 11h30. The Battalion went to the vicinity of Aisne around 14h30. This ended the 331st Infantry's part in the 1st Army's counterattack against the German drive of December. The Regiment was in contact or heavily engaged with the enemy from 7 December 1944 until 20 January 1945. They took 735 prisoners.

Members of the 83rd Infantry Division on January 11, 1945 passing through Bihain
(source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/538672805421929282)

On 22, 23 and 24 January 1945 the regiment spent bathing at Hamoir and watching movies. At the end of the month they received more training until February 5. On the 6th the Regiment prepared to move to a new area, the vicinity of Berneau, still in Belgium, where they arrived at 22h30. On the 7th the Unit settled in and on the 8th, 9th and 10th they continued training and were able to take some hot showers. They kept on training unil the 24th, when they left for the Alsdorf - Durboslar region in Germany where they arrived at 19h00. Nothing much happened in February anymore, except on the 28th. They moved to the Julich area, 1st Battalion detrucked south of Garzweiler, and moved on foot toward Elfgen. They were then notified to move on to the Bedburdyck-Hemmerden area. But just outside Elfgen some 30 rounds of artillery shell fell in causing one casualty. The line Bedburdyck-Hemmerden was occupied at 20h50.

Members of the 83rd Infantry Division at the Regimental CP in Elfgen
(source: We Saw It Through: History of the 331st Combat Team today, tomorrow, forever)

On the 1st of March the 1st Battalion moved out and encountered anti tank mines and fire from high velocity guns just south of Rockrath. The Battalion had advanced to Rockrath by 08h10 with A and B Company in the lead. By 10h30 the town of Grefrath was cleaned out. The Battalion consolidated and advanced on Buttgen at 11h45, the Battalion stablished here at 16h00. A and a platoon of B Company advanced to the Nord Canal in the vicinity of Hinterfield to assist the Armor in holding a road block established and bridgehead over the canal with the support of tanks, tank divisions and anti tank guns.

The 1st Battalion remained in the vicinity of Buttgen and Hinterfeld throughout the day. About 22h30 the Battalion moved through Hinterfield in the direction of Heide, Bruche and Meer on the left flank of the 330th Infantry Regiment. On the 3rd March 1st Battalion continued this mission, passing through Neuss Furth and Weinberg, then northeast to Meer. When they were on the road it was necessary to remove road blocks and fill a bomb crater in the road in order to get the vehicles forward. C Company then sent a message to inform the commander of mine fields on the road adjacent to the Rhine, so the route was changed to pass by the metal factory at Oberlorick. C Company now was within 200 yards of the Rine. At the edge of the metal factory a tank was knocked out by mine, killing one and wounding five, holding up B Company temporarily. A Company reached the bridge over the Rhine at 09h30 and was preparing to send a platoon across when the middle span was blown out.

B Company now had continued their advanced and passed A and C Company and took up positions facing the river, south of A Company. The Battalion was then in position along the river east of Düsseldorf-Niederkassel and Düsseldorf-Oberkassel. At 10h40 the Battalion was detached from the 330th Infantry and reverted to the control of the 331st. The only activity was some heavy shelling at 15h00 in the F Company area causing some casualties. At 17h00 the 2nd Battalion was relieved and moved to Weissenburg and occupied billets there. The 3rd Battalion moved from Holzheim to Neuss-Furth during the morning.

On the 4th March the 1st Battalion moved to billets in the vicinity of Necklenbroich. On the 5th all male civilians of military age were screened for firearms of any type. The screening continued until the 10th of March when it was completed. The next weeks there was a lot of training again.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion moved to the Dutch border, 1st Battalion setting up their CP in Stein. Here training continued, training in river crossings with assault boats. There was also training in village fighting and mopping up the next days before leaving for Germany again on the 28th. The Battalion was in the vicinity of Kleinenbroich at midnight. They passed through Willich, crossed the Rhine east of Rheinberg and went into an assembly area northwest of Bruckhausen.

On the 30th and 31st March the Regiment was alerted to prepare for the crossing of the Ems canal in the vicinity of Hunxe, move rapidly to the east and follow the 2nd Armored Division, mopping up any pockets of resistance that may be by-passed. They crossed the Hunxe at 22h04 and arrived at the assembly area in the vicinity of Haltern. The 1st Battalion had to relieve elements of the 2nd Armored DIvision in Olfen at 06h00 in the morning of the 31st and secured the canal crossings. But they were delayed by 2nd Armored Division columns on the road. Just east of Haltern, three rounds of artillery fell close to the column. They had reached Olfen and reported it clear.

Sketch showing the route of advance for Rgt 331 from the Rhine river to
the bridgehead established across the Elbe river (source: After Action Report April 1945)

On the 1st of April the Regiment was given the mission to advance on the right flank of the 2nd Armored Division to secure bridges intact across the Lippe Canal from Hamm to Dolberg, east to the Autobahn highway inclusive. 3rd Battalion on the right to secure crossings at Hamm, 2nd Battalion on the left to capture Heesen and cut the railroad running northeast from Hamm, 1st Battalion upon relief by elements of the 15th Cavalry Group along Dortmund - Ems canal at 06h00 to move to assembly area west of Walstedde in regimental reserve.

At 15h15 1st Battalion was ordered to seize the crossings in the vicinity of Dolberg and east to the Autobahn highway. They moved out in advance guard formation with B Company riding on tanks leading. Dolberg and Ostdolberg were seized without event and prisoners were taken. Enemy infantry opposition was only moderate, but accurate machine gun and direct fire from AA guns south of the canal was heavy. The railroad bridge east of Dolberg was taken intact. By 18h00 the Battalion had completely occupied its sector with A and B Company in Dolberg and Ostdolberg respectively, extending east to the Autobahn. Aggressive combat patrolling was conducted by the Battalion in its sector all during the hours of darkness.

On the 2nd of April the 1st Battalion maintained positions along the north bank of the Lippe river in its sector. Both sides conducted active patrolling. Strong enemy patrols attempted to seize the railroad bridge near Dolberg at 3h30, but were completely dispersed by 05h30 after a lively fire fight in the darkness. Enemy artillery scored four hits on the railroad bridge but failed to damage it. During the day the Battalion received some small arms fire and moderate heavy enemy artillery fire from the south of the canal.

The Regiment was orderd to move to an assembly area east of Delbruck on the 3rd after being relieved by elements of the 95th Infantry Division. 1st Battalion maintained its positions along the Lippe river until they were relieved at 17h45. During this relief a heavy artillery concentration fell in Dolberg between 14h50 and 15h15. The A Company CP was demolished and the Company had 5 casualties. 5 jeeps and 1 kitchen truck of the relieving elements were destroyed by direct hits.

1st Battalion ate breakfast in Holhoven at 06h30 on the 4th. They were assigned the task of following Task Force Biddle and clean up any by-passed enemy resistance. By 11h00 the Battalion was on the move again with A and B Company riding tank destroyers and tanks respectively, C Company moved in 2 - 1/2 ton trucks. The route went through Sande and Paderborn, the Battalion arrived at Altenbeken at 20h00. C Company swept the wooods east of Altenbeken where enemy small arms and panzerfaust fire had been directed against elements of the 113th Cavalry. Some abandoned panzerfaust and small arms were found. A defense wa set up but most men in the Companies were able to get some sleep for the first tim in about three days.

On the 5th of April the 1st Battalion was assigned the mission to clean out the woods between Altenbeken and Erpentrup, taking the town Erpentrup and having B Company to follow elements of Task Force Biddle on the Northern Route as closelyl as possible. A and B Company moved out at 07h30. The remainder of the Battalion was to follow closely as the tactical situation permitted. The attack of the Battalion was rapid against light opposition over the following route: Altenbeken, Merlsheim, Himmighausen, Oeyenhausen and Rolfzen, which was reached by 14h50. The Battalion (minus C Company) remained here for the rest of the period organized for defense.

The 1st Battalion was directed to continue its mission of cleaning up any enemy resistance left behind by Task Force Biddle. At 08h00 B Company was oriented on the plan for crossing the Weser River. The Company was to take a different route through the woods, leading northeast out of Furstenau to Polle. The armor got bogged when the trail was found impassable for tanks, so they were directed to take another route, the road from Furstenau to Niese and assist the Cavalry in the capture of this town. About 17h00 leading elements of B Company were fired upon attempting to enter Niese. At 17h40 the town was clear and they had to move to Koterberg and feed the men before continuing the mission. B Company continued in pitch darkness through woods toward Polle via Hummersen where enemy were suspected. The Company went on on foot. Upon reaching the outskirts of Hummersen, they were engaged by fire from the woods outside the town and a bitter fight ensued with the civilians also taking part and sniping.

The next day Company C was to attack the high ground overlooking Polle. B Company had a task force of his own, after clearing Hummersen at 07h45, they started with a strong patrol in pursuit of fleeing enemy. When they got near Polle, they let C Company do their job while B Company moved to Heinsen, attacking this town at about 18h00, after an artillery preparation and clearing it by 19h35 against light to moderate opposition. On the 8th it was mainly A and C Company that went into action. B Company was ordered to cross the Weser river from Polle to Forst, Lutgenade and Golmback to relieve elements of the 330th Infantry and take over road blocks. Upon completion of the bridge at 20h00, elements of the 331st started crossing the river. One of their tanks broke the pontoon bridge at the eastern approach, stopping all vehicular traffic, so that it was necessary for B Company to continue on foot. The Company captured several prisoners at Lütgenade at 23h30 and shortly thereafter continued to Golmback.

On the 9th of April B Company was directed to send out patrols to investigate the region. This patrol was fired on by the enemy, so B Company supported by a platoon of tank destroyers followed up at 13h50 and at 16h40 reported the woods clear of enemy. Four prisoners were taken. On the 10th the 331st moved to a new assembly area in the vicinity of Alfeld. B Company left Golmbach in trucks, on tank destroyers and tanks at 14h00 for Wrisberg and Grafelde at 18h00.

B Company Captain Daniel Moore
(source: https://83rdinfdivdocs.org/heroes/serial/O-1301517)

B Company Lieutenant Lester Schwadron
(source: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com - KASTAUFFER)

On the 11th the 1st Battalion was alerted at 11h45 to move to the vicinity of Goslar. They left at 16h30. On the 12th April the mission was to secure a bridgehead over the Elbe river at Breitenhagen and protect the right flank of the division. 1st Battalion closed in Derenburg at 06h30 after a hectic night of black-out driving in pitch-black darkness in which some elements got off on the wrong road. As the Germans were on the run it was imperative that maximum pressure be maintained. Around 7h30 B Company spearheaded the Battalion toward Langenstein. Captain Daniel Moore, in a jeep, dashed ahead of his Company riding tanks to check the road net and was ambushed. He had just by-passed an enemy group without knowing it. Captain Moore's radio operator was killed, his bodyguard wounded, his driver captured and himself fatally wounded. They put up a determined fight but were overwhelmed. When Lt Schwadron, in the vehicle behind Cpt Moore, tried to follow, the first enemy group fired on them, slightly wounding the Lt in the head. He immediately returned to the head of the Company, took charge, sent two tanks forward with directions as to the locations of the enemy group, deployed a platoon behind the tanks, sent security groups to the high ground on both flanks, and then went to the aid of Cpt Moore. Lt Schwadron continued to command the Company and move through the woods with the tanks in support. Small arms and machine gun fire from light to moderate was met several times along the route. B Company quickly overcame this resistance, taking no prisoners and came upon Cpt Moore and his bodyguard lying along the road, both wounded, Cpt Moore seriously. The Company continued along the route determined to make the 'jerries' pay for their underhandedness and utter disregard for the rights of others. Upon reaching the outskirts of the town of Bornecke, the Battalion's second objective, the Company was met by heavy mortar, machine gun and small arms fire. Lt Schwadron made an estimate of the situation and then requested assistance from the Battalion Commander.

Cpt Moore's driver, captured when the Cpt was wounded, was released from enemy hands by C Company. He was a happy and grateful man. Apparantly some of the enemy was trying to escape, as four wagons with fine horses hitched to them and loaded with all kinds of clothes, mortars and ammunition were captured on the eastern edge of Bornecke. The M-8 of the tank destroyers caught two SS officers trying to escape on a motorcycle and killed them. B Company followed C Company into the town of Westerhausen where both Companies assembled. They then moved on to assemble in the town of Ditfurt and moved on to Hedersleben where an all-round defense would be set up.

During this day, B Company suffered 4 killed and 30 wounded. Pfc Edward Fritz is one of these death, but it's not very clear where he was killed in action. Most likely he was killed during the heavy mortar fire during the advance on Bornecke.

When Cpt Moore was evacuated it was a great loss to the Battalion and the Regiment. B Company had been through some of the heaviest fighting of this war, and Cpt Moore, the only original rifle company commander in the Regiment, had led this Company all the way through bitter fighting in Normandy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Hurtgen Forest, the Ardennes and in the race of the division into the heart of the German Reich. This gallant and outstanding combat leader, with more decorations for exploits in battle since landing on the Continent than any other fighter in the Division, not only had the love and admiration of his officers and men, bit left behind indelibly written in the hearts of the brave soldiers whom he so gallantly led, a brillitant combat record few mortals will ever equal.

Death of Edwin Fritz

Edwin Fritz died on April 12, 1945 in Germany. According to his IDPF he was Killed in Action near Hildesheim, but according to the morning reports, the Company suffered casualties while advancing on the town of Bornecke where they came under heavy mortar fire.

Morning Report of April 12, 1945
(source: https://83rdinfdivdocs.org - Morning reports April 1945)

Morning Report of April 14, 1945
(source: https://83rdinfdivdocs.org - Morning reports April 1945)

1st Lieutenant Thomas R. Edwards positively identified the body of Pfc Fritz on April 13, 1945. The body was brought in by 2nd Lieutenant Wolin. Other things found on his body were: a souvenir bank note, billfold; money order of $ 50,00, a fountain pen, a religious emblem and 21 photos.

He was buried at Netherlands American cemetery in Margraten on January 22, 1949. He rests at plot E, row 2, grave 25.

Netherlands American cemetery and memorial, Margraten, Netherlands

Edwins brother Earl was an army career man who regularly did tours in Europe. It seems legit that he has visited the grave of his brother in the Netherlands at least one time. Earl was Edwins oldest brother.

331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division

331st Infantry Regiment

83rd Infantry Division

Private First Class

The Division was activated in September 1917 at Camp Sherman, Ohio, and went overseas in June 1918. It was designated a depot division. Thus it supplied over 195.000 officers and enlisted men as replacements in France without seeing action as a complete formation. Certain division units saw action, such as the 332nd Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in Italy. It was demobilized in October 1919.

The Division was reconstituted in the Organized Reserve on 24 June 1921 and assigned to the state of Ohio. The headquarters was organized on 27 September 1921. The Division was ordered into active military service on 15 August 1942 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. They were sent overseas on 6 April 1944 and arrived in England on 16 April 1944 with its first divisional headquarters at Keele Hall in Staffordshire.

After training in Wales, the Division landed at Omaha Beach on 18 June 1944 and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan on the 27th of June. Taking the offensive, the 83rd reached St. Lô-Périers road on 25 July 1944 and advanced 8 miles against strong opposition as the Normandy Campaign ended.

After some more training, the Division took several cities on their road to the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender on 17 August 1944. Part of the Division then moved south to protect the north bank of the Loire River, but the main body concentrated south of Rennes for patrolling and reconnaissance activities. Elements reduced the garrison at Ile de Cézembre, which surrendered on 2 september. On 16 September the only surrender of a German Major General: Botho Henning Elster to US-troops with 18.850 men and 754 officers at the Loire bridge of Beaugency. The movement into Luxembourg was completed on 25 September, taking Remich on the 28th and patrolling defensively along the Moselle, the 83rd resisted counterattacks and advanced to the Siegfried Line defenses across the Sauer after capturing Grevenmacher and Echternach on 7 October. As the initial movement in operation "Unicorn", the Division took Le Stromberg Hill in the vicinity of Basse Konz against strong opposition on 5 November, and beat off counterattacks.

Moving into the Hurtgen Forest, the 83rd Division thrust forward from Gressenich to the west bank of the Roer. It entered the Battle of the Bulge on 27 December, striking at Rocherfort and reducing the enemy salient in a bitter struggle. The division moved back to Belgium and the Netherlands for rehabilitation and training, 22 January 1945. On 1 March, the 83rd Division advanced toward the Rhine in Operation Grenade, and captured Neuss. The west bank of the Rhine from north of Oberkassel to the Erft Canal was cleared and defensive positions established by 2 March and the division renewed its training. The 83rd Division crossed the Rhine south of Wesel, 29 March, and advanced across the Munster Plain to the Weser, crossing it at Bodenwerder. As opposition disintegrated, Halle fell on 6 April. The division crossed the Leine, 8 April, and attacked to the east, pushing over the Harz Mountain region and advancing to the Elbe at Barby. That city was taken on the 13 April. The 83rd Division established a bridgehead over the river.

On 11 April 1945 the 83rd Division encountered Langenstein, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. At the camp, the troops found approximately 1,100 inmates. The inmates were malnourished and in extremely poor physical condition. The 83rd Division reported the death rate at the camp to be 500 per month. Also, that the prisoners had been forced to work 16-hour days in nearby mines, and were shot if they became too weak to work. After liberation, the death rate continued at approximately 25–50 people per day, due to the severe physical debilitation of the prisoners. To slow the spread of sickness and death, the 83rd Division ordered the local German mayor to supply the camp with food and water. Also, medical supplies were requisitioned from the U.S. Army's 20th Field Hospital. In addition, the 83rd Division recovered documents for use by war crimes investigators.

During the rush to the Elbe river, wartime correspondents nicknamed the 83rd "The Rag-Tag Circus" due to its resourceful commander, Major General Robert C. Macon, ordering the supplementing of the division's transport with anything that moved, "no questions asked". The 83rd moved as fast as an armored task force in an assortment of hurriedly repainted captured German vehicles: Wehrmacht kubelwagens, staff cars, ammunition trucks, Panzers, motor bikes, buses and two fire engines. Every enemy unit or town that surrendered or was captured subscribed its quota of rolling stock for the division, usually at gunpoint. These newly-acquired vehicles were quickly painted olive-green and fitted with a U.S. star before joining the 83rd. The division even seized and flew a German Bf 109. From the air the column bore no resemblance to either an armored or an infantry division. But for a number of U.S Army trucks interspersed among its columns, it might easily have been mistaken for a German convoy.

In total the Division suffered 15.910 battle casualties. 3.161 were killed in action, 11.807 were wounded in action, 279 were missing in action and 663 became prisoners of war, during their 244 days in combat. In the Division there were many rewards: 1 Medal of Honor, 7 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1 Distinguished Service Medal, 710 Silver Stars, 11 Legion of Merit medals, 25 Soldier's Medals, 6.294 Bronze Stars and 110 Air Medals. They returned to the US on 26 March 1946 and the Division was inactivated on 5 April 1946.


Finding relatives of Edwin Fritz was not easy. Until I did a renewed research on him at the beginning of 2018. I enquired on Facebook-pages from the region he grew up, and got lucky to meet Stefenia Fritz Edgington. Her great grandfather was the cousin of Edwin Fritz. Unfortunately she wasn't able to get me more information, but I'm happy to have found a relative of him.

Greg De Matio contacted me after an article was written about my research for relatives and information. Scott Nunn from the Ogemaw County Herald wrote this article in November 2017, thanks for that Scott. Greg contacted me and told me he knew people that are related to Edwin. Through Greg I got in contact with Jim Carroll. Jim is the son of Ruth, the sister of Edwin's mother Frances. He sent me much information and photo's, for which I thank him a lot.

Another person I met online through this article on Facebook was Kristina Pfeiffer. She is not related to Fritz, but was able to get me more information on him.

In 2020 I got in touch with Feliclia Lambert. She is the granddaughter of Edwina, Edwins twin sister. Shortly after I also got in touch with the mother of Felicia.

Thank you all for your help, in one way or another.

Personal information

Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service #36971717
331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division, B Company
Entered service from Michigan on April 21, 1944

Born: March 1, 1926
Hometown: Klacking Creek, Ogemaw County (Michigan)

Died: April 12, 1945 near Bornecke, Germany
Status: killed in action (KIA)

Buried: Plot E, row 2, grave 25, Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Father: Nicholas Frank Fritz (1896-1967)
Mother: Frances E. Fritz (Scott) (1905-1984)
Brothers: Earl (1927-1992), Elmer (1931-?) and Millard (1933-2007)
Sister: Edwina (1926-1986)

More pictures


www.wwiimemorial.com NARA
www.wwiimemorial.com overseas American cemeteries
Andi Hunting
Ogemaw County Voice Website
Ogemaw County Genealogical & Historical Society
Kristina Pfeiffer
Jim Carroll
Individual Deceased Personnel File

Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (nicklieten at hotmail.com). Thank you!