|Born in a log cabin in Webster Co., WV, in his memoir of his service in World War II, Monfrey Wilson writes, "I was born fighting, for I had eight brother and six sisters." Monfrey grew up in West Virginia and Akron, Ohio, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression, and was drafted in March 1941 at the age of 24.|
Assigned to the Army's First Infantry, nicknamed the Big Red One, he saw action in North Africa (where he narrowly avoided capture) and Sicily. On June 6, 1944, he was on the beach in Normandy for the D-Day Invasion. Wounded and psychologically shaken by a shell that hit his foxhole in the Hurtgen Forest, Monfrey pushed on.
He was sent back to the States only after learning that both his parents had died back home and a brother was missing in action.
Monfrey Wilson, Cleveland, Webster Co. WV
Normandy Beach June 6, 1943
I dream of Normandy Beach. I can see our boats running up the beach of gray cobble stones and in my dreams I see our men running through the dead bodies and in my dreams I hear the scream of shells and the whistle of machine gun bullets.
In my dreams I see our men hiding behind knocked out tanks, trucks, and boats and in my dreams I hear the screaming of the wounded and the scared.
I remember I laid in a little cold stream, hiding from machine gun bullets until dark. Then I remember we moved out in the Hedge Row Country. There were little roads with hedge rows on each side. I remember the Germans firing at us from behind hedge rows and how we chased the Germans out of the Hedge Country.
We drove all the way to Courmont, France. The 4th Division came up to relieve us. They were talking and walking around. I told a Sergeant that we had been having artillery fire. He said, "We have been in Iceland for three years", and about that time the shelling started again.
The Sergeant jumped into my fox hole. I told him to dig his own hole. We moved back the German attacks and they ran like rabbits. We went back with fixed bayonets. The Germans retreated. I told that sergeant, "Don't run this time."
This is how I remember and dream of Normandy Beach. It was the worst hell on earth that I ever saw or want to see again. I know that God was with me that day.
Then Sergeant Monfrey Wilson