Since 2016 I have adopted the grave of Privat Howard B (Benedict) Hicks on the American War Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands.
Since 2016 I have contact with Howard’s family (thanks to Facebook) and did some research about his time in Europe.
Howard was born on June 10th 1912 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky, as son of Francis L. Hicks and Annie B. (Seward) Hicks.
He was married to Mary G. (Leake) Hicks and had a son Howard B., and 2 daughters Ann Marie and Bettie Lou (Belle).
Around 1944 he was living in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He was a cooper.
He died on November 28th 1944 in the fields between Immendorf and Beeck (near Geilenkirchen), Germany. As part of the US 279th Engineering Combat Battalion – Company C, Howard was helping the 84th Infantry Division during Operation Clipper with deactiving minefields, when he stepped on a undetected mine. He was killed instantly.
After his death he was buried at the American War Cemetery in Margraten, in the South of The Netherlands, close to Maastricht.
Relevant data about Private Howard B. Hicks can be found on :
Via The Nelson County Public Library I have received a document about the story of Howard. I don’t know by whom or when this document was created, but it gave me some facts and background info about Howard’s life and his death on November 28th 1944.
Via friends in some Kentucky WWII / Genealogy related Facebook groups I have received the news article about his death.
Report of Burial (part of IDPF)
Headstone inscription and Interment Record – Margraten : Howard’s final place is block E, row 8, grave 12.
Howard B Hicks died on November 28th 1944 in the fields between Immendorf and Beeck (near Geilenkirchen), Germany. As part of the US 279th Engineering Combat Battalion – Company C, Howard was helping the 84th Infantry Division during Operation Clipper with deactiving minefields, when he stepped on a undetected mine. He was killed instantly.
Beeck and Immendorf are situated 25 miles North East of Aachen. On the map you see Beeck. Immendorf is a few miles to the South.
Both maps above are from the book The 84th Infantry Division in the Battle of Germany, written by Lt. Theodore Drape.
According to the Nelson County Public Library document Howard was killed ‘outside the town of Beck, Germany, close to Gerlenkirchen‘. This probably is Beeck near Gelsenkirchen. The Report of Burial document mentions Immendorf as place of death. Immendorf is only a few miles from Beeck. So we can assume that Howard was killed in the fields between Beeck and Immendorf.
Near Beeck there is a small monument for the fallen soldiers in November/December 1944.
Original German text : Zum Gedenken an die gefallenen deutschen und amerikanischen Soldaten im Kampf um Beeck Nov / Dezember im Jahre 1944
English translation : To commemorate the fallen German and American soldiers in the battle for Beeck Nov / December in 1944