12 August 1925 – 8 January 1945
Private, 330 Infantry, 83rd Infantry Division
World War II
Charles (who I’m calling Charlie) was 2nd generation Illinois-born. His father Charles Sr. was the child of Czech and German immigrants; his mother Florence’s parents were Irish and German immigrants. Charlie seems to have been an only child, and in his early years, his paternal grandfather lived with the little family.
His father worked in plumbing and later as an examining clerk (though its unclear what industry). In 1940, his mother worked as a cashier. Neither was yet 40 when their son enlisted in the army on 8 March 1944, just three months before D-Day. In the midst of all this, Chicago was busily renaming streets with someone scratching out S. Sawyer on his enlistment card and replacing it with Charlie’s updated home address of S. Kedzie.
I doubt Charlie would’ve had time to be trained and ready to ship out three weeks later with his division and therefore likely didn’t land with them at Omaha Beach on June 6th, but he made it to Europe at some point after that. It’s unclear when he shipped out or how much combat he saw before he died in Bastogne in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers, you have some idea what the soldiers in that particular conflict endured.
Charlie enlisted, trained, served, and died all in his 19th year. Charlie’s mother was listed on his enlistment card as the person who would always know his address (honestly, such a gut-wrenching way of putting that question), and she’s the one who filed the paperwork for his headstone in 1948. It’s unclear when she and his father passed or where they’re buried.
Please visit my Instagram for any questions or comments on this post!