Source Material is
I’ve had other things to do
beyond WWII but it’s time to publish a few more
articles. This one is about the 101st
Airborne Division books edited by P.M. Pulles from
P.M. Pulles has a listing of WWII 101st
Airborne Division Regiments down to
Battalion/Company. When using the sources you have
to use them as just a starting point. There are
many errors in his books, little and large.
There are two errors to be mentioned in this
article. The first is that P.M. Pulles didn’t use
primary source materials for most of the work. Yes
it was hard as he lived in the Netherlands for most
of the work he did. That doesn’t excuse the errors
he made though.
As mentioned there are many
errors but I will use one that touches on the
research of a man who was buried next to my uncle in
the Blosville Cemetery. Both were buried from
isolated graves on July 1, 1944. They were both
killed on June 6, 1944 but in totally different
parts of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
I looked for years about what had happened to
Sergeant Richard Dawson from Company I 501st
Parachute Infantry 101st Airborne
Division. The first inkling about what might have
happened to Sergeant Dawson’s death was mentioned in
the P.M. Pulles 501st book. This was the
line for Sergeant Dawson
“44-06-06 n/Baupte w/Hotchkiss”. I thought this
was a huge lead in my quest for why Sergeant Dawson
ended up in Blosville for 4 years.
Well it turns out the information from P.M. Pulles
was not even close to being correct. Sergeant
Dawson was killed with another solder that wasn’t
part of the Hotchkiss group. The soldier who was
with the Sergeant when he was killed was Private
Robert L. Vaughn from Company I.
There are some very valuable
documents when searching for what might have
happened to a soldier who was killed or captured, in
Normandy in this case. They are called
E & E Reports (Escape and Evade Reports). These
were created when the soldiers who escape from the
Germans and worked their way back to American
lines. They were interrogated as soon as possible
to gather as much information as possible.
Private Vaughn had a very
interesting report. Below from his own handwriting
Vaughn’s E & E verbatim.
“Dropped near Carentan on 6 June. Landed near MG
nest, crawled down road & met Sgt Dawson. Holed up
in briar patch. At daybreak moved down hedgerow &
stopped to look at map. A German patrol sneaked up
on us shot Dawson, missed me; but I was surrounded.
They threatened to shoot me because they couldn’t
find Dawson’s weapon.
Sergeant took me to other prisoners into farmhouse
where a German officer spoke to us. Then to a pit
where they had Captain (Albert W.) Mitchell, and
(First) Sergeant (Clarence E.) Spangler & Private
First Class John F. Carroll, Private (James L.)
White and (Leo L.) Westerholm 501. A guard told me
they had shot Mitchell & Spangler”.
I was lucky enough to interview
Mr. Westerholm who was a Medic. He was switched into
Headquarters Company 3rd Battalion just
before leaving England. He remembered Sergeant
Dawson but had no memory of what happened to him in
Normandy. That always put a little doubt into the
P.M. Pulles book. Mr. Westerholm did talk about
Clapper who was buried in Blosville the same day as
my uncle and Sergeant Dawson. Clapper was from Co H
and Mr. Westerholm knew him well.
The other soldiers mentioned in
Vaughn’s E & E became POWs while Vaughn was able to
You always need to back up your work with documentation
which P.M. Pulles didn’t do. There are other errors
in the P.M. Pulles book but since this was a person
issue with Sergeant Dawson I thought this was the
best way to go.
P.M. Pulles also had an issue
just taking a person’s word when he contacted WWII
soldiers. The perfect example of that is Eugene A.
Cook is in the 506th P.M. Pulles book
but there is of course a problem with that. Eugene
A. Cook was never a Paratrooper and was in fact a
fake Paratrooper. Cook had lied to the people in
Normandy for 40 plus years. No need to write
anything more about Cook as an article about him was
done a year or so here
The other problem with P.M.
Pulles is that a large amount of the information he
used was from George Koskimaki’s Rosters. Coach K
had created the Rosters in the 60s and 70s. George
said one thing that always bothered him about P.M.
Pulles was that he never received a thank you from
My issue about the P.M. Pulles
Rosters is this; people keep calling them the P.M.
Pulles Rosters. They are based on George’s work to
a large degree. They really should be called the
Koskimaki Roster Collection as George’s Rosters
aren’t just the basis for the P.M. Pulles Rosters
but also much more accurate.
When creating a article you
should always if possible go to the source
material. If someone stopped at P.M. Pulles books
then they would have an article that was incorrect
or incomplete at best.
Always always check your
Brian N. Siddall
August 10, 2018