Joe Crilley

The Mysterious Death of Captain Froemke

After my father is wounded, the Germans begin to drop mortar rounds near him. A round explodes so close to him that it leaves his ears ringing. This explosion was a 88mm artillery shell that landed at the feet of Captain Donald H. Froemke and drove the commanding officer of Baker Company a hundred yards away in a state of complete dismemberment. "Captain Froemke was killed while moving across an open field to aid a wounded man" is what the 326th After Action Report states for October 5,1944. Most likely the Captain was going to the Headquarters of H Company to report his situation and was stopping off to check on my Dad and seek shelter from enemy fire. A year later the Dutch find Captain Froemke's remains which consisted of a mapcase and a personal knife. Because the knife has Froemke on it and is not US Army issued, the Dutch mistake his remains for a German soldier and he is buried in a German mass grave. In 1951 as the Germans are reburying the dead from this grave they realize this man is actually an American and he is brought to the cemetery in Margraten. Because the Americans have already buried a body intact that died by gunshot that was wearing Captain Froemke's dog tags in the state of Washington, Captain Froemke most likely is in one of the graves of unknowns in Holland. The body in Washington is probability a German soldier trying to impersonate Captain Froemke and was killed infiltrating Allied lines, a 101st trooper that was trapped behind enemy lines and wore the dogtags he found so he would be treated better if he was captured or a Dutch civilian that was driven mad by the conflict and worn items from the battlefield.

[Captain Froemke Photo - ?]
The Documentation

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