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Biographical Sketch of My Dad

Dad's Portrait Ewing Ray "Pete" McClelland was born on September 9, 1915 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He attended a civilian training camp at sixteen, receiving a certificate and being recommended for advanced training. Pete worked in the Western Pennsylvania coal mines to pay for two years of college at Berkeley, California. . On December 15, 1940, Pete eloped with Marianna Wright to be married at Hurricane, West Virginia. In 1941, when the war began raging in Europe, he left college and enlisted in the Army well before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was commissioned second lieutenant and trained in Camp Lee, Virginia, Camp Pickett, Virginia, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In February of 1942, they had a son and in October of 1943, a set of twins, a boy and a girl. Leaving for overseas in October, 1944, with the 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Division, the 28-year-old officer saw action briefly in France, Belgium, and Germany before getting caught in the stunning capture of two whole battalions at the Battle of the Bulge on December 17th. He and his fellow soldiers marched several miles along muddy roads to the already overcrowded Stalag 12A at Limburg, Germany. A War Department Battle Casualty Report cited his place of death as Stalag 12A, due to an Allied air attack on December 23rd, 1944. Along with thousands of American dead, he was quickly buried in Diez, Germany. Later their remains were disinterred and placed in the American Cemetery in The Netherlands, near where they had fallen.

To commemorate my father and to explain my journey of learning about his life and death, I have written a memoir entitled Soldier's Son, published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Contact the author: wgbwm@olemiss.edu