Brothers in arms find each other on battlefield

Hasten (left) and Robert Crow are shown after they met in France. Notice the communication wire on the ground.

HAMILTON — During World War II, two brothers from Hamilton, serving in different companies, just so happened to meet up somewhere in the hedgerows of France on July 23, 1944.
Robert E. Crow documented the encounter in a letter to his mother, Ethel.
Somewhere in France
July 23, 1944
Dear Mother:
Will try to write you a few lines this Sunday. I got two letters from you. Three from Alpha. Was glad to get them as always.
Mother, guess who I spent the evening with? My brother, Hasten. Would you have ever thought of such a thing? It doesn’t hardly seem true, here on the battlefield, could really hug his neck when I found him. He is not far from me now. We’ll meet again by the help of God.
I went to church this morning Hasten said he did. So gee, it was good to meet him here and talk things over. He’s just fine, made some pictures, and will send them as soon as I get them made. Then you can see we were together.
Gosh, mother, I hated to leave Hasten, but maybe we soon will meet again. Mother, these folks are good to you here, and I am sorry for them. Maybe the time is not so far off till we can have peace. What a day that will be. Take care of yourself, by the help of God we will be back.
Love, Love from your son,

Story deserves
to be told again
With the 80th anniversary of D-Day coming up on June 6, we are thankful Robert’s son, Donald, brought several photos of his late father and uncle and another letter his father wrote by the Journal Record office so we can run them to honor the Crow family and all the other veterans who were part of D-Day.
Both brothers were in the First U.S. Army. After enlistment, Robert served with the 81st Chemical Battalion and was later discharged as part of Company A 92nd Chemical Battalion. His discharge papers list his speciality as Communication Chief, with qualifications including Chemical Mortar 1st Class Gunner and Rifle Marksman.
Hasten was with Company B of the 49th Engineering Battalion.
Robert’s letter was first printed in the Marion County Journal under the headline “Crow Brothers Meet on French Battlefield.”
“It’s a great story,” said Donald. “It needs to be told at least one more time. It was amazing they met up and lived to tell about it. They hadn’t seen each other in a couple years, and they just accidentally wound up in one spot all at once.
“You can see in the pictures how young they were. Hasten was only 18. My dad was a little older. There they are with their weapons, and they’re on the battlefield, still in the hedgerows.
“My dad told me while they were taking the photos, the German’s shelled them, and they had to hunt a hole. The shell blew these old hedge bushes and limbs all over them. All this happened right after the siege of Saint-Lo in 1944.”
Donald explained more about the hedgerows, noting that instead of fences and pastures like we have here, in certain areas of France, they had thick hedgerows up on mounds of dirt, some a thousand years old.
“Nothing could penetrate them,” he said. “So, we may be right here in a hedgerow that covered five acres. Through that hedgerow over there, it may have covered 25 acres.
“The Germans would be in that hedgerow, and you were in this hedgerow.”

Details on brothers
Information on both brothers was also printed with the first letter.

Robert has been in service since October 7, 1942, and has been in foreign service one year. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carter Crow, and husband of Alpha Mae Crow, all of Hamilton, Ala., Route 3. He is a member of the Baptist church at Green Springs. He is now somewhere in Germany.
T 5 Robert E. Crow
Co. A, 92nd Cml. Bn.,
A. P. O. 339, c-o Postmaster
New York, N.Y.
Hasten has been in service since July 13, 1943. He entered service when he was 18 years old, and he has served 10 months’ foreign service. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carter Crow of Hamilton, Ala., Route 3. He is somewhere in Germany now.
Pvt. Hasten A. Crow
Co. B, 49th Eng. (C) Bn.
A. P. O. 230, c-o Postmaster
New York, N.Y.

Original Editor’s Note: The above was sent to us by Brother Carter Crow. We appreciate it very much. May our Lord richly bless them and their sons.

Both brothers part
of D-Day invasion
Donald noted his father made his D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach, and although he wasn’t sure if his uncle landed on Omaha Beach or Utah Beach, both brothers were part of the massive operation that turned the tide of World War II.
“They both went through the whole thing and survived,” Donald said. “My uncle built bridges, blew up bridges and blew up railroads. Anything to hamper supplies for the Germans.
“He told me he knew of two bridges he helped build back that he’d also helped to blow up.
“My dad was with the mortar battalion. They went through France into Belgium, Luxembourg, then into Germany, and he got wounded on Dec. 7, 1944, right before crossing the Ruhr River.
“Sometime after he got wounded, the 81st Chemical Battalion that he was in was totally wiped out. On his discharge papers, they list him as being part of the 92nd Chemical Battalion.”

Second letter
Robert E. Crow’s second letter to his mother was written not too long after he was wounded and was also printed in the newspaper under the title “From Robert Crow to His Mother.”

Somewhere in England, Dec. 14--
Dear Mother:
Just a few lines to let you know that I am fine.
Mother, guess you know I got wounded the other day and was flown to England by plane.
Got hit in both legs and one foot. Tell Papa they gave a Purple Heart today just like the one he has I think.
Mother I am not hurt bad. I’ll be OK. They are really taking care of me. How was Xmas and New Year with you? Was OK with me for I can still look forward to getting home and hope and pray the time will soon come when I can be there.
Hitler said Germany would win war in his New Year speech, but naturally he would say that.
Mother haven’t heard from Hasten in I don’t know when. Hope he is alright. Maybe I’ll catch up with my letter writing now.
It will be a long time before I get any mail I guess. Listen Mother, not worry about me for I am OK. Just take care of yourself, I’ll see you some glad day if it is God’s will.
  Love for all,
Your son,

The postscript to the letter noted, “Robert E. Crow is in a hospital somewhere in England.”

Donald noted, “They both came home from the war. Hasten made it home before dad, because dad had to stay in the convalescent hospital in Florida. Hasten passed away first, and then dad died. He was 82.
“My dad almost lost his life, and there’s lots of them that did. They left home, and they didn’t come back home.”
He also confirmed his grandfather, Carter Crow, had been awarded a Purple Heart during World War I, as referenced in his son’s letter.
Donald still lives on the family farm out on County Highway 42 where his father and uncle and all their siblings grew up. “There were a whole bunch of them,” he said. “Aunt Carolyn is the only one still living.”...


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