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Record 458/959
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Admin/Biog History George R. Dempsey was born in Oshkosh, WI on February 22, 1918, the son of Edward J. and Sadie Dempsey. He graduated from St. Peter's High School in 1935 and Notre Dame University in 1939. He took post graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1940 and began working for Pusey & Jones shipbuilders in Wilmington, Delaware. He was drafted in January 1941 and began training as a tanker at Fort Benning, GA. He was assigned to officer training school at Fort Knox, KY and became a 2nd lieutenant in January 1942, assigned to the 1st Armored Division. He returned to Oshkosh and married Catherine A. Schwalm on January 10, 1942. He left for overseas duty in May of 1942 and trained in Northern Ireland with British forces. They left for the North African Campaign in November 1942 and entered combat in Tunisia on January 21, 1943. He was quickly promoted to 1st lieutenant and command of a tank company. He received the surrender of a German Panzer (tank) Division and received the Silver Star and was promoted to Captain. His division fought in the Italian Campaign in November 1943 and fought at Casino and Anzio. While engaged north of Rome, he was wounded on June 4, 1944 and awarded the Purple Heart. At his own request, he was discharged from the hospital on June 24, and returned to the fighting on June 26. He was killed in action on June 28, 1944 near Siena, Italy.
Classification Archives
Collection George R. Dempsey
Dates of Accumulation 1944
Abstract Letter from Colonel Hamilton H. Howze, Commanding the 13th Armored Regiment, concerning the death of George R. Dempsey, 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, to his wife Catherine.

Headquarters Thirteenth Armored Regiment
Italy, July 19
My dear Mrs. Dempsey,
By now you have received word of the death of your husband. There is nothing I can say or do which will lessen your grief, even a little. I can tell you only of the admiration and respect in which we held him.

George was killed instantly by an enemy artillery shell, on the 28th of June. He had previously been wounded, but not painfully or seriously, on the 3rd of June. Throughout a long period of combat George had led his magnificent company (he had made it equal to the best in the regiment) shrewdly and yet boldly, inflicting heavy damage on the enemy at the expense of minimum damage to his own men and equipment. His fellow officers and men held him in very genuine affection and respect, and I, as his regimental commander, had great -- and justifiable -- confidence in his fighting ability. He was skillful, thorough, and brave to the point of true gallantry. He was quiet and calm in the face of great danger, and generally managed to discover something absurd or ridiculous in even the most critical situation; his humor relaxed many an officer and man tightened by the strain of battle.

George's loss was a sickening blow to me. I was, I hope, a genuine friend of his, and the departure of so splendid a company commander is irreparable. Had George lived, he should by now have been a Major and battalion executive.
Sometimes in these letters I attempt to define the great cause for which we are struggling. Here it is unnecessary, for George Dempsey understood it so fully that he must surely have communicated it to you, his beloved wife.

Very sincerely,
Hamilton H. Howze
Colonel, 13 AR. Com'dq.
Event World War II
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID RG73.14.1
Object Name Letter
People Dempsey, George R.
Dempsey, Catherine A. Schwalm
Subjects World War II
Tanks (Military science)
European Theater of Operations
Military art & science
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009