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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 Henry E. Gardiner, 13th Armored Regiment, concerning the death of George R. Dempsey, 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, to his wife Catherine.

8 August '44
Dear Mrs. Dempsey,

I was one of your husband's many friends whom you never met nor probably ever heard of. The first time I met George was when I joined the 13th in Ireland. While we were in different battalions throughout the Tunisian Campaign we saw each other frequently and were in several engagements together. When we moved east into Morocco last summer I was shifted to regimental headquarters and from then on saw George regularly.

George was one of my very best friends and like everyone else I was terribly shocked to learn of his death. At the time his battalion was operating some little distance from where I was. I visited his company the next day and his men were badly broken up over the loss of the man they all regarded as the best Captain in the regiment.

There were no better qualified officers in the division than your husband and few who could measure up to him from the standpoint of character. His droll sense of humor was always a constant source of entertainment for whoever came in contact with him.

George was as experienced a combat officer as we had and I have never known anyone who had more cool courage. He was the sort of man whose place will never be completely filled and we miss him so very much. George set an example for the rest of us for it is men of his type who are winning this war.

I realize that there is nothing that I can say which will lighten your sorrow. However I do want you to know that you have my deepest sympathy. No woman has lost her husband in this war who has better reason to be proud of him than you have of George.

The Division has been reorganized in recent weeks and there have been many changes. The old regiments disbanded and there is no longer an 'I' Company. However, one of the new battalions has been designated as the 13th and in the reshuffle I was given command of it.

If after the war I should have occasion to visit your section of Wisconsin I shall endeavor to get in touch with you.

Sincerely yours,
Col. Henry E. Gardiner
Event World War II
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID RG73.14.3
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