The Remembrances of:

Donald Bryson


 

REMEMBRANCE

 

In memory of Donald Campbell Bryson 

1921-1953

Westbrook, Maine

 

Service:

 

Maine National Guard

Military Policeman - North Africa & the Pacific

Rifleman - Co A, 289th Infantry regiment, 75th Division-  Europe

 

Decorations and Citations:

 

European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon

Purple Heart

World War II Victory Medal

Good Conduct Medal

American Defense Service Medal

Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon

American Theater Campaign Ribbon

 

 

Donald C. Bryson enlisted at age 18 but was disqualified for physical reasons.

He was very disappointed as all his buddies were enlisting. Most of them would

be sent to the Pacific. In 1941 was honorably discharged from Co D 103rd Infantry,

Maine National Guard. He then worked in a shipyard for a few months

 

In 1942 he re-enlisted and was assigned to the MPs stationed at Fort Niantic, Ct. 

in Co D 756 MP Bat.. He served in North Africa guarding POWs on site and on

the troop ship back to America. On his return in 1943 he married my Mother.

 

He had an operation at Fort Devens in 1943 to correct a condition

that prevented him from joining the infantry. He was then assigned to Camp Breckenridge,

the 75th Div, Co A, 289 Inf Reg..  As a Rifleman he fired and operated M-1 BAR,

light machine guns, .30 and 50. caliber. My Father was familiar with guns as he hunted

in Maine. With his unit he went to Wales, then Le Havre, and then to the Ardennes region.

His records show he was wounded Jan 20, 1945. Shrapnel blew through his chest,

perforating a lung. He also lost chunks of his thigh. His life was saved by Neil Ralph and

another fellow who improvised a litter made of pine bows and got him evacuated

to an aid station. He was in a field hospital in Liege before being sent to England.

 

In July 1945 he went to the Pacific as an MP and was stationed in Manilla. 

He was honorably discharged December 24, 1945 and returned to Maine

to my Mother and his daughter who was born in January 1945. The rest of us,

3 more girls and a boy, wouldn't be here if not for Neil Ralph. My brother Neil

is named in his honor.

 

We grew up with his story and even though my Dad died in 1953 we still had

his Army uniform, medals and the shrapnel that was able to be removed. 

My Mother used his big Army coat to cover the hood of our car so the battery

wouldn't freeze in the Maine winters. My Mother remembers him saying a lot

of his squad was killed or wounded and that the cold was brutal but that the

forests reminded him of Maine. He also talked about the terrible killing in the Huertgen Forest.

He didn't talk much about his war experience except that Neil Ralph saved his life.

My Mother said he seemed disillusioned with the Army.

His brother, Richard Bryson, was severely wounded at Anzio but did survive

with a steel plate in his head and partial paralysis on his left side. 

 

On a personal note I would love to hear from anyone who may have known

my Dad or Neil Ralph.

 


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Page URL: My 75th Division Dad
Copyright 2001, J. R. Puckett
Email: J. R. Puckett
Revised: 01/18/2007