|By James C. Haught 2019|
Calhoun County POW in WWII
During World War II 14 men from Calhoun Cunty spent some time in a German Prison Camp (stalag). I was a boy during that period living on Millstone Creek and Mount Zion Ridge.
I attended Grantsville Grade School. My principal was Joseph W. Haught. He was a distant relative. I got into a lot of fights with other boys. One in particular was Edgar Ball. After about four paddlings Mr. Haught tried a new technique. He made Edgar and me kiss each other. That stopped the fighting.
Shortly afterward Mr. Haught entered the Army Air Force. He became a lieutenant and bombardier on a B-17. He made many flights over Germany.
His plane was shot down; he was captured (12 June 1944). He became a POW at Stalag Luft 3. (That was the Prisoner of War Camp that provided the idea for the movie: The Great Escape.)
I saw Mr. Haught one more time. The war was over and he had returned home to Grantsville. He shook my hand and then said. "That won't do." He hugged me. My mother called me and said that Joe Haught died as a passenger in a small air plane that crashed into the side of the hill while landing at the Clarksburg Airport. It was 1965.
While my family lived on Millstone my two older sisters attend Millstone school. Each morning Gail Powell, an older student, stopped at our house and walked my sisters to school. We called him Gail. He was the youngest son of Jess and Pearl Powell. Gail was confined to a German Prison Camp. He was trying to escape when he was shot. Gail is buried at the Sand Ridge Cemetery.
The most of Calhoun County Prisoners of War were captured during the Battle of the Bulge. One such prisoner was Ross Marks. When he tried to escape a German soldier threw a grenade and blew his head off. Edward Siers from Chloe was liberated by the Russians after 26 months in a German Prison Camp.
I was born on Spring Run. Across the hill on Beach lived the Runnion family. Robert Runnion was wounded and captured by the Germans. After his captivity he recovered from his wounds in a French hospital.
Capt. Warren H. Stutler was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. He was assigned to a German prison camp. After the war he became an Assistant Professor of English at the Citadel. He was the son of Boyd and Kathleen Stutler.
The story of Verdis White, W.T. Crawford, and Burley Wilson is told in the book, Calhoun County In World War II by Robert and Joy Stevens. William Crawford was from Arnoldsburg, my hometown. William's sister and my mother were close friends. These three were captured during the Battle of the Bulge. They were liberated by Russian soldiers after Germany surrendered.
Shortly after the war started Eminett H. Bell enlisted. He achieved the rank of first lieutenant. He was captured by the Germans and served time in a prison camp. Lt. Bell was discharged on 7 Jan 1946.
Cpl. Lora C. Edgell from Cremo was captured by the Germans during the D-Day invasion. He spent ten months in a German prison camp.
Willis Frymyer was born just as World War I ended He was drafted at the beginning of WWII. He was captured in North Africa and was a prisoner of war for over two years. He was from Rosedale.
Lee R. Jones was inducted into the army on 4 April 1941. He served as an automatic rifleman during the war in Europe. He was captured by the Germans. He was liberated in April just before victory in Europe.
Many families in Calhoun were large. One such family was that of William L. and Theodosia S. Welch of Big Springs.
Five of their sons served in World War II. Charles and another Calhoun man, Virgil E. Tucker were POW in German Stalag 9B. They were liberated on 2 April 1945. Charles married and raised a family. He is buried in the Broomstick Cemetery. My sister, Dorcas Haught Cain, is also buried at Broomstick.
The Welch family lost another son when Ivan Welch was wounded in the D-Day landing. He died of his wounds. Several Calhoun families were like the Welch's. They had several sons who were part of the Greatest Generation.