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Tablets of the Missing, Margraten, The Netherlands

AG 201  Brewer, Robert R. (15 Jan 46) 14163552  

MEMORANDUM TO: Chief, Casualty Branch, AGO

SUBJECT: Report of Death

1. Staff Sergeant Robert R. Brewer, 14163552, Infantry, was reported missing in action as of 11 June 1944, in France, while entitled to additional pay as a Parachutist, by ETO Shipment No. 131. Subsequently, he was reported a prisoner of war of the German Government (See Casualty Branch Message No. 225071). His status was changed to missing in action as of 4 February 1945 (See Casualty Branch Message No. 002052).

2. In letters to this office and to the parents of SSgt Brewer (the latter is quoted in a newspaper clipping forwarded to this office), Mr. John Koval, a former prisoner of war, Route 1, #1900, Miami, Florida, reports that he was personally acquainted with SSgt Brewer; that he last saw him on 7 Feb 1945, in Stalag III C hospital; that he had been badly wounded with shrapnel fragments which covered his entire body; that gangrene had set in; that there was no chance of Brewer's survival; that when the Germans counter-attacked, the Russian Medical staff withdrew on 6 Feb 45 leaving Sgt Brewer and two other seriously wounded Americans behind in the camp hospital; that in Naples he met one of the three injured men he had left behind in Stalag III C; that he knew this soldier by the name of Joe and that Joe told him, "Brewer died during ·the night after you left. A Russian soldier picked Red and I up in a wagon on the 10th (Feb) and then set fire to the hospital. Brewer's body was in there".  Mr. Koval states that he left Stalag III-C on 7 Feb 1945 and as SSgt Brewer is reported to have died during the night after he left, the latest date on which SSgt Brewer could have been alive, 8 February 1945, is established as the date of death for the purposes of this report.

3. It is recommended, therefore, that pursuant to the provisions of Section9, .Missing Persons Act, the foregoing information be accepted as an official report of death and that a casualty report be initiated stating that Staff Sergeant Robert R. Brewer, 14163552, Infantry, died on 8 February 1945, of wounds received in action while a prisoner of war of the German Government, at Kustrin, Germany, while entitled to additional pay as a Parachutist, that evidence of his death was received by the War Department on 11 January 1946, and that a special draft of a confirming letter will be submitted to the appropriate Letter Sub­section.

It is recommended that the board take action on the following case:

SSgt Robert R. Brewer 14163552
Organization: Co "A", 508th Prcht Inf
Place of Death: Stalag II C, Kustrin, Poland

The above a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, jumped over Normandy on :D-Day", He was reported missing in action as of 11 June 1944 and subsequently was reported a prisoner of war. He eventually was sent to Stalag III C, six miles east of Kustrin on the Oder River.

 After hearing reports of Russian artillery fire on the morning of 31 January 1945, the Germans started the prisoners on a march away from the camp. They had only marched two miles when the road was found blocked by Russian tanks. The Americans were wearing new uniforms and overcoats, recently supplied by the Red Cross and the Russians mistaking them for the German Army fired into their lines, killing twenty-two Americans and wounding about fifty. These wounded were taken into homes in the town of Altdrewitz and were cared for by German women.

 On the following day, a German plane flying over the camp dropped bombs and S/Sgt Brewer was seriously wounded by bomb fragments. He, with thirteen other American wounded by gun fire between the Russians and Germans, were left in the camp brick administration building.

 On 3 or 4 February the Russians evacuated all the prisoners who were able to travel. Capt. Louis Nash O-440671 saw SSgt Brewer and stated the subject soldier was not evacuated from the camp.

Two field investigations were conducted but failed to locate the grave of this deceased. Extensive exhumation of unmarked graves in this town and vicinity was also unsuccessful. Most of the bodies were found to be without clothing or identification. None could be identified from tooth charts on OQMG forms 371. All graves suspected were opened.

The village is practically deserted due to almost total destruction and there are no residents who were there during the war.

 In view of the fact that field investigation conducted within the restrictions placed upon search and recovery in Poland, proved negative, it is believed that further action on this case be futile.

1. Nonrecoverable Findings for the referenced decedent were approved on 18 May 1949. Next of kin has not, been advised of nonrecoverabllity.

2. S/Sgt Robert R. Brewer, 14163552, Co. "A" 508th Prch. Infantry was reported as MIA on 11th June 1944, in France. Casualty records show that S/Sgt Brewer was subsequently reported a POW and sent to Stalag III-C. German records, US-2096, 11 August 1944, show also that S/Sgt. Brewer was a POW.

3. Casualty records show further that SSgt Brewer died as a result of wounds received in action on 8 February 1945 at Kustrin, Germany, while a POW of the German Government.

4. The Field report shows that extensive searches have been made for recovery of the remains in that area, by interrogation of civilian and town officials, and by checking cemetery records, with negative results.

5. Searches have been made of captured German records in this Office and the S & R reports from the pertinent areas with negative results. The dental and physical characteristics of S/Sgt Brewer have been compared with those of all unknowns recovered from the area of death with negative results.

[signed 15 August 1953]

Brewer's ID bracelet was recovered and has found its way to the Gettysburg [PA] Museum of History and is now on permanent display.

The card displayed below the bracelet reads:

Paratrooper ID Bracelet

Robert R. Brewer 508th PIR 82nd Airborne.  Recovered In Normandy.  Brewer Was Captured By The Germans 3 Days After D-Day.  He died In A German P.O.W. Camp