Germany – Third Reich: An interesting Casualty’s Wehrpass and Small Document Group to Peter Joseph Adams, A Schutze in 14th (Anti-Tank) Company, 58th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division, who was killed in action north of Rzhev on 13th August 1942, and which includes a significant amount of correspondence to and from the recipients family and comrades.
An interesting document group which reveals a significant amount about the recipient, a member of an Anti-Tank Company who was killed in action north of Rzhev on 13th August 1942.
Issued on 5th December 1940, his call up was deferred due to a shortage of tradesmen until further notice. On 14th January 1942 he was conscripted into 69th Infantry Anti-Tank Replacement Company where he trained as a Gunner on a 3.7cm Anti-Tank Gun.
After his training in Detmold, he moved to 7/6th Field Replacement Battalion (6th Infantry Division) for a few days from 28th March until 9th April when he was oved to 14th Anti-Tank Company, 58th Infantry Regiment with whom he served from this date until 13th August 1942 in Timofeyevo to the north east of Rzhev.
- Two handwritten letters with their original envelopes from Werner’s Company Commander – a Leutnant Paul Scile.
a) In the field, 29.8.1942 – A letter of condolences to Werner’s father informing him of the circumstances of his son’s death. He was shot along with his gun commander whilst supporting an Infantry attack.
b) In the field, 12.10.1942 – A reply to Werner’s sister Luci’s letter about obtaining a photo of Werner’s grave. He states that it is not possible to get such a photo but does enclose a map diagram of the area where Werner was buried.
There is also a typed certified copy of the Seile’s 29.8.1942 letter.
- Solingen, 13.11.1942 – A letter with its original envelope to Peter Adams (Werner’s father) from a Major and Commander of the Local Recruiting Office Solingen sending his condolences on the loss of his son Werner about which he had just heard on the same day (13.11.1942) and enclosing Werner’s Wehrpass as a memento.
- 5.10.1942 – A letter from the Company Hauptfeldwebel to Peter Adams enclosing his son’s personal effects at the time of his death. A list of the possessions was enclosed with the following detail: Writing Case, Wallet, Wristwatch, Pen, Lighter. Also a receipt for 43RM and 50 RPF which had been paid in on 13.9.1942 by Fd Post No 12 811 (14.58 Infantry Regiment).
- 28.12.1942 – A letter from Leutnant Seile (Officer Commanding Company) to a Gefreiter Fritz Brunnett (1st Squadron, 59th Reconnaissance Battalion, 8th Panzer Division) replying to Brunnet’s letter of 1st December saying that there was no photo of Werner’s grave.
- Berlin 7.4.1943 – A letter with its original envelope from the Armed Forces Information Bureau for War Casualties and Prisoners of War with the Armed Forces High Command to Werner’s father saying that his son’s death certificate is being sent to the Solingen Registrar for forwarding to him.
- Solingen, 6.5.1943 – A letter from the Solingen Registrar’s office to Werner’s father enclosing 2 copies of Werner’s death certificates.
- Solingen, 31.10.1944 – A letter from the Senior Armed Forces Officer Solingen (Grave Officer) confirming to Peter Adams that a grave cross in the prescribed form for members of the Armed Forces will be erected, at own cost, in the Catholic cemetery in Solingen-Ohligs in memory of his son Werner Adams who had been killed in action.
A postcard sized photo of Werner Adams. It is an enlarged copy of the ID photo used in Werner’s Wehrpass which had been issued on 5th December 1940.
Certified Copies of Certificates:
- Handwritten copies dated 4th January 1935 in Solingen-Ohligs:
a) For Werner’s baptism on 17th December 1922
b) For his confirmation on 16th October 1934.
School Related Documents:
- School Reports:
a) Mission School Broich. Period 24th July 1935 – 15th April 1938 (10 reports)There is also a house report dated 23rd March 1937 which indicates that Werner was most probably a boarder.
b) Mission School Menden/Westphalia. Period: 18th July 1938 – 27th March 1939 (3 Reports)
- School Identity Cards with photos:
a) Mission School Broich – 12th July 1935
b) Mission School Menden/Westphalia – 17th July 1938
- 18.7.1939 – Mission School Menden/Westphalia. Application for issuing of schoolboy season tickets for several journeys between Menden and Solingen-Ohligs
- Why? A Young Soldier Killed in Action. A newspaper cutting with 4 verses by Arthur Rehbein
- ‘Greetings from the Sky’ A piece of typed text of 9 verses.
- ‘Volga Song’ (German Soldier’s Song). A piece of typed text of 4 verses
- Werner’s letters to his father and mother:
a) From Detmold (69th Infantry Anti-Tank Replacement Company): 14.1.-27.3.1942; January 18 & 19, February 16 & 24 (mother); March 16 & 24.
b) From Osnabruck (in transit to Russia) – 28th March 1942
c) Russia 19.4-29.7.1942; April 4 (mother), June 3, 14, 15 (Luci) and June 29, July 9 & 12 (mother) July 12, 26, 27 & 29 (Luci).
There is also an undated letter in which Werner talks of spending Easter on the railway in Vyzama on the way to the front. The date is probably between 28.3 & 2.4.1942.
- Letters from an Obergefreiter Hans Dock (a close family friend) to Werner’s sister Maria. Dock was in 6/16th Panzer Artillery Regiment (16th Panzer Division) and went missing with is Regmient in Stalingrad.
a) 1940 – 5.8 & 10.10
b) 1941 – 5.4, 1.5 & 6.12 (from Russia)
c) 1942 – 27.1, 23.2, 24.3, 13.4, 3.5, 13.5, 13.7, 25.7, 2.8, 4.8, 3.9, 13.9, 22.9, 1.10, 10.10, 12.10, 15.10, 21.10, 31.10, 3.11, 6.11, 10.11, 13.11, 3.12, 10.12, 20.12
d) There is an undated letter (probably in 1940), which also includes greetings from 3 comrades of Hans, sent to ‘My dear Child’ from Hans from a barracks in Wuppertal. (16th Panzer Artillery Regiment’s Replacement Army Battalion was stationed in Wuppertal. It is probable that Hans was undergoing his basic Artillery training at the time of this letter.)
- There are 3 letters from Maria to Hans which have been returned to Sender as they could no longer be delivered. One is dated 1.1.1943 and the others are dated as follows:
a) 19th November 1942 – this is the day when the major Russian Offensive started which led ot the German 6th Army being cut off in Stalingrad.
b) 23rd November 1942. – This letter is in its original envelope with the date stamp of ’24.11.1942 – Solingen-Ohligs. It is stamped with the following words ‘Derzeit Keine Ableitungsmoglichkeit-Zuruck (No means of delivery – return to sender). Hans Dock was now cut off in Stalingrad and it would seem that he never came back.
- 9th September 1933 – Munchen-Gladbach. A letter from Werner’s sister Else Luci to the Adams Family. It contains some pressed flowers and a sprig of fir tree needles.
- There are a further number of letters as follows:
There are 5 Mothers Day greetings written by Werner. One is most probably written in 1935 – an added handwritten message is similar in style to writing in a letter dated 12.5.1935. Another is written by Werner on a page from a notebook – the writing is similar in style to that he used when writing home from the Eastern Front in 1942.
Name Day: (This is day celebrated in the Catholic Church and is linked to the day a person is confirmed into the Church)
There are 3 colourful greetings to Werner’s father, one plain one to his mother and one without a name,
- Hans Dock to Frau Adams (Werner’s mother) dated 23.3.1941 in its original envelope. The unit is 6/16th Artillery Regiment (16th Panzer Division) and would have been stationed in Romania at this time.
- 3 letters to Maria as follows:
a) Two letters from Gefreiter Franz Reichmayr (1st/Field Replacement Battalion of Luftwaffe 3 in Olmutz) which indicate that Maria had found a new boyfriend to replace her ‘Hans’
i) 13.8.1943 in original envelope – to ‘Dear little Maria’
ii) 22.11.1943 (Field Post letter) – to ‘Dear sweet Maria’
b) From Werner Breil (1/26th Signals Replacement Battalion) dated 25.2.1941 in its original envelope. It is a thank you letter written through Maria to ‘Dear Work Comrades.’
c) From Private Ernst Reichammer (4/346 heavy Luftwaffe Flak Battalion) dated 19.7.1942. Original envelope stamped by Paris LW Post Office.
- Solingen-Ohligs, 27.5.1945 – A handwritten Priest’s Office Certificate concerning the Adams family written by the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Priest, Father Bernards. It gives the current family address in Solingen-Ohligs and certifies that the family were members of his congregation. The letter also mentions Werner as the son who had been killed in action in ‘Hitler’s War’
- There is an amusing colour picture of Mickey Mouse, flowers etc with the following greeting ‘Gruss and Kuss sendet Dir Dein Julius’ (Love and Kisses to you, yours Julius) – you are left wondering who sent it and to whom!
- Solingen 23.5.1921 – A Christian Metal Workers Association of Germany Membership Book No A 308809. This book was issued on 20th April 1920 in Solingen-Ohligs to Franz Peter Adams (Werner’s father) who was born on 27th August 1875 in Menden. His civil occupation was noted as ‘Varnisher’ The book covers the period of membership dues between 23rd May 1921 and 21st January 1930.
- Solingen-Ohligs, 24.9.1941 – A Factory Civil Air Defence Document addressed to Maria Adams. In accordance with regulations she is asked to present an explanation about her compulsory duty on 25.9.1941 at 1700 hours in the Medical Area (Sanitatsraum). This explanation is to be received by the Local Police Administration Hilden within 2 weeks.
- Solingen, 13.1.1942 – A carbon copy of the official form cancelling the requirement for Werner Adams to register with the Local Police Authorities. The date on the form is the day before Werner reports for military duty with 69th Infantry Anti-Tank Replacement Company in Detmold.
Peter Joseph Werner Adams was born in Solingen-Ohligs on 9th December 1922, his call up to the army was initially deferred as there was a shortage of Tradesmen (he was an assistant Locksmith). He was eventually conscripted on 14th January 1942 and was assigned to the 69th Infantry Anti-Tank Replacement Company.
After 10 weeks training with this unit, Adams was shipped east in late March and reached his unit on 9th April 1942, this was the 14th Anti-Tank Company/58th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division, where he would have been a replacement for one of the many casualties suffered in the extensive Russian attacks over the previous winter.
From April to August 1942, 6th Infantry Division was stationed in the Rzhev salient where it defended against several Red Army offensives, which inflicted heavy casualties on both sides. On 13th August 1942, Adams was killed in action at Timofeyevo to the north-north-east of Rzhev.