Staff Sergeant George C. Curdy (1920–1945)

Private George C. Curdy in 1944 (Courtesy of Fred Dutton)
ResidencesCivilian Occupation
Delaware, PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Railroad conductor
BranchService Number
U.S. Army42145951
TheaterUnit
EuropeanCompany “E,” 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division
AwardsCampaigns/Battles
Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple HeartArdennes-Alsace, Rhineland

Early Life & Family

George Carroll Curdy was born in Georgetown, Delaware, on the morning of March 11, 1920. He was the second child of Elihu Ackford Curdy (a railroad brakeman and later conductor, 1890–1962) and Anna Belle Curdy (née Kraus, 1892–1954). Census records indicate that the family had recently relocated from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they were recorded living at 5522 Lansdowne Avenue on the census taken on January 27 or 28, 1920.

Curdy around 1937 or 1938 (Courtesy of Fred Dutton)

Curdy had an older brother, William J. Curdy (who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, 1916–1995), and a younger sister, Alice May Curdy (later Dutton, 1924–2015). The Curdy family had apparently moved back to Philadelphia by the time Curdy’s younger sister was born on June 30, 1924. They were recorded on the census on April 25, 1930, living at 6541 Kingsessing Avenue. Census records indicate the family was living in Collingdale, Pennsylvania, as of April 1, 1935. By the time of the next census was taken on May 4–6, 1940, shortly before he graduated from Delmar High School, Curdy was unemployed and living with his parents and younger sister at 801 East State Street in Delmar, Delaware.

Journal-Every Evening summarized Curdy’s education and civilian employment in an article printed on April 2, 1945: “A graduate of the Delmar (Delaware) High School, he began work with the Pennsylvania Railroad on his twenty-first birthday”—March 11, 1941. He was initially based in Philadelphia.

Curdy married Marian Ruth Wright (1919–1989) in Princess Anne, Maryland, on June 24, 1941. His bride, who had been working for the Universal Credit Company, was apparently a classmate at Delmar High School. The couple honeymooned at Tolchester, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, before returning to Philadelphia.

George Curdy in his railroad uniform in Delmar, May 1942 (Courtesy of Fred Dutton)
Curdy at Broad Street Station in 1943 (Courtesy of Fred Dutton)

Later that year, when Curdy registered for the draft in Philadelphia on July 10, 1941, he listed his residence at 801 State Street in Delmar, but his mailing address as care of the stationmaster at Broad Street Station in Philadelphia. At the time he was a brakeman assigned to the Maryland Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The registrar described him as standing about five feet, 11 inches tall and weighing 140 lbs., with brown hair and gray eyes.

The Curdys welcomed a son, Michael Curtis Curdy (later Michael Frederick Dashiell, 1943–1997), in Philadelphia on July 30, 1943.

Journal-Every Evening reported that Curdy “was made a passenger conductor in the spring of 1943.” The article added that “At the time of his induction into the Army in June, 1944, he was the youngest passenger conductor on the Delmarva Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.”


Military Career

Curdy was drafted. He was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on June 23, 1944. Journal-Every Evening reported that “he asked to be assigned to a railroad battalion but was assigned to the infantry.” Indeed, with the recent invasion of France, major casualties meant that the U.S. Army’s greatest manpower requirements came from the combat arms. Casualties were the highest among infantrymen, especially rifle companies. After basic training at the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Blanding, Florida, Private Curdy shipped out for the European Theater in December 1944.

Private Curdy was assigned to Company “E,” 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division from the 14th Replacement Depot on December 30, 1944, per Special Orders No. 260, Headquarters 80th Infantry Division. Curdy’s Military Occupational Specialty (M.O.S.) was listed as 745 (rifleman). From an authorized strength of six officers and 187 enlisted men, Company “E” had just three officers and 106 enlisted men present for duty as of that date.

There was a short delay before he joined his new unit. The regiment’s December 1944 S-1 (personnel) report explained:

A provisional company has been created within the Service Company Train for the processing of replacements and men returning to duty from the hospital.  All men are moved from the rear of the Divisional Area under the supervision of a non-commissioned officer, and checked in to the provisional company, where they are picked up on a morning report summary.  Replacements are then held for at least a period of 24 to 48 hours, during which time they are given the opportunity to bathe; shortages of clothing and equipment made up; rifles are zeroed in; orientation and instruction in battle facts is conducted; and provision for exchange of currency and applications for allotments for saving and purchases of War Bonds is made.

Private Curdy and 29 others from the 14th Replacement Depot joined Company “E” on January 1, 1945. According to the daily morning report, when the replacements arrived, Company “E” was in defensive positions a few miles north of Feulen, Luxembourg. The replacements, transfers, and wounded soldiers returning to duty brought the company strength up to three officers and 153 enlisted men.

Replacements had to acclimate quickly both to their new units (where they frequently did not know anyone) and to combat. Many soon became casualties themselves. Private Curdy was fortunate to have arrived during a quiet period following the dark days of the German offensive now known as the Battle of the Bulge. His regiment was mainly just patrolling. Cold weather and illnesses took a greater toll on the company than the enemy did during early January. The 80th Infantry Division history for the month explained: “The reverses suffered by the Germans in their Ardennes offensive had caused a change in their tactics to one of aggressive defense adopted to gain time for them to withdraw their battered remnants into the SIEGFRIED LINE.”

80th Infantry Division soldiers marching through Wiltz, Luxembourg (Official U.S. Army Signal Corps photo 111-SC-360786, National Archives)

On the night of January 9, 1945, 2nd Battalion of the 317th Infantry Regiment became the division reserve, and Curdy’s company moved a short distance by truck to a rest area at Heiderscheid, Luxembourg. While there, Private Curdy was promoted to private 1st class on January 13, 1945. 2nd Battalion remained in reserve until January 17, 1945, when it took over for 3rd Battalion. That night, Company “E” marched to Ringel and took up defensive positions. Enemy mortar and artillery fire bombarded Company “E” positions but inflicted few casualties.

On the morning of January 21, 1945, Company “E” and the rest of 2nd Battalion launched an attack, the first of Private 1st Class Curdy’s career. The division history recorded:

Heavy resistance was encountered in attempting to complete the mission of securing bridges over the SURE RIVER and seizing the high ground east of MASSELER.  By 1800, the Battalion was fighting in DIRBACH and the surrounding area, but because of continued heavy resistance, it was ordered to withdraw under cover of darkness.

Among the day’s casualties was the Company “E” commanding officer, Captain Ira T. Miller (1918–1945), who died of his wounds one week later. The company withdrew to Tadler, Luxembourg, and moved to Weidingen on January 23, 1945. 2nd Battalion captured Lellingen on the night of January 25–26, 1945. On the 26th, Company “E” advanced on the high ground northwest of Fennberg. Enemy sniper fire wounded two men on the 27th. Then, on January 28, 1945, the company moved to Schrondweiler, where the men were able to rest, train, and perform equipment maintenance. A few lucky men received passes to Luxembourg City and Paris.

On February 5, 1945, Company “E” marched seven miles north to Diekirch. That same day, Curdy was promoted again, this time jumping two grades to sergeant per Special Orders No. 34, Headquarters 317th Infantry Regiment. Curdy had been with the unit for just 35 days and had only seen limited combat. A Company “E” morning report mentioning the promotion on February 7, 1945, listed his M.O.S. as 653 rather than 745. That suggested that with his promotion, Sergeant Curdy became an assistant squad leader. Considering his rapid advancement, it would seem to a reasonable conjecture that his superiors had recognized leadership qualities. He would need them. The same day he was promoted, a warning order arrived for the upcoming operation to penetrate the Siegfried Line and advance into Germany.

On February 10, 1945, Company “E” moved by vehicle to Beaufort, Luxembourg. During the evening of February 12, 1945, the unit crossed the river Sauer (Sûre) by boat, taking up defensive positions near Bollendorf, Germany. A morning report recorded that on February 14, 1945, Company “E” (along with the rest of 2nd Battalion) launched an attack “under cover of darkness & engaged the enemy on high ground” north of Bollendorf, overcoming “moderate” resistance and capturing 20 prisoners without loss. The following day, the company set up positions on high ground in the area south of Rohrbach, Germany, clashing three times with enemy patrols. On February 16, 1945, the company morning report noted an increase in intensity of as “Enemy attempting to infiltrate our lines. Sharp encounters after dark and heavy artillery and mortar fire.”

On February 17, 1945, Company “E” launched an attack on Rohrbach. Company records indicate that enemy resistance the next day was “mild” although “Enemy Artillery and mortar fire [was] very heavy.” Early on the 19th, the company attacked Nußbaum, capturing 41 prisoners. Three enemy tanks fired on the infantrymen but were driven off by American artillery and tank destroyer fire. Company “E” held the village for the next few days, though the infantrymen were periodically subjected to enemy small arms, tank, and artillery fire. On the evening of February 22, 1945, the company drove German defenders from the woods north of Nußbaum, capturing seven. Firefights continued until the evening of February 24, 1945, when the company moved out of the line.

After a few more moves and a brief rest, the 317th Infantry Regiment launched another attack early on March 1, 1945, with Company “E” advancing near Schleid, Germany. The following day, a platoon captured Heilenbach, where 70 dispirited German soldiers surrendered without a fight. That night, the company traded spots with Company “F,” moving into Ehlenz. Company “E” had a few days to rest, train, and maintain equipment. Sunday, March 4, 1945, was notable in that “Movies & Protestant Church services [were] held of all personnel.”

On March 6, 1945, Sergeant Curdy was promoted to staff sergeant per Special Orders No. 59, Headquarters 317th Infantry Regiment. His M.O.S. remained as 653, indicating that he had become a rifle squad leader. If his squad was at full strength, Curdy would have been in charge of 11 men: an assistant squad leader, seven riflemen, an automatic rifleman, an assistant automatic rifleman, and an ammunition bearer.

On March 10, 1945, the 80th Infantry Division was reassigned from XII Corps to XX Corps, which was operating well to the south. Around noon on March 11, 1945, Company “E” boarded trucks, moving about 70 miles to Gandren, France. The following day, they moved back into Germany by truck as far as Beurig, then marching to the vicinity of Irsch. On March 13, 1945, the company marched east to Oberzerf. Later that day, the company marched south to the vicinity of Greimerath “under Artillery fire.” The company morning report for March 14, 1945, reported that the “Entire Company dug in to repulse possible counter attack[…] Resistance moderate but determined[.]”

Staff Sergeant Curdy was seriously wounded in action on March 15, 1945, near Greimerath. The Company “E” morning report that day recorded that “Heavy concentrations of artillery and nebelwerfer [rocket] fire fell on the positions causing some casualties.” According to a digitized hospital admission card under his service number, Curdy suffered major injuries to his spinal cord and liver from artillery shell fragments. Staff Sergeant Curdy was evacuated to a hospital back in France. Despite exploratory surgery, he died of his wounds the following day, March 16, 1945. It was less than two months before the capitulation of Nazi Germany.

80th Infantry Division soldiers marching through Kaiserlautern, Germany, on March 20, 1945, shortly after Staff Sergeant Curdy was killed (Official U.S. Army Signal Corps photo 111-SC-335272, National Archives)

During his career, Staff Sergeant Curdy earned the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Purple Heart. During a ceremony on November 4, 1945, the Fort DuPont commanding officer Colonel Randolph Russell presented Curdy’s Bronze Star to his widow, Marian. She remarried to Gorman Murrell Dashiell (1921–2004) in Delmar on January 26, 1947. Curdy’s son, Michael, was renamed Michael Frederick Dashiell.

Staff Sergeant Curdy’s family requested that he be repatriated to the United States. In the summer of 1948, his body returned to the United States aboard the U.S.A.T. Oglethorpe Victory. His casket arrived in Delmar on August 5, 1948. After services on the afternoon of August 8, 1948, at the First Methodist Church, he was buried at Mt. Olive Methodist Cemetery (Saint Stephen’s Cemetery).

Curdy is honored at Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Delaware, and on the Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.


Notes

Mother’s Name

There are numerous variations of the spelling of Curdy’s mother’s name: Anna Belle on his birth certificate, Ann B. on her headstone, Annabelle on the 1920 census, and Anna Bell in a church record.


Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Staff Sergeant Curdy’s nephew, Fred Dutton, for the use of several photographs. Thanks also go out to Andy Adkins, historian and webmaster of the 80th Division Veterans Association website, who digitized records that were invaluable in telling this story.


Bibliography

“7 More State GI Dead Home.” Journal-Every Evening, July 12, 1948. Pg. 22. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100703090/curdy-body-repatriated/

“Capt Ira Thompkins Miller.” Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56062566/ira-thompkins-miller

“Citation for Heroism Given 8 Delawareans.” Wilmington Morning News, November 6, 1945. Pg. 13. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100957351/curdy-bronze-star/

“Company Order No. 2, Company ‘E,’ 317th Infantry.” January 13, 1945. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/MorningReports/Promotions_317/317E_Promotions_13JAN45.pdf

Delaware Marriages. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Hall of Records, Dover, Delaware.

“Delmar Rites Sunday For Sergeant Curdy.” Journal-Every Evening, August 5, 1948. Pg. 36. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100958161/curdy-funeral/

Ford, Howard R. “After Action Report (S-3).” Headquarters, 317th Infantry, March 1, 1945. World War II Operations Reports, 1940–48. Record Group 407, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/AfterActionReports/80thAAR_317th-S3_FEB45.pdf

George Carroll Curdy Individual Military Service Record, c. 1949. Record Group 1325-003-053, Record of Delawareans Who Died in World War II.  Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware. https://cdm16397.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15323coll6/id/18290/rec/1

George Curdy birth certificate. Record Group 1500-008-094, Birth certificates. Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6967-9B5

Hayes, James H. “After Action Report (S-3).” Headquarters, 317th Infantry, April 3, 1945. World War II Operations Reports, 1940–48. Record Group 407, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/AfterActionReports/80thAAR_317th-S3_MAR45.pdf

“History 80th Infantry Division February 1945.” Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/80th-OperationalHistory/80thOperHist-Feb45_Pt1.pdf

“History 80th Infantry Division January 1945.” Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/80th-OperationalHistory/80thOperHist-Jan45_Pt1.pdf

“History 80th Infantry Division March 1945.” Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/80th-OperationalHistory/80thOperHist-Mar45_Pt1.pdf

“Local Happenings.” The Salisbury Times, June 28, 1941. Pg. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100693373/curdy-marriage/

Morning reports for Company “E,” 317th Infantry Regiment, February 1945. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/MorningReports/FEB45/MR317E_FEB45.pdf

Morning reports for Company “E,” 317th Infantry Regiment, January 1945. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/MorningReports/JAN45/MR317E_JAN45.pdf

Morning reports for Company “E,” 317th Infantry Regiment, March 1945. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/MorningReports/MAR45/MR317E_MAR45.pdf

“Seven Delaware Soldiers Give Lives for Nation.” Journal-Every Evening, April 2, 1945. Pg. 1 and 10. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100691497/7-delawareans-killed/,  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/98206288/george-curdy-kia/

“Special Orders No. 260, Headquarters 80th Infantry Division.” December 30, 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/MorningReports/DEC44/317Replacements_30DEC44.pdf

Watson, Frank J. “After Action Report, S-1 (Personnel and Allied Administration), for Period 1 December 1944 to 31 December 1944.” January 1, 1945. World War II Operations Reports, 1940–48. Record Group 407, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Courtesy of the 80th Division Digital Archives Project website. https://www.80thdivision.com/AfterActionReports/AAR_317S-1_DEC44.pdf

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4385039_00401

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6224/images/4639467_00390

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/m-t0627-00547-00676

U.S. WWII Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942–1954. Record Group 112, Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army), 1775–1994. National Archives at College Park, Maryland. https://www.fold3.com/record/702022904/curdy-george-c-us-wwii-hospital-admission-card-files-1942-1954

“Weddings.” Wilmington Morning News, June 28, 1941. Pg. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100692834/george-c-curdy-marriage/

World War II Army Enlistment Records. Record Group 64, Records of the National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives at College Park, Maryland. https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=1&cat=all&tf=F&q=42145951&bc=&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=8353037

WWII Draft Registration Cards for Delaware, 10/16/1940–3/31/1947. Record Group 147, Records of the Selective Service System. National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2238/images/44003_11_00002-00564


Last updated on June 3, 2022

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