Local physician headed to Normandy to honor Orleans soldiers who died in D-Day

Orleans County Historian Matthew Ballard created this honor roll of soldiers from Orleans County who fought in the D-Day invasion in 1944.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2019 at 8:34 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Dr. Eric Johnson speaks at the Orleans County Legislature meeting last week, sharing about his upcoming trip to Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France. He will place a brass marker and flag at the graves of soldiers from Orleans County.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature last week recognized the upcoming 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, a critical assault from the Allies in winning World War II.

County officials have counted 17 soldiers from Orleans County who were part of D-Day from June 6, 1944 through Aug. 21, 1944.

Six men from Orleans were killed at D-Day including PFC Clifford Williams, Pvt. John E. Rosenbeck, Pvt. James Campas, Sgt. George Quinn, Lt. William Barnum and Lt. John Butts.

Campas was killed on D-Day, while Rosenbeck, Williams, Quinn, Butts and Barnum were killed following the invasion. Rosenbeck, Quinn, Williams and Campas are at the Normandy cemetery.

The Allies landed more than 2 million soldiers in northern France for D-Day and suffered more than 226,386 casualties with 72,911 killed/missing and 153,475 wounded. The German losses totaled more than 240,000 casualties and 200,000 captured.

Dr. Eric Johnson, a local physician, is going to Normandy for the 75th anniversary observance. He will place a brass marker and flag from New York State on the graves of the fallen soldiers from Orleans.

“We’re honored to be representatives from Orleans County,” Johnson told the County Legislature.

County Historian Matthew Ballard has compiled a list of soldiers from Orleans County who were part of D-Day. In addition to the six who died in the invasion, others who served included: Lt. Rance Cotton, Lt. Elwin Smith, Pvt. Donald Stirk, Capt. William Lattin, Capt. Angelo Leone, M.D., QM2c Calvin Warne, SSgt. Russel Wigley, SSgt. Haayo Vanderlaan, Cpl. Edward Pahura, Pvt. Kenneth R. Owen and Herbert Charles Schultz.

Men of the 16th Infantry Regiment, US 1st Infantry Division wade ashore on Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944.

County Historian Matthew Ballard visited Normandy in 2017 and took this photo of the beach where the Allies staged a critical invasion almost 75 years ago.

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