In Honored Glory!
World War II Honor Roll

Henry L. Francis, Jr.

Sergeant, U.S. Army


83rd Chemical Battalion

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: December 12, 1944
Buried at: Plot B Row 28 Grave 29
Lorraine American Cemetery
St. Avold, France
Awards: Purple Heart

SERGEANT HENRY L. FRANCIS, 23, of 530 Cedar Street in Camden NJ, was killed during the Battle for the Colmar Pocket, in France near the Swiss Border, on December 12, 1944. The Germans had mounted major counter-attacks at Selestat and Riquewihr on that day. 

Henry L. Francis was one of ten children. Raised in in the North Camden section of Camden NJ, he attended Woodrow Wilson High School before leaving in 1941 to work as a chipper's helper at the New York Shipbuilding Company. Inducted into the Army in July of 1942, after basic training he was sent, with many other local men, to Camp Gordon GA to join the newly formed 83rd Chemical Battalion (later redesignated the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion). He shipped out to North Africa with the 83rd on April 29, 1943. After training in North Africa, he took part with his unit in the invasions of Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Southern France.  At Anzio, three of his neighbors from North Camden and many other men in his unit were killed when the landing craft they were on was sunk by enemy action.

Henry L. Francis Jr, was survived by his parents, of the Cedar Street address, sisters, Mrs. Emma Byetheway, Mrs. Anna Moore, Mrs. Henrietta Ward, Mrs. Florence Isaac, and Mrs. Jenny Collins, and brothers Charles, an Army private then in France, Robert, William, and Frank.



Riquewihr is in the Alsace, in the heart of wine country. Around the 11th of December, SS troops overran the positions of B Company, 83rd Chemical Battalion. 6 or 7 men were killed, plus about 5 were captured.  One of the men who hid in a chilling culvert while the Nazis ran across the road above searching for more Americans, was Sgt. Earl Rapp. He eventually was able to return to HQ to report what had happened. Not incidentally, he returned after the war to play alongside Willie Mays in the NY Giants outfield.