Greene County

Cpl. Merl Averill

 

 

23 Greene County Boys Are Reported Missing in Action Telegrams Are Still Arriving of Losses On Tunisian Front Believe Most Are German Prisoners of War

The full impact of the war fell upon Greene county this week with the news that many of our boys are “missing in action” on the Tunisian front.

To date The Bee has learned of a total of 23 telegrams received by relatives here, all bearing the information that the soldier named has been missing in action since February 17. That was the date that one battalion of Iowans escaped through German advance lines after being cut off from the main body of Allied troops following the German break-through at strategic Faid Pass.

Actual fate of the men reported missing, of course, cannot be known at this time. However, it is reported that the adjutant general in the War Department at Washington stated that most of the men reported miss in Tunisia have not been killed or wounded but are prisoners of war.

Germany, it is said, has been prompt in informing American forces of the men which it holds as prisoners, so more word may be expected.

Telegrams started to arrive Sunday and continued all day Monday and others were still coming Tuesday, so all of the names may not be included here. The list as compiled to date by this newspaper is as follows:

Jefferson: Merl Averill, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Averill.

Source: Jefferson Bee, March 9, 1943

Personnel of Jefferson Company with Boys Now “Missing in Action”

Here is the national guard company which left Jefferson in March, 1941, taken in the Jefferson armory just a few days before starting its trip to Camp Claiborne, La. The company has been in the thick of the battle in Tunisia and reports of “missing in action” have been received this week by many families.

Source: Jefferson Herald, March 11, 1943 (includes photograph of National Guard group)

NEWS COMES FROM FREED PRISONERS 15 MESSAGES ARE RECEIVED FAMILES GET LONG-AWAITED GOOD TIDINGS FROM BOYS IN GERMANY; TEN STILL TO COME

Word continues to come of the liberation of Greene county men who were taken prisoners of war February 17, 1943, in North Africa. These were in the national guard and left Jefferson early in 1941 for training at Camp Claiborne, La., and after being in Ireland, Scotland and England, participated in landings in North Africa.

Thus far, 15 men of the approximate 25 who were taken prisoner, have sent word home either in letters, Red Cross telegrams, personal telegrams, or by word sent through friends.

Indications are that after the invasion of Europe, the men who had been together in prison camps, were separated in moved to other camps. Delay in the messages is attributed to the fact that the camps were largely liberated by the Russians, and communication with the United States has had to wait until the men could get to territory held by the Americans.

Cpl. Merl Averill.
Mrs. Merl Averill of Perry, telephoned Monday morning to Corporal Averill’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Averill of Jefferson, that Corporal Averill had sent her a letter saying he had been liberated, was all right and on his way home. He remarked that he was still a long ways from home, and would let his wife, Fern, know when he got in the States.

Source: Jefferson Bee, May 22, 1945

MORE MESSAGES FROM PRISONERS
News Has Come Recently
24 In Germany


Messages from men who have been held prisoners of war by the German government since their capture Feb. 17, 1943, at Faid pass, North Africa, continue to come to their relatives at home. The first came Monday evening, May 14, and each day more are received.

To date, word has come of the liberation of …….Cpl. Merl Averill.

Source: Jefferson Herald, May 24, 1945