Palo Alto County

Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson


Cpl. Art Clemitson Wounded; Italian Prisoner of War
Reported Sunday To Be Safe In Italy

Friday Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Clemitson received a message from the War Department stating their son, Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson, was missing in action in Africa, February 17. Art apparently was among the 200 or more Iowa boys reported missing in the same engagement.

Sunday, through the newly established Vatican service at Rome, a letter was received by the Rev. Father Hurley, Graettinger, stating that Cpl. Arthur Clemitson was a prisoner of war in Italy and that he was wounded but was safe. The letter also stated his address would be forwarded to the parents as quickly as possible. It is needless to say that this letter was a relief to the distressed and anxious parents.

This service is something new and probably applies to Italy only. Very few people knew about it, although some local people, including Halvor Clemitson, had read about it in the Des Moines Register last week. It is a special service set up the Vatican for prompt contact between prisoners of war in Italy and their parents in the United States and Great Britain. The Vatican is in a position in Italy to secure the information sooner than the United States government can secure it through official channels.

I order to deliver the information to parents it must be cleared through the state department. The War Department, evidently, can not clear it as to do so would give it official sanction. Once the casualty lists are cleared the names are then sent to Catholic bishops and, through them, to parish priests. It makes no difference what the boy’s religion may be, it is just a service to soften as much as possible the mental anguish of their loved ones at home.

The Times regrets very much to learn of Cpl. Clemitson’s tough luck on the battlefield. From the letter received, we feel the wounds he sustained are slight and we are confident he will quickly recover. But it is a long wait until the war is over and boys will be reunited with their parents. It is needless to say that Mr. and Mrs. Clemitson feel happy and grateful to learn so promptly that their boy is safe.

We reprint the letter below. It was sent from the Chancery office, Sioux City, to the Rev. D. K. Hurley, Graettinger.

Dear Father Hurley:
The Most Rev. Bishop received a letter from the Apostolic Delegation informing him that the Secretary of State wished him to inform the Clemitson family that Corporal Clemitson 37042661 is a prisoner of war in Italy. Corporal Clemitson is wounded but safe, and as soon as exact indication of his Camp address is received it will be forwarded to the family. Will you kindly convey this information to the Clemitsons, on Route 1, Graettinger, Iowa. I suppose the name is correctly spelled, although it might be Cleminson. Let me know if you have contacted the family. (Signed) Julius J. Berger, Chancellor.

Source: Graettinger Times, March 18, 1943

Our Neighbors in the Service

Emmetsburg, Iowa—Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Clemitson of Graettinger have received official notice that their son, Corporal Arthur Clemitson, 38, is a prisoner of war in Italy. He had been previously reported missing in north Africa, February 17. Corporal Clemitson entered the army in April,1941, and received his basic training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. Later he was sent to Ireland and arrived in Africa November 8, 1942. Clemitson is the only Palo Alto County soldier reported to be a prisoner of war from this area.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, March 23, 1943

No Letter Or Card Received From Cpl. A. Clemitson

H. A. Clemitson, Graettinger, has secured additional information in regard to his son, Cpl. Art Clemitson, who is a prisoner of war in Italy. However, he has not heard directly from Art and does not yet have the address.

A letter from the provost marshal, Washington, D.C., under date of March 27, says that Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson was interned by the Italian government as a prisoner of war. The report did not give the place of internment and the parents were advised not to attempt to communicate with their son until the address was known. Further information would be forwarded just as soon as received.

Previously, under date of March 24, the War Department gave the same information as above.

Naturally, the parents are very anxious to hear from their son and also to write him and this communication will be established just as quickly as possible.

From pictures and reports in the daily papers, prisoners of war have been well treated in Italy and this is a consolation to the parents.

Art was first reported missing in action in Africa, February 17. He was in the service for quite a long time. His hundreds of Graettinger friends are very much interested in him and all will be anxious for good news from him.

Source: Graettinger Times, April 1, 1943

Name Iowa Men Held Prisoners

Navy, Was Department List Men of City and the Area

Washington -- The navy department announced Thursday the names of 1,044 United States Navy personnel, including six Iowans, held as prisoners of war by the Japanese, mostly in the Philippine Islands.

Iowans listed were:

LeRoy F. Barber, gunner’s mate, son of Mrs. Nora Barber, 920 Wright Avenue, Sioux City;
Milford Nielsen, yeoman, son of Mrs. Hattie Westphalen, Hartley;
John W. Reimer, Jr. aviation chief metalsmith, son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Reimer, Sr., Havelock;
Steve M. Sorensen, chief boatswain’s mate, brother of Hans K. Sorensen, 123 S. Davidson Street, Sioux City;
Rudolph P. Steck, chief commissary steward, son of Mr. Carrie Garber, 416 S. Lafayette Street, Sioux City;
William B. Westerberg, boilermaker, son of John A. ; Westerberg, Hinton.

– The war department has announced the following Iowas as being held prisoners of war by Italy:

Private Milford W. Beldt, son of Mrs. Albona Beldt, route 1, Sheldon;
Corporal Arthur P. Clemitson, son of Halvor A. Clemitson, route 2, Graettinger;
Private Marion DeVries, son of Mrs. Jennie DeVries, route 2, Orange City;
Private Delbert J. Beirne, son of Mrs. Bright A. Beirne, Denison;
Corporal Richard A. Lavrenz, son of Fred W. Lavrenz, Burt;
Private Merwin L. Thompson, son of Lewis Thompson, Okoboji.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, May 14, 1943

Corp. Arthur Clemitson Captured After Wounded and Dies in Italian Prison Camp.

Corp. Arthur P. Clemitson, 38, son of Mr. and Mrs. Halvor Clemitson of Graettinger died August 8, in an Italian prison camp.

Corp. Clemitson suffered a compound fracture of the right leg Feb. 17, 1943, and was captured by Italians during the battle of Tunisia. He was taken to Italy on an Italian Red Cross ship and was a patient for some time in a hospital at Barata, which is located near Rome. Later he was transferred to another point, presumably to a hospital in a war prison camp.

Source: Ruthven Free Press, September 29, 1943


WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (AP)—Names of five Iowans killed in action in the Asiatic, European and north African (including Sicily) were announced today by the War Department. Second Lt. Richard E. Mallette, Atlantic, was killed in the Asiatic area; Sgt. Willard O. Simpson, Des Moines and first Lt. Jay R. Sterling, Sioux City, in the European; and Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson, Graettinger, and Second Lt. John A. Wilbois, Jr., of Des Moines, in the North African areas.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, October 11, 1943
Source: Creston News Advertiser, October 11, 1943

Graettinger, October 13, 1943
Memorial services were held at the First Lutheran Church Sunday afternoon for Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson, who died of wounds in Italy, August 7. A very large crowd attended.

Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Leonard of Ayrshire attended the memorial services for Cpl. Arthur Clemitson Sunday afternoon.

Source: Emmetsburg Reporter, October 14, 1943

Iowa Honor Roll

Like the men pictured here on previous Sundays, these Iowans have given their lives for their country.  Each one was either killed in action or died in prison camp. The fourth line under each picture gives the area in which the man last served. The list will be continued in future weeks.

Source: The Des Moines Sunday Register, March 12, 1944 (photos included)

Bodies Arrive From Overseas

Forty-five Iowans are among the remains of 2,554 Americans who lost their lives in World War II, whose bodies were due to arrive from the Mediterranean area Saturday aboard the Army transport, John L. McCarley.

Armed forces dead originally interred in temporary military cemeteries in North Africa and Italy are among those brought back.

North Iowans in the list together with the next of kin are listed below:

Pvt. Theodore E. Anderson; Arthur Anderson, Decorah.
2nd Lt. Wayne O. Bjustrom; Roy O. Bjustrom, Algona.
Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson; Halvor A. Clemitson, Graettinger.
T/4 Virgil L. Ebough; Fred Ebough, Waverly.
Pfc. Roy J. Schultz; Walter T. Schultz, Mason City.
1st Lt. Donald G. Stubbs; Glenn C. Stubbs, Mason City.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, May 29, 1949

Arthur Palmer Clemitson was born Dec. 28, 1904 to Halvor A. and Minnie Knutson Clemitson. He died Aug. 7, 1943 and is buried in Lost Island Lutheran Cemetery, Ruthven, IA.

Cpl. Clemitson served in World War II with the U.S. Army and died in Italy while in the service of his country. He was German POW and died as a prisoner in an Italian prison camp.