Clinton County

Pvt. Marcus Stephen Brough, Jr.




Marcus Stephen Brough

A wonderful little booklet was donated to the Clinton County Historical Society.  It is about 3x4 inches and contains 16 pages.  On the front it says:

"Marcus Stephen Brough
February 18, 1919
March 4, 1945"

In addition to some great poems, the following information is included.  (I have typed it exactly as is.  There are some typos and dates that differ.)

Marcus Stephen Brough was born in Clinton, Iowa, February 15, 1919 and lived here practically his entire life.  He graduated from Clinton High School sn 1939. He was called early in the draft, but was rejected.  The navy and the air corps refused him, but he was later reclassified and sent to Camp Hood in September, 1944, and given infantry training.  He was home on a short furlough in January, 1945, and was sent overseas in February.  Here he was placed in Company F, 67th Armored Regiment, and was killed in action in Germany March 4, 1945.  He is buried in a military cemetery somewhere in Holland.
There are four letters written by 'Mike' and some written to the family after Mike's death.  I have included here one titled:
In Relative Safety
Birthday in a Belgian farm house. One place that I must admit I never guessed I'd have one.  Forgive the exceptionally incoherent tone to this, but it is written under most trying circumstances.  Two Belgian lads teaching me German and my Italian roommate is one of those effervescent youths -- rambles on in an excited, rapid, voice about nothing by the hour. He gets all involved with the lads and then Nikki seems to think that I can straighten things out.  They get more and more involved, finally we work out a new structure and things settle down for a bit.
Just informed me some pipe tobacco cost $1.75 quarter 16c -- exciting.  We really sweat it out.  Started out with what little French and German I knew and the smattering of English he had and are working out rules of grammar.  Just about decided that I am getting it straight when all bogs down and I find out I was muddling things up by forgetting to put a noun after the verb in a question, so expect an answer to positive statement.  Indulge in the wildest fantasy and the most wonderful abstractions.  Pop up with French, German and English all run together in one sentence.  But am getting better.  Grossmutter is condescending to attempt to put an idea across occasionally Finally between them I get the idea.  She is my test of improvement.  She speaks Hollandish and German, so if she gets the idea it is a cinch I am not letting English or French sneak in -- but enough.
Sending a couple of charts we were issued today.  Show the principal engagements, etc., of this outfit this war.  Will try to get the history of the company later.  Read it to us once, but it was a bit low and rapid and mostly forts and outfit numbers.  One thing did stand out.  It seem (to me) that F Company of 301st heavy tanks in WWI remained activated after the war.  It shifted about the seaboard from outfit to outfi till the late 30's when they started to reorganize a bit sensibly and eventually became the keystone of the 2nd Armored.  Vague and boastful, I know, but I am impressed and I fear too alert.
At any rate, the deal at first glance is a bit strange.  Seems that our whereabouts is hush, hush.  Can't let the inhabitants know where we are, but can write home OK because you don't know where we are.  Lt. Col. commanding battallion said "Jerry calls us 'the butcher boys.' " Didn't say whether he meant battalion or regiment and it seemed best at the time not to ask.  Seems to be ample reason to be a bit proud of the outfit anyway and until I get a chance to assimilate a bit more of the necessary information I'll take it on trust.  Shoved us about from place to place from debarkation until we got here.  Hit a spot late, up early and just get things located, maybe a shave and get a line on cigarettes, etc., and they'd fall us out for a bit of the old army game of standing in the rain and cold waiting for something. The amazing thing  is that no one ever knows what it is all about, but eventually everything settles in its proper place and all is well with the world.  Each place made the most glorious promises of itself and the next stop.  Of course I'd figure I'd write the second day but it seemed to find us on the move -- alibi, alibi -- plain damned inertia played a big share, as we both know.
Rather surprised at the level of technical skill in the outfit.  Had figured tank men as Joes with a few months specialist training, plus conditioning drills.  Suppose it is more efficient to work it this way.  Only simple, immediate servicing and repairing done by us.  Anything requiring specialized training done in higher echelon.  We are just to be able to effectively use or work anything in the tank.
Tired.  Please send maps to Alice.  Happy to have a son in relative safety?
That is the end of this letter.  There are a few more.  Then the awful telegram dated March 15, 1945: "The Secretary of War desires me to express his deep regret that your grandson, Pvt. Marcus S. Brough, was killed in action in Germany March 4, 1945.  Confirming letter follows."
Mike's family received his Purple Heart and condolences from the military.

Source: Marcus S. Brough Booklet, shared by the Clinton County Historical Society

Marcus Stephen Brough, Jr. was born Feb. 8, 1919 to Marcus S. (Sr.) and Eleanor Margaret Brough. He died Mar. 4, 1945 and is buried in Clinton Lawn Cemetery, Clinton, IA.

Pvt. Brough served in World War II with the U.S. Army Armored Division and was KIA in Germany.