Sioux County

Pfc. Henry Neal DeGroot



Pvts. J. Koning, H. De Groot
Two Rock Valley boys who make the most of life in the army are Pvt. Jake Koning, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nick Koning, and Pvt. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Blacksmith and Mrs. Henry De Groot.

Both boys are at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They see each other every day and like Fort Sill and army life just fine.

Source: Rock Valley Bee Feb. 26, 1943 p 1

Here’s a greeting from a former Sioux Center boy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot, who now live in Rock Valley.

April 17, 1943
Dear Marie and Ed: - I wish I could pay the old home town a visit again, unable to do so, my next substitution will be a few lines to the home folks.
I receive the News regularly every week and enjoy it very much, especially the letters and addresses from all the other fellows in the service. Great to know where they are, what they are doing in their respective branches of service.
I was fortunate in seeing Cpl. Everett Muilenburg and Lt. Marvin Grotenhuis. We were buddies in high school, starts a fellow thinking of high school days all over again, gone but not forgotten.
Glad to read about basketball teams, congratulations to the fellows and the coach.
We are known as “School Troop”, we put on demonstrations concerning the Inf. and artillery combined in offense and defense. We put on 5 and 6 demonstrations a week, keeping us very busy and on the ball.
The climate here lately has been very nice, working with favorable weather makes one’s work easier.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the kind friends that have written me. I would like to answer everyone separately, but my time is too limited.
Think I will close for this time, wishing everyone good health, good luck and happiness.  Sincerely yours,
Pvt. Henry Neal De Groot
17th Inf. Co. D 1st PH
Fort Sill, Okla.

Source: Sioux Center News Apr. 22, 1943 p 10

Visit Son and Brother, Ft. Sill
Mrs. Nick Koning and Bertha Mae returned Monday morning from Fort Sill, Okla., where they had been visiting their son and brother, Pfc. Jack Koning..…. Mrs. Koning also saw Pfc. Henry De Groot while she was at Ft. Sill. He told her that he had just made his first pumpkin pie.

Source: Rock Valley Bee Sept. 3, 1943 p 1

Pfc. Henry De Groot arrived at the parental H. C. De Groot home last week on furlough from Fort Sill, Okla. He returned to camp again on Wednesday.

Source: Rock Valley Bee Nov. 12, 1943 p 3

Henry Neal De Groot who is in the armed services visited with his grandmother, Mrs. J. Ver Sluis last Sunday afternoon. He was accompanied by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. De Groot of Rock Valley. Henry arrived home last Saturday and must return again on Friday, when in all probability he will be sent overseas.

Source: Sioux County Index Jan. 20, 1944 p 4


Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry DeGroot now living in Rock Valley, arrived home Saturday from Camp Atterbury, Indiana, on furlough.  Henry says this is his “alert” furlough, as he expects to be sent overseas in the near future. He has been in the service (Infantry) for 15 months and was transferred to Camp Atterbury from Camp Bowie, Texas.  Henry expressed his sincere thanks to everyone who sent cards, letters, and remembrances for Christmas and says he very much enjoyed them all, but can’t possibly answer each one individually.

Source: Sioux Center News, Thursday, January 20, 1944

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley is also home on a furlough and has been transferred from Camp Bowie, Texas to Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot
117th Inf. Regt.
Co. G, APO 30
Camp Atterburg, Indiana

Source: Sioux Center News Jan. 20, 1944 p 7

Mrs. Henry De Groot Sr. of Rock Valley sends some interesting letters from her son Pfc. Henry Neal and also one from A. R. Eggelston (‘Cap’) from Bougainville. The latter used to help Mr. De Groot in his blacksmith shop and Mrs. De Groot writes to him as many other servicemen as she possibly can. Pfc. Henry Neal has this new address: 117th Inf. Regt. Co. G., APO 30, c/o Postmaster, New York, New York. His accompany letter is self-explanatory:
Jan. 30, 1944
Dear Mother and Dad,
I arrived safe and sound at my new destination, we had a good train, travelled pullman. I am located somewhere in the New England States, what the future holds for me is unknown. Where I am now the weather is cold. The food here is much better than at Atterbury, receive plenty and served hot. As you notice by this letter I am under very strict censorship, so when you write me please don’t ask where I am, what I am doing, when, why or who?
Please send me those pictures we took when I was home on my last furlough. I am in good health and everything is well and okay.
Please write me when you can. I surely will appreciate mail now, I did before, but more so now.
Please notify the paper of my change of address, also relatives because I won’t have time to write to everyone personally.
I hope this message finds you both in good health and happiness, don’t worry about me. I will write you as often as I can, it is much harder to write now since I only have a few topics to write about.
Love, “Sonny”

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 10, 1944 p 10

Eugene Mulder recently met Clarence Peters, Henry Visser, Henry De Groot and Maynard Van Wyk somewhere in England.

Source: Sioux County Capital May 11, 1944 p 7

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley wrote his parents that he was being kept very busy, but was in very good health and enjoying lots of mail which he hoped to answer.

Source: Sioux Center News May 25, 1944 p 2

Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot, former S. C. residents, write from Rock Valley –
Editors, Sioux Center News,
Dear Ed and Marie:
We are looking forward to a letter from our son, Henry Neal De Groot. The last letter he sent was dated May 19 – reaching us June 9. Henry was well. So far received all our letters and up to then – one package. Was anxiously looking forward to others. Mostly for sweets, food and Lucky cigarettes. Also gum. Razor blades, stationery and air mail stamps. Some of the boys have heavy beards and only one razor blade a week. Henry could manage on his rationed supply of razor blades and ones we sent and was thankful for that. Said his beard wasn’t heavy. Mail is always much appreciated. (I’m sure I told you he received some News – haven’t heard about it lately.)

Source: Sioux Center News June 29, 1944 p 2

Wounded In Action
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot, former Sioux Center residents now living in Rock Valley, wrote that he was now hospitalized in England having been slightly wounded in the invasion activities in France. Since he wrote the letter himself his parents and friends are hoping it is not too serious. He said that he had been wounded in the right leg and that he was getting along fine at present. Elsewhere on the soldier page is more news sent by his mother.

Source: Sioux Center News June 29, 1944 p 1

Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley send this recent news of their son –
Pfc. Henry Neal has been able to write all of his own letters. Most folks know he was somewhere in England. Then in France. Now he is back in England and in a hospital. He is wounded in his right leg. He says he is getting along fine and everything is okay. He hopes for and is looking forward to the day when he can put his two feet on good American soil again. He has seen all he cares to of foreign soil. Unless maybe in later life – if he had a chance to see it as a pleasure trip, he might go – then again, he doubts that very much. Most of his traveling would be inside good old U. S. A. from now on.
Still patiently awaits mail. He knows it all takes time, but hopes he won’t have to wait too long. He is in a “ward”, because he wrote July 15 that “we got a radio in our ward this morning. Surely is great to hear a radio again, helps cheer the fellows up, and the times passes so much faster. Also get to hear the latest and older popular songs, news and programs”.
He sends greetings to all relatives and friends and hopes everything is fine back here.
It seems Pfc. Johnny H. De Groot and Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot were injured about the same time, according to your “News” of July 13, Johnnie’s picture being in there, and “Wounded in Action” and his father having heard that Tuesday. Henry Neal wrote us from France July 2nd and next we heard was from a hospital in England, July 13.
His letters, three of them are all dated two days apart: July 13, 15 and 17. But he was mistaken on the date because he wrote it Sunday and that was the 16th. However, it came in good time – being stamped the 19th and reaching here 23rd. Address:
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot 37440512
Hosp. Plant 4175
APO 121, c/o Postmaster
New York City, New York

Source: Sioux Center News July 27, 1944 p 2

Pfc. Henry N. De Groot
In a hospital in England after sustaining a wound in the right leg during the invasion of Normandy, France, Pfc. Henry De Groot writes his parents here that he is getting along fine.

Source: Rock Valley Bee July 28, 1944 p 1

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot is getting along nicely according to word from his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley. His letters come regularly and he says everything is okay. He is still waiting for his mail to catch up with him as it is some time since he has received any. He says he now has a good bed, clean sheets and blankets…the first he has had in some time. His letter dated July 28 says “received my Purple Heart” today. It is very nice, I intend to keep it for a few days, then I am going to send it home, so sometime in the near future you will receive it. Henry wrote that he was wounded in his right leg by a German machine gun.

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 10, 1944 p 8


Excerpts of recent letters from Henry Neal DeGroot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry DeGroot of Rock Valley, tell of his progress since he was wounded in France in the first invasion:

Pfc. Henry Neal DeGroot
Hosp. Plant 4175 APO 121
Det. Of Patients, c/o Postmaster
New York City, N.Y.

Dear Mother and Dad:   August 4.
I am getting along fine and everything is okay. I am still bedfast and will be for quite some time, also will e a long time before I will be able to walk again. I have a large hole in the right side of the calf of my leg—clean through, making it the same on the left side of the calf of my leg. Had one operation in France, cleaned the wound and bandaged it, so I could be transferred to England. In England I had another operation to clean and draw wound together. Next will be more sewing and more drawing together—and a skin graft.
See, everything like muscles and ligaments were shattered and blown out. You can now understand why I’m having all the operations. Why I’ve been in bed a long time and will be for quite some time, yet. Everything was hit in my right leg, except the bones, so I have no fractures—Thanks Goodness! It will take time for muscles, tissues and ligaments to heal and grow again. Don’t worry at all. I am receiving good care and very efficient medical care. In time I will be able to walk again.  I had a lot of pain at first, but that stage is all over. The operations have been okay, have new stuff they put you to sleep with. Doesn’t take  long to go to sleep and no after effects at all of the wonderful stuff.
The medical service of the U.S. Army is wonderful. They are doing a swell job and working wonders and performing miracles.
Very nice, good and efficient nurses. The doctors are swell and really are very good.
I haven’t received any mail from France yet, but one of these days I will—both letters and packages. I have had a fresh mail from the States—for four days now—and it is good to hear from everybody again.
I wouldn’t know how to contact the fellows you mentioned that are here in England—maybe later when I can walk again, I can contact them, if they are still in England.
Glad you wrote relatives. You may wonder why I do not write more often. It is hard for me to write in bed. See, I don’t sit up much yet—I write awhile, using my left knee as a writing desk—write awhile then rest awhile, and so on.
Today I received my much needed haircut. It is starting to grow out again.
It does get tiresome lying in bed all the time, but I don’t mind. I am in a ward full of fellows full of the dickens and we do have fun in spite of our aches and pains. Everybody is cooperative and the ones who can walk help the ones who can’t—so we get along swell.
Glad to hear you sent me boxes—Gee! That really is swell—I received the ones of May 27 and June 3, and the rest will catch up with me.
Think I will close for this time. Hope this finds you both in the best of health. Someday soon I hope this thing will end—then I can come home and mow the lawn for you. I can well imagine how everything looks. I have it pictured in my mind. Bye now. Don’t worry. Love, Henry Neal.
Just received large airmail letter of July 21 and the card July 27th, I was glad to hear from you again. I have received mail directly from States for 5 days now. Received 20 letters. You can see I am kept busy answering everyone and I am doing a fair job of keeping up. Pete Juffer received a discharge—I bet his wife is happy to see him again.
Yes, I like my new pen and the billfold you sent me. Come to be very handy and useful.
Received “Bernice’s box” and wrote her a thank-you for it already. She sent cigarettes, gum and plenty of candy.
I am going to receive a lot of boxes. They are promised and sent and on the way to me. I wrote you last night which I had received. I am receiving a lot—and the ones that are already sent really add up. I need a secretary real bad to help me keep everything straight.
Enjoyed reading verses and poems you sent me are very nice. Also enjoyed the card.
We lost our radio to another ward. See we take turns having it.  We then had a phonograph and have lost that, too. Have to wait our turn again. Hope our turn comes soon. Miss News from U.S.A. and also the programs and music.
I haven’t received the News for a long time, now. Still bedfast—will be for quite some time and will be some time before  I will walk again. I am getting along fine and everything is okay. This new anesthetic is wonderful stuff. So far I’ve had five operations on my right side—Counting the three on my leg. (Two were before war, appendix and rupture.)
So, Johnnie is wounded, too? I don’t know if he is here with me or at a different place. Please send me his address and I will drop him a line. You said “a different address” huh? Well, he must be in a different place. Will close for now. Bye. Greetings to everyone. Hope this finds you both in the best of health. Love, Henry Neal.
August 10, letter states “all fine.”
August 14, adds—“Every time the doctor dresses the wound, he says, “It looks much better.” Haven’t heard from you folks for about a week now in fact no mail from anyone in last three days. Mail from France not here either—yet. Guess one of these days it will catch up with me.  The weather here lately has been pretty. Altho, it is summer here in England, the weather reminds me of a spring day and spring weather in the U.S. Haven’t had radio or phonograph for a long time now—hope our turn comes soon to have one of them. I miss hearing news, orchestras, and programs. I heard from relatives and friends lately—receiving sixty letters and cards. Have caught up in answering except Kay and Emmett’s letter.  Received a very clever card and a bunch of jokes, etc. I enjoyed the car and jokes very much.
The War on all fronts look very good—I hope the Allies can keep the good work up and have this thing come to an end soon. Wouldn’t it be nice if the fellows could spend Christmas in the U.S., or even if they had to spend it on foreign soil—to spend it in a quiet way—no war, on then? Well, I will close for this time. Hope this finds you both in the best of health and that everything is okay. I miss you both—Bye now. Love Henry Neal.
The box with my civilian shoes came and where I was then, I couldn’t use them—so I gave them to a Frenchman. He had wooden shoes on—hadn’t had a pair of real shoes for 4 ½ years. He was pleased and appreciated mine very much.

Source: Sioux Center News, August 31, 1944

Dear Friends,
Just a few lines about Henry Neal De Groot. He wrote August 29 and August 31. He receives much mail and is thankful to all who so kindly and thoughtfully remember him with cards, letters and packages. Specially Mrs. C. De Groot and Mrs. J. Ver Sluys of Hull, and Rock Valley friends. Radiogram from Adjutant General also received and six packages in two days. Share with buddies and they all share their packages.
Henry wrote for two buddies, one on each side of him. These buddies had shoulder and arm wounds and couldn’t write – so they couldn’t hear from home. Henry’s writing for them helped them to get mail sooner.
Henry has all faith and confidence in his doctor and says the doctor is wonderful – having done a wonderful, almost miracle-working on Henry’s wounded right leg.
August 28 another operation was performed, this time under a Spinal anesthetic because Henry was on the operating table three hours. Skin was taken from his thigh on right leg and grafted onto the calf where wound is, on the right leg. The wound looks better each time it is “dressed” and the operation caused little or no pain – but all takes time to heal and now the leg is all bandages. Is in a cast and splints and propped up on blankets and pillows. Henry is well and happy. When the healing has taken place he will “start the art of walking again” – he says. He is still bedfast and will be for some time to come and he says it will be quite some time before he can walk again. He is confident he will be able to. But leg will never be as strong as before. He is getting along fine. Sends greetings to all relatives and friends and is thankful for all mail.
He hears news via radio when the radio is in their ward. Some English people brought sweet peas and dahlias to their ward and they were lovely and much enjoyed.
Thank you. Your friends, De Groots.

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 14, 1944 p 10

Pfc. Henry De Groot Undergoing Skin Graft Operations
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. De Groot, is now in a hospital in England having been wounded on July 7 in France. He has been in the hospital for two months, and recently underwent the fourth operation on his leg. On August 28 Army surgeons began grafting skin from the thigh to the calf of Henry’s leg. The ordeal is long and painful but he is getting along nicely.
Henry’s folks recently received the Purple Heart which had been awarded him for being wounded in action in France.
He wishes to thank everyone who has remembered him by sending letters and gifts and especially Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Scanlan, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Buckley and Sam Ver Hoef.
Henry’s address has been changed to Det. of Patients, c/o Postmaster, New York, N. Y.

Source: Rock Valley Bee Sept. 15, 1944 p 1

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot writes that he is up on crutches after having been bedfast for sixty-nine days. Hi is slow in replying to all the mail he receives, but is very thankful for all of it, and asks his parents to explain by saying he is up and around – learning to use his crutches. He is restless and wishes to greet everyone in this way for the time being. The skin graft is coming along fine and the old wound too. (Rock Valley Bee).

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 19, 1944 p 2

Rock Valley, Iowa
Dear Friends:  Nov. 26, 1944
Enclosed please find a new address for your fine soldiers’ column. We are sending it for the benefit of relatives and friends who write to our son.
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot 37440512
Detch. of Patients
4197 U. S. Army Hosp. Plant
APO 506, c/o Postmaster
New York, New York
He was transferred Nov. 3 according to a letter he dated Nov. 6, received by us Nov. 26. His wound heals nicely but leg and foot are badly swollen. He uses crutches yet. He can’t tell us where he is. Mail has been slow reaching him and he receives very little mail lately. Is anxiously awaiting our mail to reach him. Says we may not hear from him in the near future, but we must not worry about that.
He awoke on Nov. 6 to see the first snow of the season. In England the weather was mostly rainy, chilly and very little if any sun to be seen. He would like to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays. Would seem like a miracle.
Seems he wrote us a letter which has not yet been received by us.
He wrote about a “Show” of some kind put on by the patients of a hospital. Was put on Friday evening, Nov. 3, according to his letter, and he was transferred after that show to this new hospital. He says the show was a grand success, and was enjoyed by all who attended. “We all had on two-tone P.J.’s and hand makeup on, everything you could think of. Some fellows had red bows on and red pocket handkerchiefs and some had blue bows and blue pocket handkerchiefs to match. Had different colored lighting system and all looked good and very effective. We enjoyed putting it on very much, in fact we were scheduled to put it on again, for Dutch and personnel. Another fellow and myself who sang in the “crutch trio” really broke that up, just one fellow left as the other is with me here.”
As soon as we have further word from or about Henry Neal we will inform you. Thaning you for all past favors, and for space in your fine paper, we are,
Your Friends, (Pfc. Henry Neal) and Mr. and Mrs. H. C. De Groot, Box 842, Rock Valley, Iowa.

Source: Sioux Center News Nov. 30, 1944 p 2

Mrs. Jake Ver Sluys received word the past week that her grandson, Henry Neal De Groot, who was wounded in action in France recently, was evacuated from Scotland by hospital plane and arrived in New York where he is now hospitalized. He phoned the news to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley.

Source: Sioux County Index Dec. 14, 1944 p 8

Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley received a telephone call from New York City last week when their son Henry landed there from England where he had been hospitalized for several months, having been wounded in action in France. Henry will be hospitalized further at Springfield, Mo. He said he had seen Lawrence Bleeker and expected the latter would also be returning to the states in the near future, since he would be unable to use his left leg for several months. Henry’s new address is: c/o O’Reilly General Hospital, Springfield, Missouri.

Source: Sioux Center News Dec. 21, 1944 p 12

Sioux Co. Servicemen Return To States From Battle Areas
Wounded will Continue To Get Hospital Care
Among these Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley, came by plane from England, landed in New York City Dec. 8, suffering wounds in the calf of his right leg caused by a machine gun burst. He was fighting near St. Lo July 7th, the twenty-fifth day he had been in combat. He was hospitalized in England four months, in Scotland about six weeks and then in the states. He will now go to O’Reilly General Hospital at Springfield, Missouri for further treatment. He has been in service about two and a half years, overseas about a year (his picture appeared last week).

Source: Sioux Center News Dec. 28, 1944 p 1

Henry Neal De Groot arrived home Friday morning for a stay with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot. Henry was wounded in the leg in France some time ago, and has been hospitalized in England. Part of his leg was shot away, and he has undergone skin grafting. He is able to get about on crutches.

Source: Sioux County Capital Dec. 28, 1944 p 7

Three Overseas Veterans Home Here On Leave.

Three heroes of World War II—all in the Army, and all wounded in action arrived home in Rock Valley within the week.  The three served in the European theater of operations.

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Z. H. C. De Groot, arrived home last Thursday from Springfield, Mo., where he had been hospitalized recently in O’Rielly General hospital.

Henry’s right leg was badly shot up last July 7, when he was wounded during the invasion of Normandy, France.  He has since been through grueling skin grafting operations, and every effort is being made by efficient surgeons to restore the use of his leg through the miracle of modern medicine.  Before arriving in the States, Henry was in a hospital in England.

He leaves next Tuesday for Springfield, Mo. where he will be hospitalized further.  After he returns his address will be:  Ward 9, O’Rielly General Hospital, Springfield, Mo.

Source: Rock Valley Bee, December 29, 1944

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot left Tuesday, January 2 for the O’Reilly General Hospital at Springfield, Missouri. His new address is: Pfc. Henry De Groot 37440512, c/o O’Reilly General Hospital, Ward 9, Springfield, Missouri.

Source: Sioux County Capital Jan. 11, 1945 p 7

Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot Writes From O’Reilly General Hospital In Missouri

Dear Marie:                  Jan 29, 1945
Just a few lines to let you know I am receiving the paper regularly every week. I enjoy reading about all the fellows in the service, where they are? What they are doing?
I want to take this opportunity to thank the American Legion Auxiliary, and business girls for the gifts, cards and kindness shown me while I was overseas and while I was home recently. Also want to thank relatives and friends for gifts and cards, all kindness shown me will be long remembered.
I am getting along fine, progress is slow but I am gaining slow but sure.
Well, I think I will close for this time, thank you for all favors and services rendered to me. Greetings to everyone.
Sincerely yours,
Pfc. Henry Neal De Groot

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 8, 1945 p 10

Henry Neal De Groot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Groot of Rock Valley, has received an honorable discharge, having been wounded in France. Henry plans to go to Michigan for a while, but has not fully decided just what he will do in the future.

Source: Sioux Center News June 28, 1945 p 2