Libération de Baelen-Membach

Baelen-Membach's Liberation, SEPTEMBER 11, 1944.
 
 3rd armored division
 83 reconnaissance- batallion 
 
                             
 

Morning report from;

The advance from B Co. 83rd Recon. Bat. -3 Armored Division.

 

Record envents from 11 -12 september 1944 reconnoitering roads and woods, adgaiting roeds east of Eupen.

 

The 11 september 1944.

At the time that the town from Verviers was liberated, the B Co. 83 recon. bat received the order ty bypass the center of Verviers.

 

They bypassed Verviers and gone to the direction of Andrimont, Bilstain, Dolhain, Goé and also Bethane to protect and take the dam. Around 8.30, they were in Andrimont.

 

When the dam was saved, they received a new mission to go to Baelen-Membach and also to Eupen and Rötgen (Germamny).

 

Around 12.45 pm, tge B Com 83 Rec.Bat. Entered in the village from Membach-Baelen. But in the village, ther were German soldiers from the 105 Panzer Brigade.

The 11 September 1944, it was a very sunny day.

They entered in the village by taking the street "Les Fusillés". Here the first Shermanb tank stopped, the second vehicle was a jeep and the rhird vahicles was the M8 tank of Kested and Conley. The two first vehicles and the other were protected by houses or banks. A sergeant ant two soldiers walked to the crossroad in order to see if it was safety. The inhabitants of the village came out their houses to applaud the liberators.

A young boy (Willi Erkens) of the village (14 years old) showed a German soldiers who were looking where the cble was cut.

At that moment, one GI's shot the German soldier and he was wounded.

The German tiger tank shot at the Sherman tank, but eh Sherman tank was good protected by immediately. But he missed also the German Tiger tank.

On this time the Germand Tiger tank took a better place to shoot at the American column. on this time the section Sergeant and tank commander Bradford S. Conley are stood talking with the members from the Willys Jeep who were placed before his M-8 tank ""Greyhound" and protected by the house that the M-8 tank from Conley and Kested was hit by a shot from the German tiger and explosed.

They died as a result of Shrapnel. Sgt Conley was on turret from the tanki and Harry Kested was the second pilot and radio operator. The tank was hit on left side on the rear of the vehicle.

 

Conley and Kested's M-8 tank in 1945.

 

There was no possibility to help the members of this tank who burned. Only the first pilot of the tanki jumped out the Greyhound. But we have now idia about his name.

When the tank was burning, there was a big smoke of 30 meters high. After a few minutes, there was 16 P-47 Thunderbolts air planes, who attacked during 10 minutes the German vehicles. The German tiger tank and the other vehicles were immediately destroyed.

 

This 11 September 1944, two US soldiers died for the freedom of our village and they were members of the B Co. 83rd Recon.Bat. - 3 Armored Division.

          

Sgt Conley                          Tec5 Kested  
 

 

The tank colum moved than to north easth, to Eupen and than Rötgen (Germany). Rötgen are liberated on 12 september 1944.

 

 

  Bradford, Kristin and Michael Conley.    

                                                 

Marty, Nancy and Jennifer Kested.

 

In 1947 or 1948 the people of the village from Baelen erected a monument in memory of the two American soldiers who died four our freedom.

 

 

 

 
Libération de Baelen-Membach, le 11 septembre 1944.
 
              
 

Après la libération de Verviers,  le 83
ème bataillon de reconnaissance de la 3° division blindée américaine reçut  l’ordre de contourner le centre de Verviers et de protéger le barrage de la Gileppe. Par la suite, le bataillon pris la direction de Bethane pour rejoindre Eupen par le lieu-dit « Haagen » et descendit la rue des Fusillés. A cet endroit, la colonne s’arrêta afin de permettre à trois soldats américains de partir en éclaireur dans le centre du village.

Dès l’instant où ces soldats revinrent vers le convoi, un M8 (voiture de reconnaissance blindée) fut pris pour cible par un obus tiré par un char Panther Allemand  se trouvant sur le chemin surélevé de la rue de Boveroth. Le M8 s’embrasa et les deux tankistes périrent. Une colonne de fumée visible de loin attira l’attention de l’US Airforce. Quelques chasseurs bombardiers arrivèrent et détruisirent le char panther  provoquant la fuite de l’ennemi.
 
 

Le char détruit lors de la première commémoration

 

Le 15 août 1989, Messieurs Céleste Baguette et Gaston Schyns entreprirent des recherches afin de découvrir l’identité des deux soldats américains tués pour notre liberté.  Après dix mois de recherches les noms des GI  furent inscrits pour la commémoration du 11 novembre 1990 sur le monument érigé rue des Fusillés.

 

Leurs noms étaient : Sergent Bradford Stuart Conley âgé de 23 ans (commandant du char)

                                 Tec5 Harry F Kested âgé de 25 ans. ( pilote de char + opérateur radio)

 

          

Sergent Conley                  Tec5 Kested 
    
 

Pour ma part, j’ai retrouvé la trace de la famille du Sergent Conley qui nous a déjà rendu visite à plusieurs reprises pour les commémorations du 11 novembre 2006 , 2008 et pour le Memorial Day 2010 et 2011. La famille du Tec5  Kested nous a rendu visite en septembre 2009 . Ces rencontres m’ont permis de placer des photos des victimes sur le monument.

 

 
            
Bradford, Kristin and Michael Conley.    
                                                 

Marty, Nancy and Jennifer Kested.

 

Je peux vous dire que les familles Conley et Kested sont heureuses de constater qu’on leur rend encore hommage chaque année.

 

Quand vous passerez par cet endroit, ayez une pensé pour eux. Ils ont mérité de ne pas tomber dans l’oubli.

 

 

       
 
                    

 

 
 
 
 
 
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