Merlin Freddie HENKE

 

henke merlin f
ARMY SERIAL NUMBER17067953
AGE23 yo
DATE OF BIRTH12 February 1921 Richland Township, Union, SOUTH DAKOTA
STATESOUTH DAKOTA
FAMILYWife: Lucille Marie KNECHT HARKNESS
Children: Raymond Merlin HENKE
Parent: John & Mayme HENKE
RANKPrivate First Class
FONCTIONInfantry
JOB before ENLISTEMENTFarmerSD
DATE of ENLISTEMENT2 July 1942 Fort des Moines IOWA
REGIMENT

28th Infantry Regiment  28ri 1

DIVISION8th Infantry Division
DATE OF DEATHSeptember 5, 1944henke merlin f tombe
STATUSKIA
PLACE OF DEATHBattle of Brest
CEMETERYBRITTANY AMERICAN CEMETERY de St James

Map St James American Cemetery

GRAVE
PlotRowGrave
H107
DECORATION
Purple HeartPhoto FDLM
European African Middle Eastern Campaign MedalEAMECampaign
American Campaign Medalamerican campaign medal
World War II Victory Medalvictory medal
Combat Infantryman Badgecombat infantryman badge
 us army Div 8 1Div 8 28ri 1
STORY

Merlin Freddie Henke, the eldest son of John and Mayme Henke, was born February 12, 1921, in Richland Township, Union County, South Dakota. His siblings included four brothers Kenny, William, Wayne, and Leslie and a sister Margaret. His hometown was Elk Point, South Dakota. Henke attended the Sayles School. He grew to manhood in the vicinity of Richland having farmed with his father on the home place. Two of his interests were fishing and hunting.

He married Lucille Knecht March 25, 1943. They had one son Raymond. In June 1942 Henke enlisted in the army. He received his training in several camps, one being Camp Pearson in Colorado. In one letter home to his mother dated July 19, 1943, Henke wrote

I received your last letter yesterday, and sure was glad to get it. I also got a letter from Kenneth, Bud and Joey, and one from Lucille. I guess Lucille isn’t feeling so good now. She also said her mother was giving her a shower next week, and that you were suppose to come. The letter I got from Kenneth, came last Friday, and he wanted me to send him $5.00, but I already let somebody out here have it. So if you can spare it, will you send him the five, because if I had it I sure would.

I think maybe I’ll be home in Aug. sometime, because we are suppose to leave here sometime in the first part of Aug., and besides Lucille is going to try to get me to come home when the baby comes.

What is Dad, and Buss doing, besides cutting grain? I sure wish I could be home this harvest. Well Mom, I guess I might as well close for now. I sure hope you’s can get to see Lucille, because she said she wasn’t feeling to good. Write soon. P.S. Did Buss get his letter I wrote?

When he was sent overseas, he was stationed in England as a member of the 28th Regiment of the 8th Division. On July 16, 1944, he met his brother Kenneth also serving in the 28th U.S. Infantry. He, along with his infantry, landed on Utah Beach. Henke was killed in action September 5, 1944. His parents received a telegram from officials of his death. Mailman C.E. (Pealy) Fowler delivered the telegram on Henke’s father’s birthday with a red rose. Henke was buried at Brittany American Cemetery in St. James, France. He received the Purple Heart.

Merlin Freddie Henke, memorial cross, Brittany American Cemetery in St. James, France Survivors include his former wife Lucille Harkness of Elk Point, his son Raymond Henke of Clayton, Wisconsin, his brother Wayne of Elk Point and his sister Margaret Eden of Puyallup, Washington.

I was interested in this project because Merlin Henke was my great uncle. My classmate Justin Kyte and I went to my grandpa who gave us the information plus a couple of pictures to help us complete this report.

Alex Van Roekel and Justin Kyte, eighth grade, Elk Point-Jefferson Middle School, Elk Point, South Dakota, respectfully submitted this entry March 1, 2002. Wayne Henke, Merlin’s brother, provided the information for this report.


INFORMATION SOURCEAad.archives.gov  - American Battle Monuments Commission - HonorStates.org - Military.sd.gov - Find a Grave
PICTURE SOURCEFrédéric LAVERNHE - JF PELLOUAIS
PROGRAMMERFrédéric & Renaud