Friday, November 13, 2015

Charles A "Chuck" Schell

    Charles “Chuck” Schell was born in Quincy, Illinois on January 13, 1924 to parents Carl J Schell and Beatrice Markus Schell. Charles was inducted into the US Army on February 14, 1943 at age 19. He headed for Camp Barkley, Texas in March, 1943 and was there until May of that same year. From June, 1943 until May, 1944 he attended Texas A&M University and the University of Oklahoma.  

  In June, 1944 he reported to Camp Howze, Texas where he became a member of the 103rd Infantry Division (US Army) and of the 409th Infantry Regiment. He sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey on 6 October 1944 aboard the USS Monticello. This troop ship was originally the Italian luxury liner, Conte Grande. The ship arrived in Marseilles, France on 20 October 1944. The regiment remained near Marseilles until November 9 when they started moving to take up front-lines positions. When they got to the town of Provenchere, France (near St. Die), they were attacked by enemy forces right around Thanksgiving. A shell hit Charles’ helmet and knocked him unconscious during the attack. He was evacuated to a hospital in Nancy, France where he spent the next 6 weeks until New Years Day, 1945 recovering from the injury. He lost his hearing in one ear for the rest of his life. 
     After recovering, he chose not to return home. He was familiar with the German language and was assigned clerical duties in Bad Homburg, Germany. From there he was assigned to work in the military government headquartered at Luetgen Villa in Hof, Bavaria. It was there that he met his future wife, Johanna Morawetz. She had come to the base seeking work after escaping from Czechoslovakia ahead of the advancing Russian army. Talk about fate….. she was told they had no work for her, so she was just about out the door when one of the guys asked her if she took shorthand! She said she could, in both English and German! They hired her immediately. Just think, a few more steps out the door and she would have been out of his life forever! They were married in a civil ceremony on on July 29, 1946 followed by a Catholic Church ceremony the next day. 

    The map below shows the route that the 409th Infantry Regiment took through France and into Germany. The red arrow indication where Charles was injured. The green arrow is the approximate location of the Schell/Schehl ancestral village of Erfweiler. Had he not been injured, he would have passed within 13 miles of Erfweiler! 

As I mentioned previously, he could have gone home after being injured, but he chose to stay. As the document below shows, he and others received the Good Conduct Medal. Knowing Uncle Chuck as I have especially over the past several years of "mining" him and Aunt Joan (Hansi to many of us) for genealogy information, I don't doubt his deserving the medal. 

Next: Richard P Schell

I have a blog on the maternal side of the family at


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  2. Yes, Steve, it has been such a treat to visit with Uncle Chuck and Aunt Hansi the past few years. To hear the story from both of them as to how they met was a highlight. Uncle Chuck's quiet manner reminded me so much of Grandma Schell. I know I will miss our trips to the northwoods to see him, but I am so proud to say I am the niece of this veteran.