In honor of the 68th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, the Historical Society is making the full text of the 2005 publication “Cecil’s Soldiers: Stories from the World War II Generation” available online. With support from the Maryland Humanities Council, the Society worked with historian Jenifer Dolde, who conducted two dozen oral histories with veterans, munitions workers, and medical personnel from Cecil County.
The central story follows the men of Company E of the Maryland National Guard, which met at the Elkton Armory and was federalized following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. While some of the men went on to serve as paratroopers and specialists, a core group battle their way from Normandy to St. Lo to Brest and finally to Bremen at the end of the war. Along the way, four of the original group were killed and many others wounded. Through it all, this “good bunch of boys” remained close and stayed close after the war.
Growing up in Cecil County and serving together in the National Guard forged Company E into a tight unit that distinguished itself within the 29th Division. “I had my hard knocks when I was a kid, I think that’s the case of most of us at that time,” said Joe Lofthouse. “That’s the kind of men I fought with, I’d die for.”