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Stephen B. Fages Second World War correspondence, photographs, clippings, and other materials

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2021-171-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains various materials collected by SSgt. Stephen B. Fages, USA during and after his service with the 104th Infantry Division in the Second World War. Included in the collection are correspondence from his wife Lillian and a Belgian friend, books, photographs, clippings, maps, patches and medals/ribbons/pins, and a pair of German binoculars.

The correspondence from Lillian contains a letterhead for Max M. Solomon Attorney at Law in Los Angeles and two are signed "Love, Gramma." It begins with a letter written June 18, 1945 and continues with three letters until August 14, 1945 hoping for Stephen's return home. She points out that the first thing she learned about the Army is not to believe the rumors and that they cannot keep him forever. She wrote that the newspapers said the 104th was returning to the states to be redeployed to the Pacific, but she did not believe that. The rest of the letters concern news about people. The fourth letter is a note to accompany enclosed photographs, which are not included here.

The correspondence from Belgium was written by Victor de Gieve, a Belgian man who was part of a family that Stephen helped after a battle that liberated their town. In the first letter, October 22, 1945, Victor is happy to hear of Stephen's health and that he is home with his wife. The second letter was written November 11, in thanks for a parcel of tobacco and other items which the Belgians were short on after the war, and how happy they were to meet Stephen, the first soldier they met at home and that they wished to see him again after he returned from battle; the letter ends with Happy Christmas and New Year. The last letter, dated May 12, 1946, hopes for Stephen and his family to visit and again thanks them for a parcel of tobacco "which we can't find here because all the American soldiers went away in Belgium." Victor continues, "Life is becoming more better over here the same as in all occupied countries. We still enjoy a good health and hope you and your family are in the same way."

The German binoculars listed below were removed from a deceased German soldier.

Added 12/2/2021: one unit history map for the 104th Infantry Division. The map is decorative and was framed, belonging to Fages and reproduced by the 663rd Engineer Company in 1945. There is a title with the unit name and the map contains locations and dates where the 104th fought, and is bordered by names of attached units, air support units, and officers for the unit.

Locations noted on the map include:
  • Landing at Cherbourg
  • Valognes Staging Area
  • Red Ball Express
  • Belgium/Holland, October 23 - November 8, 1944: Battle of the Dykes, Belgium, Freeing of the Port of Antwerp, Zundert, Oudenbosch, Mark River, Standaarbuiten, Zevenbergen, Klundert, Moerdijk, Maas River
  • Siegfreid Line to Rhine, November 8, 1944 - March 7, 1945: Stolberg, Eschweiler, Wesweiler, Inden, Inde River, Pier, Lucherburg, Merken, Roer River, Birkesdorf, Duren, Huchem-Stammeln, Ellen, Golzheim, Erft Canal, Brauweiler, Cologne, Rhine River
  • Central Germany, Envelopment of Ruhr, Drive to the Mulde, March 21 - April 21, 1945: Remagen Bridgehead, Honnef, Altenkirchen, Herborn, Dillenburg, Marbur, Medebach, Nieder Marsburg, Weser River, Harz Mountains Approaches, Nordhausen, Sangerhausen, Saale River, Halle, Bitterfeld, Delitzsch, Mulde River
  • Junction with Russians, April 26, 1945 south of Berlin near the Elbe River


NOTE The liberation of the Dora-Mittlebau (Nordhausen) concentration camp is mentioned on the map only as the town of Nordhausen in the list of locations.

Collection Inventory:
  • Added 12/2/2021: 1 map, 104th Infantry Division unit history
  • 4 letters, from Lillian Fages to Stephen Fages
  • 3 letters, from [illegible] in Belgium to Stephen Fages
  • 1 book, Timberwolf Tracks: 104th Infantry Division (1946)
  • 1 book, G-I’ve Been Around, by SSgt. Stephen B. Fages (1945)
  • 1 scrapbook, including over 100 photographs
  • 3 photographs, bodies at Nordhausen, March 1945
  • 1 film proof, 3 photos of soldiers
  • 1 photograph, truck
  • 2 photographs, unit panoramic (one at Camp Carson, July 1944)
  • 1 negative, car on road near Army camp
  • 1 clipping, Timberwolf Howl, Vol. 1, No. 1, June 1946
  • 1 catalogue of shoulder patches, from magazine
  • 1 magazine article, “Nothing Stopped the Timberwolves,” by Kenneth T. Downs, in The Saturday Evening Post, August 17, 1946
  • 8 clippings, various news elements regarding the 104th Infantry Division
  • 1 clipping, “WWII’s Timberwolves muster,” in OC Register, August 31, 2003
  • 1 clipping, Capt. Maurice Gladman gets Bronze Star
  • 2 medals, with ribbon, WWII Victory
  • 1 medal, with 2ribbons, European African Middle Eastern Campaign
  • 1 medal, with 2 ribbons and 2 pins, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • 1 citation, Bronze Star Medal
  • 1 ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation
  • 2 pins, Combat Infantryman Badge
  • 1 pin, Combat Infantryman Badge, small
  • 1 badge, Sharpshooter Iron Cross with pendants: Rifle, Auto. Rifle, Grenade, Pistol-D, and Machine Gun (x3)
  • 1 dog tag, Stephen B. Fages
  • 3 pins, metal, 413th Regiment Unit Crest, “Fortior ex Aspiris” (Stronger After Difficulties)
  • 1 pin, plastic, 413th Regiment Unit Crest, “Fortior ex Aspiris” (Stronger After Difficulties)
  • 1 pin, American Legion
  • 1 pin, 104th Infantry Division Timberwolves
  • 3 patches, 104th Infantry Division Timberwolf
  • 1 map, cloth, France/Germany/Belgium/Holland
  • 1 map, Los Angeles City and County, “For Service Men and Women
  • 1 pocket pamphlet, Information for Soldiers Going Back to Civilian Life
  • 1 flyer, Safe Conduct slip for German soldiers surrendering
  • 24 bank notes, including Reichsmarks, Deutchmarks, Francs, Belgian Franks, Japanese Pesos
  • 1 harmonica
  • 1 mirror, with stand
  • 1 homemade mirror
  • Several uniform buttons
  • 1 watch, Waltham
  • 1 picture, church
  • 1 pouch, uniform gear issue
  • 1 sewing kit, rolled in pouch, government issued
  • 1 pair binoculars, German, E. Knaus and Cie., Wiesbaden
  • 1 meal ticket, SSgt. Stephen Fages
  • 9 shells, empty, Super X Hornet
  • 1 deck playing cards, Army


Removed:
  • 4 shells, live, shotgun
  • Photos of shells added to ephemera folder

Dates

  • 1942 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1946

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Staff Sergeant Stephen Bernard Fages, United States Army (3/24/1907 - 1/2/1993) was born in Pomona, California and served during the Second World War as Battalion Supply Sergeant in Infantry Service Company, 413th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry Division (Timberwolves). The 104th was commanded by Major General Terry DeLa Mesa "Terrible Terry" Allen, Senior, United States Army (4/1/1888 - 9/12/1969). According to the donor, Fages referred to "Terry" often by first name.

During his service, his unit assisted in the liberation of the Nordhausen concentration camp. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the camp was discovered in April 1945 (discrepency with the collection; photos labelled March 1945) by the 3rd Armored Division and they requested the help of the 104th to transport 250 ill and starving prisoners to nearby hospital facilities. Fages also earned two Bronze Stars, with one citation reading

4 March, 1945

HQ 104th Infantry Division

For meritorious service in connection with military operations in Belgium, Holland, and Germany from 23 October 1944 to 12 February 1945. Since his entry into combat Sergeant Fages has continuously performed his duties as battalion supply sergeant in a superior manner. He has exposed himself to enemy fire on many occasions to insure that adequate supplies of food, ammunition, and clothing were in the hands of the combat troops at all times. Sergeant Fages’ singular courage and extreme devotion to duty have contributed materially to the morale and comfort of his comrades, and his actions, above and beyond the call of duty, reflect the highest credit upon himself and the military service. Enterd military service from Alhambra, California

.

Stephen Fages passed away in 1993 in the city of Alhambra, California.

Extent

.5 Linear Feet (5 folders, 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection contains various materials collected by SSgt. Stephen B. Fages, USA during and after his service with the 104th Infantry Division in the Second World War. Included in the collection are correspondence, books, photographs, clippings, maps, patches and medals, and a pair of binoculars.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by material type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Shelli Mire.

Title
Finding Aid for the Stephen B. Fages Second World War correspondence, photographs, clippings, and other materials
Status
Completed
Author
Andrew Harman
Date
11/5/2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Contact:
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States