Cpl. Furman Grimm

Grimm Was Held Prisoner In Stalag XIIIC During WWII

Cpl. Furman Grimm was held as a POW for 4½ months in Germany’s Stalag XIIIC during World War II. He is this edition’s veteran feature subject.

CLIFTON — (Gloria M. Hewlett has been collecting the stories of Bosque County veterans for a book that she is compiling. This is the 38th in a series of the stories she has given to The Record for publication.)

Cpl. Furman Grimm was born in Clifton to Mr. and Mrs. Enor Grimm.  After finishing high school in Clifton in 1939, he entered the University of Texas at Austin. Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps, and was called into active service in early 1943.

From Fort Sam Houston, Grimm was sent to the “Jap Trap” (a section of Camp Maxey at Paris, Texas, that was intended for detention of Japanese prisoners of war), however, very few were ever captured so the area was used by the 8th Service Command’s ASFRTC for basic training.

After completing basic training, Grimm entered the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he enrolled in an advanced phase of civil engineering. This became known as the Army Specialized Training Program. In addition to engineering curriculums, foreign languages, dentistry, and medicine were offered.

The program was abruptly cancelled in early 1944, and more than 100,000 trainees were reassigned to infantry, armored, and airborne divisions. Grimm found himself back at Paris, where he joined the 99th Infantry Division. After a brief training period, the Division was moved to the Boston area, where they staged for the European Theater of Operations.

The trip over the North Atlantic on the USS Explorer in a convoy was extremely rough, and not without anxious moments. A zigzag course was taken to avoid German U-Boats.

The ship docked at Glasgow, Scotland, and the division was moved by rail to the south of England. Final staging and preparations for combat were completed by early fall. It was necessary to cross the English Channel in LCMs so that landings could be made on the beaches near LeHavre, France.

After wading ashore through the wreckage of landing crafts and equipment, it became apparent that it had taken a massive effort and the loss of many lives to secure the beaches of France. This was the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.

The Division moved through French and Belgium to an area where defensive positions were made along the border of Germany and Belgium. Other than sporadic mortar fire, overhead whining of enemy V-1 buzz bombs, and nighttime patrols, the area was considered a “quite” sector.

However, the company commander was killed on one of the earlier patrols and several, including a good friend of Grimm’s, sustained war-ending injuries.

A lack of intelligence and heavy overcast skies allowed the enemy to gather the last of their troops and push toward Antwerp where they hoped to split the American and British forces. The brunt of the German attack occurred near U.S. thinly-manned positions.

A few days before the 16th of December, 1944, the company was moved off the front lines to a reserve position. Showers, clean and suitable clothing for heavy snow, hot food, and, if lucky, an opportunity to see Marlene Dietrich, was in the offering. This never happened.

On the morning of Dec. 16, the Germans unleased an artillery barrage that seemed to last for an eternity. Since Grimm’s company was in a former German training area, the German’s 88s were incredibly accurate.

After much confusion and incorrect intelligence, the company was somehow able to hold the position the balance of the day. German Mark IV tanks followed by assault troops and air support overran the U.S. lines on Dec. 17.

On the morning of Dec. 18, the company, along with Regiment, withdrew, leaving a number of men out on perimeter ground without being alerted.

When the men realized they had been left behind, several of them went into a small town where cover was taken in the basement of a home.

Later in the day, the men, including Grimm, were discovered and taken prisoner. Suffice it to say, life as a POW for 4½ months in Stalag XIII C, Hamelburg, is another story.

Liberation by the 45th Infantry Division came the last day of May 1945 in the town of Wendlestein, near Nuremburg. After being flown to Camp Lucky Strike in France, Grimm and the other POWs were given immunization shots, deloused, given medical exams, and showered with soap.

The return home on the hospital ship, the USS George Washington, and news of Germany’s unconditional surrender, increased moral. Then seeing the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to New York Harbor, made a
perfect ending to the voyage.

Six weeks of rehabilitation at Hot Springs, Ark., and later a tour of duty as a cadreman at Camp Fannin, followed for Grimm. He was discharged from the Army in November 1945.

After graduation from the University of Texas at Austin in 1946, Grimm was employed as a geophysicist with the Humble Oil Refining Company (Exxon).

Grimm married Frances Bronstad in 1948, and two sons were born to this union, Steven and Michael. His employment as a geophysicist took the family to Los Angeles, Calif.; Roswell, N.M.; Midland, Texas; and Southeast Asia. He retired as Exxon’s USA manager of geophysics.

After retirement from Exxon, Grimm managed a stock farm north of Meridian, and after retiring fully in 1980, the family moved to Clifton, where they resided for 20 years. The Grimm’s recently moved to Temple.

Donated by:  Edward L. Williams

THE CLIFTON RECORD – Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Furman Alexander Grimm

Memorial services were held for Furman Alexander Grimm, 85, of Temple on Saturday, June 28, 2008 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in temple. Burial was in Killeen, at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

Furman Grimm was born in Bosque County on Aug. 25, 1922, and went to be with his Lord on June 25, 2008. Born, the first of two children to Enor and Olga Grimm, his life was spent in a family and relatives of close ties as well as a strong love and faith in the Lord.

He became a child of God as an infant at his baptism in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Norse on Oct 15, 1922. His baptismal covenant was confirmed Oct 15, 1936, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Clifton. He loved his Lord, loved his family and was a faithful friend to all who knew him. His unwavering belief in God and faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ, was his strength, comfort and council. This relationship was evident in his loyalty and devotion to family and friends. He was a lifelong Lutheran and served the church in many capacities where ever he and his family resided.

He was a faithful member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Temple.

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. That what I try to do as I approach every day. I try to thank the Lord as he spared me in combat and later as a World War II prisoner of war. I am a survivor. Every day when the sun comes up, I say, thank you Lord for another day, Indeed, He has been good to me,” said Furman Grimm.

He graduated from Clifton High School in 1939 and entered the University of Texas that same year. After joining the Enlisted Reserve Corps, he was called into service in early 1943. He later entered the Army Specialized training Program where he studied Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.

When the program was discontinued, he joined the 99th Infantry Division. He later served in the European Theatre including the Battle of the Bulge. He was taken prisoner, moved to Stalag XIII C and liberated near the end of the war in the town of Wendlestein near Nurenburg.

After graduating from the University of Texas in early 1947, he became employed as a Geophysicist with Humble Oil and Refining Company (Exxon). His work extended over much of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico.

He married Frances Bronstad in 1948 and two sons, Steven and Michael, were born to this union. Later in 1948 they moved to California when Humble opened offices in Los Angeles. Grimm came back to Roswell N.M. as District Geophysicist. In 1959, he became the Area Exploration Geophysicist in Midland. In 1965 he assumed the position of Chief Geophysicist for ESSO in the Philippines while his family resided in Manila. While in Southeast Asia, operations were conducted in the South China Sea off the coast of Northern Borneo and the Gulf of Thailand. After completion of work in Singapore, the family moved to Houston where he served on the Staff of Chief Geophysicist.

After retirement from Exxon, he managed a cattle ranch north of Meridian, Texas. He retired fully in 1980 and the family moved to Clifton where they resided for 20 years before moving to Temple in 2002.

Grimm was an avid golfer having had three hole in ones. He played intramural baseball at the University of Texas and played football and basketball in High School.

He is survived by his devoted wife Fran of 59 years; a son, Michael, and grandchildren, Tyler and Kirstin.

He was preceded in death by a son, Steven, in 1999; and a brother Trenton, in 1936.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Temple, Texas, or to Lutheran Sunset Ministries, P.O. Box 71, Clifton, or Vista Care, 2626 S. 37th St., Ste. B., Temple.