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Remembering World War II
Elmer John Groves
Name: Elmer John Groves Rank: Private Service Number: 31428743 Service: Company A, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, US Army Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: February 9, 1912 Place of Birth: Truro, Colchester Co., NS Date of Enlistment: December 27, 1943 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 31 Address at Enlistment: Suffolk Co., Massachusetts Trade: Truck Driver Marital Status: Married Next of Kin: Pearl Groves (Wife) Date of Death: August 26, 1944 Age: 32 Cemetery: Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial, France Grave: Plot L, Row 16, Grave 5 Elmer John Groves (born John Elmer) was the son of Hiram Wesley Groves (1870-1943) and Susan (Matatall) Groves (1873-1936). His mother was born in River John, Pictou Co., NS; his father was from the Old Barns and Clifton area just west of Truro, NS. Elmer was from a large family, with fourteen siblings. Elmer immigrated to the US when he was twelve on September 6, 1924, travelling by ferry from Yarmouth, NS to Boston, Mass. aboard the Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Service Co.’s ferry with his family. They settled in Boston. Elmer was working in trucking, as was his father, in 1930. He married Pearl Irene Banks (1912-1986) on May 24, 1938, in New York, and completed his US citizenship application September 17, 1940, in Boston, Mass. Elmer and Pear had one son, John Wesley Groves (1942-2012), born December 21, 1942. After enlisting in December of 1943, Elmer was assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment. The 9th had transferred to Europe with the 2nd Infantry Division in October 1943. It left the port of New York for Belfast, Ireland on October 8, 1943, and arrived in Northern Ireland nine days later. It then moved into England where its soldiers begin their training for the invasion of France. Attached to the 1st American Army, the Division landed in Normandy on June 7, 1944, at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer on Omaha beach. Commanded by General Robertson, the division broke out from the Normandy beachhead, and freed the village of Trévières on June 10, 1944, the forest of Cerisy, and then seized and defended Hill 192, a pivotal strong point, which commanded the road to Saint-Lô. It crosses the Vire and then entered Brittany in August 1944 and participated in the Battle for Brest. Private Elmer John Groves was killed in action August 26, 1944. Elmer was initially interred in Plot F, Row 7, Grave 152, at the Saint James Cemetery, in Avranches, France (designated by the US Army Grave Registration Service as temporary cemetery 3578). With grave consolidation, he was then re-interred at the Brittany American Cemetery, in Plot L, Row 16, Grave 5. In the rolling farm country, south west of the D-Day beaches, is Brittany American Cemetery. More than 4400 Americans are buried there. Many lost their lives in the months after D-Day. The cemetery marks the region where American Forces made their critical breakthrough from the hedgerows of Normandy, into the plains of Northern France, extending the Normandy beachhead eastward toward the Seine River. These intense battles would break Hitler’s iron grip on Europe. John Elmer Groves is one such casualty. As per the American Battle Monuments Commission that maintains the Cemetery, “Everyday, the cemetery’s chapel bells toll in memory of Americans who helped liberate France from Tyranny, and gave their lives for freedom” His Purple Heart is on display at the Maine Military Museum and Learning Centre in South Portland, ME (Veterans of Foreign War, VFW Post 832).
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