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Remembering World War II
Maurice Edward Webb
Name: Maurice Edward Webb Rank: First Lieutenant Service Number: O-454605 Service: 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, US Army Awards: Army Presidential Unit Citation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, WWII Victory Medal Date of Birth: February 11, 1915 Place of Birth: Victoria Mines, Cape Breton, NS Date of Enlistment: Unknown Place of Enlistment: Unknown Age at Enlistment: Approximately 26 Address at Enlistment: Albany County, NY Date of Death: June 25, 1943 Age at Death: 28 Cemetery: North Africa American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia Grave: Plot D, Row 19, Grave 8 Maurice Edward Webb was the son of James Edward Webb (1876-1971) and Emma Gertrude (Minahan) Webb (1885-1940). His father was born in Sheet Harbour, NS; his mother – in Springhill, Colchester Co., NS. He had a brother Everett Jerome (b. 1916) and a sister Margaret Helen Webb (b. 1924). Maurice and his family moved to the US July 20, 1928, crossing from Ontario to Buffalo, New York. The family settled on Dove Street, in Albany, NY. Maurice’s cousin Kathleen was also living with the family in 1930. By the 1940 census, before WWII, Maurice’s address is listed as the government quarters at Plattsburgh Barracks in Plattsburgh, Clinton, New York, and Maurice is a soldier in the US Army (Corporal). His mother passed away that same year. The 26th Infantry Regiment was garrisoned at Plattsburgh in 1940 with 640 men and 20 officers. It may be that Webb served with the 26th before transferring to the 16th Infantry Regt. All three, the 16th, 18th and 26th Infantry Regiments, made up what was the 1st Division, known as the ‘Big Red One’. Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, found the 16th Infantry, in which Webb would serve in North Africa, at Fort Devens, Mass., but not for long. Commanded by Henry B. Cheadle, the regiment departed for England in August 1942, where it joined a large contingent of US troops slated for participation in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. In its first amphibious assault under combat conditions, the 16th Infantry landed on a beach near Arzew, French Morocco at 0100 hours, on November 8, 1942. Over the next 3 days, the regiment battled relatively light resistance from Vichy French forces and helped to capture Oran. It doing so, the 1st Infantry Division (whom the regiment was assigned to during WWII) established a permanent presence for the US Army in North Africa. During the remainder of the North African campaign the 16th Infantry fought in a number of locations to include the Ousseltia Valley, Kasserine Pass, El Guettar, and Mateur in Tunisia. For its actions at Kasserine the regiment was decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French Government and it received its first Presidential Unit Citation for its actions near Mateur. First Lieutenant Maurice Edward Webb died of ‘non-battle’ causes June 25, 1943, the details of which are not known. He was initially interred at the El Alia Cemetery, in Algiers, Algeria (US Army War Grave Registration Service temporary cemetery 530) in Plot 6, Row 6, Grave 216, and reinterred at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunisia. At the 27-acre North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Tunisia, among the ruins of ancient Carthage just outside of Tunis, rest 2,841 military dead, their headstones set in straight lines subdivided into nine rectangular plots by wide paths, with decorative pools at their intersections. The cemetery, with its four tree shaded fountains, is a small oasis in the fierce Tunisian heat. At the entrance to the cemetery, a sculptural figure called Honor bestows a laurel wreath on the fallen. The texts on mosaic operational maps are in English, Arabic, and French to aid visitors understanding. Several times a day, the sound of prayers from nearby mosque drifts over the headstones, the sounds and sights create a feeling of lasting reverence for those who perished so far from home.
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American soldiers from the 16th Regt, 1st Infantry Div, the Big Red One, headed for the Algerian beaches, Nov 8, 1942 1
Luminary event, North Africa American Cemetery, Memorial Day weekend 2018 (