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Remembering World War II
Name: Michael Bernard Penney Rank: Private First Class Service Number: 32616002 Service: Company B, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, 9th Armored Division, US Army Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: May 11, 1922 Place of Birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: November 2, 1942 Place of Enlistment: New York, New York Address at Enlistment: Unknown Age at Enlistment: 20 Height: 5 feet, 6 inches Occupation: Construction Marital Status: Single Religion: Roman Catholic Next of Kin: Mrs. Edith Penney Date of Death: December 17, 1944 Age: 22 Cemetery: Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial, France Grave: Plot C, Row 11, Grave 52 Michael Bernard Penney was the son of Martin Henry Penny (1889–1963), and Edith Eleanor (Cochrane) Penney (1901–1972). His father was born in Holyrood, Newfoundland, and his mother was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Michael also had a sister, Mary Lila Penney (1920–1986). The family immigrated to the United States in 1923. After enlisting in November of 1942, Michael was assigned to the 27th Infantry Battalion in WWII which was attached to the 9th Armored Division. While overseas, he was admitted to Army hospital in Feb 1944 with chronic tonsilitis and subsequently discharged. In December 1944, elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion were in Ligneuville, Arrondissement de Verviers, in Liège, Belgium prior to the opening of the Battle of the Bulge. On December 16, 1944, the Germans launched a massive attack on Allied forces in the area around the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg. Allied forces in the Ardennes consisted primarily of American troops - some new and inexperienced, others exhausted and battle-worn. Sunday, December 17th, the day after the Battle of the Bulge had begun, SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Joachim Peiper’s Kampfgruppe (combat formation) of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) entered Ligneuville in Belgium, after overrunning Malmedy. Michael was killed, not in action, but executed by the enemy after surrendering, at the Hotel du Moulin in what became known as the Ligneuville Massacre. Together with seven of his comrades, Michael was executed by an enemy non- commissioned officer of the LSSAH. They were all shot in the head. The other seven men killed were: Tech 5th Class John M. Borcina Private Gerald R. Carter Staff Sergeant Joseph F. Collins Tech 4th Class Casper S. Johnson Staff Sergeant Abraham Lincoln Private Clifford H. Pitts Private Nick C. Sulivan In total, Peiper's SS troops killed about 373 US Prisoners of War (POWs), and 111 Belgian civilians during the Battle of the Bulge. A Ligneuville innkeeper, Peter Rupp, witnessed the killings of the eight American soldiers, and is credited with saving 14 other soldiers from certain death during the same period of occupation by the enemy. Using the nom de guerre “Monsieur Kramer”, Peter had previously hidden allied airmen in a vacant room of the inn, until it was safe for to pass them on to the next recipient. Twenty-two American, British, and French airmen also owed their lives to Peter who made sure his ‘guests’ were always warm and well fed. Private First Class Michael Bernard Penney was interred at the Henry-Chapelle American Cemetery and is also remembered on a Memorial in Ligneuville, Belgium where he was killed.
Michael Bernard Penney
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