In Honored Glory!



World War II Honor Roll

Charles E. Reynolds

Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army


23rd Infantry Regiment
2nd Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: February 6, 1945
Buried at: Plot H Row 8 Grave 71
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart

STAFF SERGEANT CHARLES E. REYNOLDS was born in 1919 to Charles B. and Florence Reynolds. The family, which included older sisters Beatrice, Dorothy, Hazel and younger brother John lived at 132 North 26th Street in East Camden from the 1916 to as late as April of 1930. The Reynolds had previously lived at 836 Birch Street in North Camden. By the end of 1939 they moved to 2740 Cleveland Avenue, in the Cramer Hill neighborhood. He had attended the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School at North 29th Street and Westfield Avenue in Camden. 

Charles E. Reynolds enlisted in the regular Army in 1938. In time he was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment. In 1942 he married, and with his wife Lorraine had one daughter, Janice Sue Reynolds. The couple lived in San Antonio TX, where Sergeant Reynolds was stationed prior to going overseas in July of 1943. Sadly, Staff Sergeant Reynolds was killed in action on February 6, 1945. 

On 16 April, 1944, the Regiment sailed to South Wales, where final preparations for the invasion were completed, including moving to staging areas at various British Channel ports. On 8 June, 1944, the Twenty Third Infantry landed on Omaha Beach with the first invasion forces.

In slow, painful hedgerow fighting, the Regiment inched its way forward day after day against hard fighting enemy paratroop elements. St. Georges d'Elle, Hill 192 (which commanded St. Lo), St. Jean des Baisants, Etouvy, Vire, Truttemer le Grand and Tinchebray were scenes of bitter fighting up to August when the organized German resistance in Normandy collapsed. A short respite, the first one up to that time, was interrupted by an overnight motor march of 210 miles to Brest. From 21 August to 19 September the Regiment battled the 2nd German Paratroop Division which fanatically defended the surrounding hills and villages. Knowing that the fortress seaport, which housed German U-boats, was greatly needed by the Allies for the purpose of establishing supply routes into France, Hitler ordered the garrison to hold for at least 90 days. However, Brest, the scene of some of the most savage and bitter street fighting of the war, fell in 39 days. Formal capitulation of the Fortress to the 2nd Division occurred on 18 September, 1944. Its hard-driving leader, General Herman B. Ramcke, was captured the following day on the nearby Crozon Peninsula.

Another rapid motor and train move of 720 miles on 30 September, 1944, saw the 23d Infantry crossing France and Belgium to new battle positions on the German border. Defensive positions were taken up along the Siegfried Line just north of Luxemburg.

The first ceremony of American troops on German soil was a 23d Infantry parade in November, south of St. Vith. Major General W.M. Robertson, Divisional Commander, presented decorations for heroism to officers and men of the Regiment. On 12 December, the Regiment moved 30 miles north to the vicinity of Sourbrodt, Belgium.

The German break-through on 16 December found all three battalions of the 23d Infantry fighting savagely in the line. The failure of the enemy to accomplish a penetration in the division sector, despite repeated tank and strong infantry. attacks, upset the entire German plan of action to reach and cut off the vital supply nets at Liege. The Regiment stopped attack after bloody attack.

This action was summed up by General Courtney Hodges, Commanding General of the 1st Army, who declared, "What the 2nd Division has done in the last four days will live forever in the history of the United States Army."

During the period of 13 to 23 Jan. while attached to the First Division, the Regiment fought under the most severe climatic conditions. It spearheaded a drive that broke the determined enemy resistance in the vital Ondenval-Iveldingen Pass to clear the way for armored thrusts into St. Vith, Belgium. Sleet, rain and bitter cold froze the men's clothing to their bodies as they, struggled through waist-deep snow over rough terrain. The enemy forces, principally the 8th Regiment, 3rd Panzer Division, were decimated. So heavy were enemy losses in men and material that the 8th Regiment ceased to exist as a fighting force.

On February 6, 1945 the 23rd Infantry Regiment again went on the offensive, attacking German positions along the Siegfried Line. Sergeant Reynolds was killed on the first day of the attack.

Sergeant Reynolds was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service during the battle for Brest, France. Besides his wife, daughter, and parents, he was survived by a brother, John Reynolds, and three sisters, Mrs. Edward O'Keefe, Mrs. Francis Flemming, and Mrs. John Morrow.