PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JOHN J. BITTMAN was born John J. Bittmann in January of 1919 to Joseph and Katherine "Katie" Bittmann. The Bittmann family lived at 1815 Tioga Street in Camden, where Joseph Bittmann worked as a pipe fitter at the McAndrews & Forbes licorice factory at South 3rd & Jefferson Streets in Camden. Joseph and Katie Bittmann were both German-speaking immigrants from what had been Austria-Hungary, who had come to America in 1906. John Bittmann was the fifth of six children, coming after Catherine, Francis J., Henry G., and Elizabeth, and before Joseph. He was raised in Camden, was a member of the Church of the Sacred Heart at Broadway and Ferry Avenue. He attended school at the Sacred Heart Catholic School and the Camden County Vocational and Technical School in Pennsauken NJ.
As an adult John Bittmand dropped the last "n" off of his name and went as John Bittman. He worked as welder and as a driller-reamer at the New York Shipbuilding Company, Before entering the service, he had married Anna Wass, and had moved into a nearby home at 1805 Tioga Street. The couple had two children, John Joseph and Roseanne, before John Bittman was called to service in July 1944. After John Bittmann was drafted, his wife worked as a welder at his old job at New York Ship.
Private John Bittman was sent overseas in January 1945 as an infantry replacement. Assigned to Company D, 411th Infantry Division, 103rd Infantry Regiment, he saw action in the Alsace region of France.
The 103rd Infantry Division had occupied defensive positions west of Sarreguemines, France during the Battle of the Bulge. The Division crossed into Germany, to the city of Reichshofen, on January 14, 1945, where it took up positions along the Sauer River. Defensive patrols were active and a limited attack on Soufflenheim on the 19th was repulsed by the enemy. On the 20th, the division withdrew to the Moder River and repulsed German advances near Muehlhausen, 23–25 January. The 103d's offensive began on March 15, 1945. Crossing the Moder and Zintzel Rivers and taking Muehlhausen against sharp opposition, the division moved over the Lauter River and penetrated the defenses of the Siegfried Line.
Private First Class Bittman was killed in action in during this operation, on March 18, 1945 after stepping on a land mine. Private John Bittman was survived by his wife and children, his parents, three brothers, and two sisters. His father passed away on March 25, 1945, his mother joined them both the following year..
John Bittman was brought home after the war, and was buried at New St. Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr NJ alongside of his parents.
grew up in the house at 1115 Tioga Street
Photos December 2002
|1115 Tioga Street||1105 Tioga Street|
|Camden Courier-Post * June 16, 1933|
GRADUATION SUNDAY AT SACRED
Sacred Heart parochial school, Broadway and Ferry Avenue, will hold commencement exercises Sunday night at the Sacred Heart Church. Prizes donated by the Parent-Teacher Association will be given to honor students.
Communion breakfast will be served to graduates after the 9 o'clock mass Sunday morning, with the Rev. Peter Kelly.
The graduates: George Anderson, John Bittman, Elbert Butler, Claire Cline, Mildred Cole, Thomas Cole, Catherine Conlin, Mary Corbett, Evelyn Costello, Mary Daley, Antionette Di Camillo, Herman Di Camillo, Mary Degemis, Alice Fiedler, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Eleanor Francy.
Joseph Gavrantck, Irene Hancharuk, Anna Harmick, William Higgins, Catherine Hubert, Margaret Huntley, James Jacob, Marcella Koch, Helen Kowchik, Elizabeth Kush.
Anthony Leszczkowskl, Ella Levins, Marie Mazur, John McAnany, Mary McNamara, James McNamara, Daniel McNutt, Magdelena Meade, John Mihaich, Eleanor Moser, Helen O'Connell, Rita Reuling, Stephan Rubino, Louise Russian.
Clara Sadowski, Anthony Scarduzio, Agnes Scholtz, Colette Smith, Margaret Smith, John Waterhouse, Charles Waters, Rosalie Weiss and Veronica Washnak.
In the commercial class are Anna Anderson, Mary Conner, Mary Gettinger, Mary Harmick, Anna Lanni, Anna Salkauski, Elizabeth Schmitt, Barbara Sienski, Francis Visgil and Elizabeth Beck.
The facts as I KNOW them, as I DO remember him somewhat from my childhood, and of course my mother spoke of him often are:
John went to Sacred Heart School, married a woman named Ann Wass, and had two children.....John Joseph and Roseanne.
His parents were Joseph J. and Katherine Bittmann who resided at 1815 Tioga Street, Camden, NJ. When John married, he also bought a home on Tioga Street a few doors up from his parents.
At the time he was drafted, he was a driller/reamer working in the NY Ship Yard in Camden, NJ.
I was always told he was drafted, had 6 to 8 weeks of training and was sent home on leave in December 1944 and then shipped overseas on the Queen Mary to France where his unit was in the Battle of the Bulge. John stepped on a land mine that blew his legs off. He died of loss of blood and shock. His buddy came back and told the family what happened to him. I believe his last name was Grello...maybe Mike Grello?
He is buried in New St. Mary's Cemetery with his parents and the tombstone lists his date of death as March 18, 1945. I remember the news came of his death, the same day my grandfather was being laid out. He died on March 25, 1945. I remember it was a terrible time for the family.
My mom used to write to John when he was in the service. I remember she had saved all his letters home. Unfortunately, they are not to be found now, so I don't know unit he belonged to. They would have also had his serial # on them. I remember seeing them as a child written on the airmail paper they used back then.
I am attaching a photo of John, taken while he was home on leave in Dec. 1944 in front of his mom's house.
Ann Bittmann Shoemaker
Ps. John always dropped the last "N" on his name.
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