Letters From War Wednesday: World War II – Ed McGinley.

This Wednesday’s Letter From War comes to us from World War II.  Ed McGinley landed on Normandy’s bloody Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, with the 115th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division.

McGinley survived to fight through the hedgerows of Normandy.  He and his unit helped secure St. Lo before heading west.

By the time of this note, August 1944, McGinley and his 29th Infantry Division were beginning their attack on the sprawling German stronghold at Brest, France.

Ed McGinley-115th Infantry/29th Infantry Division

“Dear Folks,

“Due to the circumstances, I have been too busy to write for some time.  I am feeling fine.  I sure will have gobs to tell you when I see you, that I can’t say now.

“…I sure will be glad when we can get together in another game of golf, Dad.

“Sherman said, ‘war was hell.’  I think it’s worse than hell.  Keep the prayers up, Mom, as they are doing wonders.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you, they don’t pray over here.

“Love as always, Ed”

McGinley would be killed only weeks later by an enemy mortar round or artillery shell.

The Battle for Brest, France would rage for a full month.  In the end, the Germans destroyed the port facilities prior to their surrender.  In fact, few buildings survived the prolonged engagement.  Rubble lay scattered where the proud city once stood.

21 Responses to “Letters From War Wednesday: World War II – Ed McGinley”

  1. Dear Sir,
    I find your website very interesting. My grandfather was a private with the 115th and (probably) died in the Battle of Brest. He died on August 6th 1944 and is buried at the Normandy Cemetery in France. Any info is greatly appreciated and I salute anyone in the 115th.

    With Respect,
    Kevin Crawford

    • mikemccoy says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Welcome aboard. I agree that if your father served with the 115th Infantry and died on August 6, 1944, that is was probably at the Battle of Brest, France.

      It’s not one of those battles that you hear a lot about, but I think it was particularly severe. I know of at least three local soldiers that participated. Tom Franks was shot through the neck, but amazingly survived. Robert Schermerhorn and Ed McGinlely were both killed in action.

      What was your grandfather’s name and do you know which company he served in?

      Best Wishes,

  2. Kevin Crawford says:

    Thanks for responding Mike. My grandfather’s name is Pvt. Walter S. Crawford. He definately served with the 115th.


  3. Kevin Crawford says:

    Hi Mike,
    I also wasn’t so sure about when the 115th landed. It sounds like they may have actually landed around June 6th and fought through like “Saving Private Ryan.” I also know about the hedgerows and the Shermans. It’s amazing looking at Ed McGinley’s picture and know that he probably knew my grandfather. I can’t help but think what that generation went through, it almost makes me ashamed when I think that I “have a hard life.”
    Talk to you soon,

    • mikemccoy says:


      Yes, when you take a step back and really look at it, we probably don’t have it so bad. The 115th landed at Bloody Omaha Beach (same place as in Saving Private Ryan) on D-Day, June 6, just hours behind its sister regiment, the 116th, which essentially got wiped out. If I remember, Tom Hanks’ character was with the Rangers, which landed with the 116th.

      Take Care,

      • Kevin Crawford says:

        Yes, I do remember Tom Hanks had the Rangers patch on his sleeve. Thanks for the info, I will definately keep in touch.

        Go 29!

  4. Dave Church says:

    Kevin, I am just doing some research on my dad and came across your e-mail exchange with Mike. My dad was most likely killed at Hill 105, Brest, France 2 Sep 1944, but I am in the stage of confirming this. I just visited his grave site at the Brittany American Cemetery, St James, France. Prior to my visit there I could see his gravesite via Google, but did not know the exact grave, only the Plot, until the visit. I am just wondering, have you ever visited your dad’s grave site? If not, Google can take you there and with a little help from the cemetery you will be able to see the exact spot where he is buried. Would love to hear from you.
    My dad was with the 38th Inf Regiment, 2nd Inf Division, but I am trying to find out more details, such as battalion and company.
    Dave Church

  5. mikemccoy says:

    Hello Dave,

    Great to have you aboard. I certainly appreciate your interest in our soldiers, and commend your efforts in finding out more on your father. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    Good luck with your research. I have passed your post and email address onto Kevin.

    Thanks again,

  6. Kevin Crawford says:

    Hi Dave,

    Sorry that it took so long to answer you, I have 3 kids under the age of 6 so I am either at soccer, dance or school so I don’t have a lot of time to myself. Mike actually emailed me to let me know you wanted to talk to me (thanks Mike!) I guess we are all really interested in our WWII generation. Here’s what I know. My grandfather is Pvt. Walter S. Crawford. He was with the light infantry 115th with the 29th division. What I have learned is that he landed at Normandy about 1-2 hrs after the 116th (the GIs that were in “Saving Private Ryan” that were the first to land and sustained heavy casualties.) He was DOW (I found this out on a website that had the rosters of the 115th) which means that he Died Of Wounds instead of Killed In Action. I then researched the date and found that he probably died either at the Battle of Brest or possibly the Battle of Vrieville. I do remember my grandmother mentioning when she was alive that he was 30 when he was drafted and she never thought he would come home because of his age. He is buried at the Normandy Cemetery and I hope someday to visit his grave. Ironically I married a woman who had her grandfather on the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor (in the movie “Midway” it was the ship that initially started to steam away, but the captain realized that if the japs sank her in the channel it would block it for at least a couple of months so he ran her aground) and a great uncle (who I actually had a chance to talk to about the sneak attack before he passed away) who was on the USS Honalulu and lived after the sneak attack.

    Let me know if you have any other info about the battles around then and I will do the same.

    Great to hear from you Dave and thanks again Mike!

    Kevin Crawford

  7. Dave Church says:

    Kevin, thanks for the comments. Based on your info I looked up your grandfather in the WWII database and found the Plot, Row and grave number in the Normandy Cemetery. However, just like what I did when I looked up my dad, I cannot determine the exact grave because you do not know how the Plot is laid out, i.e, are grave numbers marked from left to right/right to left; are the rows numbered from bottom to top or top to bottom? The American Battle Monuments Commission can help you in providing you that information. Here is their e-mail contact info: info@abmc.gov. Once you receive the info on how the Plot is laid out you can see the exact location; I am from the old school so all of this technology is exciting to me. I think it is kind of neat to visit something via Google when you cannot make the visit in person. Are you aware that you can e-mail the National Personnel Records Center and obtain additional info on your grandfather? If you need help, let me know.
    Take care and keep in touch if I can be of further help.
    Dave C.

  8. Rick Williams says:

    Would like info and pics of PVT. Melvin Williams, 23rd infantry, 2nd division. He was killed in Brest France on Aug,30,1944 Thank you very much for what your doing.

    • mikemccoy says:


      Sorry for the delay. This comment obviously slipped past me. Yes, I think we’d all be interested in more on Melvin Williams.


      • Stephen Meredith says:

        Hello…I was thinking about my Grandfather, Pvt. Melvin Williams, and started to do some searches and came across this site. I can try and fill in some blanks reference specific questions. He was married at the time of his death, to my Grandmother, Mary Bernice Williams, who had a son, Melvin “Blinky” Williams, Sammy Williams, and my Mother, Minnie Bernice Williams (Meredith). Mamaw passed away in the 90′s (can’t remember exactly but can find out) from cancer, Blinky passed away in the 70′s from a burst aneurysm. He was a police officer for Decatur, IL at the time. Most recently, my mother passed away on December 17, 2015. She never made it to Brittany due to health reasons, but I did make it in 2008 and was able to visit his gravesite.

  9. I too am seeking info or photos of my uncle Frank C. Hutsell. 25th ID 115 Reg. Died 08 August 1944. Any info is greatly appreciated.

  10. Karen Eldevick (Scheunemann) says:

    My Dad, William I. Scheunemann was on the first LST that landed at Omaha Beach. LST133. My Dad passed away in 2009, but he told me many stories. I wish he had written them down, because I have forgotten some things and might get some details wrong. I do know that after the 133 was bombed, only 11 men were able to walk off of that ship, unaided. My Dad was one of those 11.

  11. Karen Eldevick (Scheunemann) says:

    P.S. When my Dad watched “Saving Private Ryan” he said that was exactly like what he saw. Mangled bodies, the water was red. Such a horrible scene. I wish I could thank every single one of our service men and women………past, present, and future. God bless America.

  12. regis says:

    Hello, my name governed jan I live in Brest in france and I made the duty of memory on the second world war, I can provide pictures if you wish.I have photos of many us soldiers whose I bloom graves in Normandy and I’m looking for information on the us soldier constantly and I gave all that I found on the Superintendent of the cemetery saint us – james.je allows me to ask you for help because I search information and photos of soldier Ralph T Snyder State of origin Pennsylvania unit 115 infenterie regiment 29th division, number 13077241 grade S SGT decoration SS PH kia August 26 1944, thank you in advance for your help.Kind regardsRegis jan

  13. mikemccoy says:

    Welcome Regis,

    Great to have you aboard the site. I think it would be safe to say that we’d love to see your photos. Sorry to say, I don’t know anything on Ralph Snyder. But maybe someone else out there does. I have passed along your comments to others interested in the Battle of Brest, France. I’ve also included a link below to other posts regarding Brest.


    Take Care,

  14. jan says:

    Hello, thank you for your response and your help my desire the most expensive would succeed a parched a stele for the date of the 70 th anniversary of the dece of Ralph T Snyder in the presence of his family if possible.je thank you and pleased to read you.

    Régis Jan.

  15. jan says:

    KIA Brest


    regis jan

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