Death at Bastogne

2nd Lt. Carlton Sheram, from Greenville, was killed in a tank battle in Bastogne, Belgium, in January 1945.

2nd Lt. Carlton Sheram, from Greenville, was killed in a tank battle in Bastogne, Belgium, in January 1945.

Fighting around the Belgian town of Bastogne was furious the first two weeks of January 1945. The German Army was determined to push through on their way to the harbor at Antwerp. Standing in the way was United States’ Third Army under General George S. Patton and the 101st Airborne Division. Among others units supporting the Third Army was the 15th Tank Battalion of 6th Armored Division. One of the tank commanders in Co. D was a young second lieutenant from Greenville, Texas.

Carlton A. Sheram, Jr. graduated Cum Laude from Greenville High School in 1939. He was a member of the debate team, business manager of the yearbook, and a member of the GHS band. A woman who remembered Carlton brilliantly described him with two words, VERY SMART. While in high school he and his father lived with Carlton’s aunt Laura Pollard.

Carlton attended Texas A&M University where he graduated in January 1943. Ironically he lived in the American Legion House while at A&M. Newspaper clippings state he was a quiet young man, studious, and a devout member of the Baptist Church wherever he lived.

With a brief stopover in Greenville to visit his father and aunt he headed to Fort Riley, Kansas, for training in the Tank Corps. Second Lieutenant Sheram served in England, France, Belgium; all part of the European Theater. By January 1945 the 15th Tank Battalion of 6th Armored Division was positioned just east of the town of Bastogne. Following is a portion of an e-mail I received in April of this year from Ruud Huijts, a resident of The Netherlands.

This is what I know about the circumstances of Carlton’s death: 2nd Lt. Sheram served in the 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division. In the first two weeks of January 1945, the 6th Armored Division was positioned just east of Bastogne adjacent to the famous 101st Airborne Division. There was some heavy fighting taking place at that time:

Vision was poor and foggy, they (armored tanks) were coming in leap frog style, one group would move then the other, GI style. When they go close enough I had no doubt they were Germans. I waited for the second group to come closer, when I had them in a concentrated group I began to fire. I had them down to three men when Lt. Sheram tried to come into where I was, he got two of them but the third one got him.

The arrow on the map below shows the approximate location of his death. At the left of the map is Bastogne.

The arrow on the map below shows the approximate location of his death. At the left of the map is Bastogne, Belgium.

The info above came from Sebastian Fiacco. Rob Fiacco, Sebastian’s son says that the fact that his father mentions Carlton’s name in the story above means that his father must have thought very highly of Carlton, Rob would like anybody that knew Carlton, or is related to Carlton to know that his father considered Carlton to be a hero.

Carlton A. Sheram, Jr., United States Army was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 6th Armored Division during World War II.” (General Orders No. 23, 1945). He also was awarded posthumously the American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, two stars, and Purple Heart. Today he rests in Grave 81, Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. He should be remembered.

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2 Responses to Death at Bastogne

  1. Kay Treadway Norman says:

    Growing up in First Baptist Church I recall a stalwart member and his wife named Carlton Sheram. I thought of him as quite old. What was his connection to the Carlton Sheram in this article?

  2. Denny Darby says:

    Mr. Sheram was my Sunday School teacher when I was a teenager at FBC Greenville. My Mother told me his son had been killed in WWll. He took a real interest in us and what we needed to do to be successful in life. Mr. Sheram was a CPA with clients all over the state. He on on the road most weeks, but was always there on Sunday to teach his class.

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