A story of remembrance and gratefulness towards Joe Mann.
Today 76 years ago, on September 19th 1944, a young US soldier called Joe Mann gave his life to save that of his comrades. He jumped on a grenade thrown by a German soldier and died a hero. This was the day after Eindhoven was liberated from the Nazis.
No one knew at the time, but the war in the Netherlands would not end until 8 months later, causing countless civilian deaths during the “hunger winter” of 44/45.
A monument was erected for Joe Mann a few years back, and my wife and I walk the surrounding area a lot, so yesterday we stopped at the monument to contemplate the bravery and fate of this young man. This is a picture of the place:
The inscription reads: “On 19 September 1944, Joe E. Mann as soldier at this place gave his young life to save the lives of his comrades.“
Eternal glory to the heroes
I did not know the story of Joe Mann. Thank you for the tribute.
Thank you for posting Eric. I hadn’t heard of him either but it is nice to know he is remembered.
Thanks for the history and remembrance of a local hero. No country should loose their history or have someone demand history to be re-written. We learn from the history so as not too repeat wrongs.
Thank you for posting this Eric. I also think it is important to remember.
Inspiring story, thanks for sharing and for remembering this true hero.
CITATION FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR
Private First Class Joe Eugene Mann
Company H, 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Place and date: Best, the Netherlands, 18 September 1944
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: He distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. On 18 September 1944, in the vicinity of Best. Holland, his platoon, attempting to seize the bridge across the Wilhelmina Canal, was surrounded and isolated by an enemy force greatly superior in personnel and firepower. Acting as lead scout, Pfc. Mann boldly crept to within rocket-launcher range of an enemy artillery position and, in the face of heavy enemy fire, destroyed an 88mm gun and an ammunition dump. Completely disregarding the great danger involved, he remained in his exposed position, and, with his M-1 rifle, killed the enemy one by one until he was wounded 4 times. Taken to a covered position, he insisted on returning to a forward position to stand guard during the night. On the following morning the enemy launched a concerted attack and advanced to within a few yards of the position, throwing hand grenades as they approached. One of these landed within a few feet of Pfc. Mann. Unable to raise his arms, which were bandaged to his body, he yelled “grenade” and threw his body over the grenade, and as it exploded, died. His outstanding gallantry above and beyond the call of duty and his magnificent conduct were an everlasting inspiration to his comrades for whom he gave his life.
On visiting the Netherlands I was incredulous to find that Dutch citizens had died from starvation after the end of the War. The consequences for all involved are beyond comprehension. Let’s all do whatever we can to keep this from happening again. And why is there such a thing as a homeless veteran?
War brings hunger.
Nice looking tranquil place for a memorial.
Best of health everyone.
Thank you for remembering my uncle Joe Mann. I just wrote A Greater Destiny, Joe’s life story.
Hi Byrne, stories like this need to be told and not forgotten.
I saw you also wrote more about your uncle here: https://thegirlwhoworefreedom.com/blog/article/his-life-for-his-friends/