Roberts Family History - Visit to the Alsace 2010: Charles C. Roberts (1920-2008) - Service in France, 1944-1945

In 1944, Captain Charles C. Roberts was a US Army officer in the 6th Army Group prior to the invasion of southern France (Operation Dragoon). His knowledge of the French language was invaluable and he was assigned to the 6851st Headquarters Detachment, Liaison Service. His duty was to act as interpreter and general liaison between the American Seventh Army (General Patch) and the First French Army (General De Lattre). Photo 1 shows the organization of the Liaison service. Notables in the unit include Henry Cabot Lodge, Senator and UN Ambassador and Ali Khan, UN Ambassador representing Pakistan. As shown in the organization chart (photo 1), members of the Liaison service were reporting directly to 6th Army Group Headquarters and communicating with the Allied generals.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 2 shows Captain Roberts on highway N420 (now D420) overlooking Taintrux, approximately December, 1944.
A trip to the Alsace-Loraine region in 2010 revealed that this sign had most likely been removed and replaced with more modern signage as shown below.

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 4 shows a view of the Taintrux valley in December of 1944 taken at approximately the same time as that of Photo 2.
Photo 5 shows the approximate location in 2010 where this photo was taken.

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 6 shows Captain Roberts at a road junction on what appears to be N64. This may now be D164 which is south of Vittel and Contrexéville.
Photo 7 is another view of Captain Roberts and the jeep "Sonny Boy" probably in November before heavy snow had fallen.

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 8 shows a view of Captain Roberts in the Vosges during the heavy snow of December, 1944.
In April of 1945, this photo appeared in the Quincy Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts, Photo 9).
The jeep was named Sonny Boy after his son, Charles C. Roberts, Jr.

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 10 shows a house where Captain Roberts spent the night. The house was located in or near Schirmeck,
but during a trip to the Alsace it could not be found.

Photo 11

Photo 11 is a photo of a B-17 that belly landed on what looks like the plain between Colmar and the Vosges.

Photo 12

Photo 12 shows now Major Charles C. Roberts Receiving the Bronze Star from General Barr in June, 1945.
Notice his patch on the left shoulder; that of the First French Army (Photo 13).

Photo 13

Photo 14

Photo 14 shows General De Lattre de Tassigny in the center with Major Roberts to the right. This is probably after an award ceremony at the end of June, 1945. According to 6th Army Group general order 51, the Bronze Star was awarded to Charles C. Roberts as well as to Henry J. Alet (Commandant, French army), Pierre Gayet (Chef de Bataillon, First French Army), and Leo Girard (Chef de Bataillon, First French Army). General De Lattre was probably attending to honor the French soldiers receiving an award.

Photo 15

Photo 15 shows General De Lattre's cap on display at the Musee Memorial des Combats de la Poche de Colmar in Turckheim.

Photo 16

Photo 16 is a view of a victory ceremony in February, 1945 looking down the Avenue de la Republique in Colmar. Photo 17 is a similar view taken in 2010.
Photos 18 through 20 show additional comparisons between photos from 1945 with 2010.

Photo 17

Photo 18

Photo 19

Photo 20

Photo 21

Copyright 1995 Charles C. Roberts, Jr