The Memoirs of Arthur DeAngelo

Pictured above is Arthur and Rose DeAngelo. Arthur was a member of the 85th's Headquarters and Service Company. Arthur and Rose currently reside in Feasterville, PA.
Rose DeAngelo, the girl he left behind

Camp Lee to Plattsburg

Art with .45 caliber revolver

WWII Memoirs of Art DeAngelo:

My military service began in the Army National Guard, and my duties consisted of periodic trips to the Armory. On the 26th of March, 1941 the U.S. Army changed all that. At the time I was going by the last name Angelo. I didn't have the 'De' in front of it. And so I was one of the first to be drafted because my name began with the letter A. Therefore, in spite of my prior service, I was considered a "draftee" into the regular Army and was inducted as a private at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania only months after being married to Rose.

I was first sent to Camp Lee, I think it was somewhere in North Carolina, and from there they sent me up to Fort Belvoir, which was the head quarters for the Army Corps of Engineers. On one side of the highway was where the recruits were trained and on the other side of the highway was where the Army Engineers were located. First I was with the recruits for training, and I will never forget it. While the Barracks were new, the area outside was sloppy with mud. They had wooden platforms like sidewalks for us to walk on because it was so muddy.

During recruit training I did really well in rifle training and shot expert. I also did very well with the revolver. We were first issued .45 caliber revolvers, then later they issued us the automatics, the .45 colt and the M1 rifle.

We trained at the recruit training center for several months and then on July 31, 1941 they sent me over to the other side of the highway where I was assigned to H&S Company with the 85th Engineer Heavy Ponton Battalion.

With the 85th I was a bugler and a radio man. I was assigned to the radio operators because in civilian life I did a lot of work with oscillators. They trained us in Morse Code at Plattsburg Barracks, New York which was where we were sent after Belvoir. We had to learn Morse Code because a lot of Army communications was coded and not like talking on the telephone. One day while I was operating the radio the message came through that we were to be sent overseas. I and one other fella were manning the radio at the time and they made us swear not to tell anyone about this.

I became bugler because I played the bugle, what little I know how to play it, when I lived in Hammonton, New Jersey in 1930. In 1935 we moved back to Philadelphia and it was there that I was drafted.

At Belvoir
Art at Plattsburg
Art hanging off side of truck

Camp Maxey

Art cleaning his revolver

From Plattsburg we were sent to Camp Maxey at Paris, Texas. There we did some more training on the radio. There were five of us radio operators assigned to one tent. I remember some of them. There was a Byers, a Mitchell, a Goraliyzck, a Boka, and another fella whose name I can't remember.

From Camp Maxey we went back east and shipped out on the Santa Paula. It was a trip that took several days. The U-boats were really knockin' the heck out of the shipping until the sonar was discovered and the planes would then spot the U-boats and direct the cruisers that accompanied the ships to drop depth charges. I got a little sea sick on the trip over but not a heck of a lot. But it wasn't a good trip because everything was wet and sloppy on the boat. We were in a large convoy and it took us 13 days to make the trip.

Art and water cooled Browning .30 caliber machine gun

North Africa to Italy

Art in Belvoir T-shirt

We landed at Oran in North Africa. We traveled in Algeria till we came to Mostaganem and camped near a little river where A Company was located. We were attached to A Company as a detachment of radio operators. We also had the duty to monitor the water level in the rivers and report that back to H.Q. There we would report to officers Major Perdue and Captain Porter. Major Perdue was our battalion commander. He was a very nice person and wasn't a show off. As a radio operator I was in contact with him on many occasions.

One thing that stands out in my memory about North Africa was that we had to be careful because of the scorpions. Every morning you had to examine your shoes to make sure there were no scorpions. At night they would crawl into your shoes. And it wasn't good if you put your foot in with one of them.

From North Africa we went to Italy and landed at Salerno. As radio operators we were at the sites where Company A was building bridges and any information that the bridge builders wanted to send to HQ we would send in code.

While in Italy I remember an officer who was in charge of testing explosives. He wasn't a member of the 85th. Everyday we would hear him testing explosives and one day one exploded in his hand. I ran over to where he was and saw him laying on the ground almost dead with his guts sticking out. I stopped in my tracks, I couldn't get any closer and I began to throw up. I was staring at him when the medics came over and they picked up his guts and put them back in his belly and carried him to the hospital where he later died.

At Caserta, Italy there was a big home, a very big place, that was so elaborate with everything made of marble, and big bathrooms, it was so modern. Our officers stayed there while we camped outside on the grounds. Seeing a place like that really made an impression on me.

While in Italy I had the opportunity to go to rest camp but I never did. I did go to either Naples or Rome on pass, I can't remember which. I went with a bunch of other guys and we did a lot of site seeing.

Art at rest camp in Naples, Italy


Rare color photo of Art in Italy

On one bridge site in Italy the radio operators were assigned the duty of monitoring the water level in the river. We were concerned that the Germans might blow up a dam upstream and flood the bridges. So we were responsible for monitoring the water levels to watch for such as that so we could warn the bridge builders downstream.

We were stationed for the longest time in Italy because of Cassino. We were having trouble taking it and I think they finally got some Polish troops to come in and help take it. We were held up there for the longest time because we couldn't advance. I never went into the city of Cassino after it was taken, but I've seen a lot of pictures of it.

We were also delayed in Italy because we were on the southern flank of the Anzio beach head. They had a lot of trouble there too, and that held up our advance.

We had one fella in the 85th who stepped on a mine while we were in Italy. We couldn't find hardly anything of him.

We went up the boot of Italy almost reaching Florence and then we were ordered back to Naples where we boarded ships for France. The whole time we were in Italy we were in the Fifth Army under General Mark Clark.

Art in his M1 helmet
Art and Ricci with the Countess of Piedmonte d' Alife


Engineer collar disc worn by Art

We landed at Nice, France on the southern coast and we went up the eastern part of France along the border of Switzerland.

We stayed a long time at the town of Luneville in a big building where they repaired railroad engines. It was winter time and there was some real snow! We were glad to be in that building and we set up our pup tents inside on the floor.

While at Luneville I was assigned to go up near the front lines and get our battalion's mail. We were told to keep our rifles and pistols handy. We would pick up the mail and get out of there right away.

While in France we had one fella who fell in the river and drowned. He was in one of the small boats with a motor on the back of it when he fell in the river. His boots filled with water and he drowned. We never did find him. I remember that man very distinctly because we were talking to each other the night before he drowned.

Postcard in dress uniform


In preparation for bridging the Rhine we went to the proposed bridge site with some officers at Worms, Germany. There was a bridge there that had been bombed by the Germans and had fallen into the river. There were snipers there in the bridge tower that was still up and hadn't fallen in the river. They called in the air force to bomb that tower. A and B Companies had it pretty bad because they were out there on the river in the open building the bridge and took some enemy fire. We captured quite a few Germans while at Worms. A and B Companies built the bridge along with some help from some other engineer units. The radio operators were on stand by and if there was any enemy activity we were to report it to HQ which was located away from the bridge site. We lost a fella at Worms who was in H&S Company. He was killed by enemy shell fire. I used to talk to him quite a bit before he was killed.

I remember one day while we were in Germany there must have been several hundred planes flew over all at the same time heading deeper into Germany. I think we later learned they were going to Polesti to bomb the oil fields.

Our next assignment in Germany was to bridge the Danube River. At the Danube I was off duty and sleeping on my cot in my tent when all kinds of firing started. I jumped out of my cot and hugged the ground. The shelling lasted about 30 minutes, with me hugging the ground in my tent as I had no chance to go anywhere else. I really got scared.

We were stationed somewhere in Germany, not far from Munich, at the end of the war. I think the outfit was supposed to go on to Munich from there, but before that happened I got my orders to go home. I was one of the first ones let out because I had a young son at home. There was one fella before me and then I was the second one to go home. When I got my orders to go home, they said I might have to go to the Pacific. I said, "My God I hope not. Here I had been overseas for over two years in the European Theatre of Operations!" They told me "not to worry about it, we'll call you if we need you." I told them, "I hope you don't!"

85th Morning Report from Salzburg listing Art as one of two to be sent home

Back Home

Dog tags

I landed in the US at New York harbor and then I think they sent me to a camp in Pennsylvania. My first child had been born while I was in the service and when I got home he was already a small child and didn't recognize me.

I made some good friends while in the service. I kept in touch with Byers for a while but as time passed I lost contact with him.

After the war I did some electronics training. I ran my own business for a while repairing TV's, radios, and amplifiers. Then I went to work for a company called Levins, working for them for a long time as an outside repair man until 1979.

Art, Rose and family looking at the 85th's website

Latest comments

23.10 | 01:21

Glad you enjoy the site. Your grandfather was a worthy commander.

15.10 | 21:32

LTC Perdue was my grandfather. I love reading about where he served and what he did during WWII. Thank you for your work on gathering all of this information.

22.09 | 01:45

I do know there are remnants of where the 85th crossed the Rhine at Worms, Germany.

22.09 | 01:43

Sounds like you have an interesting trip planned. I hope to trace the 85th’s path some day. I do not know if there are any remnants of where the 85th crossed