Sunday, November 13, 2016

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 1)

An unmarked picture, that to my untrained eye appears to have been taken at a military base somewhere. Perhaps this taken where they underwent their training. I do not recognize any of these men as my Uncle Lowell, but the shadows from the helmets make any identification difficult.

My great-uncle Lowell Brosius served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service 18 Apr 1946. He served with the Military Police.

Our family was very close to Uncle Lowell. When he could no longer drive, my dad (and usually I tagged along) would go over to his trailer house once a week and offer him the opportunity to do some grocery shopping. Sometimes Lowell would take us up on the offer, and other times he didn’t need to do any shopping, so we would hang out with him and visit for a while. When Lowell’s health began to fail and it was no longer advisable that he live alone, he moved in with us. We had a nice, finished basement which we fixed up as an apartment for him so he could have his independence, but we could check on him any time. If he became unwell enough to require nursing, we would have had to find a nursing home, but that never became necessary. He passed away one October morning in 1995, sitting in his easy chair.

As his closest family, we inherited his small collection of photographs. Unfortunately, most of them are unmarked, but some of them are. Today I thought I would showcase some of his photos from the war. Perhaps you will find someone from your family among these pictures.

[Please note, my comments on each picture appear below the image.]

This is one of the marked photographs, marked only “Lowell Brosius Speed Patrol Maurmelon France.” I recognize Lowell as the passenger in the Jeep. If you look carefully, you can see that the sign above the rear fender reads “Military Police.” The Jeep is numbered 20655756, and perhaps some day that will be of use in my research. Or yours, if you happen to recognize the driver. As for the driver, although he is unidentified in this picture, I may be able to make a guess. He resembles a man identified in another of Lowell’s pictures as Desmond Call. But then again, he also resembles the one identified as Rocco Robertson. But, really, I think Desmond Call is the more likely candidate. (Those photographs—and all others referred to in this post—will be in an upcoming post, and then you can compare them for yourself.)

This photograph is marked “Melvin Chrisman.”

This picture appears to have been taken in the same time and place as the one of Melvin Chrisman above. This one is not marked, but I’m pretty sure that is Uncle Lowell squatting atop the tire of that vehicle. I can picture Lowell and Melvin taking turns posing with the artillery while the other handles the camera.

The next group of pictures has a similar theme: army buddies posing with an interesting vehicle. This time it is some sort of caterpillar-tired thing marked “USA 950858.”

This first picture is Uncle Lowell. He had two copies of this one. The other print is in better condition and slightly brighter. It is easier to make out the numbering on the vehicle. But in my opinion this print shows Lowell’s face a little more clearly.

Here is the apparent mate to the picture of Lowell above. Unfortunately, it is not marked, so I cannot identify the man posing. He looks a little like a man identified in another photo as B. F. Simpson, but I am not convinced they are the same man. In the other photo, B. F. Simpson is kneeling on the ground, wearing a hat, so it is difficult to compare.

This is apparently the same vehicle, or at least the same type of vehicle, as the one pictured above, but taken from the opposite side. Perhaps it was taken in the same place, looking the opposite direction, though an inspection of the backgrounds in the three pictures inclines me to think that unlikely. The man is another unidentified friend of Uncle Lowell’s. He resembles men identified in other photos as Ed Whitten and S. J. Marquis, but this picture is too grainy for me to decide with much certainty between the two.

Although this portion of Lowell’s army photo collection was pretty low in names, I hope that my guesses may have helped someone out there!


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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