Departure for Europe

November 23, 1943, Virginia

Richard's battalion - totaling some 660 men - on Nov 23. 1943 boarded in Virginia after a rigorous training. Richard's battalion - totaling some 660 men - on Nov 23. 1943 boarded in Virginia after a rigorous training.

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Arriving in England

January 20 1944

Jan 20. 1944 82nd 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion arrived in Liverpool, England. It would be six months before they saw action.

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Landing at Omaha Beach

between 10th and 16th June, 1944

On June 6, 1944, D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe began. The 82 Engineer Combat Battalion landed in stages between 10 and 16 June, 1944 on Omaha Beach in Normandy. The intention was to rapidly push on to the rest of France, but the advance was slow.

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Operation Cobra

end of July 1944, Saint-Lô

end of July 1944, seven weeks after D-Day, the front had stagnated. Operation Cobra had to break the deadlock. 82 Engineer Combat Battalion was located around Saint-Lô, near the front. Richard Wells particpated fully in Operation Cobra.

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Building bridges

August 1944, Meulan

On August 7 Richard was in Vire, where he and his comrades initially constructed an (emergency) bridge. On August 26 they arrived in the town of Meulan and constructed a bridge over the Seine. Early September the 82 Engineer Combat Battalion went on to Belgium.

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September 9, 1944, Kesselt

On September 9, 1944 Richard, with three others, was given the task of finding a suitable place for a temporary bridge across the Albert Canal. The Germans had blown up all the bridges. Their jeep was shot at between Kesselt and Veldwezelt, Richard was hit and died.

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July 1943 (?)

Registration ARC

September 1943

to the UK

July 16, 1944

Landing on Utah Beach

March 15, 1945


May 1, 1945

Died on pleasure flight

June 19, 1945

Buried in Margraten, Block RR, Row 12 Grave 290

November 23, 1943

Departure for Europa

January 20, 1944

Arriving in England

June 1944

Landing Omaha Beach

US enters the war

December 11, 1941

Nazi Germany declares war on the US

Turnaround WWII

Februari 2, 1943

Battle of Stalingrad: Red Army defeats Germans


Richard F. Wells

A soldier's soldier

Name: Richard ‘Dick’ F. Wells
Born: May 14, 1924
Deceased: September 9, 1944, 20 years
Rank & Military
B-Company, 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion
Cemetery: Block J, Row 6 Graf 6

For every soldier fighting on the American front there were many support troops: intelligence, maintenance personnel, freight drivers, and so on.
Corporal Richard "Dick" F. Wells was part of such a support unit: the battle engineers.

On 9 September 1944 he was part of a reconnaissance patrol along the Albert Canal with the task of finding a suitable place to build a temporary bridge.
During that patrol Wells and his comrades came under fire.
Wells' comrades were taken prisoner by the Germans, but he himself was riddled with bullets. Richard Wells was 20 years old.

Richard Wells was part of the battle genius of the American army. The combat genius came immediately behind the front line soldiers.

This is a list of activities which sappers had to perform in the war:

  • clearing obstacles such as barbed wire, bunkers and mines
  • construction of (emergency) bridges,footbridges, pontoon bridges and Bailey Bridges
  • construction and repair of roads and railway lines
  • construction of (drinking) water supply

  • building (temporary) housing
  • clearing rubble and earth
  • construction of pipes and telephone cables
  • and solve all other possible problems you might encounter in wartime.