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Clarence Leon Abney
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(Pictured with his wife, Thelma Motz-Abney, just before he shipped overseas) 

CLARENCE LEON ABNEY was born July 9, 1921, at Stratford, Okla. He graduated from Stratford High School. He began farming out of high school, but WWII had started and he was drafted. He was promoted to Corporal as he was preparing to ship out for overseas. Just prior to going overseas, Clarence married Thelma Motz on Nov. 30, 1943 in Buffalo, New York. Due to a clerical error, Clarence was reverted to PFC in rank after going overseas. His serial number was 38272175. He was assigned to the 12th Armored Division, known as the Hellcats. According to their history, they shipped out of Camp Shanks, New York and sailed for England on 20 September 1944. According to the history of the unit, their battalion engaged in combat on December 5, 1944 near Weislingen. They captured a German town at Utweiler on 21 December 1944. Clarence was killed on 18 January 1945, which was the day his unit engaged in the battle for Herrlisheim, France, a small town north of Strasbourg. Because of their heavy casualties, this became known as "Bloody Herrlishem". Quoting from "The Story of the 12th Armored Division - WWII G.I. Story Book": "This was their only defensive battle of the war when they smacked into a numerically superior and well-entrenched enemy. But while sustaining many casualties, the Hellcats thwarted repeated German attempts to break out of the river head pocket and strike south toward the political prize of Strasbourg. It was here that the 12th was dubbed the "Suicide Division" by the Germans, who eventually withdrew, still puzzled by American tenacity. Later, according to the Nazi POWs, the Hellcats became one of the two most feared divisions on the western Front. The other being the 4th Armored." According to a witness from Stratford, Oklahoma who was also in the invasion, a bomb landed directly in the fox hole where Clarence was, killing him instantly. He is buried in the Epinal American Cemetery, Vosges, France, Plot A, Row 21, Grave 71. However, he also has a marker in the Abney Cemetery, Stratford, Okla. His rank is listed as PFC. He was awarded the Purple Heart. Clarence and Thelma had no children.

For a video tour of the Epinal American Cemetery, Vosges, France, on the internet, go to

Below is information on his actual resting place and a certificate from the State of Oklahoma


 by Jesse Spurlock, Abney Cemetery Record Keeper



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