PFC Charles Arthur Douglass
Third Army, 4th Armored Division,
53rd AIB, CO B, 3rd Platoon
KIA 31 March, 1945
near Vacha, Germany
-- Judith Laura Douglass Nowak --
My dad, Charles A. Douglass (called Chick), was born on January 24, 1916, in
Bethel, Maine. Bethel is in central western Maine, in the foothills of the
White Mountains. It is beautiful country.
My dad went to work as a young boy. His dad owned and operated a saw mill.
My dad worked in the saw mill and also in the woods as a logger. He was a
hard worker and enjoyed being outdoors. He loved to hunt and fish and was
proud of his ability to help provide for his family.
He later moved to Norway, Maine and went to work in a shoe shop. While in
Norway, he met my mother, Jane Staples. She was engaged at the time to some
one else, but when she met my dad, she broke her engagement and married my
dad. They were married on February 18, 1939 in Waterford, Maine. They were
very much in love and extremely happy together. She was shy and very gentle
and he was outgoing and confident that he could take very good care of a
In the late 30's, he served in the National Guard and in the early 40's, he
and my mom moved to So. Portland, Maine where he went to work in the
shipyard, building liberty ships.
On May 25, 1943, they had a healthy baby girl. I was to be their only child.
My dad was thrilled with his little family. He was so proud of us.
A few months later, despite the fact that he had served in the Guard and was
working in the shipyard, he was drafted into the army. He was always willing
to do his part and he felt this was his duty. As time went on and the war
heated up on two fronts, he was a little worried that he wouldn't get to do
his part. He told his sister that he wanted to be sure that his
grandchildren would be proud of his service to his country.
In October, 1944, he came home on what was to be his last furlough. Everyone
wanted pictures of him, especially with me and my mom. I didn't know who
this man was who had suddenly showed up at my house and seemed to occupy all
of my mother's time. In all of the pictures of us together, both of us are
glowering! I didn't want him to hold me and he was mad because I was upset.
I chuckle now, as I look at these pictures. How alike we were and how alike
we looked in those pictures!
He went overseas in November and landed in France. He describes the trip
over. In a letter written on December 20, 1944, he said, "I had a rough
time coming over on the boat. I was sea sick for two days and the rest of the
time, I was just plain sick, what a time! He also said he felt good and his
morale was high. He said he was too busy to think of home.
There are no letters from him again until January 17, 1945. He said they
were keeping them busy. (I would guess the Battle of the Bulge kept a lot of
people busy!) During this time he asked for the 50 cal. machine gun on the
half track. And he reports in his letters that now (Jan.1945), he is a
rifleman, a bazooka man and a machine gunner.
In one letter, he writes, "I have seen a lot over here and I don't desire to
see anymore. All I want to see is home and family." He hated the destruction
of war and he hated burning people out of their homes. He hated what the war
did to people and he hated his part in it.
But, he was an amazing man. In all his letters he never complained about
conditions. He was always pre-occupied with food and described his meals in
great detail. His spirits always seemed to be good. In March, 1945, he
notes that the grass is turning green, the trees are budding and the birds
are singing, just like back home.
In his last letter, March 29,1945, he seems content. He has had a haircut
and shave. He has received lots of mail from home and he feels good and is
getting enough to eat. He was killed two days later.
My mom never remarried and when I asked her why, she said, "I had the best
there was. I would never be able to find another man like your father."
In a letter written to me in case he didn't return, he advises me to follow
the Ten Commandments and I will be OK. His advice was good and solid then
and is still good and solid nearly 55 years later.
Charles A. Douglass (Chick), was a good, strong, loving husband and father
who had a deep abiding love for his family. He also had a deep and abiding
love for his country and sacrificed, without complaint, his life for his
The highest praise possible came from my grandmother, his mother-in-law,
when she stated simply, "Chick was a good boy."