The Canteen Connection

In early 2012 a research trip to the Belgium Ardennes was organized. Three whole days of exploring the forest near the Belgium-German border proved to be a success. Traces of war were to be found everywhere, remains of a gasmask, blank German dog tag, US overcoat buttons, raincoat and lots of .50 shells.
Nearly at the end of the last day the sun was disappearing fast and on my way back to our cabin I decided to go over a, what looked to me, a very shallow foxhole. My detector gave some vague signal and I decided to find out what was hidden below the soil.

Within 10 minutes I had uncovered lots of rusty cans and a civilian shoe, thinking this was all civilian garbage from the 50’s I was about to give up. One last move with my detector gave a clear sound and again I started to uncover more soil from the foxhole, slowly removing bits and pieces and a canteen became visible. First markings I found where 1918 and what looked like the maker mark.

can1 can2


After a good clean-up of the canteen a marking became visible on the cap, B4602, I knew that was the first letter of the last name and the last four digits of the Army Serial Number.

For over a year the search for the original owner of the canteen continued until one day Jean-Louis Seel from the MIA project found a match in their database, Pvt. DELBERT C BUMBALOUGH, ASN 34054602.
Delbert belonged to B Co. of the 393rd Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division.

A quick search on the net gave us some more information on Delbert, he was captured by the Germans on the 16th of December 1944 and sent to Stalag 13D Nuremburg (Oflag 73) Bavaria 49-11, a POW camp in Germany.

I found out that a niece of Delbert had made an entry in her uncles information sheet on a website related to POW’s. After a couple of emails back and forward I managed to get some more information on Delbert and his grandson’s. The canteen was sent to one of the grandson’s and the story of the canteen was picked up by the news. Unfortenately the information on the location of the canteen is incorrect but the attention that the story got is for me a nice tribute to one of the many heroes from the 99th Infantry Division.

The Shoe

A couple of years ago while searching the 99th Infantry Division area , for traces from the fierce battle that took place during the last big offensive of the german army, a shoe was found in a small dugout. The shoe still very much complete with even the lace still attached did not show any damage from the battle, after having read many accounts from veterans the thought crossed my mind that the soldier to which the show once belonged might have had to change socks and was overrun by the german attack not being able to put his shoe back on.

roy e house shoe

No further items where found near this particular dugout and once home I cleaned the shoe with water and the first thing I noticed was a white painted number on the inside of the shoe. I learned that the white paint on items was something that the 99th men did often. I could clearly read H4671 the laundry number from the soldier. After countless hours behind my computer I was not able to determine the name of the soldier so I placed a comment in my files stating that the shoe might have belonged to a 393rd Infantry Regiment soldier. This was my only lead and it seemed that my research stopped there. roy e house After two years I came in contact with Jean-Louis Seel who has been responsible for recovering several missing 99th ID soldiers. He kindly helped me with the canteen I found a bit later and he offered his help in identifying other laundry numbers on other items I uncovered. H4671, from the 393rd area? JL asked me, “Yes” I replied, within 20 minutes JL came back with a name, Pfc Roy E House 17084671. I was so excited to have another item identified, this means I can try to find relatives and get to know more about Pfc Roy E House. I ordered the morning reports for the 16th to the 18th of December and found an entry for Roy E House: company b 393rd morning report 16dec Entry in the morning reports for the 393rd IR, December 16 1944, shows that Pfc Roy E house got wounded in his upper left arm in Germany.

A new update on the research of Roy E. House, I received his obituary and found out he was a silver star winner. Next objective locate the General order which list him receiving the award. (General Order 106)

Roy Eldon House, 81, died Jan. 5, 2003, at his home in Littleton, Colo., following a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He was born Sept. 20, 1921, in Casper,WY the second of three children to W. Blake and Emma Lundblad House.

He received a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Wyoming in 1943 and pursued a career as a petroleum geologist for more than 40 years in various locations in the Rocky Mountain region, South America, the Far East and Europe.

After graduation he joined the Army, ending up in Company B 393 of the 99th infantry division. Mr. House was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism during the opening of the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 16, 1944.

While in basic training in Stillwater, Okla., he met and married his wife of 52 years, Mary Jane Collins House.

He is survived by his children John House of Chicago, Paul House of Aurora, Colo., Nancy Jo House and Mary Anne Schauer, both of Littleton, six grandchildren and sister Betty House Seerley.

Services were last Thursday at Drinkwine Family Chapel with burial at Littleton Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the University of Wyoming Foundation in memory of R. Eldon House, P.O. Box 3963, Laramie, 82071 or to the Johnson Adult Day Program, 3444 S. Emerson St., Englewood, Colo., 80110

And finally the entry in the general order 106. How the find of a shoe became an entry in general order 106.

Roy E House

Hopefully we can connect with relatives from Roy E. House, the search continues.

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