Eric Alan Sims
Eric A. Sims, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Died Of Wounds.
The Western Star, January 12, 1945.
SGT. ERIC A. SIMS DIES FROM WOUNDS
His Brother's Wife's Sister With Him When He Died.
On December 26, the day after Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Claude E. Sims of Coldwater were notified by the War Department that their son, Eric A. Sims, had died on December 9 of wounds received in action in Germany.
Sgt. Sims went overseas in May, 1944, and remained in England until about July 1 when his infantry unit entered France. Fifteen days later, Eric was wounded while in the battle of Brest. He was shot through the body, a bullet entering one groin and leaving his body in the center of his back, making a clean hole. Eric, who was more than six feet in height, had a powerful physique and walked to a field hospital in France for treatment, later being cared for in a general hospital. After a month in the hospital, he reentered combat duty on August 15. For his wounds received at Brest, Sgt. Sims received the Purple Heart Award and the award was received by his parents several weeks ago.
Eric and his buddies fought their way across France and into Luxembourg, his last two letters being from that little country bordering Germany. In a letter written December 1 and received December 22, Sgt. Sims stated that he was all O. K. and was then in Germany.
Eric Alan Sims was born April 5, 1914, on the old M. R. Platt ranch in the southeast part of Comanche county and died in the European Theater of War December 9, 1944, at the age of 30 years, seven months and four days. He attended the rural schools and later Coldwater High School, graduating with the class of 1933. He was an all around athlete and was an outstanding football and basketball player. After his graduation from high school he attended the Northwestern State Teachers College in Alva, Oklahoma. He later managed the Coldwater town basketball team one winter and was always a lover of good sports.
In 1937 Eric went to California and became assistant manager of the Ranch Market in Los Angeles. He returned to Coldwater in 1940 and for two years was owner of the Northside Produce in this city.
On March 1, 1942, Eric entered army service and took his basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and was then sent to a Non Commissioned Officers school at Petaluma, Calif., graduating in November, 1942, with a rating of Excellent.
Eric was on guard duty on the west coast for a few months before being sent to the east coast in January, 1943. There he worked with the U. S. Coast Guard on a boat and on the beaches of the Atlantic seacoast with headquarters at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In January, 1944, Sgt. Sims made his last visit with home folks at Coldwater. He returned to South Carolina and was sent to Camp Van Dorn, Miss., Co. B., 144th Infantry. There he had one of the most disappointing experiences of his army life. He was separated from all but one of his buddies with whom he had been so many months and was transferred to Fort George G. Meade, Md., from which P. O. E. he left for England.
Thus ends the career of a fearless clean cut soldier who gave his life for the protection of his loved ones and the coming generations of young Americans. The heartfelt sympathy of the entire community is extended the bereaved relatives.
Surviving him are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude E. Sims, a brother, Boatsman Mate Second Class, Calvert E. Sims, who is with the U. S. Coast Guard on the Atlantic, and one sister, Mrs. Rosemary Huckelbridge of Coldwater, besides a host of other relatives and friends.
Sgt. Sims many friends in this county will be pleased to learn that a sister of his brother Calvert's wife, an army nurse, was with Eric when he died. Her letter follows:
Belgium, December 15, 1944.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sims,
Please accept my sincerest sympathy at the loss of your son, Eric. He was wounded the seventh of this month and passed away at noon on the ninth.
I received a telephone call from the Red Cross worker at the hospital where he was being cared for. This was on the evening of the seventh. We were very busy the next day, but I tried to get away in the afternoon, and no transportation was available. Now I reproach myself for not finding some way to get there, but Miss Curphey and I did arrive about 10 a.m. on the ninth. I had a sergeant on my ward from Eric's platoon. He told me Eric had gone to help another man out, but my patient thought he was not seriously wounded.
He was in one of the best of our overseas Army hospitals. We have known the people in the unit and worked with them all the time we have been overseas. I really feel that Eric had the best of care. He was one of three patients in the ward at the time we were there. I talked with the Colonel who is Chief of Surgery and who had operated. Eric had an abdominal wound and also some injury to his spinal cord. The Colonel took care of the abdominal surgery but, said Eric's condition did not permit doing the spinal operation immediately following.
I asked for his personal belongings, but they said he brought nothing to the hospital with him. I had thought there might be something you would like to have. Apparently his clothing was left at the collecting station.
During the few minutes he was rational while I was there he told me he had received my letter with the pictures of Michael and that the pictures were on their way back to me. I did receive them last week. Chiefly though, he wanted me to write you. The nurse there told me he was quite rational the day before and had talked with the hospital personnel about his family and events of the proceeding days. I am most awfully sorry I did not get to talk with him then.
I keep wondering if all this suffering is really necessary for the better world that is suppose to follow after people tire of killing each other. I can't help doubting that it will be worth the price paid.
If there is anything you would like to ask me or have me to do, I shall be most happy to be of service.
Again, I offer my deepest sympathy to all of you.
Sincerely, Doris Steiner.
P.S. Will send you a picture later of the military cemetery in Belgium where Eric is buried.
"In the spring of 1912, Alice Irene Hinman, born October 30, 1892, of Reno County, Kansas, where she had taught several terms of school, came to Comanche County with her mother and sister, Inez, to help her older brother, Vera, who was working for the M. R. Platt Cattle Company. While there that summer she met Claude Sims and they were married at the home of her parents in Hutchinson, Kansas, April 23, 1913, and returned to the Estill Ranch to make their home. Their son,
Eric Alan Sims, was born there on April 5, 1914. In 1916 they moved to their farm 14 miles south and one mile west of Coldwater. Their son Calvert E. was born there November 15, 1916; and daughter Rosemary Ellen, July 27, 1918." - Excerpt from The Estill Pioneer Ranch.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above news article!
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