Pfc. Ross E. Marks


Ross was born on 3-feb-1923, his nickname was Billy, everyone called him that way. He was living in Richwood, West Virginia. Ross worked in a shop owned by the timber factory that has founded the town. On 13 April 1944 he was called into service and ended up with A Company, 50th AIB. Somewhere around new year he was captured, probably in a fighting around Bastogne. The commander of his unit had instructed his men to flee if possible. Together with a fellow villager who also had been captured, he tried to escape on January 3. A German threw a grenade and killed Ross.

Billy had two brothers who also fought in the war:
Jacob Blain Marks, Marines in the Pacific. wounded on July 26, 1944. Later became pastor.
Ernest Polarity Marks, U.S. Navy. September 10, 1976 was murdered during a robbery.
In the autumn of 1943 were the three brothers, without knowing each other, simultaneously on leave. That was the last time they were all together.

Jacob Blain Marks and Ross E. Marks

The New Year dawned with our troops firmly dug-in scarcely a mile East of Bastogne, after having successfully infiltrated to this forward area under cover of darkness the previous night. But a short time remained until our troops would go into action against the typical Nazi soldier, resourceful, persistent and cruel. Task Force Wall was assigned, the left sector of the Combat Command zone, with the mission of taking the high ground East and Northeast to Oubourcy and Michamps. The attack was to be made in conjunction with a concerted assault all along the entire Third Corps front.

Promptly at eight o clock on January 2, 1945 the attack got underway, over snow covered ground. In the face of moderate opposition elements of the Task Force reached a position approximately one mile west of Arloncourt, just before noon. Here enemy resistance proved considerably stronger and was to remain so for the duration of the battle. Artillery fire was coming in from three sides, but despite this the Task Force, spearheaded by our Battalion, advanced to the edge of a small woods West of Oubourcy. Determined enemy resistance at this point forced a halt for the night.

Meanwhile the revitalized Luftwaffe continued it’s pounding of Bastogne, and later shifted its attack to the Battalion's positions. Although bombed and strafed in the early evening, no casualties in our ranks resulted. Our troops dug in along the line that had been gained, teeing in for the night with other elements on our flanks. The day had proved exceedingly difficult for the Battalion, yet it was the Nazi who paid the bigger price, suffering very heavy personnel losses, in addition to four 75 mm anti-tank guns demolished by our fire.

On the following day, the first of a series of savage counter blows was repulsed by Company "A", after which the Task Force continued its own attack against strongly defended, dug-in enemy positions. This mounted advance cleared the approaches to Oubourcy and Michamps and, despite heavy artillery and mortar fire, both towns were taken by mid-afternoon. It fell to "C" Company to clear the latter town, and they had all but accomplished that task after vicious house to house fighting, when strong enemy tank and infantry reinforcements attacked from the North and East, forcing "C" Company to withdraw. From heights dominating the town, the enemy harassed this operation with intense artillery fire, causing heavy casualties among Lieutenant Palumbo's troops. Faced by numerically superior enemy troops, the entire Task Force withdrew to a line just East of Bois Jacques, thereby nullifying all the ground gained during a day that witnessed the most savage fighting encountered by the Battalion up to that time. The Task Force dug in at this point and prepared to hold its position. 


At first Ross. E. Marks was missing in action, according this Battle Casualty Report., 18-Jan-1945

19-Feb-1945 there was sufficient evidence to establish the fact of death.


During the bitter "Battle of the Bulge" fighting in this region the allies were overrun by the enemy and this site became a front line defense
post. Soldiers formerly buried in the temporary cemeteries at Fosse (near Namur) and Foy (near Bastogne), Belgium.
The temporary cemetery at Foy, also a battlefield site, contained the remains of 2,700 War Dead who gave their lives during the "Battle of the Bulge."
Ross E. Marks was buried in Foy, Plot A - Row3 - Grave 56.

But it was soon decided that this cemetery would only be temporary and in 1947, the transfer of the corpses to other permanent cemetery began. The corpses were transferred to other American Cemeteries like Henri Chapelle, Belgium - Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium - Margraten, The Netherlands  and  Hamm, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

On 13-Jul-1948 his father Morgan E. Marks declared that the remains be interred in a permanent American Military Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium.

Pfc. Ross E. Marks


Private First Class, U.S. Army

Service # 35752865

50th Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division

Entered the Service from: West Virginia

Died: 3-Jan-45

Buried at: Plot H Row 11 Grave 24

Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery

Henri-Chapelle, Belgium

Awards: Purple Heart