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WWII US Combat Engineer Veteran
Posted by: Paul London (ID *****3604) Date: August 22, 2010 at 21:25:54
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Dear Historians, Researchers and fellow Genealogists

I was wondering from amongst those who are researching their McCleary or West family trees you may have listed a World War II Combat Engineer veteran, Captain RA McCleary Jr. The Captain McCleary I’m trying to locate was in July 1945 part of the US occupational army on the Rhine based in Cologne, Germany. This request to trace Captain McCleary comes from my wife’s (90-year-old) uncle, a New Zealand soldier who while hitchhiking long the autobahn near Cologne (with his cobber) on the evening of the 15th/16th July 1945 were kindly picked up by this US Army officer. One of the more interesting clues in this puzzle is the Captain was driving a very large red (civilian) roadster sports car.

The trio then set out for the officer’s unit where he entertained and treated the New Zealanders to a wardrobe full of German white wine. Having regained consciousness the following morning the two Kiwis discovered their host had departed for work and left with them a commercially printed “membership” card to the PTRRC. The card was signed by Captain McCleary on behalf of a Major John P. West of the Field Artillery. The card acknowledged my wife’s uncle as now being a member of the (and please excuse the vulgarity) “Pissers in The Rhine River Club”.

If the above narrative has a familiar ring about it, please e-mail me at as my uncle would be most interested to hear from any of the McCleary or West descendants. For there is a longer version of this story which I’m sure the respective families would like to add to their family histories.

With kind regards

Paul London

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