The Monument

Faces of the Monument

Tollemer Loft
Temporary Exhibit Center



How far are we ?

It is significant to us that faces of the soldiers
are moulded after the ones of GI's who died in Périers or its area

Andrew Jackson Speese III (1912-1944)

His Ancestry

Ultimate Letter
to his Wife Ann

Memories by his Friend
Edmond P. Reiley

Andrew J. Speese III (1912-1944)
Andrew J. Speese III

In a letter dated May 11, 1999, Andrew J. Speese Jr, son of Andrew Jackson Speese III, sent some extra information about his father :

Sadly, I know more about his ancestry than I do about him and what type of person he was.

I know more about his
ancestry than I do about him
From old photographs, we can surmise that he was an athlete, sportsman and hunter. I have a photo which shows him in a football uniform in high school or college, and another which shows him with a deer he had killed. Several pictures show him and his friends enjoying the beaches of New Jersey. His letters convey his devotion as a husband and father. That is much to be thankful for and I am grateful, even though I have no memories of him.

the father
Donald V. Speese
Andrew J. Speese III is the son of :
- Donald V. Speese
- and Sarah Catherine Carlin, both born in 1888.
Donald Speese was the youngest child of seven children. Donald contracted rheumatic fever during childhood, which resulted in heart disease. He was employed in the family coal business until his death, on July 5, 1926. He had four children : Andrew, Mary, John and Donald
the grandfather
Andrew J. Speese
Donald V. Speese is the son of :
- Andrew Jackson Speese, born on March 14, 1843, dead on February 20, 1908
- and Emma Jane Kinter, born in 1844, and dead on June 27, 1916.
Andrew Speese had seven children : Carrie (born in 1868), George (born in 1870), Andrew II (born in 1874), John (born in 1880), Samuel (born in 1883), Helen (born in 1886), and Donald (born in 1888). Andrew was raised in Newville, Pennsylvania, where he volunteered for three years service at the outset of the Civil War. He was a private in Company H, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry and received a gunshot wound in the reight thigh during a skirmish in Virginia. He recovered from his wound and returned to participate in the battle of Gettysburg, finishing his service as a corporal. Following the Civil War, and his marriage to Emma Jane Kinter, in Harrisburg, Andrew was a clerk for the Reading Railroad and eventually became a successful coal merchant in Philadelphia. His business, the Black Diamond Coal Company, employed most of his family.
the great-grandfather
Samuel Speese
Andrew J. Speese is the son of :
- Samuel Speese, born in 1822, dead on June 25, 1868
- and Barbara Ann Sherman, born in 1825, and dead on August 8, 1881.
Samuel Speese was an innkeeper in Newville, Pennsylvania, where he owned the Big Spring Hotel. During the Civil War, Samuel Speese recruited a company of volunteers, becoming the Captain of Company F, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
the great-great-grandfather
John Speese
Samuel Speese is the son of :
- John Speese, born on March 3, 1796, dead on March 4, 1869
- and Elizabeth Miller, born on January 20, 1793, and dead on March 29, 1875.
John Speese lived in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where he was a plasterer. We are not certain of his place of origin or his parents, but in 1821 he lived in the eastern half of a one-story log cabin duplex in Shippensburg.

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The ultimate letter of
Andrew J. Speese III
to his wife Ann
Private Andrew.J.Speese started to write his last 5 paged letter to his wife Ann on July 3 at 16.00 and finished it on July 4. It is mailed by US Army on July 11, after beeing censored, i.e. five days after his death.

Andrew J. Speese III (1912-1944)
Andrew J. Speese III
with his son Andrew Jr

Exp: Sgt A. J. Speese 38544452
Co 357th Rgt
A.P.O. # 90 c/o P/m N.Y.C.
Dest : Mrs. A. J. Speese
Way Side Drive
Phoenixville PA
Somewhere in France
Monday afternoon 4:00 PM
July third 1944


I am lying out in the open ground (very close though to my fox hole) on a shelter half and drying out in the warm sun. It has been raining here for the past two days and is now drying up a little. There is an artillery barrage being laid on enemy positions and the firing has been continuous for many hours. An attack is in progress and I expect that we will be moving up later this evening, our objective is a town a few miles away. I should like to tell you more but security regulations don't permit the mentioning of towns or sectors until our unit (in this case division) has been disclosed as operating in a certain sector, at that time, I believe, we are permitted to mention towns etc.

Still no mail, but don't think I am kicking as I know its not your fault and that you are and have been writing faithfully, my morale isn't lowered either by the lack of it. A clear understanding of anything even battles and combats reduce the element of fear and apprehension, I am most glad in knowing I applied myself during my basic training. It's stand by me no end.

Incidentally, I am now a Sergeant and have heard rumors floating around that we are to be either combat or expert infantrymen but for the life of me have not found out what if anything it means ! When I do, I'll let you know. You can let Sandy wear the counterparts of whatever it is. I am entitled to wear if you want !

So far, I believe he can be a buck Sergeant and wear an ETO ribbon with two bronze stars and this new infantry ....(illisible)... and came October 16, a good conduct ribbon, for I have been a good G.I. Joe and expect to remain one !....

...Today is the 4th of July and I am writing this while shells are dropping in the next field. I did not get a chance to finish it yesterday afternoon and it's doubtful if I shall get it censored and mailed to nite.

I am wearing a German officer pistol. I got it this morning, also a compass and a lot of other junk like a sub machine gun and a telescopic sight. I am going to try and send a lot of the stuff home. If it ever get there, save it for my home coming. I picked up in the enemy fox hole, a little watch, a broach and some German coins. I'll send them to you at the first opportunity.

Andrew J. Speese III (1912-1944)

Darling I miss you like the very devil and constantly wish that I could be home with you to share the sorrows and joys of life and not cause you mental anguish by being overseas as a doughboy in a tough war.

See, if the kids could see this 4th of July celebration (just the noise and pyrotechnics) they would have all a youngster could dream of, but I hope they never have to see it up here !

Darling, I think I'll knock off for now and get back to my job of communications. So, I say ...(illegible).

With all my love

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Memories by his former friend,
Edmond P. Reiley
This is written at the request of my good friend Lt. Andrew Speese, of the Honolulu Police Department, son of my cherished friend of the late 1930's Andrew J. Speese III, a fallen hero in the U.S. 90th Infantry Division's liberation of Normandy, France, in June 1944.
Although my friendship with Andrew III was relatively short in years, it was one of great substance.

He was graduated from Germantown Academy (Philadelphia PA) where he excelled in foot-ball and other inter-school athletic competition.

Andy's mother, widowed in his early years, was left alone to rear two other fine sons, John a lawyer, Don a successful businessman and Mary a charming daughter.

I am not informed about other relatives, except that I remember the paternal grandfather owned a prosperous coal business. The grandfather's mansion still stands in my Germantown home community.

Andrew III was of friendly but quiet demeanor : an intensive competitor in sports, but also in debate and conservative politics, with ascertained convictions and numerous supports.

As bachelors, we joined Penn Athletic Club where we worked out and swam a couple of times a week. Andy had powerful shoulders and rugged legs developed from intensive rowing a single shell as member of a Schuykill River boat club.
This gave the handsome, blond, blue eyed, 5' 10" man a formidableness demanding respect.

He was popular among many friends, he married a fine lady and was a loving father, although he never knew his daughter. I believe that he could have been exempted from military service as a parent. However, he thought it was the right thing to do. He was that kind of guy.

Andy's likeness possibly being depicted in the Monument is a supreme honor.

Edmond P. Reiley.

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