NH soldiers' stories
Gilsum woman tells story of NH's World War II fighting men buried abroad
GILSUM — Aimee Fogg's journey to discover what happened to her uncle who perished while fighting in Europe during World War II became a mission to tell the stories of all of New Hampshire's men who are buried at the Henri-Chapelle cemetery in Belgium.
And now those stories are captured in Fogg's new book, "The Granite Men of Henri-Chapelle."
Fogg, the mother of two, began researching the fate of her uncle, Paul Lavoie of Nashua, in 2009. Though she knew she had an uncle who fought and died during the war, she wanted to know more about him, where he served, and how he died.
But details were few, so Fogg started digging.
Her search revealed that Lavoie was buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery but that wasn't enough information for Fogg, so she enlisted the assistance of a World War II veteran and traveled to Europe to retrace her uncle's steps.
Lavoie joined the U.S. Army on Feb. 9, 1943, a month before his 20th birthday, and eventually traveled with Company C of the 309th regiment, 78th division across the Atlantic. He was killed in action on Feb. 10, 1945, at the Schwammenauel Dam in Schmidt, Germany.
Fogg visited the place where her uncle was laid to rest, and met a Belgian couple who had "adopted" her uncle's grave and cared for it.
But while she was at a Memorial Day service at the cemetery, she realized she wanted to tell the story of all the New Hampshire men who were buried there.
With help from staff at Henri-Chapelle and lots of research, Fogg has been able to piece together stories about each of the 40 Granite State men buried at Henri-Chapelle.
She amassed photographs and biographies, anecdotes and memories of the fallen men and put them together in her book.
"There were a lot of late nights at the kitchen table," said Fogg. "I worried a lot, and hoped I could do the men justice with this book."
The New Hampshire men buried at the Henri-Chapelle cemetery include Edward W. Allord, Kenneth E. Ames, Dayton D. Atwood, Clifford L. Bartlett, Adrien J. Beliveau, Thomas F. Bresnahan, Thomas H. Burns, Theren C. Cox, William T. Dierauer, Edmond J. Dionne, Robert E. Dugan, Henry J. Dziepak, Charles L. Fleury, John M. Foster, Adrien A. Gamache, David J.W. Gilbert, Peter E. Gregoire, Arthur A. Hamel, Albert A. Harris, Clyde E. Kimball, George H. L'Heureux, Francis T. LaFlamme, Francis E. Larrivee, Paul M. Lavoie, Conrad E. Lefebvre, Glenn M. Lowe Jr., Kenneth P. McDowell, Russell B. McGirr, Cecil A. Merrifield, Carl B. Morris, Arnold Murphy, Omer W. Nadeau, Robert A. Ouellette, Daniel C. Payson, Roland A. Remick, Antonio C. Remillard, Herbert L. Smith, Lawrence Susynski, Fred Trombley and Everett M. Wiggin.
"When people celebrate America's birthday, Memorial Day or Veterans Day, I think the meaning of it gets lost," said Fogg. "These soldiers' stories are woven into the fabric of the American flag.
Fogg said she has been asked to write a similar volume about the lives of the men from Vermont who are buried at Henri-Chapelle, and she's already begun her research.
"It makes me cry, but it makes me feel so happy that I can bring the stories of these men to life," she said.
Fogg's book can be found at Amazon.com and other online retailers.