Veteran Sherman looks back: Oriska man recalls D-Day, sniper’s bullet, German prison
Originally written by Cal Olson Times-Record Editor
Alberta Newspaper Group
The Times-Record originally printed this article in the 1998, 25 years ago. We are sharing it again, via the help of the Barnes County Museum, Moment in Time series, in honor of our Veterans and Memorial Day. Lawrence Sherman has a unique perspective on Memorial Day. A Veteran of World War II, he saw the war from many different angles: the invasion of Normandy, an English hospital and a German prison camp. Sherman, 79, now makes his home in rural Oriska. He was decorated for his efforts in the war, having earned, among others, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Sherman became part of the 90th Infantry in 1942 at the age of 23. He spent 18 months receiving his basic training in Camp Barkley, Texas. The division spent a few months in the Arizona desert on maneuvers. “They shipped us over to New Jersey in ’44 until March,” he said. “Then we went overseas to London, England.” From there, Sherman and the 90th became a part of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy in June of 1944. Sherman and his unit stayed in France after the invasion, “We were there for a while in France,” he said. Sherman was only there for a month until he was injured. “I was wounded by a sniper in the left thigh,” he said. “It was a .31-caliber bullet.” So it was back to England for Sherman. He spent six weeks in an English hospital recovering from his wounds. When he was released, he was shipped back to the 90th Infantry in August of 1944. His greatest challenge was still ahead, however. In November of 1944, Sherman was captured by German forces. “We went out on a night patrol and got lost,” he said. “There were five of us.” The five were taken to a German prison camp near Berlin. “It was no good,” he said. “There were a lot of (prisoners). A lot of them didn’t come back, either.” Almost six months after being imprisoned, Sherman was liberated by Russian soldiers. “It was one of my happiest days,” he said. “It was in the morning, the eighth of May, 1945. That was when the war ended in Europe.” The language barrier did not matter whatsoever to Sherman and the rest of the prisoners. “They were good guys, but you couldn’t understand them,” Sherman said. “I got along good with them.” Sherman was sent back to the United states on a two-month furlough. In September of 1945, he had to report to Hot Springs, Ark., for three weeks. On Sept. 23, 1945, Sherman was discharged and came home to North Dakota. He was 26 when he was discharged. Memorial Day obviously holds a special place in Sherman’s heart. “And Veteran’s Day, too,” he said.