War Dept. Wires Parents After Nearly Year of Investigation- Killed on Rhine River
A telegram stating that PFC Robert D. Martin had been killed in action March 27, 1945, was received here by his parents, Capt. And Mrs. Elmer A. Martin, Friday. He had previously been reported as missing in action. Capt. Martin, who expects to be discharged soon, is stationed at Scottsbluff, Neb.
The telegram from the adjutant general follows: “The secretary of war has asked me to express his deep regret that your son, Pfc. Martin, Robert D. was killed in action in European area 27 March 45. He was previously reported missing in action. I regret that unavoidable circumstances made it necessary the unusual lapse of time in reporting your son’s death. Confirming letter follows.”
Through the efforts of Congressman Joseph P. O’Hara, the War Department, Robert’s commanding officer, Capt. Martin’s army friends and others, the following facts concerning the young soldier have been learned since last March.
Robert was one of three combat engineers who was on a return trip across the Rhine River, near Mannheim, Germany, after a volunteer mission. They had taken combat troops to the German held shore, and on their way back, they drew fire from the enemy. Pfc, Martin and a companion chose to jump out of the boat into the water, it is thought to get under cover. The third engineer piloted the back to the American held shore. The body of Robert’s companion was found last year and his grave located in a cemetery about 12 miles from the scene of battle.
In December a letter from the War Department assured the Martins that a special assignment was working at every possible angle to find evidence of the American missing personnel. They said if no further information was available, Robert would be declared dead by the War Department, after one year had passed. Since this telegram comes before a year is over, it is believed that more information regarding Robert will be revealed in the letter which is to follow.
Robert David Martin, the son of Elmer A. and Katherine (Griebie) Martin was born July 31, 1923 in Farmington. He grew to young manhood here and was graduated from the Farmington high school in the class of 1941, being one of the highest in scholastic honors in his class. Robert was also a football star, playing right tackle.
Besides being an excellent student and an athlete, Robert was a favorite among his schoolmates. He had a keen sense of humor and a natural wit that brought much happiness to his friends and himself and carried them over the rough places in life.
He was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic church where he was a regular attendant.
Robert attended the University of Minnesota and was employed at the Gopher Ordinance Plant before entering service May 13, 1943.
He trained at Camp Abbott, Oregon; was among the few chosen to attend Army Specialist Training Plan (ASTP) at the University of Moscow, Idaho; continued training at Camp Roberts, California, and Fort Benning, Georgia, before going overseas in January, 1945. He served with the 271st Engineer Bn., and was killed in action March 27, 1945.
The entire community is saddened in the loss of this well-known and highly respected young soldier.
Besides his parents, Robert is survived in his immediate family, by two sisters, Lt. Ann Martin of O’Reilly General Hospital at Springfield, MO and Miss Mary Martin a high school student.