The American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the “Wereth 11”
As part of Black History Month, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) shares the painful but important story of the “Wereth 11”.
On the morning of Dec. 17, 1944, during the early days of the Battle of the Bulge, 11 American soldiers were separated from the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion—an all-Black Army unit serving in the European Theater.
The unit had been overrun by German forces in Belgium, and most of its men were either killed or captured. The 11 artillerymen who escaped found refuge in the nearby forest and later arrived in the village of Wereth, where a villager fed and sheltered them.
Shortly after the soldiers arrived in Wereth, however, their whereabouts were reported to a German unit. German SS soldiers soon arrived at the residence, capturing the 11 soldiers and marching them to a nearby pasture where they were subsequently tortured and executed. Their bodies were recovered several months later after local residents led Army representatives to the site.
This war crime would come to be known as the Wereth Massacre. While the U.S. Army launched an investigation into the killings, it was closed two years later without resolution.
The “Wereth 11” were: Pvt. Curtis Adams, Cpl. Mager Bradley, Pvt. George Davis Jr., Staff Sgt. Thomas Forte, Cpl. Robert Green, Pfc. James Leatherwood, Pvt. Nathaniel Moss, Pfc. George Motten, Sgt. William Pritchett, Tec. 4th Grade James Stewart, and Pfc. Due Turner.
Four of these men were repatriated back to the U.S. for burial. The remaining seven who made the ultimate sacrifice while turning back Germany’s last, desperate campaign to avoid defeat, are buried and honored at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery (HCAC). Those buried at HCAC are:
- Pvt. Curtis Adams (Plot C, Row 11, Grave 41)
- Pfc. George Davis (Plot D, Row 10, Grave 61)
- Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Forte (Plot C, Row 11, Grave 55)
- Pvt. Nathanial Moss (Plot F, Row 10, Grave 8)
- Pfc. George W. Moten (Plot E, Row 10, Grave 29)
- Tec. 4th Grade James A. Stewart (Plot C, Row 11, Grave 2)
- Pfc. Due W. Turner (Plot F, Row 5, Grave 9)
As part of our mission, ABMC remembers their courage and honors their actions: “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds,” nor the sacrifices they made on behalf of us all.
Sources: Historical Services, Abmc.gov, The Wereth 11, a Little-Known Massacre During the Battle of the Bulge (historynet.com), https://www.army.mil/article/243727/monument_in_small_belgian_village_serves_as_remembrance_of_wereth_11