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Bill Schimm - World War II

William Shimatowsky (which he later legally changed to Schimm) was born in 1924 and raised in Sioux City, Iowa by his single mother, who worked as a nurse. Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, trained as a tanker and was shipped to England in the spring of 1944. While there, he worked as a clerk/typist. He was sent to France in June as a replacement for the 4th Infantry Division. He saw combat during the fight in Normandy, and following the Allied breakout, he worked for several months in Paris as a unit clerk. Following the German winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge), Schimm returned to 4th Division and served as an infantryman for the rest of the war as the Division fought its way across Germany.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, military training, and duty as unit clerk in England

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Combat experiences with 4th Division and clerk duties in Paris

Videos



Photos

Caption:
During the spring of 1943, while stationed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Bill Schimm wrote “This is me and Phil taken after a hard days’ work (haha), that is why I look so cross. Another reason is because I had a nice long march.”

Where:
Ft. Knox, Kentucky

When:
spring of 1943

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Schimm (Shimatowsky at the time) had this photo taken by R. H. Stone of Villa Park Illinois on March 19, 1944. By April he was headed to Europe and the war.

Where:
Villa Park Illinois

When:
March 19, 1944

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption:
Bill ran into Everett Faulkner from Sioux City, Iowa after basic training at Ft. Knox, and prior to them shipping overseas in April 1944.

Where:
Ft. Knox, Kentucky

When:
April 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Ida, Bill’s London friend, is on the left with one of her girl friends during their visit to a London Park. Ida sent the picture to Bill while he was in France in the summer of 1944.

Where:
London Park

When:
Summer 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
“One of the proofs which I took in ‘Gay Paris,’ wrote Bill about this photo taken in the summer of 1944, shortly after arriving in Paris.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Summer 1944

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption:
Bill Schimm and a group of unit clerks in Paris in the summer of 1944. Bill is on the left in the front, Jack Fellner is wearing a dark vest and ‘Red’ is behind Jack.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Summer 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Schimm relaxes in his clerical office in Paris during the summer of 1944.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Summer 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Schimm sent this V-Mail to his mother back in Iowa, giving his address as “somewhere in France.” The V-Mail is undated, but believed to be written in the summer of 1944 before Bill arrived in Paris.

Where:
France

When:
Summer 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo


Caption:
Jack Fellner, Bill’s friend, stand in front of Paris’s Arch de Triumph in the fall of 1944.

Where:
France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Hartigan, Alie Agorvetsky, Jack Fellner, C. L. Yorgaron, France, July 1944, who worked as clerks in Paris during the fall of 1944. Bill is not in the photo. His friend Jack Fellner is sitting at the desk in the back.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
July 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill wrote, “Taken in the office. Note file cabinets in background – that is my headache. The fellow with me if Jack Fellner (on the left) from New York.” They worked as clerks in Paris in the fall of 1944.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill’s photo caption reads “Jack and Bill. Same office; that thing in my hand is a machine gun, if you didn’t know. I have to keep order ‘round the office, you know (ahem). Note my air of superiority (hahaha).” He worked in Paris at the time.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill took this photo of Arch de Triumph on the Champs-Elysées in Paris in the fall of 1944.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
“I am standing at the Thor? with the Eifel Tower as background. Wish you could recall this” wrote Bill on the back of this photo, taken in the fall of 1944.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
A photo of Corporal Bill Schimm while he was stationed in Paris in the fall of 1944. “Parade in Paris on Armistice Day.”

Where:
Paris, France

When:
Fall 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
The Allies held a grand parade in Paris on Armistice Day, 1944 (November 11th) to celebrate France’s recent liberation from the Nazis. Schimm took a series of photographs to remember the day.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
November11, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
A marching band passes by Bill’s hotel room window during the Armistice Day parade in Paris on November 11, 1944.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
November11, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill’s caption reads “Note Churchill and DeGaulle walking in lower left corner. We were in a hotel room at the time taking pictures.” Bill was in his Paris hotel room on Nov 11, 1944. Churchil and DeGaulle were marked with a blue X on the photo.

Where:
Paris, France

When:
November11, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Doris Giggee, in the late 1940s. Doris met Bill in his last year in Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

Where:
Sioux City, Iowa

When:
Late 1940s

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption:
Doris Giggee and Bill while they were dating in Sioux City, Iowa. Doris’s parents lived on a farm near Yankton, South Dakota.

Where:
Sioux City, Iowa

When:
Circa winter of 1949

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Doris Giggee and Bill Schimm were married on June 24, 1950 in Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Iowa.

Where:
Sioux City, Iowa

When:
June 24, 1950

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption:
Bill Schimm made a return trip to Utah beach in Normandy in May 2000, the place where he entered Europe in June 1944.

Where:
France

When:
May 2000

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Schimm is wrapped in a ‘quilt of valor’ during a visit to the Camp Butler Springfield Military cemetery on June 23, 2019.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
June 23, 2019

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Schimm during a recent visit to his birthplace, the tiny Missouri town of Amazonia on December 30, 2019.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
December 30, 2019

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo



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