Skip to main content

William Fairchild Womelsdorf

S/SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B, 4th Platoon


Born 1916 in PA, Died 1994

County of enlistment: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Other residence(s): Sheatown, PA; Hollenback, PA, Wapwallopen, PA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: unskilled occupations in extraction of minerals, n.e.c.
Notes: Rank changed from CPL in Ghost Army roster to S/SGT per Pennsylvania US Veterans' Burial Cards
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Company B Names and Addresses roster; photo posted by Dawn LaRoy on Ancestry®

Bill Womelsdorf was born on July 16, 1916 in Sheatown, PA, the fourth of five children born to a coal miner and his wife. By 1940, Bill had moved in with two maiden aunts and an uncle, still in Sheatown, and was working for his uncle.

He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940 and enlisted on June 20, 1942. At that time, his employment was listed as "unskilled occupations in the extraction of minerals," probably coal mine related. Less than five months after he enlisted, on November 12, 1942, Bill married Irene Stein Strunk, a young widow whose first husband had died under a fall of coal less than three months after their wedding. Bill and Irene married in Alexandria, VA while he was stationed at nearby Fort Belvoir.

Bill was promoted to the rank of SGT in September, 1943, and served as an instructor at Fort Meade with the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. He went to Europe with the unit, and was discharged with the rank of S/SGT on September 26, 1945 at Pine Camp, NY. Two of Bill's brothers also served in the war—Ellis in the Navy in the Pacific and Thomas in Europe with the US Army Air Corps.

Bill and Irene's first child, Wayne, was born in 1944 and a daughter, Dona, in 1948. By 1950, Bill was working as a truck driver with a lumber company, and the family was living in Hollenback, PA. But shortly after that, the family moved to Wapwallopen, PA, and he went to work for Clewell Dairy (possibly still as a driver?) and later Dairylea, until he retired in 1977.

Bill was a member of St. James Lutheran Church in Wapwallopen, and his local American Legion and VFW posts.

He died on March 11, 1994 and is buried at St. James Lutheran Cemetery in Wapwallopen, PA.


1920 census

1930 census

1940 census

1940 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1942 marriage record

1943 article in Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (PA) about his military career

1950 Pennsylvania veteran compensation file

1950 census

1994 Find a Grave record*4ogjmh*_gcl_au*NTYwNzY3OTg5LjE3MDMxOTQwMjI.*_ga*MTk5MjA3NDU0LjE3MDMxOTQwMjM.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*NjM3NTM3NTMtNDZlZS00ZDgxLTlkNzAtNWEyMTNmOGM0NjAxLjEwLjEuMTcwMzI1MDU1MC41MC4wLjA.*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*NjM3NTM3NTMtNDZlZS00ZDgxLTlkNzAtNWEyMTNmOGM0NjAxLjEyLjEuMTcwMzI1MDU1MC4wLjAuMA..

1994 VA death record

1994 Pennsylvania veterans’ burial cards

1994 obituary in the Mountaintop Eagle (PA)

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!