Skip to main content

William Lee "Bill" German Jr.

1SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co D, HQ Platoon

ASN#12133115 Casualty: Wounded

Born 1913 in PA, Died 1993

Artist

County of residence at enlistment: Camden County, NJ
Other residence(s): Philadelphia, PA; Clementon, NJ; Deer Isle, ME; Malvern, PA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
College education before the war: Philadelphia College of Art 4 years
College education after the war: UPenn; Temple Univ.
Notes: Rank changed from PVT in GA roster to 1SGT per New York Area Leave List; Bronze Star; GO #40, Sec V, Hq 12th A Gp, 15 Jul 45. Meritorious service in connection with military operations, 19 Jul 44-14 Mar 45; Purple Heart; GO #34, HQ SP TRS, 12th A Gp, 4 Apr 45. Enemy Action, 13 Mar 45. Pickard, Germany.
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Awards and Decorations; Bernie Mason Company D Roster

William German was born on July 23, 1913, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), and taught art for several years in Camden, NJ.

He married Elizabeth "Betty" Phillips in 1940, and they would go on to have two daughters: Phyllis and Cynthia.

At the time Bill registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he was living in Clementon, NJ. He enlisted on October 20, 1942, and served overseas from May 3, 1944-July 2, 1945.

During the war, Ghost Army soldier Harold Dahl wrote a letter describing Bill’s work with the unit: “Bill German is a damn good Supply Sergeant—he made a special deal whereby we get summer blouses for $3.42 each through Quartermaster—outside they run $7.50 or $10.00. You feel kind of silly going into a nice place in your shirt sleeves and there are plenty of cool evenings too. So we are all well pleased.”

He was discharged from the Army as a 1st SGT on September 19, 1945.

After the war, he got a job teaching art at Radnor (PA) High School. Post-war high school and college students often included returning veterans, who were much older and differently motivated than traditional high school students. His obituary explains: "To accommodate each student at his or her own level, he developed a 'contract system' under which each agreed to complete specific assignments and projects during the year. The system of individualized instruction was so successful that it is still in use [1993] in art classes at Radnor High and other area schools."

Bill and Betty also taught puppetry in the summer at Les Chalets Français, a French immersion girls' camp in Deer Isle, ME, where they had a summer home.

The family moved to Malvern, PA in the early 1950s. Bill pursued further education at the University of Pennsylvania, and eventually received a doctorate in counseling and education at Temple University.

He retired from Radnor High in 1979 as head of the art department,  after teaching there for 34 years.

Bill also enjoyed power boating--he was a licensed captain and a member of the Main Line Power Squadron. He was also a member of the Maine Nature Conservancy and several teachers' organizations.

He died on May 6, 1993.

Sources:

1940 Draft Registration

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=2238&h=301753206&tid=&pid=&queryId=b6d286ad8918bb7de483bab49a7ef7bc&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb6&_phstart=successSource

1940 New Jersey Marriage Index

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=61253&h=990798972&tid=&pid=&queryId=b6d286ad8918bb7de483bab49a7ef7bc&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb10&_phstart=successSource

1942 Enlistment Record

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=8939&h=5315648&tid=&pid=&queryId=b6d286ad8918bb7de483bab49a7ef7bc&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb7&_phstart=successSource

1950 Pennsylvania WW2 Veterans Compensation File

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=3147&h=193090&tid=&pid=&queryId=b6d286ad8918bb7de483bab49a7ef7bc&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb8&_phstart=successSource

1993 Obituary from Philadelphia Inquirer

https://www.newspapers.com/image/176737899/?terms=william%2Bl%2Bgerman%2Bjr

1993 Social Security Application and Claims Index

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60901&h=21518055&tid=&pid=&queryId=47fcbddd473d9f31d9c26b23f804dd99&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb16&_phstart=successSource

1993 VA Death Record

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=2441&h=13944304&tid=&pid=&queryId=47fcbddd473d9f31d9c26b23f804dd99&usePUB=true&_phsrc=EHb17&_phstart=successSource

updated: 1 month ago

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!