Crout, Robert H. (823rd)

Robert H. Crout 1Robert H. Crout

Biography: Robert Hugh Crout, “Buck”, was born on March 5, 1917, in Gilbert, Lexington, South Carolina. He was one of four sons and one daughter born to William Fred Crout and Ethel G. Sease. His military registration card indicates he was employed at Claussen Bakery in Columbia, Richland, SC. His enlistment record indicates he completed two years of college. Sometime prior to 1940, he married the former Marietta Talbert who was born in Darlington, SC. She was the daughter of Cordy Vereen Talbert and Estele Easterling.

Service Time: Robert entered the Army on December 9, 1943 at Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC. He was eventually assigned to Company C of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 823rd trained at a number of military bases including Camps Bowie and Hood, Texas, and Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, where they were located prior to participating in the Louisiana maneuvers.

The unit boarded trains on March 9, 1944. enroute to Camp Myles Standish, and the Boston port, where they arrived on the 12th to begin their final preparations for the trip overseas. On April 6th, they loaded the U.S.S. Sea Porpoise and sailed for England, arriving in Newport, Wales, on the 17th after an uneventful trip.

After some additional training and a delay, they boarded three LSTs and landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 24, 1944. They were equipped with 3″ towed anti-tank guns and went into action within 24 hours of their arrival. Supporting the drive on St. Lô, they fought at Mortain in August and passed through Belgium and Holland, entering Germany on September 17th.

Fighting along the Siegfried Line in October, which included the encirclement of Aachen, the 823rd converted to M10 tank destroyers beginning in November, and shifted to the Ardennes in late December, fighting to eliminate the Bulge in January, 1945.

On December 18th, Company C guns were in place to the north and east of Stavelot, Belgium. During the ensuing actions, Company C continued eliminating German troops, and destroying their equipment, and the M10 crew that Robert was part of was credited with destroying four Panzer VI “King Tiger” tanks, belonging to s PzAbt. 501, at or around Stavelot.

They crossed the Roer River on February 24th and the Rhine River on March 24th. The unit raced eastward to the Elbe River, at Magdeburg, in April and finally began military occupation duties on April 21st. The 823rd received credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Robert was awarded the WWII Victory, EAME and the Occupation of Germany medals. He was also awarded a Purple Heart medal for wounds received in December, 1944. He was discharged on Dec 7, 1945.

Robert H. Crout 2Robert returned to Columbia and working at Claussens, eventually becoming the manager. He was also the owner of Little Pig Grocery and a member of Trinity Holy Church, Pelion, SC. He passed away on September 11, 1997, and was buried in the Crescent Hill Memorial Gardens in Columbia.

Thank you to Find A Grave contributor, Gregory Singletary, for the use of the grave marker image.