Clements, Raymond L. (823rd)

Raymond L. Clements 1Raymond L. Clements

Biography: Raymond Leo Clements was born on July 26, 1914, in Indiantown, Martin County, Florida. He was one of four sons and four daughters born to James Albert Clements and Callie M. Raulerson. His enlistment record indicates he completed grammar school and was working in the fruit industry as a farm laborer. He married Florence Minnie Hahn and we believe this wedding took place on July 26, 1943 in Belton, Texas, most likely when the unit was stationed at nearby Camp Hood.

Service Time: Raymond entered the Army on July 15, 1942 at Camp Blanding, FL. 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, Germany, 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 Raymond was part of was credited with destroying four Panzer VI “King Tiger” tanks, belonging to s.SS PzAbt. 501, at or around Stavelot.

Raymond L. Clements 2They 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. Raymond was awarded the WWII Victory, EAME and the Occupation of Germany medals. The 823rd arrived back in New York City on October 23, 1945.

Raymond soon returned to his home and Florence.  They had two sons, Ronald and Patrick, and two daughters, Marie and Evelyn. He worked for and retired from the railroad. Following his retirement, he raised cattle. He enjoyed raising tomatoes in his greenhouse and Florence had a grden where she grew vegetables. Raymond passed away on May 23, 2002 and was buried at the Port Mayaca Cemetery in Port Mayaca, Martin County, Florida. Thank you to Ancestry member Brittany Gilbert for use of the photo of Raymond and Florence and for providing information used in this tribute. Thank you also to Find-a-Grave contributors Ken & Nancy for use of the grave marker photo.

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