Clarence A. Fore
Biography: Clarence Allen Fore was born on December 30, 1914, in Bakersfield, Kern, California. He was one of three sons and two daughters born to John Silas Fore and Minnie Florence Malone. He graduated from Bakersfield High School and Junior College where he was a star football player on their 1932 and 1933 teams.
His enlistment record indicates that prior to the war, he was working as a financial institution clerk. At some point he had joined the National Guard, serving in the Field Artillery branch. He had also completed two years of college. A California voter registration document lists his occupation as Service Station Operator, 1938-1940.
Service Time: Clarence entered active duty in the Army on February 3, 1941, at Bakersfield, CA. We don’t have any information covering his early military service but on September 6, 1944, he joined Company C of the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion as a replacement. At that time, the company was located about 2.3 miles WNW of Soissons, France. Clarence’s MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) was 531, Anti-tank Gun Crewman, so it’s likely he spent some time training at the Tank Destroyer Center, Camp Hood, Texas, prior to joining the unit.
The unit advanced to the Moselle River in September and supported operations against Metz, France, through the third week of November. In mid-November, the unit converted to the M36 self-propelled tank destroyer. Next, they advanced toward the Saar River and the Siegfried Line. For the remainder of the month, the companies, supporting the 95th Infantry Division’s Regiments, moved on about a seven mile front up to within three miles of the Saar River near Saarlautern, Germany.
On November 28th the 3rd platoon of Co. C, commanded by Lt. Leroy C. Baker, moved from a reserve position to relieve the 1st platoon, which was supporting the 1st Battalion of the 378th Infantry in Falck, France. The platoon leader was given the mission to proceed according to a time schedule up the main road from Falck to Merten, France and meet the Infantry on the edge of Merten. It was understood that the Infantry was to storm the town by flanking attacks from the north and the south prior to the platoon’s entrance into the town.
The platoon proceeded according to the time schedule towards the town through artillery fire which was falling along the road. The leading destroyer reached the west end of Merten where it was stopped by an anti-tank barrier. It fired several rounds into the town which was still occupied by the enemy. In an effort to by-pass the barrier, the destroyer became bogged in the mud and was fired upon and destroyed by an enemy anti-tank gun. The second destroyer of the platoon, following the first, turned around and made its way back to Falck after the first was hit. The third destroyer received a hit from an AT gun, and, losing a track, it swerved off the road into a ditch where it was set afire by the enemy AT gun. The fourth destroyer had the mission of covering the advancing three.
Observing the flash of the AT gun, it attempted to return the fire but the gun failed to function. Trying to turn the destroyer around ended with it also becoming bogged down in the mud. This destroyer was later recovered. The remnants of the platoon assembled in the vicinity of Falck and later returned to the Company CP. Two M36’s were destroyed in this incident. Clarence was killed this date and it’s likely that he was a casualty of this action. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
Private Clarence A. Fore was initially buried overseas in a temporary American military cemetery in France. In 1948, he was brought back to the U.S. and was reinterred in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Bakersfield, Kern, CA. We would like to thank Clarence for making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Thank you also to Find-a-Grave contributor Lisa for use of the grave marker photo.