Burtis D. Hall
Biography: Burtis Denver Hall, “Burt”, was born on September 10, 1919, in Madisonville, Texas. He was the son of Jeff D. Hall and Minerva L. Horton. The 1940 U.S. shows he had completed four years of schooling and was employed as a laborer on a street project for the WPA (Works Progress Administration). The WPA was a government employment and infrastructure program the put millions of unemployed Americans to work building schools, hospitals, roads and other public works. On August 27, 1940, in Fort Bend, TX, Burt married the former Omah A. Ginn, who was the daughter of Willie S. Ginn and Bessie P. Kirkendall.
Service Time: Burt entered the Army on December 26, 1942, and was eventually assigned to Company B, 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 823rd trained at a number of military bases including Camps Bowie and Hood, Texas, and Camp Clairborne, 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 on 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 guns and went into action within 24 hours of their arrival. Supporting the drive on St. Lô, they fought at Mortain in August.
The photo above shows Burtis, standing in the center, with what we believe is part of his crew. Behind them is one of the unit’s M10 tank destroyers.
Passing through Belgium and Holland, they entered 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. They crossed the Roer River on February 24th. Crossing 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. Burt earned an Oak Leaf Cluster, to a previously awarded Bronze Star Medal, for heroic achievement on March 27, 1945. We do not have any information regarding the original Bronze Star Medal. He was also awarded a Purple Heart Medal for wounds received, the EAME with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe, the Good Conduct and WWII Victory medals and was eligible to wear the Distinguished Unit Ribbon awarded to Company B. Burt was discharged on October 31, 1945, at the rank of Technician Grade 4.