Clyde M. McClellan Jr.
Biography: Clyde Miller McClellan Jr. was born on January 31, 1916, in Graysville, Greene County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Clyde Miller McClellan and Sarah Church. His enlistment record indicates he completed 3 years of high school. Prior to entering the military, he was employed at the Manufactures Light and Heat Company in Waynesburg, PA.
On August 21, 1942, he married the former Hazel V. Ford, from Cannonsburg, PA, who was the daughter of John H. Ford and Irene E. Lightholder. The new couple had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann.
Service Time: Clyde entered the Army on March 26, 1942, at New Cumberland, PA. He was eventually assigned to the 702nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He trained with the unit at a number of locations in the U.S. including; the North Carolina maneuvers, Fort Bragg, NC, Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, the Third Army Maneuvers in Louisiana and Camp Myles Standish and Fort Devens, Massachusetts, before finally shipping out for England from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 15, 1944.
More training followed, during which the 702nd was attached to the 2nd Armored Division, and on June 12, 1944, the unit landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. They entered the line at Livry on July 2nd and were part of the 2nd AD’s spearhead during the Cobra breakout in late July. Fighting at Mortain, they established the first contact with the Canadians during the encirclement of the Falaise Pocket. Entering Belgium on September 5th, they crossed the German border near Gangelt and fought against the Siegfried Line along the Wurm River in October and November.
Re-equipped with M36 tank destroyer’s in late November, they supported the drive on the Roer River. Moved to the Ardennes in December, they crossed the Roer River on February 28, 1945, and the Rhine River on March 28th. Participating in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket, they reached the Weser River on April 4th. After reaching the Elbe River near Magdeburg, they took on occupation duties.
On August 1, the 702nd was given the mission of protecting the flanks of a 2nd Armored attack against the village of Tessy sur Vire. Company A encountered heavy enemy artillery fire and a large number of German tanks during the attack. They also lost an M8 Reconnaissance vehicle when it was destroyed in an enemy mine field while en-route to the left flank. It is thought that Clyde may have been killed during one of the incidents as Company A suffered three casualties. Company C assisted in the attack but did not list any casualties. The official unit records list 10 men that were injured that same day but Clyde is the only one that was listed as killed in action.
Private First Class Clyde M. McClellan was buried in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Block H, Row 9, Grave 11, St. Laurent, France. We would like to thank PFC McClellan for making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Thank you to Clyde’s nephew, John Freeman, for providing information and photos of Clyde. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor, Frogman, for the use of the grave marker photo.