Ralph T. Malmgren
Biography: Ralph Theodore Malmgren was born on July 14, 1921, in Sweden and was the son of Henry and Rose Malmgren. When Ralph was a young child, the family moved to Waltham, Massachusetts and Ralph attended Waltham High School, graduating in 1939. His enlistment record indicates that he worked in the jewelery, watchmaking, goldsmithing and/or silversmith business. Ralph joined the Massachusetts National Guard on October 29, 1939, as part of the 110th Cavalry.
Service Time: Ralph entered the service on January 16, 1941, when the unit was federalized and converted to the 180th Field Artillery and assigned to the 26th Division. The 26th Infantry Division Anti-Tank Battalion was formed on August 4, 1941, at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts and on December 15, 1941, the unit was re-designated as the 626th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
On December 20, 1943, the unit was deactivated while still at Camp Gordon and Ralph was assigned to the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was at Camp Rucker, Alabama. He shipped out with them from the New York port on June 3, 1944. They arrived in England on the 12th and after a month of preparations, they disembarked in France on July 24, 1944, with towed 3″ guns.
They entered the line near Colombieres and advanced across France with the 28th Infantry Division to Luxembourg. They supported operations against the Siegfried Line in September and October and operated in the Hürtgen Forest in November. The unit shifted to the Ardennes sector with the 28th Infantry Division in late November, and were still located there at the start of the German offensive in December. They shifted south to the Colmar area in January 1945, where the 28th Infantry Division was operating under French control.
The 630th returned north in mid-February only to redeploy south to the Saar region in mid-March, after which the battalion converted to the M36. They participated in the elimination of the Ruhr Pocket in April and on April 16th, he was wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Paris, France. he was then transported to England and then shipped home on June 15th, arriving back in the U.S. on the 25th.
Ralph received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the EAME Medal, American Defense Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He also received a Purple Heart. He was discharged on September 30th at Camp Edwards and had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.
He would marry the former Jean Chamberlin and the couple would own and operate Barbara Jeans Candy and Ice Cream store in West Newton, for 35 years. The couple would have three sons, Harold, Richard and Paul. Ralph retired in 1973, and the would move to Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. In his spare time he enjoyed, stamp collecting and bowling and traveling in Maine, New Hampshire and Nova Scotia areas. He was also a member of the Wolfeboro Historical Society.
Ralph passed away on December 26, 2007, and was buried in the Townhouse Cemetery, Tuftonboro. I want to thank Jean-pol Marenne and his mother Orban from Bertrix, Belgium, for providing the information and photos for this tribute. Ralph and two other members of the 630th stayed with their family while stationed in Belgium. Ralph gave them a note with his address on, so they could write to him.