Biography: Sidney Royse, “Sid”, was born on February 23, 1921, in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He was the son of John M. Royse and Lena Corman and attended local schools through the 9th grade.
Service Time: All we know about Sid’s entry into the service is that it was before Pearl Harbor was attacked so sometime before December 1941. After his basic training, he was eventually assigned to the 813th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 813th had been activated on December 15, 1941, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and completed all of their training at that location. They shipped out from the New York port on August 5, 1942, and arrived in England on the 17th. Four months later were again on board, traveling to North Africa. They arrived there on December 14th and participated in the Tunisia Campaign, working with British and French forces as well as the U.S. 34th Infantry Division. Part of the battalion went to Sicily, Italy, with the 3rd Infantry Division and the 13th Field Artillery Brigade. In the summer of 1943, a portion of the battalion participated in the invasion of Italy.
In November of that same year, the entire battalion set sail for England and began training for the invasion of France. They boarded transports and landed in Normandy, at Utah Beach, on June 27, 1944, where they were attached to the 79th Infantry Division. The 813th joined the drive to Le Mans and then moved north to Alencon at the Falaise Gap and were the first armored unit to cross the Seine River. They entered Belgium on September 2nd, later fighting around the Foret de Parroy, in October, and supported the advance toward Strasbourg in November.
Battling the German Nordwind offensive in January, 1945, they partially re-equipped with M18 tank destroyers after heavy losses. The unit shifted to Belgium in February, re-equipping again with M36 tank destroyers, and crossed the Rhine River March 24th, participating in the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket. They then conducted a long road march south to Ulm and took on military government duties in early May.
In the photo at left, Staff Sergeant Sidney Royse is shown, on the far left, with his back to the camera. He and Pfc. Edward Gold are interacting with some of the local children who all seem to be wearing wooden shoes.
The 813th received credit for the Tunisia, Rome-Arno, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns. Documents indicate that Sid held the rank of Staff Sergeant at the end of the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star, EAME, American Defense, the WWII Victory and the Army of Occupation for Germany medals. He also received the Purple Heart medal.
An enlistment record from October 11, 1945, shows Sid re-entering the military at Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation for a period of three years. He would spend some period of time assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, which was stationed at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. During the between war years, Sid also took time to attend and graduate from Western Reserve University in Ohio.
At some point, he entered service with the Air Force at the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He would see at least one tour of duty in Korea and be awarded the Legion of Merit for hazardous duty, the Air Force Commendation Medal. We know that at least some portion of his Korean service was spent with the 3275th Medical Group. He left the service on March 12, 1957.
In March 1950, at Golden, Colorado, Sid married the former Hildegarde Kuehdorf, who was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and was the daughter of Richard Karl Kuehdorf and Selma M. Leidholdt. The new Mrs. Royse had graduated from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing and the University of Vermont Graduate School. During WWII, she was attached to the Yale Medical Unit, serving in New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. She served on the nursing staff of the Hartford Hospital for several years but her latest assignment was at the Fifteenth Evacuation Hospital in Nurenberg, Germany. At the time of their marriage, Hildegarde held the rank of Captain.
We know very little about Sid’s later life but his death certificate indicates he had spent some time working as a truck driver. He had also married a second time to the former Lena Corman. At the time of his death on January 30, 1963, he was still living in Nicholasville. He was buried in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY, Section D, Site 190-A.
Thank you to EmLynn Thompson for the use of the grave marker photo.