CLARENCE "CLANCY" LYALL
It's with great sadness that I announced, the 19th March, Clancy Lyall passed away.
I would like to thank Filip Willems very much for all the help he brought me. Thanks to him I have been in touch with “Clancy”.
Many thanks to “Clancy” Lyall who agreed to reply to some of my requests! And I also would like to thank Célia and Virginie for the translations.
Clarence “Clancy” Lyall was born on October 14, 1925 in Orange, Texas.
He joined the army in 1942 at 17 years old, and then joined the US Paratroopers.
“To be the best! To be with the best, with my friends the paratroopers and to fight for my country! »
He studied in several military academies: the Airborne School, the Demolition School, especially before being assigned to the Second Battalion of 506th PIR.
He kept a very bad memory of his crossing of the Atlantic Ocean: he got seasick.
He really enjoyed his stay in England and appreciated the kindness of English people.
His jump over Normandy was dreadful; he landed in the area of the 82nd near by Sainte Mère Eglise. He was then attached to the B Company of the 508th PIR during 3 days before rejoining his unit in Carentan.
He then took part in the release of Carentan.
After the Normandy campaign, he was sent back to England, in Aldbourne. There, he was affected to the E Company. Few days later, he had to get prepared to jump over Holland.
He landed not that far from Son. As soon as he landed, he had to destroy 88mm artillery gun which was firing over their gathering area.
On the 18th and 19th of September, he took part in the release of Eindhoven. After being in contact with a young resistant called Peter Van Valley, he started to clean up the houses around and captured the German soldiers who took refuge in there.
Then with Mike Massoconni (one of the guy of the same unit) he (mettre en batterie) a 30 mm machine-gun in a building and then could defend the town against the German overhang. Fortunately, they were just standing above a Heineken brewery! That is why maybe he said he kept a good memory of Holland!
Then, his company moved to Uden on the 22nd of September, where they found out they were surrounded. They fought over and moved towards Veghel.
They constantly had to defend the hell road against the German attacks.
He has been wounded on the 21st of October while he was holding a position on a pier. During the counter attack, he has been hit on his right leg by a piece of mortar. As he was transferred, he only came back to his company in November, in Mourmelon to France.
Then, it was the Battle of the Bulge, where Clancy and all the 101st were sent to Bastogne. His company defended a line going from Foy to Bastogne.
They suffered loads of attacks.
“This is where I lost my friend Gordon. »
On the 2nd of January, he took part in an attack to free Bois Jacques. This attack was particularly bloody! Moreover, after the attack, they were back on their positions. There, the Germans bombarded them. He was wounded again.
“As there was no place to be cured, I remained on my position. A male nurse came to take care of me. It was really very cold! »
On the 9th of January, they attacked Recogne. There was again many loss. But after that, the E Company became an unit of reservists during 2 days.
On the 13th of January, he took part in the attack which was supposed to release Foy, then, afterwards it was the turn of Noville.
“This is where I was the most afraid. »
On the 17th and the 18th of January, the 101st was replaced by the 17th Airborne. They moved towards Haguenau in Alsace-Lorraine, where nothing happened really, patrols regulating the days.
Then, the Division was back to Mourmelon.
Then, on the 1st of April, he left for Germany with the 101st, to shut the Ruhr road.
“After that we left for Berchtesgaden, where it was the last order of combat: taking an assault to Hitler’s eagle nest. »
On the way to Berchtesgaden, Clancy Lyall found out about the concentration camps in Memmingen in Bavaria on the 28th of April.
“There I saw the most horrible things I’ve ever seen in my life! »
Nearby Berchtesgaden, his company was stopped by destroyed bridges. The Civil Engineering rebuilt them, and they could come in Berchtesgaden on the 5th of May.
On the 8th May, it wass the end of the war.
506th PIR was sent in Austria to Zell am See before the desactivation of the Division in November 1945. Clancy Lyall ended the war with the rank of Sergeant.
After the war, and in opposition to the others, Clancy got re-engaged in the Army. He rejoined the 508th PIR of the 82rd Airborne in Frankfurt in Germany.
On the 12th of January 1946, he took part in the parade of the Victory on 5th Avenue in New York.
He was back in Fort Bragg in 1948, then, he followed a training in a Ranger commando in Camp Hale in Colorado then at Camp Blanding in Florida.
In 1950, he was assigned to 187th PIRCT (Parachute Infantry Regiment Fights TEAM)
He took part in the Indo-China War, he jumped over Suchon on the 20th of October 1950 and in Munsan-nor in Korea on the 16th of March 1954. In 1952, he was assigned to the 101st to take part in patrols in 1954 in order to collect information for the 8th Paratroopers Battalion of the French Shock in Dien Bien Phu.
He left the garnison two weeks before this one was captured. In 1955, he was assigned to the E Company of 506th PIR at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Clancy Lyall got married in 1945 with Isabel and had 6 children.