Highland News Leader

Pfc. Robert Fischer died during the Battle of St. Lo in France

Capt. Morris “Spike” Seefeldt and his wife, Marian.
Capt. Morris “Spike” Seefeldt and his wife, Marian.

Pfc. Robert Fischer and Seaman Elmer Braundmeier, formerly of Alhambra and whose wife and daughter were living in Highland, both died on March 29, 1943. Robert Fischer’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fischer.

The body of Pfc. Robert Fischer was expected to arrive from France in early January 1948. Robert was killed March 29, 1943, at the Battle of St. Lo in France and was being returned to be reburied in the Highland City Cemetery on Feb. 8, 1948. Tibbetts & Co. Funeral Chapel received the casket and remains and had the services at the Tibbetts Funeral Chapel at 906 Broadway. The Rev. Fred Allrich of the Highland Evangelical Church had the service and reburial.

(I’m waiting on more information for Elmer Braundmeier, originally of Alhambra, who was also killed March 29, 1943.)

I will continue with Paratrooper Capt. Morris “Spike” Seefeldt, who jumped with the 101st Airborne, at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On his next jump he was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, Belgium, when the Germans broke through their lines.

Seefeldt was a World War II Veteran and I have a letter and now a phone call from Spikes’ daughter, Beverly Seefeldt Quade of Highland telling about some of Spike’s experiences. Morris was drafted at the age of 18, entered basic training at Camp Croft, in South Carolina. Then after basics, he was trained for the 101st Airborne Paratroopers, Co. H, 502nd Squadron and was given his Pair of Wings and his “cricket.” This cricket would be used to send messages by Morse code to another paratrooper.

Spike had 10 practice jumps, before the big combat jump at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. With his cricket, he could send messages to fellow paratroopers. (Morris had many experiences, the family knew that he had received a Purple Heart. He too, had a hard time to talk about his experiences for many years. His son, David, believes he was in his 70s before he was able to share the terrible stories with his family and friends.) The only story he could tell before that time, was: “After they survived their Normandy jump and many did not, they needed a motorcycle driver. Spike had driven a motorcycle once as a civilian so he volunteered. He was to deliver a classified coded message by motorcycle to the Division Headquarters, then located in Rimes, France, a distance of about 100 miles. On the way Spike was stopped by our MPs, for going too fast, 72 mph. He explained that he was sent on a mission and they escorted him the rest of the way.

Their next big jump, Spike was a radio operator and his second combat jump was near Best, Holland. Spike was wounded again, when the Germans broke through their lines near Bastogne, Belgium. He had his phone in his hand and a bullet hit and shattered the phone, wounding his hand and his face. Then, a shell exploded behind him, leaving some shrapnel and debris in his back. He was awarded another Purple Heart. He was made a battlefield commission of captain and later returned to battle at Karnten. (Many years later his daughter, Pamela Seefeldt (Benda, now of Chandler, Arizona.) joined the 101st Airborne at Fort Campell, Ky., and Spike proudly gave his daughter Pamela, “His new ‘Cricket.’”)

Spike came to Highland after the war to work in the Body Shop of Earl Williams Chevrolet, then followed by Genteman Chevrolet and retired from Steve Schmitt Inc. In 1948, Morris married Marian Heim, a sister of the four Heim brothers, Orville, Leonard and Herbert, who all served in World War II and her younger brother, Milton Heim was in the Army of Occupation in Japan. Spike and Marian had five children: Two daughters, Beverly and Pamela, and three sons, Steven, David and Jon. Dave will be remembered as Sgt. David Seefeldt of the Highland Police Department, where in 2001, he had been awarded the Employee of the Year and retired in 2009, after 31 years of service for the city. Marian died in 2005 and Morris died in 2013, both donating their bodies to science. A Memorial Bench was placed at St. Joseph Cemetery.

Don’t forget that the War Veterans Cabinet of the Highland Home Museum, will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Then the Museum will be open at 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. after the dedication. It is the day before Veterans Day and the Museum will not be open on the first Saturday of November, but will resume the first Saturday in December and will continue for 2019.