Marshall Webb (339th Infantry) Graffiti - Tremensuoli
The graffiti site and two explanatory panels are about half way up the narrow road.Commemorative Object
Staff Sergeant Marshall A Webb served with the Company E, 2ndBattalion, 339thInfantry “The Polar Bears”, 85thInfantry Division. On March 30, 1944, then Private First Class Webb carved his name into a wall in Tremensuoli – military graffiti - as the 85thDivision moved into line in and around Tremensuoli against the formidable German “Gustav” defensive line. Staff Sergeant Webb participated in the 85thDivision’s “baptism of fire” during Operation Diadem- the attack on the Gustav Line (4thBattle of Cassino) on May 11, 1944 and the subsequent breaking of the Gustav line. Staff Sergeant Webb served with the 339th Infantry for the duration of the war. In addition to leaving a detailed oral history in 1986, he wrote a poem on May 10thabout the impending about attack of the Gustav Line from Tremensuoli. He penned over 80 poems during and about his wartime experience.
From the University of Kentucky Library where his papers and an oral history which included the battle of Tremensuoli are located:
“World War II veteran and lifetime resident of Campbellsville, Taylor County, Ky. Born Feb. 24, 1922. Served in the 5th Army, 85th Infantry Division, 339th Infantry Company E. Drafted December 3, 1942 and honorably discharged Oct. 21, 1945. Shipped to Africa in 1944 and left for Italy a few months later. Participated in a major attack in Tremensuoli, Italy on May 11, 1944. Earned a purple heart medal and a bronze star. Married Opal Keen (born October 3, 1928) on February 13, 1947, and had three children, Eva (died March 28, 1994), Marsha, and Roger. Worked as a farm hand (1940-1942) and as a print operator. After the war, Died May 26, 2004. Buried at Green River Memorial Cemetery, Campbellsville, Ky”
To listen to the oral history of Marshall Webb’s World War II experience in the 339thInfantry, google: Interview with Marshall Webb University of Kentucky. There is also a significant collection of Webb’s World War II remembrances and poems.
A poem Private First Class Webb wrote about the battle of Tremensuoli:
Somewhere in Italy, on the 11thof May
We waited for our orders one cool, cloudy day.
As we waited patiently and darkness drew near,
We received our orders ---- To have no fear.
As I looked at my watch, it was just even ten;
At eleven was h-hour, then all hell would begin.
As we stood in the darkness sweating out the time
Waiting to attack the Gustav Line.
The moon was like a searchlight, as we reached no man’s land
I put my trust in God, and he took me by the hand
He’s the one who gave me courage, faith that I wouldn’t mind
Gave me strength to push forward – burst through the Gustav line.
As we struggled to push forward, how the shells whistled and whined
Yet I had my trust in God that the next one wasn’t mine.
As the sweat stood on my forehead, there was lots on my mind.
But now the American doughboys were crossing over that Gustav line.
Then we reached our main objective but just at the break of day
Death in hell struck our company --- all around me my buddies lay.
As I knelt down by my buddy, he knew it was his time,
“Thank God we won our Victory—we hold the Gustav Line.”
You can talk of all your battles and history will tell
But the one fought at Treminsola was sure bloody hell
And when we reach the U.S.A. these thoughts will dwell in mind,
How we fought and fell in Treminsola taking over the Gustav Line.
For more about the Battle of Tremensuoli, the 339thInfantry, the 85thDivision and their operations along the Gustav Line in this area, contact the War Museum Gustav Line Garigliano Front in Castelforte.
The Graffiti reads:
M A WEBB
1944 MARCH 30
(There is a heart carved to the right of his name)
Two informational panels provide background on Marshall Webb and websites to see more information (See attached pictures).
One informational panel includes a poem by Webb written about his service in Italy:
One more river to cross…
Spring is coming in Italy
The grass is turning green
Christmas has come and winter is gone
Ten years to us it has seemed
We now in defense in Italy
But the time will come again
To fight our way into the Po
And bring this thing to an end
We all remember Treminsola
And the days we fought for Rome
The rivers we crossed and the hills we took
But yet we farther from home
We can always remember Salerno
Where buddies fought and fell
as well as the beach Head at Anzio
Where lots of our buddies still dwell.