Lloyd Renfro Interview

I happened upon this interview of Lloyd Renfro (recorded 2008), conducted by the AM talk radio host of Hometown Heroes. Lloyd was living in Fresno at the time of the interview. He served in the 144th on the California coast and went on to form the 733rd with 90 other soldiers from the 144th (along with grandpa Ivo and Ambrose Little). He was a message commander (actual title?) who would relay messages between HQ Battery, the gun batteries, and the Forward Observers.

War Buddies

Before meeting Ambrose Little, my family always thought this photo was taken in Paris after the war. After speaking to Ambrose (who was there), it seems that this isn’t the case. It was taken in the US sometime around Christmas 1943 towards the end of training. In the photo from left to right: Stillman, Bill McGrath, [grandpa] Ivo Schommer, and Charlie Blue (sp?). Interesting note: While still stationed in Germany after the end of the war, Bill McGrath was issued a furlough so he could go back to Denbigh (Wales) to marry the girl he met there. Grandpa Ivo traveled with him and was his best man. Bill and his new wife moved back to Ventura after the war. Grandpa Ivo and Stillman remained in contact until grandpa Ivo passed in 2003.

155mm Long Tom

Dated 20 August 1944, this is an excellent reel demonstrating the way the 155mm Long Tom was prepared and used in battle – including cleaning, aiming, and firing. The video helps illustrate just how powerful the Long Tom really was. The 733rd fielded four Long Toms – one in each of the batteries. Unfortunately the Army was segregated during this period, with a strictly black company being depicted in this video. I’m glad we have moved so far from this mindset of segregation that it has become a completely foreign concept. Contextual note: The battle for Paris was 19-25 August 1944, which was fought mostly by the French Resistance and French Army, and did not include Artillery.


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Captain David P. Young

A video memorializing Captain David Powell Young with pictures of the 733rd, most likely B Battery (where grandpa Ivo served). Captain Young was in charge of the B Battery of the 733rd. A great deal of research finally revealed that the author of the video is the son-in-law of Captain Young. I have not been able to contact him (yet). Unfortunately it seems that Captain Young passed in 2011. Grandpa Ivo admired Captain Young very much, and as a Forward Observer he probably spent a reasonable amount of time with him – if not in the Battery, then in the Army Jeep in ‘no man’s land’ (surveying enemy outposts). Grandpa Ivo was the radio operator.

733rd Video

This video was put together by someone related to a soldier in the 733rd. It has a great deal of information, and I used some of it to cross-reference marker data on my map. I wish I could get the individual pictures and documents that are in this video. If you have access to this information, please let me know on the blog page.


The lead singer of Athlete (British band) wrote this song to honor his grandfather who fought with the British Armed Forces during the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. This acoustic performance was recorded where his grandfather lie wounded in Arnhem, Netherlands. I thought it was worth including. The full band version with a reenactment of the event can be found here. Note: The 733rd did not see action in this battle, which was further north than the 733rd ever traveled. During this time (mid-November 1944) the 733rd was about 300 miles due south shelling Metz, France.