In Memory Of
Leon Alfred Boes
Herrick, South Dakota
Gregory County
March 13, 1920 – July 24, 1944
Killed in Action at St. Lo, France

Leon Alfred Boes

Leon Alfred Boes was born to Jacob and Hulda (Herrman) Boes on March 13, 1920 on the family farm, south of Herrick, South Dakota.  He was the eldest of eight children and had one brother, Naven, and six sisters: Nola Jean, Wanda, Orville, Shirley, Darnita, and Vivian. Leon was raised on the farm, and attended Allum country school through 8th grade, and then helped his parents’ farm until his country called him to duty on December 9th, 1941.

Leon’s induction into the Army was on February 25th, 1942, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he stayed until he was sent to South Carolina.  After a five-day furlough, he was stationed at Camp Gordon, in Augusta, Georgia.

While in training, Leon met Joyce Zimmer.  They were united in marriage in Evanston, Illinois, on November 7th, 1942.  They had one child, Bonnie Lynn, who was born on October 30th, 1943.  Leon was a proud man who loved and cared for his parents, siblings, and family.

PFC Leon Alfred Boes was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey in the winter of 1943, and from there to England to join the 8th Infantry Division. PFC Boes fought in the invasion of Normandy at Utah Beach, and St. Lo, France. PFC Boes was wounded at Utah Beach on June 6th, 1944, for which he received the Purple Heart for bravery.  After a brief hospitalization, he returned to his unit.

Purple Heart medal (front side)Purple Heart medal (back side)

PFC Boes constantly wrote letters to his loved ones. He would usually sign them either “Your son”, or “Soldier Boy Leon, forget me not”:

February 27, 1943

Dear mom and pa:
…I got my picture taken with my suit on and got it framed; I’ll send one home as quick
as I get around to it, they keep us pretty busy here, but don’t worry about me, take care of
the kids and forget me, because I don’t think I’ll ever get back.

February 2, 1944

Dear sis:
Don’t worry about me. I’ll take care of myself and if I’m not able to do it – we
have an awful nice Captain and Lieutenant that will see to it that I will be looked after.

March 22, 1944

…how is Dad getting along with the work I sure hope that he gets along with it alright, of
course Nevan can help him out quite a bit already, and so can Toots (Wanda). I had a
letter from Joyce about two days ago, I can’t wait until her letters get here. She wrote and
told me that everything was still ok, and that Bonnie is getting to be a big girl…

June 19th, 1944

…just a few lines to let you know that I’m still alive and that I’m in the hospital, I’d sure
like to tell you what happened, but I can’t…don’t go worrying about me. I’m in a good
hospital and getting good care…

PFC Leon Alfred Boes was killed at St. Lo, France on July 24, 1944 by friendly fire, when a bombing and attack scenario went bad and killed most of his unit. He was originally buried at France, but was later reburied on January 13th, 1948, in Herrick, South Dakota. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Joyce and 10 month old daughter Bonnie Lynn, parents Jacob and Hulda, one brother Naven, and six sisters: Orvilla Hanig, Wanda Engel, Darnita, Vivian, Nola Jean Jaros, and Shirley.

Valerie Baker and Michale Gunter, 7th grade, Bonesteel–Fairfax Jr. High School, Bonesteel, South Dakota, and Brittni Boes, Fort Pierre Middle School, May 20, 2002, respectfully submitted this entry. Nola Jean Jares, Winner, South Dakota and Shirley E. Vosika, Gregory, South Dakota, sisters of Leon Boes, and Douglas Leon Boes, nephew of PFC Leon Boes, provided information for this entry