Frank I. Bessinger (#32762727)

Picture taken 1944
Place of Birth
Date of Birth

Irvington, New Jersey
September 3, 1920
Technician Fift Grade

Medical Detachment
83rd Infantry
Combat Medic Badge, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, POW Medal, European-African-Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War Two Victory Medal,

Frank I. Bessinger from Irvington, New Jersey, was born on September 3, 1920 to George and Jenney Bessinger. He was fifth of six children having one brother and four sisters. Frank finished High School at the Irvington High School with the Class of 1942 before he joined the Army (#32762727). Frank was a T/5 in the 83rd Infantry Division.

Based on the background, it looks like they are at Medic school in the US.  Frank Bessinger on the right in both pictures. (courtesy Drew Bessinger)

The Morning Reports of Medical Detachment, Headquarters, Special Troops August 16, 1944 listed Bessinger Frank I. Pvt. as assigned and joined this unit from the 48th Replacement Battalion.

Frank I. Bessinger was reported missing in action on January 12, 1945. Checking the after action reports for the division, he presumably was in the Petite-Langlire area, Ardennes, Belgium, because that is where they were in action.  He was however never reported MIA in the official reports. Again, based on the fact that he was captured he presumably was assigned as a medic to a company in action or a field hospital that got overrun by the Germans.

His parents, received following Western Union telegram later that week. They did not receive any information or confirmation that he was alive and a POW until the latter part of March.


On January 31, 1945, a letter was sent from the War Department to Mr. George Bessinger, Frank's father, to confirm the recent telegram.


On March 11, 1945, two months after the first telegram, there is another Western Union telegram to his mother Mrs. G. (Troban) reporting Frank Bessinger as a Prisoner of War (POW).

Frank Bessinger was first in the POW camp at Moosburg, north of Munich, and then transferred to Sandbostel.  He had a schrapnel wound and jaundice, and was initially treated in Moosburg.


On May 27, 1945, there is another Western Union telegram to his father reporting Frank Bessinger as Returned to Military Control.

Frank was repatriated in April 45 from Stalag 10B in Sandbostel, northeast of Bremen. Over 50000 Russians died there, along with lots of others.


In amongst his Dad's stuff, Drew Bessinger, his son, found this armband. He took it to the POW Camp in Germany and the curator was not sure what it was from. Based on limited research this type of brassard was used by civilain workers to identify them from POW's. It has a small inked stamp on it.

Drew Bessinger got this drawing from the curator who discovered these in the archives of Stalag 10B. One of the drawings was of his dad, done in 1945 by an Italian POW.


Frank Bessinger survived the War but never spoke to his family about his POW experience and his Army time. His son Drew Bessinger tried to find out how and when he was captured and, as mentioned before, based on the official Reports of January 12, 1945 he probably was captured within the Langlire area.

Frank died on January 4, 1971 and is burried, togheter with his wife Ruth (1924-1992) at the Saint Catherine's Cemetery, Sea Girt, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Thanks to Drew Bessinger, son of Frank I. Bessinger, for all the information on his father. All pictures and documents are his courtesy.

During his last trip to Europe, Drew Bessinger, son of 83rd veteran Frank I. Bessinger, spent a few days at my hometown of Putte. We visited some interesting sights in our area and he was lucky to be in Europe at the time of Kamp 1944. This event takes place every 4-5 years and originally instituted as a recreation we now organised a big open air exhibition which was pretty unique and very succesful. 'We' is the WW2 collector Friends, a local association of WW2 collectors and enthousiasts.

I visited with Drew and his wife Yvonne the "Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance" in Mechelen

Me and Drew at a local Brewery in Mechelen

Drew at our local WWII exhibition "Camp 1944"

Major Anthony Sidoti from the US Ambassy in Belgium, Drew Bessinger and his wife Yvonne at the Opening Ceremony of "Camp 1944"

Laying of the wreaths for the 83rd Infantry Division Association
Wim Doms and Drew Bessinger at "Camp 1944"

Salute to The Stars Spangled Banner

Left to Right: Me, Drew Bessinger, Yvonne Bessinger, my mom, and two of our friends, town council member Chris Bosmans and her friend Marc