We shall not forget

ROBERT COWAN ROLPH

The Citadel Class of: 1946  
Cadet Company: D (Source: Sphinx 1943)
Age: 23
Born: 8-Feb-22 in Whittier, California
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Family: Samuel W. Rolph
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Servicenumber: 14115904
Entered the Service from: Pennsylvania
Function: not available
Regiment: 406th Infantry Regiment
Battalion: 3rd
Division: 102nd Infantry Division
Company: L
Unit: not available
Date of death: 25-Feb-45
Status: KIA
Place of death: Haverhof, Germany
Spot: not available
Awards: Purple Heart
Gravenumber: Plot D Row 9 Grave 8
Cemetery: Netherlands American Cemetery
Biography: Member of Battery C, 2nd AntiAircraft Training Battalion, Fort Eustis, Virginia, June 1943

Member of Section 6, Company A, 2517th Service Unit (AST), Catholic University of America,
Washington, D.C., October 1943

Other information: Lone Sentry book – 102d thru Germany: WWII Unit History 102nd Infantry Division

A Brief History of the 102nd Division, U.S. Army, Compiled by Wilson R. Reed, Brig. Gen. US Army (retired)

Sources: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Citadel Archive & Museum, Mike Stannard ’65, Find A Grave.com, Steven Smith ’84, William Rolph

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7 responses

  1. Rob Brüll

    Hello, myn name is Rob BRÜLL and i am from the Netherlands. my son and i have adopted the grave of this hero. We are trying to get a message to his remaining familie to let them now the he is being taking care off. We visit his grave frequenthly to let him now that he won’t be forgotten. Perhaps somebody now something about his familie to get this message to them.

    Rob and Micha Brüll

    May 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    • William Rolph or Bill Rolph

      Dear Rob and Micha,

      Perhaps you have heard about me via Roger Long and Major Steven Smith, on the faculty at The Citadel College in South Carolina. I have been in correspondence with Major Smith about my uncle, Robert Cowen Rolph (RCR), whose grave you are so graciously taking care of. My brother and I are deeply touched by your caring for our Uncle Bobby’s grave site. We knew he was buried in Holland, but did not know until last month where exactly it was and who was caring for the grave. We both thank you deeply. It was Major Smith who told me about Roger Long, both of you, and gave me the Internet addresses so I could see for myself. You can appreciated how deeply affected I am by learning about you and the meaning of this family tradition. Tears are in my eyes as I write to you.

      In cooperation with Major Smith and the coordination of Roger Long you will receive before Summer a parcel that has some things about Robert Cowen Rolph. These are a gift to you, a token of appreciation from my family to you. Coming to you will be at least the things listed here that I know about right now:
      a) the burial flag from the 1949 burial of RCR where he lies now; b) RCR’s Purple Heart Certificate; c) photos of RCR (my Uncle Bobby) in Army uniform, some photos in Europe during The War, especially a couple of photos of RCR and his buddy Bob McCue; and d) photos of my grandparents, Bobby’s parents, which I imagine you will appreciate. RCR’s father, S. Wyman Rolph, was an outstanding executive and industrialist in Philadelphia, who was very active in his roles in support of WWII in the electrical industry and the research sector. He was revered by peers and friends.

      I may send you a few letters written back and forth where my Uncle Bobby talks about life in the trenches. I am preparing these letters as a donation to an historical society now, and will photocopy some to send along. These will give you some idea about RCR. He was his father’s son, in that everyone liked him and respected him.

      Isn’t it wonderful that after all these years, we can connect and communicate with each other. I think so. The tradition you uphold in your family to “adopt” a soldier and care for his grave is a wonderful spiritual and honoring commitment. Again, thank you very much. Let’s stay in contact now and in the future. I live in Ottawa, capitol of Canada. I am married, have a son, whose family includes seven children. We all live near each other now. I am 74 years old. I am still at work as a consultant — sometimes as an archivist.

      Blessings to you both,

      Bill Rolph
      (William Phillips Rolph)

      March 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm

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  3. Rob Brüll

    Dear Mr. Rolph, first of all I would like to thank you for the letter you
    send me. I’m glad I could let you know that we, my son Micha (14years) and I
    for Robert. We visit regularly as said before his grave. In first place to
    let Robert know that he will never be forgotten because I am well aware that
    I by his sacrifice now can live as I want. Secondly, do we do this also to
    support the family, they have finally lost a family member for the freedom
    of mankind.

    I am 49 years old and i work now 29 years at the police in Maastricht in
    Netherlands. I also trying to improve the live of other people. And I can
    do that because people like Robert and I will always be aware of it.

    Secondly, when I read that we may receive the burialflag of Robert I got
    extremely cold with excitement. I think it is a dire honor that I may
    receive this flag and you may know that I along with my son we take very
    good care of it. He is in good hands. I’m also curious about the photos and
    letters. I hope to get an even better picture of Robert and his life during
    the war.
    I hope we can frequently mail over the life of Robert.

    With best regards Rob Brüll

    March 11, 2013 at 11:30 pm

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  5. BIll ROlph

    Dear Rob Brüll,

    It is Summer now in Ottawa. Spring for us was very short this year; Winter was long and bitterly cold. It is wonderful to be back outdoors.
    I am now turning my attention to my Uncle Bob’s letters and other letters about him. I am the family archivist, and this effort is another step in scanning and then turning the original documents over to an archive in Philadelphia, my old home town and the home of Robert Cowen Rolph
    and his parents, S. Wyman Rolph and Viola Hopf Rolph. It is amazing how much documentation and photos there has been. ## I am annotating a Chronology about My Uncle Bob’s life, which will include a selection of his letters home from “the front, ” from the trenches. I intend to finish this project by August. I will send you photocopies of this Chronology, so you will have an understanding about his life. I had a fresh look at this website because I wanted to see how the permanent cemetery setup looks. I have photos and documentation about the earlier cemetery before 1949, when it was turned over to The American Battle Monuments Commission for permanent care and management. ## I treasure the picture of you and your son taken two years ago. Now in 2014 you would be 51 years old and your son 16 (is that correct?). ## For your information, I found a letter from Bob McCue’s Mother to my Grandmother (Viola Hopf Rolph) dated 19 July 1949 – by this date the McCue’s and my grandparents had been in correspondence with each other since 1945 several times. In fact, my grandparents drove to Ohio to visit the McCue’s during or slightly before 1949. I also have correspondence between Alice Mingels of Groeneveld, who apparently with her family were the first family to care for and maintain my Uncle Bob’s grave; there was also mention of Bob McCue’s grave, which probably was also cared for. Mrs. Mingels and my grandparents got to know each other, and this occurred before the cemetery was turned over to the Commission by the US Army. She addressed my grandparents as “Dear Family.” My grandparents went to Europe in 1949, and I believe met the Mingels. Do you know about Mingels family, who lived at Rijhsweg 34, Groeneveld? ## I am placing all these documents in a 3-ring binder together. The photo of you and your son Micha will be the first page, followed by the print-outs of this website about Uncle Bob. Then all the documents I have will follow in chronological order, latest to earliest. ## Blessings to you and Micha — and also to your wife (?). My brother and I are very grateful for your commitment to take care of Uncle Bob’s grave. May you and your family have strong and good health. ## Cordially, Bill Rolph, Ottawa, Canada.

    May 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

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