Friday, September 13, 2013
“He’s the bravest guy I ever saw,” said a soldier about Lieutenant Beryl Newman. Newman and the Army’s “Red Bull” 34th Infantry Division, fought the Germans at the Anzio beachhead in Italy for 43 days straight before breaking out from the German encirclement. Newman helped lead the way in May, 1944.
Newman, with only a platoon behind him, was in the forefront when three German machine guns “opened fire from a peaceful-looking olive grove on a hillside.” At great personal risk, Newman charged ahead through a wheat field.
On this date in 1945, a Victory Bond “American Heroes” advertisement showed an illustration of Beryl Newman proceeding single-handedly against the German machine-gunners, his Thompson submachine-gun blazing. The text read: “Seeing his two squads of infantry pinned down by enemy machine-gun fire, Lt. Beryl R. Newman, Fargo, N.D., boldly advanced, wounding two with his Tommy gun and chasing two others into a house. When the latter two attempted to retake a gun, he killed them. Then he kicked in the door of the house and forced eleven armed enemy gunners to surrender. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.”
Beryl Richard Newman’s Fargo connection came from playing football at NDSU from 1933 to 1936. Born and raised in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Newman became a football star. At NDSU, Newman studied agriculture, lettered in football, and graduated from NDSU’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
In World War II, Lieutenant Newman suffered a shoulder wound in the North Africa campaign; recovered, and then was wounded a second time in Sicily. Not long after Anzio, Newman got a severe concussion when the tank he was riding in hit a mine. That ended his military career and gave him headaches that affected him for the rest of his life.
After getting the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony in 1945, Newman settled down in Virginia with his wife Emiline and raised four children. Newman was a commercial oysterman and crab fisherman for over fifty years.
Newman “never liked to talk too much about what happened” in Italy, his wife Emiline said,” but “he said God was walking beside him all the way through that wheat field, because he could hear the bullets flying” and he was mercifully unhurt.
Beryl Newman died in 1998, at age 87. NDSU honored Newman by inducting him into the Bison Battalion Hall of Valor as an ROTC graduate.
Dakota Datebook written by Dr. Steve Hoffbeck, History Department, MSU Moorhead.
Sources: Woody Cowan, “American Heroes: U.S. Treasury Department Victory Bond” advertisement, Brainerd [MN] Daily Dispatch, September 13, 1945, p. 12.
“1LT Beryl Newman: Bison Battalion Hall of Valor,” NDSU Army ROTC, http://www.ndsu.edu/armyrotc/hall_of_valor.html, accessed on March 26, 2013.
“Baraboo Prepares to Honor Lieut. Newman, Wearer of Nation’s Highest Military Honor,” Wisconsin State Journal, October 29, 1944, p. 15.
“Obituary: Newman’s Heroism brought Medal of Honor,” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, March 13, 1998.
“Palace Guard Routs Germans,” Reno Evening Gazette, August 18, 1944, p. 8.
“Top Award Given to 7 By President,” New York Times, January 11, 1945, p. 25.
“FR Gives Fargoan Medal of Honor,” Bismarck Tribune, January 11, 1945, p. 2.
“Fargoan Gets Medal of Honor,” Bismarck Tribune, January 16, 1945, p. 2.
“Congress Medals Awarded By FR,” Moorhead Daily News, January 10, 1945, p. 1.
“Bison Face Maroons In Loop Inaugural Tonight,” Moorhead Daily News, October 4, 1935, p. 4.
“Bison Face Tough 10-Game Schedule With Small Squad,” Bismarck Tribune, September 7, 1935, p. 10.
“Only Three Lettermen Missing As Bison Call Roll,” Bismarck Tribune, August 31, 1934, p. 8.