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Dennis Mc Keen family

The US godparents' choice of the statue by the Family Mc Keen was easy.

The choice of the family Mc Keen was easy: on May 2nd 2006, Robert Remacle and his wife, Gisele Pecheur, asked to be the godparents of a U.S. soldier killed in the perimeter of Bastogne.
Mr. Hoocker and Mr. Joris from the American Cemetery in Neupre entrusted them with the memory of Dennis Mc Keen, a very young U.S. soldier, married and father of a little Mary-Ann who was born six weeks after the departure of her father to Europe ... specifically Belgium.

When the mayor of Bastogne Philippe Collard came to see the almost finished statue, Robert Remacle asked to have a US godmother and a US godfather , but also a Belgian godmother and a Belgian godfather. Robert suggested, as American godmother, the daughter of Dennis Mc Keen: Mary Ann Mc-Keen.

Dennis Mc Keen and Clara at their Marriage

This photo of Mary-Ann's father is the only one that she has. Please, contact us if you happen to have a photo of Dennis Mc Keen.
Thank you very much.

Dennis Mc Keen's resume

Mary Ann Mc Keen - Daughter of Dennis
Jason Mc Keen - Son of Mary Ann
Emily Mc Keen - Wife of Jason
Cynthia Mc Keen - Daughter of Emily and Jason

His name is inscribed on the marble lining at the Memorial Cemetery of Neupre:

Here is his story

Thanks to the documents gathered by Robert Remacle, a member of our Circle of History, we can trace the history of the end of one of the many GI's fallen in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, missing (MIA: missing in action) and whose body has not been identified.

Dennis McKeen was born on April 22nd, 1921 in Ashland, 0hio. He got married on February 26th, 1943. He was the father of Mary-Ann. He lived in Calhoun, Michigan. He enlisted on Jan. 20th, 1942, at Fort Custer in Michigan. He was part of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was a technician in Company C of the 85th Reconnaissance Battalion.

We have no information about his arrival in the region of Bastogne, neither on his movements there.

On January 3rd, 1945, he was seriously wounded in his stomach by German small arms fire, one mile northwest of Bizory. A medic testified that he had no longer spoken after being hit because he was in a state of extreme shock. He was placed in a jeep by the medic and the driver, to go to Bizory. They were attacked by the heavy fire of the german artillery and a medic, George HAGEAL and MCKEEN were captured before reaching the aid station. George HAGEAL explained that Dennis had died during the transfer to the German headquarters and that his body had been left along the road, about five or ten miles east of Bastogne.

The search for the body, after the end of the hostilities in the area of Bizory, was undertaken in Bastogne and in the villages of Bourcy, Boevange, and Winseler Harlange, but it was negative. Forest rangers, gamekeepers, priests, people who had not been evacuated during the Offensive Von Rundstedt, German captive soldiers working in Belgium and or in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg were questioned in vain.

The bodies of unknown GI's , found in Wardin, Bizory, Mageret, Longvilly, Rachamps, Bourcy, Michamps, Arloncourt did not square with the description of Dennis McKeen. He is not reported in the American cemetery in Hamm (GD) either. MIA , he is assumed dead one year and one day after his disappearance : on January 4th, 1946.

On May 23rd, 1946, his father wrote to the office responsible for the register of graves to find the burial place of his son. The answer on 24th June 1946, explained that the research had been unsuccessful to date. The name of Dennis McKeen is engraved on the Memorial Cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz and Mr. and Mrs. Remacle adopted this disappeared soldier. Dissatisfied with being unable to find an answer to his research, Mr. Remacle started inquiries in the region of Buret, Tavigny and Bernistap.

He also learned, on reading « civilians testify ...» P. 153-160 (published by the Circle of history in 1994, but the book is sold out), That there had been a German lazarette in Bernistap and that the wounded had been treated there.

Further research led him to forget this track and Mr. Remacle would like to focus his investigations on the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. Who can help him ???

Robert FERGLOUTE ( with the help of Mr. Remacle, whom we thank.)
Circle of History of Bastogne

Here are the statements of the Medic that accompanied him during his last moments and the circumstances of his death, followed by some personal papers of Dennis:

Personal papers of Dennis