The Memoirs of Robert Dings

Robert Dings 1943

Robert's Story

At Fort Belvoir 1941 with the 85th

Robert Dings enlistment began March 14, 1941 at Syracuse, New York. At that time he was a resident of Oswego County in the state of New York. Early in his enlistment he would be a part of a medical detachment, serving as a medic with the 85th Engineers. His duty with the 85th would include: training at Ft. Belvoir, the '41 La. Manuevers, training at Plattsburg Barracks, and the '42 Carolina Maneuvers. He remained with the 85th until late 1942 when the Battalion departed Plattsburg for Camp Maxey, Texas. At that time Robert stayed at Plattsbug Barracks and was assigned to another unit.

Although sketchy, what is known at this time is that Robert remained in the States until 1944. During this time he: continued training at Plattsburg, trained on Higgins Boats near Martha's Vineyard, attended a mine and explosives school in Texas, and by May of 1944 was serving as a 1st Sgt. with the 1286th Combat Engineers at Camp Rucker, Alabama.

Later in '44 Robert would board the troop ship New Amsterdam and during the next two years he would see service in England, France, and Germany before returning to Boston Harbor in August of 1945 on the S.S. Richardson.

Robert Dings passed away October 2, 2007.

The Medical Detachment page of this website contains photos from the collection of Robert Dings.  Below are additional photos.


Building a timber and steel truss bridge at Plattsburg, Spring 1943 with the 85th
85th bridge work at Plattsburg
Testing the bridge
Robert Dings, Motor Sgt Horsty of Alabama, and unidentified soldiers 1943
Just before leaving for overseas in 1944
Heading overseas on the troop ship New Amsterdam
With the 1286th
In Cheltenham, England with the 1286th
Command tent
Dings and Sgt Otroski in France 1944
In France 1944
In England, March 1945 L-R: Robert Dings, Lt. Skale, Lt. Brader, Lt. Jett with the 1286th.
Coming home via Boston Harbor 1945
Robert's obituary, He passed away in 2007 at the age of 88

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Latest comments

14.03 | 19:59

My name is Larry Burrows and my grandfather is Paul Burrows, a dozer driver nicknamed "Donk". He was is the *85th. I was curious if anyone had any stories?

14.03 | 12:32

I love this picture. Donk is my grandpa. His name is Paul Burrows!

31.07 | 17:13

The history provides their path. From Italy they landed in France. The history on the website provides that route traveled. Same with Germany

31.07 | 17:08

85th landed at Oran, North Africa,not a safe place to visit. You might want to start in Italy at Port of Bagnoli. Then follow the “Italy” history here.

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