Cornelius M. Sinon

Branch: ARMY
Rank: Private
Outfit: 3rd Infantry Div, 7th Infantry Reg, Co. “F”

Cornelius M. Sinon was born in 1925 to parents Tunis and Rose Sinon. “Neal” was the younger brother of Jacob H. and older brother to Mary J. The family lived at 15 Third Avenue in Mount Ephraim. On July 21, 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Camden, NJ. After basic training, he was shipped to a replacement depot in Europe and placed in the 7th Infantry Regiment “Cotton Balers", 2nd Battalion, Company “F”. Part of the 3rd Infantry Division. 
The 3rd Division was one of the few divisions of the U.S. Army during World War II that fought the Axis on all European fronts, and was among the first American combat units to engage in offensive ground combat operations. The 3rd Infantry Division saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany and Austria for 531 consecutive days. Private Cornelius Sinon was most likely killed while being ferried across the Rhine River from Frankenthal to Sandhofen, Germany. He was one of 24 soldiers from the 7th infantry who perished that day. 
The following is an except taken from the book: "From Fedala to Berchtesgaden” by Nathan William White.
It was the third time in World War II that the Seventh Infantry had reached the Rhine River. On the first two occasions at Strasbourg and east of Colmar orders were not forthcoming for a jump across the water barrier but this time the "Cotton Balers" had received the nod and were ready to add the Rhine to the long list of creeks, streams and rivers crossed by men of the Regiment in this great conflict.
In the closing days of March 1945 the enemy knew the river was to be crossed north of Mannheim. At 2040 on the 25th two large explosions on the east side of the river were heard. One machine gun on the enemy side of the river fired spasmodically. The boat carrying parties dragged the storm and assault boats to the crossing sites. At 2220 the enemy started laying in artillery and mortar fire on the Seventh Infantry crossing sites and assembly areas. The engineers suffered nine casualties as some of the boats were hit and destroyed. Smoke was laid-in around Sandhofen and the American artillery opened up counter-battery fire.
The foot troops moved out and at midnight the First Battalion troops closed into their final assembly area. The Third Battalion troops were assembled in their area at 0100. The Second Battalion passed through Morsch at 0145 and at 0223 was closed into the final assembly area.
The Third Division and XV Corps Artillery opened up with their pre-H-Hour concentrations at 0152. It was a terrific barrage that the supporting arm laid down. Other weapons joined fire. In the short period of 38 minutes to H-Hour 10,000 rounds of high explosive ammunition were fired. One would think that such a terrific barrage would silence all enemy weapons, but not so. Enemy mortars and self-propelled guns continued to fire and with deadly accuracy. The enemy hit a barn with an incendiary shell, in the vicinity of an observation post used by the Commanding Officer and set it afire. The burning barn, and flares shot into the sky by the enemy, lit up the area, silhouetted the men and boats and made them excellent targets for the enemy who poured in deadly machine gun, mortar and SP fire.
Undaunted by the enemy opposition the "Cotton Balers" of the First and Third Battalions climbed into the boats and shoved off from the western bank. All hell broke loose as the enemy increased his fire. Some of the boats were hit with the men killed and the boats made into kindling. Other boats developed motor trouble and floundered around on the river. But others succeeded during the confusion and roar of the guns and crossed with their assaulting troops to return for more human cargo. On the far bank more fire from enemy mortars and self-propelled guns was received but the troops pushed on.
At 0340 all the assault troops of both the First and Third Battalions were across the river and closing in on their objectives. Enemy troops occupying a final protective line before Sandhofen opened up on the advancing "Cotton Balers" with fire from automatic weapons and tanks. 
By 0500 the First Battalion overcame all resistance before Sandhofen and entered the town to become engaged in a bitter house-to-house battle that raged all day. The Third Battalion on the left encountered less opposition and moved rapidly that morning.
Meanwhile the Second Battalion, which had closed into its forward assembly area and waited for orders to cross the river, had to endure the deadly enemy fire which inflicted casualties of killed and wounded. At 0600 Company "F" started the Second Battalion movement across the river with whatever boats were on hand. Of the first three to start out two were hit by enemy fire and capsized. Several of the men were killed. The boat shuttling continued amid the rain of hostile shells and it was not until 0800 that "Fox" Company was completely across the river. At 1100 the White Battalion troops were all on the east side and moved to the vicinity of the dyke before Sandhofen."
After crossing the Rhine into Germany, the 7th took part in the seizing Munich before heading to Austria, reaching the Salzburg area in the waning days of the war. It is said that elements of the regiment had the honor of capturing Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgaden.
Cornelius was survived by his mother Rose, brother Jacob (also a WWII Veteran), and sister Mary (later married to Thomas J. Finn). His father, Tunis had passed away only 5 months before his son had enlisted. Private Sinon is buried in Plot D Row 47 Grave 17 at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.


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