Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society honors Sgt. Roy Sowers
By Megan Exline
Commoner Journal staff writer
ALLENSVILLE – The Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society honored a late World War II veteran and former prisoner of war during a memorial service held Saturday at the Mount Olive Cemetery.
Sgt. Roy Sowers, of Vinton County, was born Oct. 5, 1915 and had two brothers and two sisters. He was drafted during World War II. He fought in Belgium, Holland, France and Germany before being captured on Oct. 16, 1944, by the Nazis during a battle at Altdrewitz, Germany.
The Nazis placed Roy and fellow soldiers in the prison camp Stalag III E.
He was a POW for three and a half months, during which time he kept a log that detailed the hardships he and his fellow soldiers soldiers.
He escaped from captivity on Jan. 31, 1945, when the Nazis were in the middle of evacuating the prisoners to another prison camp and were intercepted by the Russians. The Russians took Sowers and his fellow soldiers to a farmhouse, where they stayed for several days before journeying through Germany and Poland.
Sowers arrived in Poland Feb. 8, left Europe April 19 and made it home on April 24, 1945.
“It was hard. I had little boys when he was drafted and I had my third child when he was in the service. He didn’t see the baby until he was 9-months-old,” his widow, Margaret Sowers, said.
Roy and Margaret had six children — Beverly, Brett, Doug, Jim, Jeff and Bill.
During his lifetime, he was a superintendent for the Vinton County State Highway Department, a farmer, a member of the McArthur United Methodist Church, the Vinton County DAV Chapter 95, the VFW Post 5299 and the Allensville School Board.
Roy died Oct. 27, 1991.
Margaret is a member of the Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society and volunteers there once a week. She first found out they were going to honor Roy about a month ago.
Her family lives in Lancaster, Chillicothe and the Allensville area.
Colin Tripp, 13, Sowers’ great-grandson, played taps at the ceremony.
“I’m very proud of my whole family,” Margaret said.