#onthisday in 1944, Quaker Springs’ Arthur Traver and the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion was revived from fighting after Normandy – D-day in World War II.
Quaker Springs’ Arthur Traver was part the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion arrived into battle at Normandy as part of D-day by glider on 6 June 1944. Poor visibility and low ceiling made air navigation extremely difficult. As a result, gliders were badly scattered for miles along the drop zone.
Traver describes that all the passengers on his glider were knocked out because of a rough landing. By 0930 the following day, only two howitzers were in action – one firing north and one firing south. By 8 June 1944, eight howitzers were firing in support of a coordinated offensive action undertaken by the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. The 320th continued offensive operations supporting the 325th throughout this early campaign.
On 13 June 1944, the Battalion reinforced the gun fire of the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion in support of the crossing of the Douve River, made by the 508th PIR. It was relieved from action on 11 July 1944. By the time the 320th and the entire 82nd Airborne Division was pulled back to England, it had seen 33 days of bloody combat and suffered 5,245 paratroopers killed, wounded or missing.
The Division’s post battle report read, “...33 days of action without relief, without replacements. Every mission accomplished. No ground gained was ever relinquished.” As a result of its actions in OPERATION OVERLORD, the Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. The French Croix de Guerre with Palm is pictured in the graphic above. The unit citation reads “A crack unit that brilliantly distinguished itself during the dropping of the 82d Airborne Division over France in the night 5-6 June 1944. In spite of the stiff resistance of the enemy and its very heavy losses, it managed by its military qualities and the gallantry of its personnel, to occupy the important position of Saint Mere I’Eglise, thus making possible the success of the landing in strength of the Allied liberating troops.”
Arthur Traver was born to a farm family living on Burke Road in the Town of Saratoga. His mother, Mary Morehouse Traver was described as “a person with high ideals for herself, her family, and her community” passed away when Traver was 6 years old. His father, Humphrey Travers raised him and his brothers and sisters while running the family farm.
It is this early life experience of hardship and hard work that had an indelible impact on Traver’s commitment to his community and country. Arthur Traver was drafted into the US Army. He served in the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division during WW II. He fought in Italy, Normandy D-Day, Operation Market Garden, and Battle of the Bulge.
When he returned home from the War, he married Marie Hutchinson. He joined the Quaker Springs Volunteer Fire Department. He served the community in the fire department for 64 years and held various positions including Fire Chief. After the War, Traver started a 25 year career driving a school bus for the Schuylerville Central Schools.
In 1950, Arthur Traver and his wife Marie opened Art’s Service Station. Art’s Service Station served as a gas station, grocery store, Wheel Horse products dealer and social network in Quaker Springs. You can learn about Arthur Traver by visiting https://ift.tt/299E8LC
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like Arthur Traver that help define this country, our region, and this community. It is the determination of our forefathers, in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.