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BROTHERS IN ARMS
SoVaNow.com / June 05, 2014As the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaches, the military service of one Halifax County family in World War II has brought forth memories from a friend who witnessed the breadth of their sacrifice for country and freedom.
Four brothers in the Seamster family — Dempsey, David, Albert and Lenzy —— served in the war. Two of the brothers, David and Lenzy, were active in combat. A fifth member of the clan, Elmer, was drafted and sought unsuccessfully to join the Armed Forces, but was rejected due to medical reasons. Willing to fight and die for his country, he was told he could not.
All have passed, except for Albert Seamster.
The remarkable story of this family was told recently by Edwin Conner, who lives in the Clover area. Conner and the Seamsters grew up together, and Conner went to school with Dempsey, the youngest Seamster brother.
He’s known this church-going, patriotic family all his life.
David and Lenzy served in the European theater in World War II. Albert and Dempsey also served, although neither shipped out. The Seamsters were the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Seamster.
“Pretty unusual, that four brothers out of five served, and two of them in Europe,” said Conner, whose family has its own military legacy. “Both of them were lucky to get home, especially Lenzy.”
Lenzy was part of the extended D-Day operation, on D-Day Plus One, part of a five-man artillery unit. Following the Normandy landing and advance onto French soil, the unit suffered a direct hit from entrenched German forces. Four members of the unit were immediately killed.
A miracle saved Lenzy Seamster.
Lenzy had a harrowing experience, buried under mud and beneath planks upon which U.S. service members had set up artillery pieces, Conner recalled. Somehow, Seamster escaped the morass and wiggled free.
For 22 years, this part of the story remained a mystery. Finally, a commendation from the military explained how Seamster survived the direct attack from the enemy. The story finally emerged.
Seamster wanted badly to stand up and get to fellow soldiers who had been hit in the attack, but he could not quickly escape the mire. It was only later that he managed his escape on French soil.
Following his tour of duty, Lenzy Seamster made his life back home count. He returned to his family’s farming roots and became a contributor to the community. He lived in the Providence community, residing in what is now known as the Cove.
At his passing, Lenzy made a major financial contribution from his estate to the Triangle Fire Department and the Providence Presbyterian Church.
All told, this family has a significant legacy. They are part of a generation that has contributed vastly to Southside Virginia and to America — on D-Day, throughout World War II and during other U.S. military campaigns.
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