U. S. Army, World War II

Private, 401st Glider Infantry 101st Airborne

Died 25 September 1944.

Buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands.

Awarded Purple Heart & Silver Star.

Photos & cemetery information provided by ELLY HOOFS, the Netherlands, Holland, October 2006.


Netherlands American Cemetery


     Each Memorial Day, a beautiful ceremony is held at the American Cemetery, founded by Captain Shoman, to honor the American soldiers who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. As Elly said, "All the soldiers died for us and many are still missing." In fact, 1722 names of the missing are listed on a wall at the cemetery.

     The idea of adopting graves of the American liberators started in February 1945, at which time a citizens' committee, "Burger Comite Margraten," launched a campaign to promote the adoption of the graves. The adoptors were expected to visit the grave, maintain it and lay flowers. Communication with the surviving relatives was also encouraged. By the second Memorial Day (1946) all of the 18,764 graves had been adopted.

     In 2002, the work of the cemetery committee was taken over by the Association for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery of Margraten. The Internet is making it easier to communicate with the deceased veterans' families.


Grave of West Virginia Soldier, Leander Reel

     For at least sixty years, the grave of LEANDER REEL at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, has been cared for by the family of ELLY HOOFS. Her parents "adopted" the American soldier's grave and they maintained it for about forty years. For the past twenty years, Elly has been the main caretaker of the grave, with the assistance of her niece.


Mrs. Elly Hoofs



Elly's Parents


1994 - Elly's "Mam"
Holding flowers she would place on Leander's grave.

     Leander Reel was the son of John O. Reel of Milroy, Grant County, West Virginia. His mother was probably Mary E., maiden name unknown, shown as the wife of John O. Reel in the 1920 census of Grant County. His mother apparently died and John Oliver Reel married Lottie Alt, the daughter of Henry and Levina (Kimble) Alt.

     Lottie Alt Reel Hockman, stepmother of Leander, died in September 1986. From the Grant County Message Board at Rootsweb.com:

     Mrs. Lottie (Alt) Reel Hockman, 81, died Monday, September 1, 1986 at Grant Memorial Hospital, Petersburg.      Born in Pendleton County February 10, 1905, she was a daughter of the late Hanry Alt and Levina (Kimble) Alt.      Mrs. Hockman was member of the Falls Assembly of God Church, Maysville. Her first husband, John Oliver Reel, died December 10, 1965.      Surviving are two sons, Ralph C. Alt, Burlington; Charles Reel, Placerville, Calif.; three daughters, Mrs. Ann Hess and Mrs. Irene Berg, both of here; Mrs. Louella Rodgers, Annandale, Va.; three stepdaughters, Nora Reel, Dorcas, Mrs.Dora Cook, Upper Tract; Viola Schultz, Landover, Md.; four sisters, Mrs. Janie Whetzel, Purgitsville; Mrs. Nina Helmick, Upper Tract; Mrs. Margie Davis, here; Mrs. Rhoda Roy, Durgon; 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

     Charles Junior Reel was the half brother of Leander Reel. From the Grant County Press:

Charles Junior Reel, ENC (SS), U.S. Navy retired, 73, died Aug. 23 (2005), at his home, Placerville, Calif.

Born in Petersburg, March 15, 1932, he was the son of the late John O. Reel and Lottie M. (Alt) Reel. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Ralph C. Alt, William E. Reel and Leander Reel; and one sister, Viola Insani.

He is survived by his wife, Kristine (Brown) Reel; two sons, Jason Brown, of Placerville, Califl and Jeremy Brown, Redding, Calif.; two grandchildren, Austin Reel Brown and Kayden Faith Brown, Redding; five sisters, Louella Rodgers, Annandale, Va., Anna Lee Hesse and Irene Berg, both of Maysville, Nora Reel, Petersburg, and Dora Cook, Upper Tract; and several nieces and nephews.

He had a military burial at sea. Arrangements were under the direction of the Pines, Placerville, Calif.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.


"The 2nd Bn of the 401st Gli Inf was transferred to the
325th gli Inf in the 82nd Abn Div for the rest of the war.
The transfer for the entire Bn was done on March 10, 1944."

Provided by Brian Siddall.

Message sent by Brian Siddall to Linda Fluharty and Kevin Brooks on January 4, 2015

My name is Brian Siddall and I am a WWII Researcher. My uncle was killed on 6 June 1944 in Normandy.

Three men from my father's B-17 are buried in Margraten.

It has come to my attention from Kevin Brooks that Pvt Leander Reel is buried at Margraten under the 101st Abn Div Marker (Pvt Leander Reel Burial Plot). Kevin is a Researcher whose main task is the 327th Gli Inf.

Pvt Leander Reel was in fact a member of the 82nd Abn Div. I have attached Documents and Books that show when the 2nd Bn of the 401st Gli Inf was transferred to the 82nd Abn Div from the 101st Abn Div. The 2nd Bn of the 401st Gli Inf became the 3rd Bn of the 325th Gli Inf March 10, 1944.

If you look here (following attached documents)Pages from Let's Go by Captain Pierce, 82nd Roll Of Honor from Grosebeek Museum, and Morning Reports from the 401st Gli Inf showing Pvt Reel being killed in September of 1944 as a member of the 82nd Abn Div.

This Morning Report shows the 2nd Bn of the 401st Gli Inf being moved from their camp with the 101st Abn Div to the 82nd Abn Div (82nd 325th Camp Pages from 401st Gli Inf Co G MR 1944-04-01). There are two more Morning Reports showing an Officer being Killed in training as a member of the 82nd Abn Div (1 shows Officer killed while practicing glider for 325th Pages from 401st Gli Inf Hq Co 2nd Bn MR 1944-04-01 and his burial. 2 shows Officer killed while practicing glider for 325th Pages from 401st Gli Inf Hq Co 2nd Bn MR 1944-04-01.

This Morning Report shows the location of the 1st Bn of the 401st Gli Inf (327th by Boat Pages from 401st Gli Inf Co A MR 1944-04-0 as they were still part of the 101st Abn Div. The last report shows Pvt Reel going on furlough after Normandy with Co G being part of the 82nd Abn Div (Pages from 401st Glid Inf Co G MR 1944-07-01).

The last item I have attached is the form to request a correction of a Headstone with wrong information on it. [Not included.]

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

BN Siddall
Phone: 607.275.8080

email -- research@airborneinnormandy.com

Web page by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.