ARTHUR LEONARD STOLAN

   Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Staff Sargeant

   Status: Killed in action

   Date of Service: WWII

   Home Town: Weme

1. Arthur Stolan’s headstone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery 2. Arthur Stolan

Arthur Leonard Stolan was born March 30, 1914 in Berner, Minnesota to parents Alfred and Cora Myrtle Ask Stolan. Cora Ask Stolan was born and raised in Winsor Township, Clearwater County, her family having come to the area in 1896. Alfred was born Portland, Traill County, North Dakota but raised on a farm in Queen Township, Polk County, Minnesota by parents of Norwegian heritage.   

Alfred and Cora had four children: Arthur, Clifford, Ruth and Hazel. The family lived in Weme on a farm in Section 22 of Queen Township not far from Cross and Perch Lakes. They attended Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Arthur completed elementary school through grade six.

When Arthur grew to adulthood he found a job as a laborer on road construction in Duluth. He had an uncle living in Proctor, his dad’s brother Adolph and his wife Ella. Adolph worked for the Duluth, Mesabe and Iron Range Railway hauling iron ore and taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors from the Soudan Mine at Tower, Minnesota. By 1938 Arthur had also gained employment at the same company.

Arthur registered for the draft in St. Louis County in 1940 at age 26. He reported that he was 5’11”, 180 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair.

It wasn’t long before Arthur was a member of the 32nd Armored Regiment, assigned to the 3rd Armored Division. The 32nd trained at Camp Beauregard and Camp Polk, Louisiana, Desert Center, California, Camp Pickett, Virginia and Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania until September 5, 1943, when they sailed to England on the RMMV Capetown Castle, a British passenger liner requisitioned for troop transportation. There they underwent nine more months of pre-invasion training on the Salisbury Plain before their baptism of fire at Normandy on June 29, 1944.

The 3rd Armored Division spearheaded the First Army through Normandy, taking part in a number of engagements, including the Battle of Saint Lô in mid-July, where it suffered significant casualties. The unit had to develop a method of overcoming the vast thickets of brush and earth of the French hedgerows, so they took the large I-Beam invasion barriers from the beaches at Normandy and welded them to the front of their tanks to make large crossing rams. They would hit the hedgerows at high speed.

Staff Sergeant Arthur L. Stolan took part in Operation Cobra, a plan to break through German defenses and advance into Brittany. Operation Cobra was ultimately successful, but Arthur’s family was notified by the Army that he was killed in action on August 3, 1944 near Marigny, France. Funeral services were held for Arthur and when his body was returned in 1949 he was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. He was 30 years old.