LAMOURE, N.D. — Just days away from the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the story of two brothers from LaMoure, N.D., buried next to each other in Europe, is now told in a just-released book called "Brothers in Arms."

Not long after George and Mary Warcken arrived from Luxembourg in 1905 to LaMoure, they brought eight children into the world, including twin boys Hank and Bill.

Twins Hank and Bill Warcken standing on a car in 1925. Submitted photo.
Twins Hank and Bill Warcken standing on a car in 1925. Submitted photo.

"Dad used to say, 'the only one who could tell them apart was their mom,' and they used to have a lot of fun with it, they would go to local dances and switch girls, they were jokesters," said Sandy Knudsen, a niece of the two men who are mentioned in the book.

The brothers were drafted into World War II in 1943, and were part of the 11th Armored Division. Despite efforts to keep the twins apart, the historic Battle of the Bulge changed everything.

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The author of the book, Kevin Callahan, told the story of the two men together during that battle, on a cold night on Jan. 12.

"It was tragic fate, they were sleeping in the same truck, it was so cold and so much snow that they could not dig foxholes so they slept in the same truck. When the morning came, a German 88 mm shell hit the truck and killed both brothers," Callahan said.

Hank and Bill Warcken are now buried at the Lorraine Cemetery in France.

"I didn't realize the army had a policy of burying brothers together, so it inspired me to find and tell the stories of all these brothers," Callahan said.

Brothers Henry and Bill in uniform after being drafted into the army. Submitted photo
Brothers Henry and Bill in uniform after being drafted into the army. Submitted photo

To this day, the family still remembers their loved ones, talking about them for years after their passing.

"He talked about when they got called up and went to war, when they got the telegrams and when they both were killed," Knudsen described.

Callahan has not only visited the cemeteries in Europe, he traveled across the country. His book details the stories of several families across the country, including the Warckens. He came to North Dakota to talk to their relatives and hear their stories.

"The official end of World War II occurred on Sept. 2 (1945), so the 75th anniversary is coming up. But for these families, the war never ended for them and so it was amazing to visit and meet with them because the pain and loss of those brothers, it still lasts to the present day," Callahan said.

More info

Kevin Callahan's book "Brothers in Arms" is available for purchase on Amazon. He also has a website with more information at brothersinarmsbook.com.