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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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PFC William Patrick Coyle

United States Army INF 0422

from:Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The following story was told to me by my father in regards to my Uncle Bill Coyle.

Bill enlisted in the Army in February 1943 and was captured by the Germans December 16, 1945. At the time of the capture the Americans believed that there were no Germans in the area and it would be Spring before they would be there. Bill was sent to Stalag 9B Bad Orb Hessen-Nassau, Prussia 50-09. One day the Germans threw the head of a horse into the Stalag for their meal. Bill said that their favourite thing to do was to write down recipes that their mothers would make. They used whatever they could find to write on. Towards the end someone would shout: "recipe" and they would jump up from their sleep to write down a recipe that made no sense.

When the war ended Bill was sent home on the Queen Mary. He was unable to eat and for the rest of his life only ate small portions. My father said the men looked like skeletons coming off the ship. I remember my Uncle Bill covering his head when I would play with my ball. He was a gentle soul with a beautiful smile. Bill worked for the VA for the next twenty-five years and died in the VA Hospital in February 1975. He was 65 years old.

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