Francis Howard Anderson attended the State College for Teachers
from 1938 until early 1941, when he transferred to the University
of Chicago when he decided that he no longer wanted to become
a history teacher. Instead, he became a lawyer, teaching at
Albany Law School for over 32 years.
During the American withdrawal from the Sbeitla-Feriana Valley
in Tunsia before German Marshal Rommel's tanks, Anderson left
his platoon on reconnaissance. In his absence, his company
was attacked by German forces, and most of the men in it captured.
For the next two days, he walked alone behind German lines,
trying to avoid their patrols. He eventually stumbled upon
an Arab who had been badly mistreated by the Germans and so
was willing to hide Anderson in his home, at great risk to
himself. Suddenly, two more American soldiers appeared, Leo
J. Raymond and Sergeant Robert C. Wells. Since Raymond's parents
were French Canadian, he was able to speak French and therefore
communicate with their host.
The three soldiers asked the Arab for directions to the next
pass through the mountains, and set out to look for American
lines. After three days and two nights of walking behind the
German lines, with little food, water or sleep, the group
finally reached the retreating American forces. Looking at
a map, they found that they had walked over 100 miles behind
While Anderson recovered from his ordeal, Raymond and Wells'
unit shipped out, before he was able to thank them. Anderson
returned to his unit to find that only 13 men remained of
the original 160--the rest having been taken prisoner by the
Later in the war, as a second lieutenant stationed in Italy,
Anderson received a citation and a Bronze Star for advancing
in the face of enemy fire at Serra di Gatto (between Florence
and Bologna), and carrying a wounded soldier to safety.
Forty-three years after their adventure, Anderson located
Raymond at his home in Maine, and was finally able to thank
the man who had saved his life. Although Anderson had also
looked for Wells, he discovered that the latter had died.
Read more about Anderson in the Louis C. Jones Letters:
Letter of October 9, 1943
of February 11, 1944
Letter of April 28, 1944
Letter of March 14, 1945
More from March 14, 1945
More from March 14,