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Howard Anderson 1942

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 enemy lines.

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 Germans.

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
Letter of February 11, 1944
Letter of April 28, 1944
Letter of March 14, 1945
More from March 14, 1945
More from March 14, 1945