American Ex-Prisoners of War
A not-for-profit, Congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organization advocating for former prisoners of war and their families.

Established April 14, 1942



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Biography
Hall, Bruce A
Bruce Hall - 1943
Summer 1943, prior to going overseas
Bruce Hall - 1997
Bruce A. Hall, Veterans Day Nov. 11, 1997
 
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After the War ...
Biography
Bruce volunteered for the draft in January 1943. After induction at Camp Devens, Mass he was sent to Camp Wolters, Mineral Wells, Texas for 13 weeks of infantry basic training. From there they were sent to Camp Chenango, PA, then to Ft. Dix, NJ. He boarded a ship in NY and after about 22 days aboard they landed at Oran, N. Africa. They did some training there after our long idleness aboard ship and proceeded in boxcars to Bizerte, Tunisia. They loaded on to LSTs and landed at Salerno, Italy Sept. 9, 1943.

He was assigned to Co. II, 2nd Btn., 157th Regt. 45th Division. Bruce became an Ammo Bearer for 81 mm mortar. They fought their way through Italy until they were hit the winter line at Cassino, which stopped them. Bruce's outfit was among those chosen to make the beachhead at Anzio, which they did on January 19, 1944. They only advanced about 3 miles where they stopped and set up their 81mm mortars. They soon were surrounded, but held out until February 22 when Bruce's company and most of the survivors of his battalion were captured. They were in several camps in Italy but eventually went to Stalag 7A, Moosberg, Germany. Being only a private Bruce was obliged to work. He spent several weeks in Munich clearing the streets. After daily bombing by their Air Corps they were taken back to 7A and went to Stalag 2B, Hammerstein where again Bruce was sent on work detail to a farm in Poland where he spent the winter picking potatoes and wood cutting.

As the Russians started their advance everyone was evacuated and marched west. Bruce walked for about 2-1/2 months, covering about 900 miles. After crossing the Elbe River heading west they were made to get out of the field where they were forced to sleep and were going to be sent back across the Elbe River to go back toward the Russians. Four of the men decided against that and made a run for it. Bruce's buddy, Walt Ramsey and Bruce made it; he doesn't know what happened to the other two. After about six days of heading west through the woods at night, stealing potatoes to eat, they came upon a laborer plowing a field and he told us after much difficulty explaining that they were Americans that President Roosevelt had just died. He also got in contact with a forward patrol of Patton's armor who brought us some GI rations.

Bruce ended up at Camp Lucky Strike in France and was shipped to the States, landing at Norfolk, VA some time after May 9, 1945. Then to Camp Devens, MA, a leave and then Bruce was sent to Camp Hood, TX to train for the invasion of Japan. Fortunately they surrendered and he went to Camp Plauche, LA outside New Orleans for 6 weeks of Clerk Training. Back to Texas for assignment where they discovered he was eligible for discharge. Bruce was discharged and found his way back to Connecticut on October 25, 1945.

Bruce graduated from Fordham University, College of Pharmacy with a BS in Pharmacy in 1949, practiced Pharmacy, having 2 drug stores and then was a Hospital Pharmacy Director for 12 years, retiring and moving to Florida. Bruce now has 4 daughters from a previous marriage, and he is currently married to his great wife, "Sami," who has one son and one daughter. They have 10 grandchildren plus one grandson from Sami's daughter, Paige. Bruce is finally retired and living and loving the Florida lifestyle.

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