Jim Fuller’s 422nd Infantry Regiment was already soaked
to the skin after a week in down-pouring rain in France when it was ordered
to move out into Belgium. The men traveled for two days in trucks in a 207-mile convoy
into the Ardennes Forest in what was the coldest, snowiest weather in memory
there. They, along with the
replaced the 2nd Infantry Division on December 11th.
The German Ardennes counteroffensive struck them on December 16th,
the day Private Fuller was taken prisoner.
On the 19th, what was left of both regiments surrendered
in the Schnee Eifel salient near Schoeneberg in the Battle of the Bulge.
Of the 7,001 men missing in action at the end of the battle, 6,697
men were captured, 6,500 of whom would return home, leaving 197 who did not
survive the camps. 564 were
killed in action; 1,246 were wounded.
When the regiments surrendered, they had been on the Continent only
about 15 days and had the youngest troops (average age 22) of any American
division on the line.
At Stalag IV-B, Fuller was about 80 miles south of Berlin near
Muhlberg and the Elbe River. One POW there remembered that “the sun seldom shone, and
the sky maintained a perpetual Baltic grayness . . . The only things on the
flat horizons were the endless rows of squat barracks in most directions and
a thin row of trees across a flat field.”
Prisoners shared the outdoor open latrine, from which the contents
were hauled to nearby fields. Without
heat or lights, the barracks housed Americans, British, French, Russians and
Serbs. POWs reported the Russian prisoners received less food than
even the meager allotment of the others and were much more harshly treated,
ostensibly because Russia had not signed the Geneva Convention.
The barracks held wooden bunks, three beds high, with no mattresses
and one blanket per prisoner. Constant
battles with vermin, especially lice, troubled the men held at IV-B as did
hunger, dysentery, and cold.
The Russians ultimately liberated the camp, but many of the POWs did
not wait for an exchange to be made between the Russians and Americans.
Those who did not wait confiscated bicycles or walked until they met
other Allied troops. Along the
way, they often were witness to atrocities committed by the Russian troops
upon the German civilians—a harsh counter reaction to the treatment the
Germans had given their Russian prisoners.
South Hampton to Le Harve
In the area
Bomb 10 K Goerldstein – 8 killed and 72 wounded
Arrived at Stalag IV-B
Jan. 10, 1945
Hope by the time you receive this, your mind is a little more at
ease. I’m getting along fine
and in the best of health. Red
Cross will probably inform you so I won’t waste much time (space).
About all I do is eat, sleep and read.
I’ve read three books since I arrived.
All set for school. No
need to worry because I hope to be home before long.
Things go on about as usual here with things looking brighter every
day. Rather cold today –
below zero, but that means very little when all one has to do is stay inside
and keep warm. Last week we had another Red Cross parcel, which came in very
handy. About all I do is read,
eat, sleep, play cribbage, which seems to be a favorite game with these
English Boys, and get a little exercise.
It will be very little today. The
other night, I played bridge with two English boys, a very enjoyable
You won’t get much information from these letters but then I expect
you to hear that from the Red Cross. Cigarettes
are the medium of exchange here. 15 fags for a can of jam, etc.
I paid one cigarette for a haircut.
I’m getting along swell and hope you and the family are doing the
Left for Heidenow
Arrived, started to work next day.
Flour soup, 1 lb.; potatoes, 3/8 lb. bread.
will last one month – prediction by Hollander.
Turnip soup, ½ lb; potatoes, ¾ lb.; 3/8 lb. bread;
¼ lb. rancid butter. Turkey
declared war against Germany.
Worked in ditch as usual. Swiped
a few sugar beets.
(Dream food – peanut butter and bananas spread)
Turnip soup ½ lb.; potatoes, ¾ lb.; 38 lb. bread;
salt and pepper; ¼ sugar. Egypt
in war. Caught hell from
Germans – suspicious character – got hold of a few stolen
potatoes. (Dream food
Sweet turnip soup and flour soup ¼ lb.;
marmalade; squash soup, bread. Nothing
new on the
war. (Dream food – smoked herring)
Thursday. 2 lbs. spuds;
¼ lb. cheese; sample butter;
bread, tea. Berlin
bombed heavily. My name taken
job (Dream food – V-No Bar)
Friday. Flour soup; ½
lb. potatoes; 1/3 lb. meat; bread;
advancing. Big raid in
Swiped some more beets. Ditch
digging about over.
(Dream foods – Velvet Ice Cream and malted milk with
Sat. Millet barley soup,
bread, coffee. Air raid – no
bombs. (snowed some.) No war news. Took
(Dream food – éclairs)
Sun. Flour soup; . . .
bread; 1 ¾ lb. spuds; . . . tea.
All Allied Front advancing 25- 70 km.
Cold and windy.
Mended socks. (Dream
food – French bread)
March 4, 1945, Sun. Night
Seems as though one has a hard time finding something to write about. Worst of the winter is past although March has been rather nasty so far. I hope this means better weather towards the end. (about seven lines blacked out by the censor) Today some of the boys got their hair cut by a Hollander. Yesterday we had our weekly shower, which is always very refreshing. We were all issued small notebooks which I’m using for sort of a diary. This should prove interesting in later years. While I’m not doing anything else, I’m making several post-war plans. I only hope I can carry a few of them out. Your probably know more about the war than I do in most respects. I hope for a speedy ending and this is not an impossibility. Well, I guess I’ll sign off now. Hope Mac and family, Toots and Bud are doing okay.
Mon. Veg. soup. 150 grams of pork; 10 grams lard, bread,
Truckload of sacked rye tipped over in bomb crater.
We salvaged some. Cold
– snowed. Worked on pipe line. Half
of Dusseldorf taken. (Dream
food – sandwiches)
Tues. Veg. soup – kohlrabi soup. 10 g. lard.
Bread (honey), potatoes. Cold
– snowing. Some of the
fellows got onions.
Pipeline near Pirna. Cologne
captured. Vicinity being
shelled. Heavy fighting in
Italy – Gerry said war nearly
over. (Dream food –
Weds. Veg. soup, butter?, bread, spuds, tea.
Ultimatum given Germany. Dusseldorf
taken. Americans 50 km. from
here, 8 km. from Berlin. Worked
on pipeline. (Dream food –
Thurs. Flour soup,
spuds, cheese, beets, bread, coffee. Worked
on pipeline. One fellow swiped
a few spuds. Jingle difficult
to get along with. War
progressing as usual. Quite a
bit of defense construction in vicinity.
(Dream food – Italian food)
Fri. Sweet/sour soup,
bread, sugar, tea. About to
finish up the ditch. Most of
beets gone – some of the boys got a few.
Not much war news.
Sat. Noodle soup, spuds, bread.
Hauled off the rest of the beets this a.m.
Took a bath as usual. Still
hungry for anything.
Sun. Worked half a day on what seems to be a new air raid shelter.
First Sunday I’ve worked. Jingle
really making us work.
Mon. Guard came out to get us at 3 p.m.
We are to move to Pirna to new lager.
Supposedly a half hour walk but as usual the Germans stretched it to
Tues. Worked in bombed
residential area filling in bomb craters.
Civilians very good to us. Worked
very little. They bring skelly out to us here.
Turn in pants and jackets every night.
Much more strict here. Change
201 Fuller, James G.
I am referring to your communication concerning your son, Private
James G. Fuller, who has been missing in action since 16 December 1944, and
it is with regret that I must inform you that the War Department has
received no additional information regarding the circumstances surrounding
It is the expressed policy and constant effort of the Department to
furnish to the families concerned all information available regarding our
missing personnel, and to this end everything that is humanly possible is
being done to ascertain their status and whereabouts. You may be assured that, without any further request on your
part, you will be notified promptly when any additional information is
received, and as you were previously advised, in the absence of any further
report, this office will again communicate with you at the end of three
My sympathy continues with you in your grief and anxiety, and I am
earnestly hoping that your courage will endure through this trying and
distressing period of uncertainty.
The Adjutant General
Weds. Worked for . . .
unloaded sheets of cement. Harder
work. We do our own cooking here. No
Thurs. Worked for a
grocery warehouse. Unloaded
sugar. Ate all we could hold – brought home a little.
Had a good chow there. This
is a good detail.
Hauled sand inside a beet factory or something similar. Picked up some thing German which tasted fairly good.
Very warm so you can imagine what we did.
Worked for paper factory. This
is a good deal. Had to sweat
out a three-hour air raid. Was
called in about writing. I was
doing as little as possible in a letter.
Now I’m on a coal detail for 8 days.
Sun. Coal detail
didn’t materialize. Spent
time around barracks reading, cleaning up, and doing a little work.
dear Mrs. Fuller:
Your letters of 24 February 45 and 25 February 45, addressed to the
Commanding Officer and to the Chaplain
concerning Pvt. James G. Fuller, ASN 376700388 have been referred to me for
James, as a member of the 422nd Infantry, was in a
defensive position in the vicinity of Schlausenbach, Germany, when the enemy
began their offensive, and it was after the action (16 December – 21
December) that he was reported as Missing in Action.
To date, no further information has been received at this
headquarters concerning your son. However,
if more information should become available at a later date, you will be
We sincerely regret our inability to furnish you with the information
you seek, and hope that we may have additional information in the near
Very sincerely yours,
Captain, 422nd Infantry
Moved out of Pirna – a Tuesday morning
at a lodge for three days 12 kilometers from Pirna.
to a barn 8 kilos from the lodge.
April 26, 1945
You can’t imagine how happy we were to receive your letter, the one
written January 18th.
Bud reported to Fort McArthur on his birthday. He is up at Camp Roberts now.
He seems to be getting along just fine.
It doesn’t seem possible that it is almost summer time.
Ila went to Rochester and visited the relatives for two months this
spring. Her arm was bothering
her again. Maybe this time she
will be OK.
John Gillette was here for a week before Bud left.
Riley is overseas now.
Leona Moreland and Wincie (friend of Grace’s) are living with mom
and me now. Mom and I still
work the same hours. Mom is
gaining weight and looks better than ever.
Certainly enjoyed your letter. Can’t
wait until you (are home) and eat fried chicken.
It is nice you are getting along so well.
Hope to hear from you again soon.
Mom will write to you Saturday when she has more time.
Take it easy. Hope to
hear from you soon or better yet see you.
Toots (Marian Fuller)
returned to sender at the
of the War Department,
Moved out to be turned over; got 2 kilos and were turned back.
Missed the boat – supposed to be turned over in two or three days.
I’m now sweating it out surviving on two or three spuds and a
quarter loaf of bread.
Iowa, April 1945
Mr. and Mrs. Emil Cable received a letter Saturday from the former
Fuller, telling them of the whereabouts
of Pvt. Jim Fuller, who has been missing in Germany since December.
The Fullers had received a letter from Jim dated Jan. 18.
He was a prisoner of war in Germany.
The camp which he was in was Stalag IV-B.
This camp is located near Dresden, and it is believed that the
prisoner may now be liberated.
Jim stated that he couldn’t say very much. They were warm enough and had enough to eat.
He said that the Red Cross boxes helped a lot.
Cigarettes were the medium of exchange – 15 cigarettes would buy a
jar of jam, and one cigarette would buy a haircut.
There wasn’t much to do, he said.
At the time he wrote he had been playing cards with some British
prisoners. He told his mother
to the see the Red Cross for information on how to write to him.
Friday. Spud and barley
skelly, 1/8 loaf of bread. Swiped
few spuds and begged some more.
War down to days now.
Things are looking up.
Sat. Three spuds, bite
of meat, bread. Read most of
P.W.s run around the village like free men.
fighting. Some got spuds
10 May 1945
RE: Pvt. James G. Fuller
United States Prisoner of War #314412
Stalag 4B, Germany
Dear Mrs. Fuller:
The Provost Marshal General has directed me to inform you that the
above-named has been reported interned as a prisoner of war at the place
Germany having been defeated, it is assumed that he has been returned
to United States military control.
Reports received from the Theatre of Operations in Europe state that
it is impossible to deliver letters or parcels to Americans who were held as
prisoners of war by Germany. Therefore,
letters or parcels cannot be sent to him.
The War Department has made provision to return to the United States
all liberated prisoners of war as soon as practicable and has assigned a
high priority for the return of such persons.
You will be notified by the War Department at the earliest
practicable date of any further information in regard to this prisoner.
Howard F. Bresee
Director, American Prisoner of War
Provost Marshal General’s Office
I’m now an ex-P.W. and yesterday was my official VE day since I
first met the Yanks yesterday. It
was really a wonderful feeling to get back and talk with some real
Americans. My first GI meal
consisted of chicken, mashed spuds, asparagus, and cocoa.
Oh! Yes, the first white bread I’d seen for five months.
It was really good, almost like home.
For the past two weeks since the VE day, I can’t complain about
anything hardly. We’ve been
living off the fat of the land so to speak, getting into food warehouses
along with the Russians . . . The P.W.s have been making up for lost time
the best way possible. Most of
the boys did fairly well by the way.
For the past three days, two Yanks, British and myself have been
cycling toward the Yank lines. This
was really an experience. We
would go along during the day, stopping now and then to inquire where the
Yanks were and always getting a different answer.
At night we would stop at some small village, sleep at the hotel and
burn the farmers for food. We
got all we wanted one way or another. For
example, we had two dozen eggs, fried spuds, ham and about one and a half
gallons of milk for breakfast the other morning for the five of us.
This food was given us mainly because the Russians were raising so
much hell and they were the loser (civilians).
They knew we were Yank soldiers. The Russians (are) fairly rough boys
in some ways, and I don’t know but what its a good thing.
There is so much more I could say, but I’ll save it for the next
time I write. All is caput in
Deutchland. That is the by word
here, and it certainly is true. Be
seeing you soon.
22, 1945, Tuesday
Getting closer to home all the time.
I’m now at a clearing station more or less and should leave soon
for an airport to go to the coast or to England.
I’ve just been stuffing myself with Army C-rations.
You would hardly realize anything could taste so good.
The Red Cross just finished fixing us up, and they do a fairly good
job. Give one candy, cigarettes, toilet articles, and chewing gum. One can tell he’s back with the Americans.
The Germans hardly see anything besides spuds and bread.
Well, more later.
The envelop was given to me by a Cech with whom we stayed for 2 days
after VE Day, and the stamp I’ve carried since I’ve been captured.
Since I’ve no address, you can’t write to me as yet.
25, 1945, Thurs. noon
This is about the only paper I could find, but I guess it’ll do as
good as any. I’m now in an
old Jerry barracks just outside the town of Erfurt waiting for a plane to go
to France. You can easily
realize that you are back with the GIs when you go to mess.
They really eat around here, better than most of the camps in the
States. The main reason for
this is that it is a transit camp, and they keep a large stock of food on
hand. Some meals they have 100
men and then again they will have 1,000.
Not much to do here except eat and read.
Last night I saw a movie in a town about ten miles from here.
(“Leave It To Blondie”) It
wasn’t much good, so I’m going again tonight to see “The Vinseen.”
I hope this is better, and I think it will be.
The main reason we had to lay over here a day or more is because of
bad weather. The planes leave
from a nearby field and it has only grass runways, so we wait till it dries
out. This is about as good a
way to spend one’s time as any.
From the way some of the fellows stationed here talk, I should be in
the States in a month, but one has to remember that he is still in the army.
This noon we had steak, mashed spuds, peas, peaches, bread, butter
and coffee (all you wanted). The
grub is really thrown at you. Belgians
do all the work in the mess hall. Tonight
we are supposed to have ice cream. OH!
BOY! More later.
25, 1945, Friday p.m. (date as written by Fuller)
I’m still here at Erfurt waiting a lift, and it should be here
tomorrow. We’ve seen no rain
now for almost 24 hours, and it looks as though it is clearing off.
I feel as though I’ve been here long enough anyway, especially with
nothing to do. One can’t even find a good magazine or book to read, but
then I shouldn’t complain. About
all we do here is wait for a plane, no processing of any kind.
At the next stop in France, we should get clean clothes, a physical
The show last night was good but the projector wasn’t working very
good. I could hardly see the
screen, and it was a murder mystery. Missed
a lot of dark scenes, which made it all the worse.
Tonight one show is “Winged Victory,” an Air Corps picture of
some type, I suppose. The
theatre was almost packed last night with GIs in this vicinity.
I suppose it will be again tonight.
This morning for breakfast we had fresh eggs, oatmeal, bread, butter
and coffee. The eggs and
oatmeal were swell. At the last
camp, the P.W.s were given C rations to eat, but one of my buddies and I
went to the kitchen of one of the engineer’s companies and had “hot
cakes.” They were the first
I’ve tasted, made with plenty of eggs and milk.
Right now I’m waiting for time to pass until we can go for supper.
I suppose Bird is back in the Navy by now.
How are Mac Sr. and Jr. getting along?
Tell Toots to get caught up on her sleep because she’ll need it
when I get home.
European Theatre of Operations
Since General Eisenhower’s letter to you, we have fully
investigated the case of your son. The information has been obtained from Pvt. Fuller’s own
unit, the 422nd Infantry Regiment of the
On 16 December 1944, while your son’s organization was in the
vicinity of Schlausenbach, Germany, the enemy overran our forces in that
village. The suddenness and
surprise of this attack prevented the escape of some of our units in that
area. A careful check of all
men made shortly afterward revealed that your son was missing.
When this area was once again in our hands, a thorough search was
made for all missing personnel, but no trace of your son could be found.
Many soldiers who were taken prisoner by the Germans have been
returned to our forces, and these men are being reported to the War
Department as quickly as administrative and transmission facilities permit.
If there is any change in this information, the next of kin named by
Pvt. Fuller will be immediately informed by the War Department.
It is a real regret to me that no more encouraging news can be sent
to you. Please accept my
Brigadier General, USA
I’m really having the time of my life at this camp.
They fit the P.W.s with new clothes, give them a little processing,
and then send them to le Harve, a port for transport to the U.S.
I don’t know how many Germans P.W.s are here, but enough to keep
our shoes shined, hair cut, and serve the meals. This is about the closest
to home one can get without actually being there.
Some say we will be kept here a little longer for questioning since
we were liberated by the Russians. Most
of the boys have taken trains for Le Harve, but we may fly.
Today we flew about 300 miles in a C-47, about like any airplane ride
only it lasted a little longer. Should
be in the States by the middle of June if everything goes okay.
I was at the movie for a while tonight, but when the projector
starting acting up, I left. The
movie was “I’ll Meet You in St. Louis” or something to that effect.
Today was the busiest I’ve had since arriving about a week ago.
Almost as many forms to fill out as in induction center.
We got clothes, a physical, had another “shot” for typhus, and
when we weren’t doing anything useful the “packet leader” oriented us
concerning the camp and formations we would have to make tomorrow. I intended to go to a show tonight but couldn’t find one
that was open.
Took a shower tonight. It
is very handy here in a way since they give you clean underwear and socks as
well as soap. The only drawback is that one has to walk about a quarter
mile to get to showers.
It seems they have most of the RAMPS here at this camp, considering
the numbers of familiar faces one sees.
I’ve seen several fellows I’ve worked with on “Komando” and
even more that were in the same company as me.
The packet leader said we were due to leave camp in about two days,
but where to, he didn’t know. It
sounds good anyway. Lights out
now at Red Cross.
Secretary of War desires me to inform you that your son, Pfc Fuller, James
G., returned to military control.
3, Sun. Eve.
still at Camp Lucky Strike. We
now have our shipping orders, but what that means only time will tell. Had a good sun bath this afternoon while I read a book, and
for once, I didn’t over do it. This
evening I went to a U.S.O. show, but the rain made it unenjoyable.
It would rain two minutes, clear off, and in fifteen minutes, it
would be raining again. I’ve
never encountered such weather before.
Tomorrow, by order of the commanding general, we have a schedule to
follow: calisthenics, close order drill and athletics.
No one likes it, but it will do us good, I believe.
I heard some of the fellow in another part of the camp were moving
out today. I’m ready to get
on the boat any time. Noting
much more of interest, I guess.
4, Mon. Eve.
I guess the General left camp today because we had no close order
drill, retreat, no nothing, just the same old routine more or less.
This morning I read and this afternoon attended the dedication of a
Red Cross club on the post. The
General in charge of RAMPS till they are aboard a boat told us we would all
be on our way by the ninth except a few stragglers in the hospital, etc.
This was encouraging news, especially coming from a two-star general.
They also gave out ice cream and cake after the speech making.
They had to have something to draw a crowd. It was good cake and plenty of it. The only trouble was that I didn’t stay around long enough.
This evening I went to the movie, “Murder, My Sweet,” – very
interesting. Should be
somewhere in the States by the Fourth.
Plans for furlough in the States: [from
at “Swedish Smorgasbord”
some good stage shows
Milford two or three days – eat
Minneapolis – go to Minn. from Chicago.
some cooking with in L.A. – baking
some sea food
Xmas of 44
IF NOTHING ELSE
inland from Frisco to L.A.
Yosemite National Park
Rudd in Sac.
least see a few things and enjoy myself.
Plans for eating at home:
Oysters and shrimp
Peanut butter cream pie
and various sea food
Banana cream cake
Molasses and peanuts
Pineapple upside down cake
Raisin pie and chocolate ice
mush with ham – fried ham
Raisin and marshmallow
Record of Fellow POWs
Mill Run, PA RFD #1
Donald A. Myers
NC R. #1
Menominee, Mich. R. #1
Delbert M. Stouffer
Joe F. Talson
W. Randolph St.
Frank Pape RFD #1
848 Harris St.
James L. Wynn
Add. So. Drive
411 South Main St.
Minn. Box 685
Meriden, Kan. RFD #1
David F. Miller
Port Washington, Ohio
Tenn. R. #1
Charles M. Self
John D. Wilson
Ala. Route 1
980 Grant Ave.
36 N. Albany Ave.
3100 W. 44th St.
Chicago 32, Ill.
W. Holly, Jr.
Jesse W. Larrimore
c/o Mrs. H.L. Rushing
Francis E. White
Tenn. RFD 8
Kansas City, Mo.
N. Meyler St.
Oliver B. Boggs
W. Va. RFD #1
Uffington, West Va. R. #1
2317 10th St.
Gerald E. Duryea
Thomas E. Barnett
Sylacavga, Ala. R. #3
Charles M. Osborn
707 6th Ave., Sterling, Ill. Independence, Va. R. 3