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Jo Shipley's uncle, Pfc Robert F. Kiley (Hq 2nd), was captured on D-Day.  He suffered shrapnel wounds and lost his right eye as a consequence.  Although repatriated to his home state of Massachusetts for further medical care; Bob was plagued by lingering effects of the injuries, including Acute infectious hepatitis. He died on 12 June 1946, less than three months after being medically discharged.

Jo has continually been researching the 508 PIR members and other POWs at the Rennes POW Hospital and Stalag 221, also in Rennes. In September 2012 she visited France and met a nurse who had aided the POWs injured during a strafing attack on the POW train that carried her uncle.

The French nurse told her that she found the list of POWs on the train and gave the list to the local FFI* commander who then gave the list to American officers of the 83rd Infantry Division located at a nearby Chateau. Eventually the list made its way to the Provost Marshal’s office and ended up in the Provost Marshal files at the U.S. National Archives.

Jo visited the Archives in November and found the list of two POW trains which included members of the 508 PIR (see links in list, below).  Each train carried approximately 600 POWs.  The lists document some 334 of the 1200 prisoners being transported to various POW camps.

T/5 Paul Demciak and Sgt Jack Schlegel, to name but two, are amongst those listed. Mr. Schlegel was at Stalag 221 for a while before being sent to the Rennes POW hospital to serve as a translator. Mr. Demciak was injured during the strafing attack and taken along with Jo's uncle, Bob Kiley, to the Bretonneau Hospital in Tours.

While visiting Tours in 2012, Jo checked the admission list at the regional archives, but found that only civilian admissions were listed. There was a separate part of the hospital for military admissions and that list is supposedly at the military archives in Paris. She intends to attempt acquiring that list as well.

*The French Forces of the Interior (French: Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur) refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters.

POW Train 5 July 1944 POW Train 2 August 1944

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