My Grandpa Was Shot by Germans in World War II

My grandfather.

Shortly after D-Day, my grandpa Cloyd Powell landed in Normandy, France. After he reached shore, the ship he arrived on was sunk by the enemy. His and the other soldiers’ equipment and belongings on board were lost.

My grandpa was part of the 8th Infantry Division. His unit was tasked with fighting pockets of enemy resistance. They also took prisoners, rescued paratroopers and helped other straggling Allied soldiers as they followed behind General George Patton’s army.

Telegram informing my great grandmother her son had been wounded in France.

In August 1944, while he was near Brest, France, his unit was fired upon by German machine gunners on a hill. He was hit in the left leg. Two hours later he was shot again in the same limb. The bone was shattered. He was given first aid, but the battle intensified, and his unit was forced to retreat. My grandpa was left behind.

He found his way to a foxhole where he lay all night. He could hear the other wounded soldiers cry out, but he also heard the voices of German soldiers, so although he was in pain, he knew he had to be silent. As he lay there he prayed. He promised God he would return home and marry a good woman.

The next afternoon, the Allied soldiers returned, and my grandpa could finally call out for help. He was taken to a hospital in England where he spent several months. He was later taken by ship to the United States and then traveled by train to a hospital in California to finish his recovery.

The effects of his wounds lasted for the rest of his life. My grandpa walked with a slight limp, and as kids, we’d sit at his feet; he’d show us the scars on his leg and tell us the story of that night in the foxhole.