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Arthur Boyd: World War II

Shot by a German Sniper

"Instead of leaving me dead, the bullet hit my rifle and went down the barrel, tearing it apart..."

Contributed by Marie Boyd (Wife of Arthur Boyd)

When I was shipped to Europe, I was a rifleman in the 9th Infantry Division. I fought through Belgium, France, and part of Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. I dug foxholes and tried to get a little sleep at night but it was freezing cold. One morning we were given the command to advance and I jumped from my foxhole and was almost immediately shot by a German sniper. The bullet hit me squarely in the chest, but fortunately I was carrying my rifle across my chest. Instead of leaving me dead, the bullet hit my rifle and went down the barrel, tearing it apart. The rifle had saved my life. I proceeded to pick up a rifle of a dead soldier that had been killed by the same sniper and continued on into battle.

Later we were fighting in the Huertgen Forest, and I was running along behind a tank with several other soldiers. The forest was being ripped apart by constant shelling. Before I knew it shrapnel hit me across my chest and right hand. I was taken back to first aid where they tried to remove as much shrapnel as possible but I had to be shipped to a hospital in England. While I was in the hospital, the war ended in Europe.

When I recovered, I was put in limited service and transferred to an Engineer Corp where I spent the next two months in France guarding prisoners. That was an easy job as none of them wanted to escape. While in France I was decorated with the Purple Heart and got to tour Paris with a group of GIs. I returned to the US on the Queen Mary, a luxury liner that had been converted to a troop ship, and spent the rest of my duty in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Note: Arthur Boyd died in 2002. He was 86 years old.

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