Tribute to a World War II Hero
“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men with guns stand ready in the
night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” -George Orwell
PFC Francis J. Henry - U.S. Army
This page is dedicated to my father, PFC Francis J. Henry in WW II, "Butch" to his family,
and Frank to his friends. He was born June 23, 1923 in Pittsburgh, Pa where he lived with
his 10 brothers and sisters until he was drafted in late 1942. He entered the service on
February 8, 1943, completed Basic Training at Fort Bragg, NC, then joined the 9th Infantry
Division in North Africa with the MOS of Cannoneer, Light Artillery, as a member of Battery C,
60th Field Artillery Battallion. Francis served in every major campaign of the European theater
though the African campaign was winding down when he arrived. Ironically, after going through
all that with no serious wounds , he died at the early age of 41 on October 1, 1964 during open
heart surgery. He was a great Dad for the 13 years that I had him.
Here are a few more photos of him during the war.
In the course of researching my Dad's war history, I made contact with my cousin Bill Mall, who I had
not had contact with in 40 years. During WW II which was before I was born, Dad was like a big brother
to Bill and sometimes sent him war souvenirs. I contacted Bill in the hopes he might have some letters
or photos I might copy. Unfortunately, no letters, but I got this reply from Bill:
Took me a while to get my thoughts together. (There were and are lots of Henrys.) I now realize that your Dad
was my Uncle Butch! As a little kid from the "country" I used to stay in his room when I visited the city and the big
house in Oakland. He was like a big brother to me. I guess you know he was a real war hero. If you've read any
of Ambrose's stuff on Band of Brothers, Citizen Soldier, etc....YOUR DAD was the kind of guy he talked about.
He wrote often but mostly to my Mom who read parts to me. Alas I have no letters from him
. I think he was in every major campaign in Europe. He went into North Africa and I think Italy and Sicily. He
fought all across Europe and I think he crossed the Rhine at the Remagen Bridge. It's a miracle he survived! He was
in the 9th Inf Div and I think the 10th Armored Div. He was in the Field Artillery firing the 105MM and 155 MM howitzers..
He was very modest and we had to pry out war stories from him. I have two pictures he sent me of captured German
planes (he knew my early aviation interests) They are poor quality and I don't think he's in them. Toward the end of
the war in Europe he captured a German soldier and "liberated" his rifle. He sent it to me and I still have it. Jim you
are welcome to it. It's a relic and I don't think it even fires but it came from him.. "
Coming from Bill, these words meant a lot to me, for he had quite a military career of his own, which is
Bill sent me that rifle which will soon hang in
Recently I was fortunate enough to FINALLY make a connection with someone who had served with my father in World War II. That was PFC Robert Tate, who was also in Battery C, 60th Field Artillery. Bob was visiting his grandchildren who decided to take him on a tour of the Internet. At some point they went to the 9th division web site at www.oldreliable.org where Bob saw my message asking if anyone had known PFC Francis Henry. Soon after Bob and I were speaking on the phone and he invited my family and I to visit him at his home in Kentucky. We had a wonderful visit; he's a great guy, and Bob had some photos of my father and himself, which I post below along with some current photos taken on our visit. The last two were taken this summer, Bob with my wife Bette, and Bob with my daughter Jamie.
Besides Bob Tate, the only other name I know for someone who served with my father in the 60th F.A. was Sargent Larry Gould. He was from Massachusetts. He visited our family in 1963 or 64, and attended my father's funeral in 1964. I don't know if he still survives. If you come across this site and think you may have known my father, or would just like to comment, I would love to hear from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.