PRIVATE FIRST CLASS FRANK PRATT SMITH; U.S. ARMY

May 10, 1919 (Norwalk, CT) – September 27, 1986 (Tampa, FL); 67 years old
Married Mildred W. Farrell (1927-1965) on March 21, 1946 in Danbury, CT
Son, Private James Pratt Smith, USMC (1947-1968); killed in South Vietnam
Son, William Edwards of Tampa, FL
Married again in July 1966 in Hillsborough, FL
Local address 13 Center Street, Norwalk
Enlisted on September 26, 1940
Serial number 11019715
Unit: 79th Infantry Division, 315th Infantry Regiment


Held in German POW camp Stalag 9B Bad Orb Hessen-Nassau, Prussia 50-09.


From The Norwalk Hour September 28, 1940

Hanford R. Smith and Frank P. Smith, both sons of Charles W. and Florence B. Smith of Rowayton Avenue, have enlisted in the U.S. Army and are stationed at Port Hancock, New Jersey for three years training.


From The Norwalk Hour March 20, 1945

Private First Class Frank Pratt Smith has been missing in action somewhere in France since January 11, according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Smith of 13 Center Avenue. He is a member of the 315th Infantry. Private First Class Smith enlisted in September 1940. He was for a time stationed on a U.S. Army cable ship operating outside Boston Harbor and later served with a Military Police unit in the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Rodman, Massachusetts. He went overseas in October 1944. His brother, Corporal Hanford Weed Smith, is fighting in Germany at the present time.


From The Norwalk Hour April 18, 1945

Private First Class Frank Pratt Smith of 13 Center Avenue, who was taken a prisoner of war in Germany on January 11, has been liberated, according to a letter received from him by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Smith. Private Smith wrote that he was freed on the night of April 2 and that he hoped to be home in about a month.


From The Norwalk Hour May 1, 1945

TOILED IN SALT MINE FOR NAZIS
PFC Smith, Liberated War Prisoner, Didn’t See Daylight for 41 Days; Home

“Things are even worse than you can imagine from the stories that are coming out of Germany,” Private First Class Frank Pratt Smith, liberated prisoner of war who arrived last night for a 60-day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Smith of 13 Center Avenue, said today. “When we were captured, on the German border on January 11 we were taken to a coal and salt mine where we were worked until we were exhausted. If you didn’t work, you didn’t get anything to eat – and we had to eat to save our strength even if the food was revolting.” Question about time off for recreation, Private First Class Smith said, “Recreation? There’s no such word in Germany. You just work until you drop.” The liberated soldier said that he and his companions, worked underground without seeing daylight for 41 days. Their liberation on April 2 was unexpected until practically a few hours before the coming of American troops for it was only then that the officer in charge informed them of the turn of events. The prisoners, however, had anticipated unusual happenings for they had been brought up from the mines and had witnessed about seven continuous hours of plane activity including strafing. When they were told (by their captors) that they would soon be free – the news seemed unbelievable but it was not long before the prisoners were being greeted by their liberators. As soon as U.S. troops could do so, they distributed C rations to the erstwhile prisoners and they brought them all the food they could obtain in the nearby area. After this “boost,” the liberated men were taken to an emergency airport where they had their first shower and also underwent “delousing.” “And did we need it,” said Private First Class Smith, “imagine going 78 days without a shower. Here, we also received fresh outfits.” Following this treatment, the newly-freed men were taken by plane to Le Havre where they were guests at Camp Lucky Strike. The private comments that although they bunked in tents, they had all the comforts of an up-to-date hotel and received such wonderful treatment, that there was not one of the 1300 former prisoners who did not cry when they arrived – it was such a contrast to the treatment by the Nazis. Then, too, the men know that they would soon be enroute to their homes. The trip to the United States was on a hospital ship, and the men had an opportunity to relax and enjoy good food so that their condition was greatly improved by the time they arrived in this country last Saturday. The first stop was at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, from where private First Class Smith telephoned his parents as soon as possible. The local man was among those whose brief interviews were broadcast over one of the 38 stations which had microphones set up in the camp. Private First Class Smith, who was among the 1,900 liberated prisoners of war, arrived in Norwalk last evening. Upon completion of his furlough, he will report to Lake Placid, New York, for further assignment. Private First Class Frank Pratt Smith, whose liberation from a prisoner of war camp in Germany took place on the night of April 2, arrived last night for a 60-day furlough with his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Charles W. Smith of 13 Center Avenue. He was reported but the War Department as missing in action in France since January 11 but on March 27, another telegram reported him as prisoner of war. The third message, telling the good news of his liberation, was contained in a letter received by his parents in April. The private with the 315th Infantry, enlisted in September 1940, and for a time was stationed on a U.S. Army cable ship operating outside Boston Harbor and later served in the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Rodman, Massachusetts. He went overseas in October 1944. His brother, Corporal Hanford Weed Smith, is in Germany.


Remains were handled by Hillsborough Crematory in Tampa, Florida. No other details are known.


Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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