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A war story not for the faint hearted

U.S. Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation collection, E-12688

Pfc. Dorris Malear tells a story that suggests he may have been a survivor of the so-called Malmedy Massacre, one operation related to the famous Battle of the Bulge, in which the German 1st S.S. Panzer Division sought to instill fear in their enemies by taking no prisoners and killing all civilians in their path. While the details of Malear’s narrative differ somewhat from the historically accepted account of the Malmedy Massacre, he is certainly in the right place at about the right time.

Mr. Malear passed away in 2013, you can read his obituary here.

From the photo caption:

Pfc. Dorris W. Malear, 36744089, of Alto Pass, Ill., doesn’t stop for a cup, but drinks this milk straight from the bottle. This is the first milk he’s had since returning from the front lines.

On the night of Dec. 17, 1944, while serving with Co. C, 38th Inf., 2nd Div., with the 1st Army. Pfc. Malear with 40 or 50 buddies were cut off from the rest of the troops in the Malmedy Sector by S.S. troops (Panzer).

The men were rounded up and forced to face a wall, and place their hands upon their heads. Pfc. Malear was in a building with 6 other men when one enlisted man was injured by shell fire, losing an arm and leg. Some Germans forced them to leave the building which they did, all but the wounded man who lay screaming. Malear saw Germans enter building and heard bursts of machine gun or machine pistol fire and then all was quiet in the building.

Malear was then questioned by a German Officer who spoke in broken English, asking the whereabouts of his lines. From this point on Pfc. Malear doesn’t recall hearing any order to fire, but he and the rest of the 40 or 50 men were “mowed down” by fire. When left for dead, he finally worked his way back through enemy lines to his own outfit reaching his line about 1 1/2 hours later and losing consciousness.

He woke up two days later in the Fifth Evacuation Hospital in Belgium, then he was moved to 108th General Hospital in Paris, then to 113rd General Hospital, Bristol, England, finally reaching the United States on the 23th of February, 1945. Pvt. Malear holds the E.T.O., Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and Presidential Unit Citation Awards. He has been in the service for two years, of which one year was overseas duty. His wounds were: Bullets smashed bone in lower portions of left arm, one bullet passed through fleshy part of left shoulder missing spine and passing through fleshy part of right shoulder. To his knowledge he is the only living person of the forty or fifty men.

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