Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

June 26, 2013

The incredible story of Clarksburg's Bill Smith

Last week we left off as William “Bill” Smith of Clarksburg had just been injured.

Asked to take a message, he left his big gun behind so as to run faster and carried only his small gun. He was hit with shrapnel and found it to be very hot. Ordinarily he would shoot his small gun to let the Americans know his location but his gun had also been hit. They’d been taught in case of injury to take pills and put a powder on injuries. “I took the pills and tried to dust powder on my back. When they finally found me, they took me to an old farm house.”

The medics found him and first got him to the side of a road, then they carried him to the old farm house. He was told that he hadn’t put the powder on his back wounds very well but they removed a piece of shrapnel about the size of a little finger. He’d wake up and quickly pass out again, wake up and pass out. When he finally did wake up everything was white. “I thought I was in heaven because there was no color, everything in sight was white. It turned out that when I woke up I was on a medical train and going back to Naples. They took me to the 300th general hospital there so they could take care of me.”

His right lung was collapsed and his right shoulder blade and three ribs had been fractured. “It was all on my right side. For a 19-year-old kid that was something.” I’m pretty sure it would have been “something” for anyone at any age. (Fifty years after he was injured Bill had a lump on his shoulder. The doctor removed another large piece of shrapnel.)

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