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Remembering wartime story of Adair hero: James Nolan Cundiff

Adair Countian wrote home that Friday 13, 1945, was the luckiest day of his life. It was the day Allied Troops liberated him from Stalag IIB, Hammerstein, Pomerania (now Poland) when the area was controlled by Nazi Germany.
James Nolan Cundiff, Adair County, KY, 89, (d. May 22, 2012)


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James Nolan Cundiff enlisted in the armed service October 29, 1942, Ft. Thomas KY. In April, 1943, Cpl. Cundiff's mother, Mattie Cundiff, received word that he had safely arrived in North Africa. The War Department declared him missing in action as of July 27, but his family wasn't notified of his MIA status until September, and it wasn't until late October that they found out he was a prisoner of war.


In the Adair County News, November 3, 1943:
"James N. Cundiff Is Prisoner In Italy
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, recently received a letter from her son, Cpl. James N. Cundiff, written from a prison camp in Italy. He said that he was in a hospital but was getting along all right. The letter was brief and he told his mother that he was allowed to write only one letter a week."

In the Adair County News, January 5, 1944:
"Cane Valley Soldier Writes From Germany
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, received an interesting letter from her son, Corp. James N. Cundiff, who is a prisoner in a German Prison Camp, at Stalag [sic], Germany, on December 13. It was written October 2. The letter, which follows, was the first communication received since he had been sent from an Italian hospital to Germany:

'Dear Mother:Well, I finally got a chance to write again. I've been moving some. I moved from Italy to Germany, making it just fine and liking a lot better here than I did there. We get plenty of food parcels here. There's lots more boys from home. There is one from Crawfordsville, Ind., and one from Kentucky. They were on the same job with Victor Hancock. I think I'll be here for the duration. We have all kinds of games to play. It is not like we have always heard it was here. I can't write but four cards and two letters a month here. I have an English uniform. They sent my address home. Tell everybody to write while I'm here. I don't think I'll be here too long. I will write every chance.Love, James.'

His sister, Miss Elizabeth Cundiff, received a card written on October 12."

In the Adair County News, March 8, 1944:
"Adair Soldier Writes From German Prison Camp
Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, of Cane Valley, received a letter and card from her son, Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who is a prisoner in Germany. The letter was written December 20 and the card December 25. He said that he had never had a letter from home but was still hoping. He also said it was very cold and that he was doing some Red Cross work. He wished to be remembered to all his friends and expressed the hope that he would be home next Christmas. He stated that the Christmas dinner was good and said he had received some Christmas packages."

In the Adair County News, May 16, 1945:
"Friday 13th Lucky Day For Adair Soldier
Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who was taken prisoner by the Nazis in July, 1943, was released by U.S. troops on Friday, April 13, according to a letter recently received by his mother, Mrs. Mattie Cundiff of the Cane Valley community.Cundiff wrote that 500 other Allied prisoners were released at the same time. He said that he was in good health and hoped to be returned to the states soon. 'The old saying about Friday the 13th don't go. It's the luckiest day for all of me,' wrote the released soldier in the excitement over gaining his freedom."In the Adair County News, May 23, 1945, "Society" column:
"Cpl. James N. Cundiff, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, and was recently released, reached home last Thursday [May 17th]. He is spending a 62 day furlough with his mother, Mrs. Mattie Cundiff, and his brothers and sisters."

Military records indicate Cpl. Cundiff was liberated from Stalag 2B, Hammerstein. He was discharged from military service on September 25, 1945, at the Fort Knox Separation Center. Researcher who wishes to remain anonymous


This story was posted on 2012-05-23 06:33:11
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