EDISON, NJ – A little over 71 years ago, a little less a year after being drafted into the Army, George “Red” Ellis a World War II Veteran was taken prisoner by the Germans along with another solider in February 1945 where he spent 59 days in captivity before the war ended in Europe in May 1945.
“My life changed when I became a prisoner of war,” said George “Red” Ellis. “The memories are is clear today as they were 71 years ago.”
Red has resided in Edison for 76 years and is the first veteran in Edison to have a street named in his honor, Ellis Parkway.
Red’s WWII Journey
Red was drafted into the Army a little over 70 years ago on March 16, 1944. He processed through Fort Dix, New Jersey and then was sent to Camp Blanding, Florida for basic training. After basic training he was assigned to the 76 Infantry Division at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Later, his division was sent to Myles Standish, Rhode Island on Thanksgiving Day in 1944 prior to shipping out of Boston Harbor in route to England. They picked up a convoy off of the New Jersey coast before proceeding to Plymouth, England.
His regiment was billeted in Bournemouth, England, before crossing the English Channel to Le Harve, France. Once in France, his unit proceeded to Belgium and then Luxembourg.
The unit was then given orders to proceed to Echternach, Luxembourg. From there they launched their attack into the Siegfried Line February 7, 1945.
The first attempt to cross Sauer River was unsuccessful because the boats failed to arrive on time, so the regiment had to withdraw. The second attempt the following day was successful. Unfortunately, three of the soldiers had to take a boat back for another load of soldiers, but they came under fire and had to lay down in the boat. They boat drifted downstream before coming ashore. They were in a pocket surrounded by Germans on both sides trying to work their way back to the rest of the unit.
Red and was taken prisoner along with another soldier. After 59 days in captivity and two escape attempts, Red and the other soldier were released.
George “Red” Ellis Decorations Include:
Prisoner of War Medal
European – African –Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantry Badge