I received a note this morning from Roy Grillo, who, in conducting online research about his father, Peter Grillo, discovered his name on Clifford Houben’s Address List of POWs.
Peter’s name and address are also recorded in Charles Simmons’ address book.
Peter passed away in 2002.
Roy shared a letter with me that was sent by the U.S. War Department to his mother, Virginia E. Grillo, during Peter’s captivity.
Here is the text of that letter:
SERVICES OF SUPPLY
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST MARSHAL GENERAL
24 July 1943
Mrs. Peter Grillo,
Dear Mrs. Grillo:
The Provost Marshall General directs me to reply to your letter of July 20, 1943, regarding your husband, Private Peter Grillo.
The records in this office indicate that your husband is still interned at Camp 59, Military Post 3300, Italy. It is located in the vicinity of Ascol-Piceno [Ascoli Piceno] near the east coast in central Italy.
No further information has been received concerning your husband since our letter of July 15, 1943.
Howard F. Bresee
Bhief, Information Bureau.
“I remember my dad told me once that he and some of the other men ate rat and dog because of very small meals that were made available to them,” Roy said.
“I think the greatest gift my father left me was his talk about death and fear just before I left for Vietnam. It had a profound impact on me when our convoy came under attack (ambush), and it was his words that got me through those tough times.”
“This photo is one my dad liked,” Roy said. “That is me, age 19, leaning on the machine gun and a very good friend, Neil Naffzinger, who drove this truck.”