I received a note early this month from Katy Bochetto, who wrote, “My grandfather was Charles K. Simmons.
Katy’s mother, Margaret Simmons, was Charles’ oldest daughter.
In her note, Katy told me about Charles’ gold “300 game” bowling ring that was confiscated by Italians after his capture, but was later surprisingly returned to Charles.
In a follow-up email I received today, Katy said, “The family was together for Christmas and more information was found about my grandfather—specifically the story I was telling you about his bowling ring!”
Below is the text of that article.
Although the reporter states Charles “escaped while being transported to Central Italy,” we know from Charles’ own records that he escaped from P.G. 59 during the breakout on September 14, 1943. Charles went by his middle name, Kenneth, and was also known as “Red.”
Hall of Fame Has Ring ‘Red’ Wore in War
Kenneth (Red) Simmons owns membership in the A&OD Individual Bowling League this year and after three weeks of action he found himself near the top of the heap with a 190 plus average. This is not a particularly spectacular sports flash but Red bears watching because he is the type of tiger that figures to claw his way to consistently good scores.
The fact that his record shows three 300 games, a 299 heartbreaker and about twenty 700 totals, not to mention several seasons when he averaged above the 200 mark, makes him a strong candidate to cop all the marbles whenever the name of the game is bowling.
All this, of course, is pretty generally known among his A&OD colleagues, but what isn’t so generally known is that the redhead is represented in bowling’s Hall of Fame. And the way all this came about makes an interesting little story.
Back in World War II, Red was with the 1st Army taking part in the invasion of North Africa when he was captured by the Italians. His captors relieved him of his ABC [American Bowling Congress] gold ring and an ABC belt buckle. While being transported to Central Italy he escaped and hid out in the mountains for six months before making contact with American forces.
Later his buddies, still in action in Africa, captured several Italians, one who just happened to be wearing Red’s engraved ring. After hostilities the ring was returned to its owner and later was exchanged for a new one by ABC officials. They wanted the well-traveled piece of jewelry for display in the hall.
So, one of these days watch Red make another escape…from good scores to something spectacular.