This narrative is based on personal notes and written accounts, personal interviews and several newspaper articles about Henry Kane and his brother Richard. George Kane, Henry’s son, helped to facilitate the interviews conducted between February and June of 2008 at the Hudson Valley Health Care System Veterans Hospital at Castle Point, New York. Eileen M. Fontanella, of Hopewell Junction, NY, collaborated with the Kanes to write and complete the project.
In June 2008 the narrative was submitted to the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center at the U.S. Library of Congress.
This picture of Henry Kane was probably taken in 1941, while he was on leave to visit his folks in Little Britain, a rural area between Goshen and Newburgh, in New York state.
Mr. Henry Kane served in the United States Military from October 1940 until June 1945. During World War II, in December 1942, he was captured in North Africa. For more than two years he remained a prisoner of war. During that time he was moved around to different camps in Italy and Germany. He escaped from Campo 59 (Servigliano, Italy) for a brief period, but he was recaptured a few months later and sent to other camps including Stalag 7A, 2B and a small work camp west of Stalag 1A in Germany (Koningsberg, Germany, known today as Kaliningrad, Russia). He was liberated by the 7th Armor Division.
Henry Kane was born on December 18, 1920, in Middletown, New York. He was brought up in Orange County, New York, where he lived and worked on various dairy and apple farms, including the Bull Farm on Sara Wells Trail in Hamptonburg. In the late 1930’s, when they were just teenagers, Henry and his brother Richard joined the Civilian Conservation Corp. Richard quit school at 16 in order to join, and soon after their brothers Walt, Durwood and James joined. Henry says that it was the only thing to do. Service in the Corps allowed the boys to save a little money to help their family and provided an opportunity to help their country. They each earned $30.00 a month, of which they were allowed to keep $8.00 in coupons for their use at the C.C.C. The remaining $22.00 had to be sent home. With five boys away at camp, the Kane family received approximately $110.00 a month. Camp life was highly structured, and the reserve officers in charge maintained the same discipline as military training. Henry worked eight hours a day at a camp in Peekskill, New York, until he was later transferred to Albany.