Streaming Media


Oral history interview of Bill C. Coleman. Interview conducted by Thomas Sobien and Amelia Shermer at home of Bill Coleman, Orlando, Florida.


00:10 Begin discussion of early life before service; 2:30 Sent to school in South Carolina in preparation for training at Citadel; 5:30 Inducted into military; 6:15 Basic training in Macon; 7:10 Rejected from Army Air Corps; 7:30 Signed up for paratroopers - went to Ft. Benning for training - discussion of training; 18:00 Got jump wings; 18:45 Got onto boat to go to England; 20:50 Arrived during Battle of Britain, got more training and British jump wings; 25:10 Preparation for jump into Normandy; 28:30 Description of entrance into D-Day Battle; 31:40 What happened after his jump - chaos; 36:30 First encounter with German soldier; 38:25 Finds other lost American soldiers; 41:35 Encounter with German soldiers; 44:40 German patrol/battle skirmish with; 49:50 Captured by German patrol, taken to POW camp; 51:50 Escapes death by firing squad; 53:00 Marched through conquered Paris; 54:20 Taken by train and marched to a farm - taken in by peasants; 59:00 In transit and then in POW camp in Dresden; 59:30 Firebombing of Dresden; 1:01:50 Recovering bodies in Dresden; 1:03:00 Taken to Sudetenland camp and left there; 1:04:00 Russians invade town; 1:06:30 Escape from camp with civilians; 1:09:00 Travel to army post; 1:12:15 Taken to recovered POW camp; 1:13:10 Boat back to USA; 1:13:30 Reunion with family; 1:13:40 Miami for R&R during hurricane; 1:14:00 Back to Ft. Benning, prep for going to Japan; 1:14:30 War ends, back home to Orlando; 1:15:15 Closing statements

Place of Birth

Martin (Tenn.)




White - Non Hispanic

War or Conflict

World War II

Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury


Interview Date


Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Department of History, University of Central Florida


All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576.


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type