Freedom Fighters: Bill Redford

By Joan Hallmark - bio - email

Bill Redford rarely talks about his experiences in World War Two. The memories are just too painful, but Redford has shared those memories with KLTV 7's own Joan Hallmark.

June 6th, 1944, Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy, by nightfall more than nine thousand Allied soldiers lay dead or wounded. Bill Redford was in the second wave to hit the beaches that night.

"We was on that beach at night walking and we was stumbling, thought it was rubbish or something," explains Bill. "When the sun come up the next morning we found what it was, it was dead bodies. You can imagine how we all felt 'cause it was American boys. That's why I hardly ever talk about it because it brings back memories."

Redford's son Tommy was born a few days after D-day, but Redford didn't know about his birth for weeks and wouldn't see his son and wife Nettie for almost two years.

Redford had promised Nettie he'd be back, but there were many times he wondered if he could keep that promise, but redford fought on through the Hurclean forest and into Belgium where he was surrounded by German armies in the Battle of the Bulge. [take sot]

"It was nothing but hell and that's exactly what it was," he said.

Redford's position on platforms firing the big guns made him an easy target for the enemy.

"The enemy planes that was firing at me. They could see me but I never got hit. Guys on each side of me got killed and I was standing up there. When you see your buddies beside you getting killed and you didn't get hit, why did they miss me and hit them? Well, I tell you, because I was doing a lot of praying. that's why I got through it. Over there, if you didn't know how to pray, you learned how and you learned fast."

After fighting through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, freeing concentration camps and dodging snipers even after the war ended, Bill Redford returned home to Nettie and Tommy. Ironically in 1987, Redford's home was destroyed by a killer tornado that hit Jacksonville. The tornado swept away Redford's five bronze stars from the war, but again he and his family survived.

"I can't think of but one way, the good Lord was with us."