PFC Robert Cole Caine
329th Infantry, Co. L, Infantry, 83rd Division
KIA 12, August 1944 at St. Malo, France
Buried at Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, New Jersey
-- Clarence Willard Caine
My father, Robert (Bob) Cole Caine was born on September 10, 1919 in Bridgeton, NJ. He was the eleventh of the thirteen children of George L. and Eva (Pullinger) Caine. One sister died at a young age
from scarlet fever. My grandfather worked at the local gas company. With the times being hard, my father dropped of out high school and took a job at a local bakery as a baker's helper to help his
parents support his family.
I have a picture of Dad, his older brother Frank, and a cousin standing in front of the old family homestead. At that time, the streets were dirt and they used gas street lights at night. As a young
man, he loved playing baseball for one of the town's leagues, but his favorite sport was boxing.
Dad met my mother, Harriet A. Jaggers in Bridgeton. They started seeing one another and after dating for a while, they were married on August 8, 1942 by the Reverend Charles H. Shaw, and then moved to
In October, 1942, Dad enlisted in the Army and reported to Fort Dix, NJ. He was sent to Fort Carson for basic training with the 89th Infantry Division, 353rd Infantry, Co. F. His training then took him
to California then Mississippi. While with this unit, he was able to use his boxing skills. When he won a match, he was given a pass for the weekend to fly home to visit with my mother. I understand he
did quite well against his opponents, with numerous knock-outs.
On June 4, 1943, my brother Kenneth Robert Caine was born. While home on leave, Dad, my mother and brother enjoyed visiting with Dad's family in Bridgeton. Dad enjoyed having his son to play with. He
was very close to all of his sisters and brothers, and was well liked by all of his close friends in the Bridgeton area.
In late March of 1944, Dad received orders to report to Fort Meade, Maryland. He was given a short leave before he had to report to duty, but he chose to extend his leave and went AWOL. Two of his
brothers, who were both also in the Army, tried to convince him to report back on time, but he told them that he had a feeling that he would not be coming back home. When he was boarding the train to
report in to New York, he told my mother to take good care of his son Kenneth and also the new baby she was expecting to deliver in September of 1944. He was demoted from CPL back to a PFC when he
Dad's new orders were to report to the 83rd Infantry Division, which was ready to depart for overseas, but not knowing if it would be to Europe or the Pacific. As it turned out, on April 6, 1944, the
83rd members were shipped out on American, Canadian and British ships to Liverpool, England, and from there to various training camps.
On D plus 10 (June 16, 1944), the 83rd Infantry Division departed for France to enter the war. They landed on Omaha Beach and headed toward the Cotentin Peninsula, in Brittany. On August 12, 1944, Dad
was killed in action and was ultimately buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery, St. James, France. At the request of my mother, his remains were returned to the United States to be re-interred in the
Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, NJ.
On September 24, 1944, a month and a half after my father died, I, Clarence Willard Caine, was born. My father never got to see me, but has been, and forever will be, in my heart until the day I die.
I've had the honor of receiving all of the medals Dad would have received had he made it home. He received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantry Badge, among several other WWII medals.
I have his burial flag, and a flag that was flown in his honor over the United States Capital, in Washington, D.C.
I may have lost my father, who gave his life for the freedom of others, but later in life I gained a loving wife, three beautiful daughters, and five grandchildren. So Dad, I hope you are as proud of me
as I am of you. In time we will meet each other in Heaven, and what a day that will be!
And by the way Dad, I have many sisters and brothers, thanks to a wonderful organization that I belong to down here on earth, the American WWII Orphans Network (AWON).
Your loving son,
(Now Lyndal Ware Kellogg) --