A community mourns: The last WWII ‘Bedford Boy’ dies

ROANOKE, Va. (WSLS 10) — Allen Huddleston, the last of the famed Bedford Boys, passed away on the morning of February 10, 2016.  A release from the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia said he was 96.

“If there such a thing as a southern gentleman, Allen Huddleston was that,” said his longtime friend, Robert Key who met Allen Huddleston in 1946.

On the day Huddlston’s Company A stormed the beaches of Normandy, he wasn’t with them.  He’d suffered a broken ankle just prior to the attack.

“He said, ‘If I hadn’t broken my ankle two weeks before that, I’d probably lost my life right there on that beach that morning with all them boys from Bedford that did get killed,’ said Key.

Of course Bedford lost more men per capita than any other community in the United States that morning.  And Key says Huddleston carried guilt about missing it throughout his life.

But once healed, he re-joined his company, where according to a statement by the National D-Day Memorial,  “…he recognized no one” because 90-percent had been casualties on the beaches of Normandy.

Huddleston was later wounded in Germany and sent back to England.

Today you can see Huddleston’s name along with the rest of the soldiers from Bedford who made significant contributions to the war effort with the bronze statue at the D-Day Memorial called “Homage.”

Key said the loss of Huddleston, the last Bedford Boy is a marker in time he hoped would never come.

“I would always have a short prayer with them and I say Allen I already asked God early this morning to give you the strength you need today. We don’t want to worry about tomorrow. If you are here tomorrow I’ll ask him again to get you through the next day. He said that’s good and don’t forget me.”

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