Posted on August 19, 2019
Albert Eugene Coleman died in 1944 when his daughter Nancy Shilling was just 18 months old.
Colin Murphy, 49, found the jewellery at Cresselly House, near Kilgetty in Pembrokeshire, where Albert had been stationed before going to France.
Nancy, from Pennsylvania, never knew her father, who died aged just 26. After she was given the bracelet with a US flag, Nancy said she was inspired to find out more about the family tree. “Before he was a name. Now I start wondering ‘where did he come from?’. I don’t know what he did when he was a little boy. It was such a big surprise after all these years that something should come up like that that belonged to my father.”
Colin, from Tenby, used Albert’s serviceman number, engraved on the bracelet, to find Nancy via the Snyder County Historical Society in Pennsylvania. “He died right at the end of the war in the Battle of the Bulge,” he said. “His body was repatriated five years later, [Nancy] would have been five years old when his body was brought back home.” Albert was one of 19,000 US troops killed in the Battle of the Bulge – known as the bloodiest battle for US forces in the war.
Nancy said her father kept her baby shoe in his helmet while fighting. Albert, a sergeant, asked one of his friends to make sure the shoe made it home if anything happened to him. Nancy said: “He sent that shoe back to my mother. I realised in spite of what he was going through, he loved me.”