179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, Second Worldwar

Pfc. William Louis Prince

179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, Second Worldwar



Introduction to the WWIIRA and 45th Infantry Division, World War II Reenactors

An explanation of who the WWIIRA and World War Two reenactors are

What you will want to know if you have an interest in working with us.

The photo gallery has historical images of the WWII, Thunderbirds and 45th ID reenacting photos.

Information about Venturing Crew 1941, Boy Scouts of America

HomeWho We AreWant to volunteerPhoto Gallery Venturing Crew

These are the World War II events that you will find the WWIIRA in attendance.

Learn about the Men and campaigns of the 45th Infantry Division in WW II.

Links to 45th related, World War 2, or community support websites

Learn about our project to help our present day Military with civilian relations

Table of Contents listing all of the pages on our WW II 45th Division and Reenacting website, including a list of Maps.
Schedule of Events Unit History Wounded Warrior Project    LinksTable of Contents

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The following information and photographs were obtained from and used with permission of Pfc. William Prince's widow Mrs. Thelma Faye Prince. http://oursouthernancestors.com/index.html

Bill at age 9, riding a pony.

William Louis {Knight} Prince was born on July 13, 1919 at #30 Avy St., Hillside, NJ, in Union County. His name at birth was William Louis Knight (birth certificate #716, Trenton, NJ). His natural parents were Sarah Agnes Reilly and Joseph Thomas Knight. When William was christened on 19 August 1919 in St. Catherine's Roman Catholic Church, his sponsors were his uncle, John Reilly and Mary Peters. The priest was J.C. McClary. William, known to everyone as "Bill", was raised by his father's sister, Helen Marie Knight and her husband, William Louis Prince (1882 - 1943), and took their surname, Prince, when he was about five years old.

The Princes lived at #30 Avy St. and were very close to the Knights. Bill was sickly as a child, and was told that the Princes were better off financially and wanted to take care of him. Helen had a daughter, Helen, much older than Bill who married Norman Govette but she and William Prince had no children of their own. Bill attended Hurden-Looker School and Hillside Avenue elementary schools in Hillside. When they moved to Union Beach, he attended Keyport High School, going through the 10th grade.

Wedding photo of William Louis Prince and Thelma Faye Cain in 1953.

On November 8, 1953, after Bill's discharge from the Army and return to work, he married Thelma Faye Cain in Sylvan Hills Baptist Chruch in Atlanta, Georgia. The following memoirs from his service days were told to his wife in June of 1994.

For a short period of time, Bill worked for the Civil Conservation Corp, the CCC's, working on farms and digging ditches. The work was varied, doing whatever was needed, and this program was set up by the Federal Government.

He began work at Welin-Davit, Perth Amboy, NJ in 1942 as an assembler and riveter making davits for lifeboats. He joined the army in spring of 1943, went overseas.


Photograph captioned "William Louis Prince 1943".  Black and white photo of Bill in khaki uniform.

"I was inducted into the army on March 25, 1943 at Newark, NJ. I had my basic training at Camp Croft, Spartenburg, S.C. I had advanced training at Camp Swift in Austin, Tx.
Date of departure to Oran, Algeria, North Africa, was September 13 by a liberty ship named "John Brown." We arrived there October 6, 1943, stayed there briefly then went to Bizerte, Tunisia on the "Forty and Eight" train. From Bizerte we went by transport ship to Naples where we bivouacked at a racetrack which was the replacement depot of manpower.
I was rifleman #745 in Company L, 179th Infantry, 45th Division of the Fifth Army. My outfit landed on Anzio Beachead between January 23rd and February 1, 1944. I was not in the first landing on January 21-22nd. We went from Naples to Anzio by ship and marched off the ship up through the town and joined the lines already formed, digging right into foxholes, because shelling and bombing were going on constantly.

I lived in a foxhole and slept in it most of the time. I washed with water put into my helmet, ate c-rations (canned beef) and k-rations. There was an abandoned house there, but it was too dangerous for us to go into it because the enemy bombed buildings. It was extremely rainy winter and mud was up to your knees everywhere, making it difficult to maneuver around.
On February 18, 1944, I was walking down the road when a shell exploded near me. I proceeded to the evacuation hospital by myself and was treated for a perforated eardrum. I ate supper at the evacuation hospital and right afterwards the Germans shelled the kitchen. It was repaired later. This hospital was near the harbor and the airstrip. I was off duty a couple of days and then sent back to the front lines.

I was made a Private First Class and ordered to set up a scouting outpost, along with one other man, in front of my outfit's lines. I was made the first scout whose duty it was to make sure where the Germans were and to let those behind us know. We tied tin cans up around the outpost which would make noise if anyone approached.

On May 30, 1944, three of our companies were advancing and trying to keep in contact with each other. As first scout, I could see where the Germans were. Unfortunately, one of them spotted me, threw a grenade and I got hit in the left leg (femur) and right arm (humerus), leaving shrapnel in the wounds.

William "Bill" Prince, Newton J. Baker Veterans Hospital. Martinsburg, West Virginia, 1945
William "Bill" Prince, Newton J. Baker Veterans Hospital. Martinsburg, West Virginia, 1945
The medics took me back to the Battalion Aid Station for first aid. I was then sent to the evacuation Hospital in Naples for two days, then transferred to the new hospital in Naples where the doctors operated, put a pin in my leg and put my arm and leg in traction.

I left for the US by hospital ship from Naples on September 11, 1944, arriving September 29, 1944. I went to Stark General Hospital in South Carolina for a little while, then to Newton D. Baker Veterans Hospital, Martinsburg, West Virginia. Discharge was given at 1318 SCU Hospital Center, Camp Pickett, Virginia, September 17, 1945"

After discharge from the army in the fall of 1945, Bill resumed work at Welin-Davit and stayed there until 1961 when he started work for Old Bridge Township Roads and Sanitation Department as a laborer and truck driver, finally retiring in 1984.

New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal

Medals and Awards held by Pfc. William Prince

Purple Heart with bronze oak leaf cluster
Honorable Service Lapel Button - World War II
(commonly called the "Ruptured Duck")
World War II Victory Medal
Bronze Star Medal for bravery in action
Combat Infantryman's Badge
European African Medal with two bronze stars
Good Conduct Medal

Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals and ribbons.
Bill Prince standing in cemetery in Nettuno, Italy among grave markers.

In July 1975, Bill and Faye visited the American Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. Many of those buried there fought at Anzio and environs. In 1990 Thelma Faye and one of their children, daughter Carolyn, revisited the cemetery.

On March 22, 1995 at the National Guard Armory, Colonel Moorman of the U.S. Army awarded to Bill the Distinguished Service Medal of the State of New Jersey. This medal was awarded to him for distinguished meritorious service in ground combat, wounds received as a result of direct combat actions against an armed enemy while serving in the United States Army in the European African Middle Eastern Theater during World War II.

On December 3, 1998 William Louis Prince died in Old Bridge Township, in Middlesex County, NJ. He was laid to rest in Old Tennent Cemetery, Tennent, NJ. He is survived by his wife Thelma Faye, and his children, Mrs. Carolyn E. Lambert, of Monmouth Junction, NJ, and William Jeffrey Prince, of Hopewell Township, NJ.
Bill and Thelma Faye in 1995.


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