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A reticent father's diary reveals his story as POW in WWII

Bob Self
Florida Times-Union
Diana Halstead shows a drawing by her father, Gene Maul, of his bomber flying through antiaircraft fire. She points out the position he manned as a waist gunner.

While Diana Halstead and her sisters were growing up in Alton, Illinois, their mother told them not to ever ask their father about what he did during the war. So they didn't.

Their father, Henry Eugene Maul, known as Gene, didn't talk much unless it was needed. And he certainly didn't talk about his time as a B-17 waist gunner over Europe or about his months in a German prisoner of war camp and the long, cold, starving trek his captors forced him to make as they fled before the advancing Soviet Army.

But when young Diana — who now lives in Jacksonville — couldn't sleep at night or had a bad dream, she'd often find her father on the couch watching a war movie on TV. He watched all the war movies. And she'd snuggle up next to him until she got tired or bored and went back to bed.

Read the rest of this story at WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.