Sunday, July 17, 2016

PFC Robert Louis Phenis

PFC Robert Louis Phenis was born 8 Nov 1924 in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was the 7th of the 8 children born to Harry Elwin and Florence Hazel (Lessard) Phenis. His father worked at a steel works, his mother at a hospital. His parents divorced in November 1937 and the children remained with Florence who continued to support the family by working as a dietitian in a local hospital to augment the court ordered alimony. Florence reported a 1939 income of $1000 and rented a home at 96 Avenue A in Battle Creek. Robert liked to hunt. He worked for Michigan Carton Company and then the Coca Cola Bottling Company.

Robert was drafted in January 1943. He then underwent training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas; Fort Meade, Maryland; Camp A. P. Hill, Virginia; and Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. He was able to get a 10-day furlough home in December 1943. Sent to England in June 1944 he was then assigned to A Company 116th Infantry. Robert managed to write a letter home on 15 Jul 1944 in which he said he was "very busy" but well. Initially reported missing in action, PFC Phenis was found to have been killed in action on 17 Jul 1944.

PFC Phenis was repatriated in 1948, returning home aboard the Eric B. Gibson, and was re-interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Robert and 2 brothers who served in the war. Arthur Lessard Phenis served as a SSG in ordnance in the Soloman Islands. Harry Leroy Phenis served as a PFC at Camp Howze, Texas.

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