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'The Silent Soldier' Tells The Story Of A Soldier, A Sunken Ship And A Stolen Portrait11:00
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John Waller (right), pictured with a fellow Army service member, was aboard the troop ship SS Léopoldville crossing the English Channel to France on Christmas Eve 1944 when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank. His story is told in the documentary "The Silent Soldier and the Portrait." (Courtesy of the documentary)
John Waller (right), pictured with a fellow Army service member, was aboard the troop ship SS Léopoldville crossing the English Channel to France on Christmas Eve 1944 when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank. His story is told in the documentary "The Silent Soldier and the Portrait." (Courtesy of the documentary)
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On this Veteran's Day, we revisit a 2018 conversation with then-93-year-old soldier John Waller, who survived the sinking of the S.S. Léopoldville by a German U-boat on Christmas Eve in 1944. The attack killed 763 soldiers.

It's a story he didn't tell until recently, and one that also involved his theft of a tiny portrait from a French château. More than half a century later, he came to terms with both.

Host Robin Young spoke to documentary filmmakers Garland Waller and Barry Nolan — John Waller's daughter and son-in-law — as well as John Waller. "The Silent Soldier and the Portrait" will air this week on PBS stations.

This segment aired on November 11, 2020.

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