The Silent Soldier and the Portrait

The Silent Soldier and the Portrait

episode

Shot primarily in England and France, THE SILENT SOLDIER AND THE PORTRAIT documents the story of one of the last living survivors of a major World War II military tragedy, and two secrets that he kept for decades. On Christmas Eve 1944, John Suter Waller was a 19-year-old soldier on his way to join in the Battle of the Bulge. A German U-boat sunk his troop's ship, the USS Leopoldville, killing more than 800 U.S. military personnel as it plunged into the icy waters of the English Channel. Fearing the effect of the news on morale back home, the military instructed the survivors not to discuss it. John Waller kept that secret faithfully for more than 75 years. John Waller's other secret involved a French portrait 'purloined' from a ruined estate during the war. The moving stories of the Leopoldville and the portrait, discovered during a move, set both father and daughter on a journey to retrace the young soldier's footsteps as he headed to war so long ago.

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