• Last modified 6250 days ago (June 7, 2007)
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Henry Roth recovers 'lost' duffel bag

Josh Mitchell of the Baltimore Sun tells about Henry J. Roth, a member of the 99th Infantry Division living in Catonsville, Md., and his surprise at receiving a package from Belgium.

The package happened to be a dark green canvas duffel bag that he left in a foxhole near the Belgian-German border more than 60 years ago.

Roth said he left the bag, which held some of his Army gear and a picture of his wife, with members of the 395th Regiment while he went to a nearby farmhouse to wash up.

He recalls taking a "nice, soaking bath," then trying to put his boots back on. He couldn't get them on because his ankles were swollen. He spent the night at the farmhouse and the next morning medics determined he had trench foot and sent him to England.

Roth never gave the duffel bag another thought.

He spent four months in a hospital, then spent the remainder of the war as a maintenance worker in the Army Air Force outside combat areas in Europe.

After the war, Roth returned to the United States. He is an 85-year-old retired accountant.

In April, Roth's letter carrier delivered a box with a Belgian postmark. The box contained the lost duffel bag, which had been found by Pierre Godeau, a collector of war memorabilia.

Godeau said the bag came from a house in Krinkelt-Rocherath. He found Roth's phone number online and called to say he had found his duffel. Godeau offered to send a photo, but in the end, decided to surprise Roth by sending the bag itself.