NEW HAVEN — Two New Haven brothers, who were held as prisoners of war during World War II will be remembered this Memorial Day Weekend when a bridge is named in their honor.
Charles Richard “Dick” Ord and Milton “Mit” Ord will be memorialized at 11 a.m. Saturday as the Layne Street Bridge on Old Route 33 in New Haven is renamed the “Ord Brothers Memorial Bridge.”
A ceremony will be conducted and new signs unveiled on each end of the bridge, according to West Virginia Del. Scott Cadle, who was instrumental in completing the project and serves on the House of Delegates Veterans Committee.
The story of the Ord brothers is one that is well-known in the Bend Area. Sons of the late Harry and Jenny Ord, of New Haven, Dick and Mit joined the U.S. Army, but at different times.
Dick was captured in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. During his five months of captivity, he was forced to work on the railroad. Fed very little, Dick’s weight dropped from 145 pounds to 97 pounds.
Dick was liberated by the Americans on April 25, 1945. After being freed, Dick was sent to a fighter-plane airstrip outside Wertzen, Germany. There, he volunteered to type lists of 25 names that were used to fill trucks going to France. From France, the men would then return to the United States.
It was during this volunteer effort that Dick saw a familiar name among the soldiers — his brother Mit, who had been captured in Africa and liberated by the Russians after being held at a prison for 33 months.
Dick found his brother on the third floor of the building in which they were staying. Mit, like Dick, only weighed 95 pounds and at first did not recognize his brother.
From that moment, the brothers stayed together until they returned to New Haven. Dick went on to finish his service in Arkansas. He attended college and later served as president of Mason County Bank for many years. He died in 2013. Mit re-enlisted in the Army and died in the 1970s.
Dick Ord, while being interviewed for the Point Pleasant Register’s 50th anniversary V-J Day supplement in 1995, said, “I bet there is no other instance in the United States where brothers joined the service at different times, were captured in different places, held in different camps, were liberated by different countries, and ended up meeting three days later.”