World War II veteran gets missing mess kit cup back more than 7 decades later

Photo credit Friends of the National World War II Memorial

A World War II veteran’s lost mess kit cup has been returned to him -- 76 years after he unknowingly lost it while fighting in Europe.

Harold Radish lost the cup while fighting in January of 1945 and didn’t even realize it was missing until late last year when someone sweeping a field in Luxembourg with an electronic metal detector found it.

“I never even knew I lost it,” he said with a laugh. “I never thought of it. It was a long, long time ago.”

Photo credit Friends of the National World War II Memorial

Radish, who recently turned 96, was drafted in 1943 and was sent to France with the 90th Infantry Division. He said his granddaughter initially found out about the cup through a Facebook posting that asked for anyone knowing a Harold Radish to contact the poster.

“He has since written me a couple of times and returned the cup to me,” Radish said. “On the bottom of the cup, I had scratched my name. That’s how he knew it was mine.”

Radish said he remembers being in the area of Luxembourg where he lost the cup 76 years ago as the 90th made its way to Germany. He fought in the Ardennes and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. In February of 1945, he was taken prisoner of war by the Germans near the Siegfried Line, but not before getting rid of his dog tags since he is Jewish. He was freed by English soldiers in April of 1945.

Photo credit Friends of the National World War II Memorial

Radish said his parents only knew he was missing in action and didn’t know if he would make it back home until he returned to Brooklyn. Radish went on to attend New York University and worked as an industrial arts teacher in New York City schools until his retirement.

Radish’s wife Mildred, had two daughters. She was also a New York City teacher until her retirement.

He still lives in the same house in Douglaston that he and his wife purchased in 1950. Radish has served as commander and held many other offices in the Key Chapter of Ex-POWs in Brooklyn. He continues to volunteer for this group and in the VA hospital.

“It’s amazing, it’s mind-boggling,” he said of the cup’s return.

Reach Julia LeDoux at .

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Friends of the National World War II Memorial