World War I I vets become friends 60 years after Battle of the Bulge

Joris Nieuwint


Alfred “Whitey” Birdwell and Cornelis “Neil” Berghout sat on a green sofa at Waldenbrooke Estates on a recent Tuesday, swapping stories.

To strangers, the pair — Birdwell, 94, and Berghout, 86 — appear to be lifelong friends: They even sometimes finish each other’s sentences.

Though they didn’t meet until roughly three years ago, their bond actually started some 64 years earlier during what became known as the Battle of the Bulge.

World War II was headed toward a close, when, in December 1944 a German offensive was launched against Allied Forces on a mountain forest in Belgium. Birdwell was serving in the U.S. Army and Berghout, a native of the Netherlands, was a soldier in the British Army.




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