From January to March 1945, the 85th division was cautiously patrolling around the Po Valley waiting to set up an attack to move in and clear out the Germans. Enemy fire increased significantly as time went on. The beginning of April the 85th received intensely heavy fire from the Germans as the 85th moved closer and closer to capturing them. To enter Po Valley, troops had to cross and secure a 3½ mile long front. Finally, the 85th moved into Po Valley in mid-April and there were no enemy front lines anymore, so troops caught the rest of all fleeing Germans. The Germans mass surrendered in Italy on May 2nd, 1945 in the Belluno Agordo area, days before Germany surrendered in WWII. The 85th division was sent home in late May and the division was eventually inactivated in August. The 85th was then changed to a training division. To estimate it, James probably went MIA between April and May in Po Valley.
James V. Walley’s body was never found, but he is listed on the Missing in Action Wall at Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy. He also has a headstone placed by family members at Mulberry Cemetery in Louin, MS. The US Army pronounced him MIA/Dead on November 9th, 1945.
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