US soldier, one of the inspirations behind Dirty Dozen, dies

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London, Apr 12 (ANI): A soldier belonging to the US Army unit that operated behind the enemy lines during the World War II and inspired the movie "The Dirty Dozen", has died at the age of 88.

John "Jack" Agnew will be buried with full military honours at Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley where he and his wife, Elizabeth Agnew, lived for 56 years.

Agnew was one of the original members of the Filthy Thirteen, an unofficial unit within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, the Daily Express reports.

He was pronounced dead at Abington Memorial Hospital after becoming ill at his home in the Maple Village retirement community in Hatboro, where he and his wife moved about a year ago, his daughter Barbara Agnew Maloney said.

On D-Day, the Filthy Thirteen parachuted into France to take a bridge over the Douve River. It was a mission that would cost most of the men their lives, according to an article in the winter 2008-09 edition of American Valour Quarterly.

Before the Battle of the Bulge, Agnew and other members of the unit were selected for pathfinder duty and parachuted into Bastogne, which was besieged by German forces.

Agnew operated a beacon to help guide in planes carrying badly needed supplies, the Daily Express reports.

Tales of the unit's exploits and a Stars and Stripes military newspaper photograph are said to have inspired "The Dirty Dozen", not because any of the unit's members were convicts like the movie's characters, they weren't, but because of their reputation for brawling, drinking and spending time in the stockade.

Agnew was among those interviewed in the documentary The Filthy Thirteen: Real Stories from Behind the Lines that was included in a 2006 special edition DVD of "The Dirty Dozen", the paper reports. (ANI)

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