Home                   Catalog                   World War 2                   World War 1                  Links


Patton's Troubleshooters Book                        Patton's Troubleshooters DVD



Bill Costley



Company C

319th Infantry Regiment

80th Infantry Division



My friend, Bill Costley was a combat scout in Company C, 1st Battalion, 319th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division.  Later in life, Bill authored some WW2 military books that have become the Gold Standard for collectors of US and German militaria.  Bill and I have been friends for over three decades.  When we met, I had just finished my book, and he was still working on his books.  When Bill compiled his books, he wanted to use some material from my book for his books.  I readily gave him permission to use my material, as long as he gave credit to my book and myself for the material.  It wasn't my ego at play, or selfishness, but rather a desire to help promote my own history of the 80th Division and its attached units, so that veterans and families of the 80th Division could become aware of my history project for their benefit.  Up until then, no history on the division had been done in 40+ years since the war, and I wanted anyone related to the 80th Division to know that someone was out there trying to correct a great injustice and make sure their great deeds were remembered by history.


As someone who started self-publishing at a time when it was almost unheard of, I know how many millions of little details that go into writing, editing, publishing and marketing a book.  Therefore, when I discovered that Bill had accidentally forgotten to mention my history in his credits as he'd promised, I was not angry with Bill.  He thought I was, and sincerely believed that I had a right to be angry with him.  Actually, I was disappointed, rather than angry.  At the time, long before the internet existed, I was struggling to market my book on a shoestring budget.  Best Seller books may make millions, but I assure you that history books don't even come close to that kind of sales, and most only ever reach a small, targeted audience.  Being a historian is not a good way to become rich and famous!  In my thinking, being mentioned in Bill's book was simply free advertising for my book, so I could spread the word among 80th Division people that they had a history project.  Disappointed; yes.  Angry with a sweet, generous guy like Bill Costley; not at all.


Bill promised me that somehow, someday, he would make it up to me.  I didn't think too much about it, and continued my work.  In the meantime, Bill and I became the best of friends, and spent a lot of money on both sides talking long distance on the telephone, and writing letters back and forth.  When Bill went to 80th Division Reunions, he would record conversations among veterans he was friends with, and then send me copies of the tapes for the history project.  While Bill didn't "do internet", he quickly understood how the internet could help spread the word among veterans, their families, and the general public about what the 80th Division did during the war, and why we today owe those men such a great debt of gratitude.  So, when I began this website, and began making the history project available to the public online, Bill was one of my greatest supporters.  Bill knew me well enough to know that my work was for a noble cause, and not something to make money or fame from.  As the website progressed, despite the fact that Bill couldn't see it personally, I kept him updated about new updates I'd made, and bits and pieces of historical material that were coming in.


Bill and I discussed the idea of republishing his books in color.  When he had published his books, he'd found that doing so in color was ungodly expensive, so he'd done his books in Black & White photos instead.  However, almost all of his original photography had been shot in color film.  Since computers were now more common, I thought perhaps we could find a way of producing books in full color and still make them profitable for Bill.  Bill sent me all of his original photos, and I spent hundreds of hours scanning them.  As things turned out, between printing, paper, and other associated publishing costs, it was still simply too expensive to produce Bill's books in color and make it financially feasible.  Sometime later, Bill called me and told me that he hated to see all my work go to waste, and also wanted to help the history project.  He added that he still owed me for not mentioning my book so many years earlier.  I told him that was nonsense; that he owed me nothing, and I hadn't even thought about that mistake in many years.  That is the way my friend Bill is, though.  Bill is a man of honor.  He then proceeded to tell me that if I'd like, I could add his book photos to the website for the history project.  I told my old friend that I'd be happy to accept his generous offer, but not because he thought that he owed me something, but because he wanted to help educate the world about the 80th Infantry Division and some of the German units they fought.  Needless to say, I was deeply touched by Bill's kind gesture, and thanked him profusely.


For several years now, I have been working on Bill's photos, mostly in my spare time, and still am not done.  However, rather than wait until I am finished, I will begin adding photos as I finish them.  While I will try to stay true to Bill's original books, in some ways that is not possible, so what I'll present here is not an attempt to recreate Bill's books.  Some of you may not be aware of Bill's books, so let me give you some background.  When Bill entered the war with the 80th Infantry Division, he was just a very young man, like all the other young men trying to serve his country.  After the war, he brought back many souvenirs of the war.  Bill married, got a reliable job, and bought a house.  As his life progressed, he continued adding to his collection of the gear and uniforms of the 80th Division and some of the German units his division had fought.  Bill made himself an expert of such things, and his books were an attempt to share his collection with the world, while also memorializing the men who fought it.  The world of collecting WWII items was booming, and there were many fakes hitting the market (especially Nazi items).  In no time at all, Bill and his books became the Gold Standard of reference books amongst collectors.


I wish to thank my dear old friend again, here, for his friendship, his kindness, his generosity, and for simply being the person he is.  We all owe Bill a great debt here: not just for his service in WWII, but for sharing his hard work; that he spent his small personal fortune on, so that future generations can better understand what WWII US and German soldiers looked and lived like.

Terry D. Janes

March 2015


Last 100 Days E.T.O.



Volume Two-Platoon Sergeant, 80th "Blue Ridge" Infantry Division, Third US Army, Pictorial Guide










Return To The World War Two Index


Return To Main Page


By visiting this site, you agree to the terms and conditions

of our Visitor Agreement. Please read. Privacy Policy

2017 Opinicus Publishing Company-All Rights Reserved