Robert was born the second of three children at the family homestead in Losoya, Texas to Dorothy Smallwood Evins and John Theron Evins. He graduated from San Antonio Vocational and Technical High School in San Antonio in 1938 with a certificate in the printing trade. After graduation, he was employed with the Sigmund Press in San Antonio until he joined the Army National Guard’s 36th Division in January 1940.
Once his outfit was mobilized into the U.S. Army, the division went from Camp Bowie, Texas to Camp Blanding, Florida, then to Camp Edwards in Massachusetts. From there, the division shipped out to Oran, North Africa for five months before invading Salerno, Italy in September 1943. After the invasion, his unit found itself out of ammunition and cut off behind enemy lines, eventually leading to their capture. As a prisoner of war, he was processed through Dachau and then sent on to Stalag IIIB at Fürstenberg, Germany. He remained at Stalag IIIB until the forced winter march in February 1945 to Stalag IIIA near Luckenwalde in advance of the rapidly approaching Russian lines. Stalag IIIA was eventually liberated by the Russians in April 1945.
Note from daughter (Barbara Lorenz): Three years prior to my father's death at the age of 90, he took the time to write his WWII memoirs and illustrate them with numerous drawings. This was a tremendous gift to his family, as he never talked about his WWII experiences up to that point. If you are a researcher and have any interest in seeing this document, please contact me.