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Click on the links shown below and you will be provided with all the current information that we have researched. We are working with USAAF specialists and veterans to considerably expand our USA coverage. We invite others to contribute photographs, documents and letters.
A Poignant Reminder
This video is such a poignant reminder that for many hundreds of thousands of families, reunions such as these were never to be. Walking through the USAAF Cemetery at Madingley, Cambridge in England or any of the 26 American military cemeteries across the world, or indeed the military cemeteries of all nations, is a sobering experience: we read the names of those whose abiding wish was surely to be back home in the arms of their families.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Anthem for Doomed Youth: Wilfred Owen, October 1917
Charles Dills Archive
Uniquely well-written experiences of a WWII fighter pilot with USAAF In Italy, very personal and full of insights from a perceptive and interesting mind. Fascinating reading.
Gerald Schwartz Archive
This is a brilliant diary kept by a Crew Chief on a fighter bomber squadron in North Africa and Italy. It's a personal and insightful commentary on the life of a young man who left America for his experience of a lifetime. Touching, funny, perceptive.
Fortress 42-30274: 1st Lt. Walt Baker & Crew: Extensive Collection (209 images)
Representing the fruits of many years of patient research by the Dutch researcher Co de Swart, this gallery is testament to what a determined researcher can assemble from a myriad of sources.
Fortress 42-3439: 2nd Lt Charles Geyer & Crew: Extensive Collection (212 images)
Another massive collection from Co de Swart.
USAAF Combat Operations WWll
Covering every single Operation worldwide 1941 - 1945, this magisterial piece of research is an essential source for researchers.
Irlene Mandrell's Song 'Thanks To You'
Jack O'Connor - whose moving account of recovering US servicemen who died in captivity in Vietnam is given in our story 'They touched our heroes for the last time' sent us this song by his friend Irlene Mandrell - the youngest of the three famous Mandrell singers - that will surely touch your heart - 'Thanks To You'. That's our Jack in the leather jacket, and those are his medals in the display box... surely we can say 'Thanks to you, Jack O'Connor'. We are proud to be your friends.
The First Poppy Day
In May 1915, the Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae conducted the funeral service of a friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who had died in the Second Battle of Ypres (Ieper). Distressed at the death and suffering around him, McCrae scribbled some verses in his notebook. In a cemetery nearby, red poppies blew gently in the breeze – a symbol of regeneration and growth in a landscape of blood and destruction.
Legend has it that McCrae threw away the poem, but a fellow officer rescued it and persuaded him to send it to the English magazine Punch; 'In Flanders Fields' was published on 8 December 1915. Little more than two years later, on 28 January 1918, McCrae died of cerebral meningitis. As he lay dying, he is reported to have said, ‘Tell them this, if ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep.’
Many people were moved by the pathos of ‘In Flanders Fields’. Among them was Moina Michael (1869–1944), who worked in a YMCA canteen in New York. Two days before the signing of the Armistice (11 November 1918), she wrote a reply to McCrae: 'We shall keep the faith'. Michael set out to have the red poppy adopted in the United States as a national symbol of remembrance. The American Legion adopted it as its memorial flower at its annual convention in September 1920. In attendance was Madame E. Guérin, who had been invited to speak at the event by Frederick Galbraith, the Legion’s second National Commander.
Madame Guérin held the first Poppy Day in the United States in 1919. In 1920 she conceived the idea of ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’. This would remember the fallen and benefit the women and children of France, who would make the artificial poppies, and Allied veterans and their families. Known as ‘The Poppy Lady of France’, she made the poppy an international symbol of remembrance. Over the next year Guérin and others approached veterans’ groups in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and other countries, urging them to take up the practice.
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