Farewell to old soldiers
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I've been keeping up with the deaths of notable writers for the Written in Stone group. I mentioned on another thread that it seems that WWII veterans are leaving on a daily basis. Their obituaries provide a little slice of military history, some of it all but forgotten. So, I thought I would start a thread to recognize recently departed veterans of any war whose histories might be of interest to the members and maybe start a little discussion about those conflicts.
So, the first entry for today goes back a little further. Yakup Satar, the last surviving Turkish veteran of World War I (then the Ottoman Empire) died on April 2 at the age of 110. He fought in the Mesopotamian Campaign of 1917 before being captured by the British.
You have touched a topic I feel for. Though I can't give you any specifics, I find my mind wanders to Wars that I remember the veterans of, as
Off the top of my head I remember reading of the last (Empire) veteran of the
Boar war. A Canadian, 115 yo. I think.
As a boy I remember our (Aussi) Anzac Day March with Boar war veterans leading the
March. The WWII veterans still marched in Battallions.
The WW I men also still marched, but they looked old - why they must have been
at least 60+yo. ancient to a small boy.
I still imagine the WW II veterans to be strong young men but when I look at my Vietnam veteran mates (no, I didn't go) I see men who are older than than my
imagined images of the WW II veterans.
My late friend (about 10 years older than me) said he saw veterans from the
SUDAN expedition, march in an ANZAC parade when he was a small boy. This must have been in the mid 1930's.
As we age, there is aways a little pathos in the passing of our old warriors.
Yours, with respect to their memory,
A favorite book I read as a child was The Middle Moffat about a girl my age growing up in a small town in New England. She described the Decoration Day parade with the fine young men from the Great War marching in step, followed by the Spanish American war veterans who walked a little slower & then the honored ones --The old men who had fought in the Civil War & rode in cars, but each year their numbers grew fewer...
When my husband returned from WW2, he & his friends started a VFW post in our town. There was already a American Legion Post, started after WW1, but the VFW post had a bar. Hubby was a member of the firing squad & he would attend the funerals of the WW1vets,
4 of our chldren & the grandchild we raised played in the Hi School band & our family was attended all the Memorial Day (name changed from Decoration Day) parades. The WW2 vets were the spiffy ones, in the lead, the firing squad firing salutes over the graves of veterans. The Gold Star mothers rode in convertibles. Eventually the WW1 vets did, too. As their ranks thinned they were replaced by Korea & Viet Nam. Hubby & his buddies muttered about the Viet Nam vets taking over the Post, but the VFW magazine noted the passing of veterans & the (not mentioned very often) possibility of no more need of veterans groups - already posts were closing as WW2 vets passed on & the Viet Nam & Desert Storm vets weren't as interested in organizations.
2 weeks before he passed, Hubby read a tribute at the funereal of one his oldest buddies who had helped start the post. 2 week later, we had a Military funereal for John & I was given the folded flag.
Our president has given us a new group of future veterans to carry on the traditions. A grandson served in Afghanistan. Our grand-daughters husband was deployed with his carrier group to the Eastern Mediterrean. They are eligible to join the VFW, but so far, are not interested.
The men who fight march on until they have lived long enough to ride in convertibles. Flags fly next to their tombstones. The young girls carry flowers & pray that they will never become a Gold Star Mother.
In a town near me, Newton, North Carolina, they hold the Old Soldier's Reunion every August. The parade is on Thursday, but there are events all week. It started out as an event for old Confederates. When I was a kid they had moved on to the Spanish American War veterans. They buried the last WWI veteran some years ago and the WWII and Korean vets are thinning fast. Now it's mostly Vietnam era and Gulf War veterans. Our area was a resettlement location sponsored by the Lutheran church for Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, and other southeast Asian allies. A few years ago the old veterans of the South Vietnamese army began to march with them. They were quite proud to be asked to participate and greatly appreciated by the crowd.
My account rep at my local bank keeps a Time-Life book about WWII in his office. He's a very smart and personable fellow about 30 years old. Whenever he encounters a WWII vet, he very politely asks him if he would sign the book. My late FiL (Entry #8 of Written in Stone, Deaths in January 2008) was a vet, and I mentioned to my wife about the book, so she asked the account rep if he would let her take the book to her father. And he did! My FiL read it, and signed it, and included a short account of his experiences, much like several others who signed the book before him.
I didn't get to read it until after he died, but I read ALL of the accounts. I think that the handwritten accounts are much more valuable and informative than the printed words of the book. I've suggested to the account rep that he ought to do the same for vets of the wars we've had since. I'm not sure he's aware of the true impact of what he's got going there.
>3 MarianV: MarianV
Hubby was a member of the firing squad...
My Mom, who is of the WWII generation, also calls it a "firing squad". That suggests a somewhat unfortunate image - LOL! I believe the correct term is "honor guard" or something like that.
Still going at 107, the last American born veteran of WWI gets permission to be buried at Arlington.
David Liddell, MC commissioned into the Scottish Rifles 12th Cameronians early in WWII, died March 20 at the age of 91. In May 1941, he led his men in response to what was believed to be the German invasion, but instead encountered Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess and a group of Poles out on a moor. Liddell was later wounded in Italy and received the Military Cross for gallantry for his actions there. Read more about him here:
Wounded in the Spanish Civil War, 92 year old veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Abe Osheroff has died at the age of 92 on April 6. He lectured on that war throughout the rest of his life and filmed two documentaries about it.
The death of RAF pilot Sydney Dowse leaves only three survivors of the Great Escape.
Jacob DeShazer died March 15 at the age of 95. He had been a bomb aimer on board one of James Doolittle's US Army Air Force Bombers when he was shot down over China and spent three years in a Japanese POW camp. After the war he returned to Japan and spent the next thirty years as a missionary.
Just an observation, but it appears the British press is much better about honoring and observing the passing of not only their own veterans, but the veterans of their allies and even that of their former enemies than the American press is.
A statue of a Kiwi soldier joins his Aussie mate at the Anzac bridge. Sand from Gallipoli was placed under each statue.
I hope you guys enjoy reading about the role these old soldiers played in history as much as I do.
Holder of the oldest title in Britain, Alistair Livingstone of Bachuil, Baron of the Bachuil, Chief of MacLea, Coarb of St. Moluag died on February 29 at the age of 93. He was born in Nyasaland in 1914. In 1940 he was commissioned into the West Yorkshire Regiment which was stationed in the Sudan and fought in the East Africa campaign in Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 1942 he was brigade intelligence officer and fought in the Western Desert Campaign and in the withdrawal to Alamein.
Brigadier John Prendergast, DSO, MC and Bar, died February 9 at the age of 97. Before the war he served with the 15th Punjabis and the Tochi Scouts on the North West Indian frontier. Once the war began he was flown from Karachi to be the mountain warfare advisor to the second Batallion Scots Guards fighting the Wehrmacht in Norway.
Wing Commander, Paddy Barthropp, DFC, AFC died April 16 at the age of 87. This Spitfire pilot fought in the Battle of Britain and was eventually shot down over France in 1942. He spent the rest of the war as a POW where his persistent attempts at escape did not endear him to the Germans.
The last survivor of a group of German Army officers who attempted to assasinate Hitler has died. Philipp von Boeselager died May 1 at age 90. Most of the other plotters were executed, but Boeselager was able to avoid being found out.
Diana Barnato Walker, wartime ferry pilot for Britain's Air Transport Auxiliary died April 28 at the age of 90. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3889169.ece
Frederick Bonnart, retired British Army Lt. Col of the Royal Signals died April 23 at age 85. He fled his native Austria in 1935, settling eventually in London. Landing at Normandy on D-Day + 2 he crawled ahead of his frontline with a microphone and loudspeaker encouraging the Germans to surrender. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3903420.ece
A solicitor in later life, WWII RAF navigator Matthew Gibb died May 3 at the age of 87. After being shot down over the Ruhr he spent two years in Stalag Luft III and was part of the POW survivors march in the winter of 1945. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3911454.ece
British Lieutenant-Colonel Douggie Moir died May 6 at the age of 89. He was a tank commander in 1940 when he was captured and eventually sent to Colditz. Although he sat the war out in prison, he was renowned for his many escapes and plots to assist other in escaping. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3911450.ece
Not a soldier, but everyone fights in their own way, and this one couldn't be allowed to pass without notice.
Irena Sendler died May 12 at the age of 98. She was a Polish social worker who rescued over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3918822.ece?token=nul...
I was asked to move this one over here from the WWI thread.
I didn't see another WWI thread, but France has lost their last WWI veteran this week.
Air Chief Marshall Sir John Barraclough, KCB, CBE, DFC, AFC died May 10 at the age of 90. A former commandant of the royal College of Defence Studies, he began his military service in the Territorial Army as a volunteer with the Artists Rifles and was commissioned in the RAF in 1938 and posted to the Coastal Command. He participated in numerous maritime air campaigns during WWII and later performed significant service during the Cold War.
WWII glider pilot Denis Hall AFM died May 5 at age 86. During the war he survived being forced to ditch his glider in the sea twice and the Long March from Stalag Luft III.
Lieutenant-Commander Stanley Brilliant, DSC died March 24 at the age of 87. As a British naval pilot he helped sink a U-Boat while defending a convoy bound for Murmansk in 1944.
Spanish Civil War militiawoman Rosario Sanchez Mora, whose wartime exploits were the inspiration for poems, died April 17 at the age of 88. Nicknamed La Dinamitera, she joined the fight against Generalisimo Franco in 1936, and lost a hand in combat while handling explosives. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3980054.ece
This gentleman passed away earlier this year, but his story stuck with me so I thought I'd post the link.
The death of Havildar Bhanbhagta Gurung, VC on March 1 at the age of 86, leaves only 11 surviving holders of the Victoria Cross. He earned his in hand-to-hand combat in Burma against the Japanese. He was a member of the Second King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3477202.ece
I really appreciate your work in rembering, no, revering OLD soldiers.
I just noticed on my calender that the USA remembence day is commining up soon.
As a bloke from Aussi (Australia) I would like to know more about the history and background of your day. We have our ANZAC day and I do know a little of it's history.
Yes, I could just look up your Day on Google/Wiki but as per #3 etc. I would like to hear from people to whom it is important and personal.
Edited for grammar.
Here is a link to a non-profit organization about Memorial Day that gives the history. http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html My personal experience was something of a non-experience until recent years. My own father was a combat veteran of the Korean War, one of those stoic types who absolutely refused to talk about it, so since he was always working and it wasn't a school holiday when I was young, we didn't really observe it. He died the day after Memorial Day six years ago and we spent all of that holiday weekend prior in the hospital, so it gave me a lot of time to think about all the things I wish he had told me. I also grew up in the American south where the Civil War was still remembered and the very, very old ladies (Daughters of the Confederacy almost all gone now) went out to decorate the graves of the Confederate veterans. Other, usually old ladies, would sell paper poppies made by disabled veterans outside the post office. My mother would always buy one for each of us because her own father fought in France during WWI, and though he lived had been gassed in the trenches, which caused him problems throughout his life. Now it's a day off from work for most people, who hang out the flag and have a barbeque or attend a parade. I now work in a airport that has a USO, so there is a stream of hungry soldiers wandering through looking for it whom we try to help along the way, which gives me a lot of opportunity to reflect on how young they all are and our perpetual state of war. Sorry if my ramble doesn't make much sense. We plan to attend a parade tomorrow.
I hope more of you will tell of your personal Memorial Day experiences.
When I was in Hi school, Iwas in the band & we always marched in our Memorial Day parade. Cleveland at that time was divided into neighborhoods & each neighborhood had its own celebration.
After I married & moved here, my husband was a founding member of the local VFW & he marched with the firing squad & fired shots over a selected cemetary. When our kid were old enough, they were in the boy scouts & girl scouts who also marched in the parade & later 5 of the 6 played in the hi school band & also our grand-daughter that we raised. After the parade, theVFW ladies auxillary served pop & sandwiches to all the participents. Every year, the WW2 vets got a little older. There was a Spanish-American war vet from the Legion who rode in a convertable, he was gone & then the WW1 Vets began to ride in convertables. The Gold Star Mothers also rode in convertables. Then there were Korean War vets and then Viet Nam. At first the Viet Nam vets were't active in the VFW, but gradually they joined & as Hubby put it "Took Over." But they had too, the WW2 Vets, once so young & active had trouble keeping up. But they refused to ride in convertables. The parade went a little slower & didn't cover as much ground.
After he had his open heart surgery, Hubby had to quit the firing squad, but he filled in at funerals. 2 week before he passed, he held the Bible for the Chaplain at the funereal of one of his best friends, also a combat vet. of WW11.
Our local post is now mostlly social members with a few Viet Nam combat vets.
One of our grandsons served in Afghanistan & our grand-daughters husband was in the navy & deployed to the eastern Mediterainian. They were both invited to join the VFW, but so far, neither is
interested. Our daughter who spent 3 years with the Army in Germany isn't eligible to be an active member because she served in peacetime. (It paid for her college.)
My husband was very much against our Iraq excursion. So were all his old VFW buddies. My husband was shakey, nervous & had nightmares until the day he passed.
Does anyone understand why our need for oil is more important than sending young people to their deaths & killing thousands of people in far away countries whose children will grow up to hate us for what we are doing?
Do we really need a fresh crop of veterans to march in our parades?
This seemed an appropriate time and place.
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Roger Leney died May 4, his 85th birthday. He volunteered for hazardous duty as a radio operator for the Royal Armoured Corps and was parachuted into German occupied France after D-Day to assist the Resistance. He was later parachuted into Burma to perform similar operations. He received the Military Medal and was mentioned in dispatches for his actions in Burma and received the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star for his actions in France. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4008797.ece
RAF Air Commodore Kit North-Lewis DSO, DFC and Bar died March 25 at the age of 90. After D-Day his Hawker Typhoon fighter bombers capable of low altitude ground attacks on Panzers with armour piercing shells created a great deal of difficulty for German generals. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4008801.ece
Just a Poem.
No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they're 'longing to go out again,' —
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.
They'll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,—
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter'd all their pride...
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
Craiglockhart. October, 1917.
Just a poem?
Der Spiegel has reported:
"One of the last veterans of World War I has died in Germany aged 107. Romanian-born Franz Künstler, who served in the Austro-Hungarian army and fought on Germany's side, died after an operation on his intestine in the southern German town of Niederstetten.
The mayor's office confirmed a report in Bunte magazine that he had died. Künstler, who was the oldest man living in Germany, was born on July 24, 1900 in Soost in what is now Romania and was drafted into the 1st Artillery Regiment of Austro-Hungarian army in February 1918, nine months before the end of the war. He fought on the Italian front."
Naval novelist and historian Lt. John Wingate, DSC (ret.) died May 11, at the age of 88. He was the author of The Fighting Tenth: The Tenth Submarine Flotilla and the Siege of Malta among many other books. The knowledge that formed the basis for his books was gained from his own experience with ships and submarines in WWII. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4021968.ece
Veteran of both World Wars, Franz Kunstler, the last surviving WWI veteran of the Austro-Hungarian empire died May 27 at the age of 107. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/world/europe/30kunstler.html?ref=obituaries
The youngest Marine to ever receive the Medal of Honor, Jack Lucas has died at the age of 80 on June 5. He lied his way into the service at the age of 14 during WWII and won his medal for heroism at Iwo Jima when he was 17. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/us/06lucas.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries&or...
British armaments specialist Air Vice-Marshal Tom Howell, CBE, SASO, HQ Technical Training Command, died May 5 at the age of 94. He spent the last half of the war as a Japanese POW before he and 17,000 Allied prisoners were liberated by Indian troops in Singapore in September 1945. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4105767.ece
British wartime Commander Derek Wright, DSC and two bars died May 10 at the age of 92. He volunteered for the UK Coastal forces where he saw a great deal of action and night fighting in the Channel and North Sea. He rescued a number of soldiers during the Dunkirk evacuation by piloting a motorized lifeboat across the Channel. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4158808.ece
British wartime Coastal Forces Skipper John "Polly" Perkins, DSC and Bar died June 1 at the age of 88. During clandestine operations in the North Sea during Christmas of 1944, his men uprooted a few saplings from a fjord that were delivered to the Norwegian government in exile as Christmas trees. This was alleged to have started the tradition of the annual gift of a Christmas tree from the government of Norway to Trafalgar Square every year since 1947. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4191604.ece
The last of the Polish fighter aces who joined the RAF during WWII, Michael Cwynar, DFC, Croix de Guerre, Virtuti Militari, died May 26 at the age of 92. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4199521.ece
Charles Parkhurst, one of the Monument Men that helped the Allies track down looted art following WWII died June 26 at the age of 95.
India's most famous soldier has died at the age of 94 on June 27. Sam H.F.J. Manekshaw was behind the success of the 1971 war against Pakistan that ended up creating Bangladesh. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/world/asia/30manekshaw.html?ref=obituaries
Britain's Squadron 617 WWII wireless signals operator Larry Curtis, DFC & Bar died July 2 at the age of 87. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4263627.ece
General Sir Francis Hasset, AC, KBE, CB, DSO, LVO former chief of the defence forces staff of Australia, died June 11 at the age of 90. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4263621.ece
Once again I thank you for your work.
Initially I thought "...it will only last a cupla months..."
OK maybe a "...cupla years max..." now?
I though you might like my WW2 story - my Uncle's - who died 1969?
I was in the Army in those days - National Service, and they (the army) were
quite reverential when they notified me of his death.
My Uncle was in the Polish Army in '39. Cavalry, But he did say that that story of the
cadets charging the German tanks was probably propaganda.
We found documents PROVING he had been born in 1902,1904 and 1906.
Well the '06 documement was important!
He ended up in North Africa in the RAF as a pilot. You had to be under 40yo to fly.
He fought in the "battle of Tabrook " and was shot down there. He won a DFC.
This where the story becomes personal.
He said he had become a little drunk with a YANK in Cairo and bought his 45 handgun.
Thus when he was shot down, and the medics said "...his legs have to come OFF..."
The story goes (and he did imply, but never cofirm) that he drew out the 45 and threatened to SHOOT Anyone who would cut off his legs.
I do remember that he always walked a little funny.
During the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, Pat Whitney became one of 9 Falklanders who fought in the battle with the British to retake the islands. He evacuated over 50 children and helped supply the British with ammo. He died in a gun accident on June 18 at the age of 62. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4294972.ece
Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Troup, kCB, DSC & Bar, died July 8 at the age of 86. He was the youngest British naval officer to command a submarine during World War II. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4294953.ece
The Rev. Geoffrey Mowat died May 21 at the age of 90. He was with the pre-1942 Malayan Civil Service and joined the Malacca Battalion of the Straits Settlements Volunteer Forces. Captured by the Japanese, he was one of the few to escape and managed to survive being recaptured. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4331867.ece
Recipient of the Croix de Guerre with Palm and Officer of the Legion of Honour, British wartime SOE agent Roger Landes, MC and Bar, died July 16 at the age of 91. Code named Aristide he worked in radio operations inside occupied France aiding the Resistance. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4345563.ece
Polish cavalry officer Rotmistrz Ryszard Dembinski died June 29 at the age of 84. He was part of the Polish army evacuated to Iran. He served under British command during the war and participated in the D-Day invasion as part of the Canadian 1st Army. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4392260.ece
Commander Alec Dennis DSC, wartime captain of the British destroyer the Griffin died June 29 at the age of 90. In 1940 The Griffin boarded a ship off Norway and captured documents critical to the cracking of the Enigma code. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4392178.ece
WWII OSS agent Roger Hall died July 20 at the age of 89. He was the author of You're Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger, All My Pretty Ones and 19. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/28/arts/28hall1.html?ref=obituaries
Medal of Honor winner Michael Daly died July 25 at the age of 83. As a member of the US Army's Third Infantry Division his single-handed offensive during the Battle of Nuremburg brought him this award. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/us/29daly.html?ref=obituaries
Margaret Ray Ringenberg, who ferried military planes during WWII died July 28 at age 87. Her story earned her a chapter in Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-ringenberg2-2008aug02,0,2004220.sto...
Dr. David Paton, the medical officer for the "Greatest Raid of All" that took place during the 1942 raid on St. Nazaire, died July 10 at the age of 95. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4453330.ece
Nicknamed "Digger" for his excavation work in the tunnels, Great Escape veteran Eric Dowling died August 7 at the age of 92. http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/world/2008/08/07/D92DF0680_obit_great_escape_veter...
David Smith, one of the U.S. volunteers who fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in some of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish Civil War, died July 2 at age 95. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4516141.ece
The commander of a Russian artillery unit of WW2 and literature Nobel-prize winner, Aleksander Solzenitsyn, dies at the age of 89.
63 years after he was shot down over Doberschutz, Germany, the remains of 2nd Lt. Howard Enoch of Marion, Kentucky have been claimed and identified through DNA testing by the US DOD. The family is preparing for the funeral at Arlington National Cemetary on September 22, 2008. http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/us/2008/08/13/D92HJBMG0_pilot_s_remains/index.html
Britain's retired Col. Jim Johnson died at the age of 83 on July 20. He lead a guerrilla campaign in Yemen against Egyptian forces during the 1960s. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2553726/Colonel-Jim-Johnson.html
Sir Austin Bunch CBE died June 30 at the age of 90. After having lost a leg in Cyprus in 1941, he spent much of the rest of his life devoted to assisting amputee servicemen and was president of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4559642.ece
Named the "Marrying Rabbi" of Toronto because of the record number of marriages he performed, Rabbi David Monson died July 28 at the age of 91. He enlisted as a chaplain in the Canadian army during WWII and accompanied his troops to the front following the D-Day invasion. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080819.OBMONSON19/BDAStory/BD...
NATO Mediterranean commander during the 1970s, Italian naval officer Gino Birindelli died August 2 at the age of 97. He helped pioneer the use of "human torpedoes" used against the British during WWII. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4621500.ece
Commodore of the Royal Fleet Auxilliary during the Falklands War, Commodore Sam Dunlop CBE, DSO died July 17 at the age of 85. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4621476.ece
Wartime Lt. Commander Ian Fraser, VC, DSC, RD & Bar died September 1 at the age of 87. Along with a frogman, he operated a two man XE submarine from the HMS Bonaventure and sunk the Japanese carrier Takao off of Singapore. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4662850.ece
Not too many VCs left sad to say.
Air Marshall Sir Eric Dunn, KBE, CB, BEM died July 16 at the age of 80. He joined the RAF in 1944 at the age of 16 as an apprentice aircraft mechanic and went on to serve in the Korean War and the Falklands. He finished his career as the RAF's Chief Engineer. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4708223.ece
Of the approximately 2,000 British volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War, Bernard McKenna was the last survivor from Manchester. He was twice wounded in Spain and later served as an RAF signaller in North Africa during WWII. He died July 31 at the age of 92. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4708171.ece
Shipwright and diver Norman Warden Owen, DSM died August 16 at the age of 91. He received his distinguished service medal for his part in saving the tanker Ohio. It was traveling in a convoy to help resupply Malta when it was attacked by Italian forces. He spent the remainder of the war in the Merchant Navy. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4734570.ece
WWII skipper of a motor torpedo boat, Lt. Douglas Hunt, MBE, DSC & Bar died July 8 at the age of 91. He served with the British Coastal Forces in the Channel and North Sea. Beginning in 1946 he organized a reunion of those who had served in the Coastal Forces, which he maintained annually for the next 60 years. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4768852.ece
Former SAS soldier Harry Challenor, MM, died August 28 at the age of 86. He earned his Military Medal, as an NCO when he was parachuted into Italy in 1943 and succeeded in derailing three trains before being captured and escaping twice. A later police career was ended due to mental illness, though his police career was said to be the inspiration for some fictionalized television shows. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4782443.ece
One of the Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Howard Baugh, died August 23 at the age of 88. He served with distinction in the 99th fighter squadron in Sicily and Italy, flying 135 combat sorties. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4798909.ece
Carl Aschan volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, but was quickly picked up as an agent for MI6. While maintaining the RAFVR cover, he assisted the Norwegian resistance, organized several successful raids on Channel Islands, helped plan the attack on the German heavy water facility in Norway and came to the relief of Denmark. He died July 27 at the age of 102. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4798892.ece
I hope they still make guys like this.
Although Lt.-Col. Mike Lowry, MC, earned his Military Cross battling against Chinese Communist terrorists during an insurrection in Malaya in 1955, some say he really earned it fighting the Japanese in Kohina in 1944. He passed away August 24 at the age of 89. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4862708.ece
One of the most decorated American aces of WWII, Col. Donald Blakeslee, died Sept 3 at the age of 90. As Commander of the 4th Fighter Group of the 8th Fighter Command, his squadron was one of the first to reach Berlin as the Allies were closing in. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/us/03blakeslee.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries&am...
Ted Briggs, last survivor of the HMS Hood, dies at 85. As an 18-year-old assistant to the flag lieutenant, Briggs was one of only three men out of a crew of 1,421 to survive when the battle cruiser Hood was sunk by the German warship Bismarck in the North Atlantic in May 1941.
Edit: Briggs co-wrote a book about the Hood called Flagship Hood.
Initially captured in Calais in 1940, Brigadier Hugo Ironside OBE, Colditz veteran and POW escapee died October 3 at the age of 90. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4893797.ece
Col. W.G. "Charlie" McHardy, CVO, MBE, MC and Queen's Factor at Balmoral, died July 20th on his 88th birthday. He won his MC in 1943 at the battle of Wadi Akarit. At the time he was battalion adjutant for the 2nd Seaforths which had been heavily damaged and about to be overrun. He was later reprimanded for his action of abandoning his forward post command position to take control of the company. He successfully drove back the Germans. One would assume that the MC would indicate all was later forgiven. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4973888.ece
Sir Dick Franks, KCMG, former Chief of British Secret Intelligence Service, died October 12 at the age of 88. He began his career in 1940 when he joined the Royal Corps of Signals, eventually moving to Special Operations Executive and on to MI6 after the war, where he eventually became "C". http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4973918.ece
Commandant Marjorie Fletcher, CBE, former director of the Women's Royal Naval Service died October 11 at the age of 76. She first joined the WRENS in 1953. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4995252.ece
Congressional Medal of Honor winner Col. Robert B. Nett, died October 19 at the age of 86. He received his medal for his combat actions in the Philippines during WWII. He later saw active duty in Korea and Vietnam. He retired from the service after 33 years and pursued a teaching career in Connecticut. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/25/us/25nett.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries&ore...
WWII night fighter pilot Capt. Dickie Haine died September 30 at the age of 91. He joined the RAF in 1935. He began his flying career in a biplane and ended flying a Mach 2 Phantom. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4995246.ece
Former U. S. army major and chief of foreign intelligence for the atom bomb during WWII, R.R. Furman died October 14 at the age of 93. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/us/30furman.html?ref=obituaries
Italy's oldest citizen and last veteran of WWI, Delfino Borroni, died on October 26 at the age of 110. He served as a private in the Alpine campaign against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5041240.ece
British Army Chaplain Canon John Brown served with the British Expeditionary Forces in France and Belgium in WWII. He stayed behind to tend the wounded after the evacuation of Dunkirk and thus became a POW for the next three years. He passed away September 23, at the age of 95. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5041393.ece
The 27th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Robert H. Barrow died October 30 at the age of 86. Chiefly remembered as a reformer, he served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/01/washington/01barrow.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&...
Sir Guy Fison, 4th Bt, DSC who later in life became a wine master, died October 1 at the age of 91. He joined the FNVR when the war started and rose to Lt over motor torpedo boats when he had one sunk from under him in 1942. He then became a radar specialist and was awarded his DSC for gallantry during the evacuation of LeHavre in 1944. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5041100.ece
Col. John W. Ripley died October 28 at the age of 69. In 1972, he single-handedly blew up a bridge and halted a 200 tank strong North Vietnamese advance into Quang Tri Province. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/washington/04ripley.html?ref=obituaries
Czech RAF pilot Stanislav Hlucka escaped his Nazi occupied homeland to join the Allies. He died October 15 at the age of 88. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5100505.ece
Canadian WWII fighter pilot Charley Fox, DFC and Bar, CD, died October 18 at the age of 88. He is believed to have been responsible for strafing Rommel's staff car in July 1944, wounding the General. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5126145.ece
Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Commander of NATO, General Bernard W. Rogers died October 27 at the age of 87. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/us/11rogers.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries&o...
Radio operator for Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE), Kenneth Scott, DCM, parachuted into Serbia in 1944 to assist partisans in Bulgaria where he was later captured by the Gestapo. He died September 30 at the age of 88. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5141165.ece
British Major A.H.G. "Spud" Gibbon, GM died October 4 at the age of 84. He was awarded the George Medal for heroism while a POW during the Korean War. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5149640.ece
Rear-Admiral John Adams, CB, LVO, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff in Britain's Ministry of Defence, died November 3 at the age of 89. He began his naval career in 1936. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5149639.ece
War artist Bernhardt Crystal died September 21 at the age of 93. He enlisted at the beginning of WWII and while laid up in a military hospital a visiting general admired his work. As a result he found himself on the beach at Omaha recording the D-Day invasion. Following the war he opened a gallery in NYC so that he and other war artists could display their work. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5182665.ece
British journalist Alan Mackay died October 23 at the age of 87. His bomber was shot down over Libya in 1941. While a POW he created a newspaper for the inmates of Stalag Luft III. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5182539.ece
Chief Petty Officer Leslie Sayer, MBE, DSM died November 1 at the age of 93. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman eventually becoming a telegraphist air gunner. He was awarded the DSM for his participation in the first carrier borne attack on the Bismarck. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5182533.ece
By enlisting during WWII when he was underage, Flight Lieutenant Derek Fowler, DFM became possibly the youngest pilot to ever be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. He flew Wellingtons against German shipping in the Mediterranian and received his medal for outmaneuvering anti-aircraft fire from German destroyers and successfully torpedoeing a tanker. He died October 17 at the age of 85. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5232614.ece
Capt. Alfie Sutton, CBE, DSC & bar was the navigator of a Swordfish torpedo bomber in 1940 when he participated in the raid at Taranto that crippled the Italian navy. He died November 6 at the age of 96, the last surviving veteran of that attack. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5239702.ece
Secretary of the U.S. Air Force under President Reagan Verne Orr died November 27 at the age of 92. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/06/washington/06orr.html?ref=obituaries
Annapolis grad George S. Morrison died November 17 at the age of 89. As an ensign he was a witness to the Pearl Harbor attack, later flying combat missions in WWII. He was an instructor for secret nuclear weapons projects and earned a Bronze Star in the Korean War. He was the Admiral in command of the U.S. Fleet during the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He made Rear Admiral in 1967 and in 1972 was the commander of naval forces in the Marianas who organized relief for 100,000 Vietnamese refugees in Guam. Despite his stellar career he will always be best known as the father of Jim Morrison, the late lead singer of the Doors. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/us/09morrison.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries
Richard Topus died December 5 at the age of 84. As a boy he had been taught how to handle pigeons by a few WWI veterans. In 1942 he volunteered for the U.S. Army Signal Corps which included the Pigeon Service. 50,000 pigeons served the U.S. during WWII delivering messages across the front to troops and spies and many of them were trained by Mr. Topus. Check out his obit for a look at the little known history of the Pigeon Service. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/us/14topus.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries
One of the first black women to serve in the Women's Army Corp. during WWII Martha S. Putney died December 11, at the age of 92. Tom Brokaw told her story in The Greatest Generation. She went on to become a historian and wrote Black Sailors: Afro-American Merchant Seamen and Whalemen prior to the civil war. She also edited and contributed to When the Nation Was in Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps and Blacks in the United States Army: Portraits Through History. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/us/18putney.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries
British Lt. Col. Eric Wilson, VC died December 23 at the age of 96. He was awarded the first VC given during the African campaigns of WWII. His comrades were so certain that he had been killed that it was awarded post-humously, though he lived to fight in two more campaigns. With his death there are only 9 remaining holders of the VC. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article5415089.ece
Lt. General Willard W. Scot, Jr. died January 1 at the age of 82. He was a 1948 West Point grad, who served as an artilleryman and later led troops in Vietnam and Germany before becoming the leader of the United States Military Academy at West Point. His tenure there was during a time of intense change and transition following a cheating scandal and the admission of women to the academy. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/us/03scott.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries
Well folks with 100 entries I feel it's time to give these old soldiers a rest. I hope that you found their history to be of interest. I had hoped that we could generate a bit of discussion about the conflicts these gentleman and a few ladies were involved in, but perhaps in another thread. Have a happy and hopefully peaceful 2009.
My Dear Varielle,
Please, please do NOT cease your toil.
Your posts are one of the constants I really look forwarward to.
I always expect/anticipate one of your posts when I log onto LT, not just for the history (Hey, I am a babyboomer '47 hmmm does my username suggest that?)
But I have always loved the reverence you have given to our (both sides!) old soldiers.
Yours, in gratitude, Guido.
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