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Farewell to Old Soldiers - 2019

Military History

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Jan 17, 9:50am Top

Navajo Code Talker Alfred K. Newman died January 13 at the age of 94. He served in the Pacific with the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment and the 3rd Marine Division. http://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/navajo-code-talker-alfred-k-newman-dies-at-94...

Edited: Oct 28, 1:24am Top

Windsor Davies: It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor dies aged 88 (BBC)

a National Serviceman who served in Egypt and Libya with the East Surrey Regiment

But he is best known as the actor who played the Sergeant Major in the popular TV comedy series "It Ain't Half Hot Mum".

Jan 20, 9:21am Top

Alan Gauntlett, 93: Veteran of Arnhem (Times)

As a 13-year-old, Paul Gauntlett was once looking for a missing item in his father’s desk when he chanced on a newspaper clipping.

According to this, Alan, his father, had fought in September 1944, at the Battle of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Puzzled, for he knew nothing of this, the boy consulted his mother. Quick to return the clipping to the desk, she muttered: “Your father doesn’t like speaking about the war.”

Indeed, for more than 60 years, Alan never spokef Arnhem, regarding the subject as “taboo”. Only in 2011 did the tall, upright engineer write his memories of how, as a 19-year-old sapper with the Royal Engineers, he had been dropped seven miles from Arnhem Bridge on September 18, 1944...

Jan 22, 12:40pm Top

Jan 22, 1:24pm Top

>4 Rood:

Thanks for this. In the Times obituary which I found you could only read the first couple of paragraphs without registering, so I hadn't seen the bit about escaping from the SS.

Jan 26, 8:03am Top

WW2 pilot Peter Johnson's funeral packed out after appeal (BBC)

Peter Johnson, from Eastoft, North Lincolnshire, flew 27 operations with 101 Squadron under Bomber Command, flying specially equipped Avro Lancasters fitted with radar-jamming equipment.

Jan 28, 8:41am Top

Medal of honor and Distinguished Service Cross winner Maj. Charles Kettles has died. In 1967 he flew a helicopter that rescued dozens of troops following a Vietcong ambush. Upon his award President. Obama described his exploits as like a Rambo movie. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/27/obituaries/charles-kettles-dies-at-89.html

Edited: Feb 4, 11:33am Top

Groundbreaking US Naval pilot Rosemary B. Mariner died on January 24 at the age of 65. She was honored with the first all female missing (wo)man fly over at her funeral. She wrote The Atomic Bomb and American Society: New Perspectives . https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/02/02/she-made-history-navy-pilot-no...

Edited: Feb 5, 3:55pm Top

The State of Michigan's last WWII female pilots has died. Mildred Jane Doyle died February 1 at the age of 97. She was one of the first female pilots with the Women Air Force Service Pilots Program (WASP).

Edited: Feb 13, 11:58pm Top

Compensate African second world war veterans, Labour urges (Guardian)

Government urged to make amends to ex-soldiers, who were underpaid and beaten...

Pressure is mounting on the government to compensate and apologise to Britain’s last surviving African veterans of the second world war after three shadow secretaries of state called on their Conservative counterparts to acknowledge the systematic discrimination of colonial-era troops...

Let's hope some of the few survivors will receive a gesture of recognition before we have to finally say "farewell" to them.

Feb 15, 11:54am Top

The last survivor of the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, Airman Richard Churchill, has died at the age of 99. He was recaptured after three days and believed he didn't get shot because the Germans thought he was related to the Prime Minister. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/last-survivor-real-life-world-14002354.amp...

Edited: Feb 18, 12:45pm Top

The legendary "kissing sailor" George Mendonsa served in the Pacific during WWII and was in New York City on leave when V-J Day was declared. The photograph taken of Mr. Mendonsa kissing a nurse was taken by Alfred Eisenstadt for Life Magazine. He died on Sunday at the age of 95. https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0218/1031339-iconic-kissing-sailor-new-york/?fbclid...

Edited: Feb 22, 3:36pm Top

Flypast for WW2 US bomber crash crew (BBC video)

A flypast honouring 10 American airmen who died when their plane crashed in a park 75 years ago has taken place in Sheffield.

The US bomber came down in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield on 22 February 1944, killing everyone on board.

Feb 24, 1:56pm Top

<14 Yes, the plane crew may all have survived had they not landed in trees, but on flat park-land, instead. Presence of children prompted them to attempt a landing in a nearby forested area.

The fellow tending the memorial was one of those children.

Feb 25, 8:57am Top

<15 The families of the airmen have agreed that his ashes can be placed alongside the men when he dies. He still feels guilty that it was his fault. Poor man.

Edited: Mar 2, 1:54am Top

Billie Wayne Coble, a Vietnam veteran, executed aged 70 in Texas nearly 30 years after murdering his wife's parents and brother. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47424070)

'Raised in an orphanage, Coble went on to serve in Vietnam as a machine gunner involved in combat. Afterward, his sister said he came back "different," according to court records, and he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder...' (https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/70-year-old-Waco-man-convicted-...)

Mar 5, 11:59am Top

U.S. Rear Admiral Edgar Keats died March 2 at the age of 104. He was a decorated WWII veteran and the oldest Naval Academy graduate. https://www.capitalgazette.com/news/obituaries/bs-md-ob-edgar-keats-20190302-sto...

Mar 5, 3:56pm Top

Victor Paradis died February 18 at the age of 100. He was a U.S. Navy Master Chief Machinist who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, served as part of the task force that helped launchDoolittle's Raiders, fought at the Battle of Midway and after his ship was sunk under him some of his shipmates were rescued by the PT-109. http://www.startribune.com/pearl-harbor-survivor-victor-paradis-dead-at-100-foug...

Mar 12, 11:04am Top

Another participant in the Great Escape has died. Jack Lyon was an RAF flight lieutenant shot down over Dusseldorf and imprisoned at Stalag Luft III. He was 101 years old. https://www.itv.com/news/2019-03-12/former-raf-prisoner-of-war-involved-in-the-g...

Apr 9, 3:53pm Top

The last of Doolittle's Raiders has died. Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole "Dick", died April 9 at the age of 103. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/04/09/a-legend-passes-dic...

Apr 24, 12:51am Top

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg dies aged 98 (Guardian)

As the 19-year-old heir to Luxembourg’s throne, Jean fled the Grand Duchy under the protection of the French army when German forces invaded on 9 May 1940. He lived in exile in France, Portugal, the US and Canada, with the rest of the royal family, before arriving in Britain where he volunteered for the Irish Guards in November 1942, on the advice of King George VI. After training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Jean landed near Bayeux, Normandy, on 11 June 1944, five days after D-day. He took part in the Battle for Caen and the liberation of Brussels. On 10 September 1944, Jean returned to Luxembourg, crossing the border at Rodange, from where he had fled the country four years earlier. Jean returned to battle three days later, taking part in fighting in Arnhem and the Ardennes before joining the invasion of Nazi Germany...

And one from a different part of the world which I forgot to mention last week, South Sudanese opposition leader Peter Gadet died of natural causes, aged about 60, in Khartoum, the capital of neighbouring Sudan. Gadet had at various times been a commander of rebel forces and a general in the South Sudanese army.

Edited: Apr 26, 12:17pm Top

Lorna Collacott died on Good Friday at the age of 94. When she was 18 she joined the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force where she became a code breaker. She was later added to the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour.


Apr 29, 12:32am Top

Richard Lugar, US politician

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1960; one of his assignments was as an intelligence briefer for Admiral Arleigh Burke. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Wikipedia)

Edited: May 13, 9:31am Top

Former U.S. Marine and Navajo Code Talker, Fleming Begaye died May 19 at the age of 97. He was honored at the White House in 2017. He survived the Battle of Tarawa in 1943. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/obituaries/fleming-begaye-sr-dead.html

May 14, 9:58am Top

The oldest surviving Medal of Honor Recipient, former Communications Technician Fifth Grade, Robert Maxwell died on May 11 at the age of 98. On September 7, 1944, Germans lobbed a grenade into his observation post in Beancon, France. With only an army blanket for protection he threw himself on it saving his fellow soldiers. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/obituaries/robert-maxwell-dead.html

May 29, 8:25pm Top

The last Mohawk code talker Louis Levi Oates died May 28 at the age of 95. The Quebecois enlisted in the US Army when he was 18 and served six years with Company B’s 442nd Signal Battalion.

Jun 1, 5:43pm Top

Former Staff Sgt. Al Mampre died May 31st at the age of 97. He joined the Army at 20 in 1942 and became a paratrooper and medic. He was one of the last surviving members of the 101st Airborne's Easy Company featured in HBOs series Band of Brothers. He saw combat in Operation Market Garden and several others. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/wwii-easy-company-medic-feature...

Jun 3, 10:29pm Top

Goodness we are about to lose all the code talkers. Navajo code talker William Tully Brown died June 3 at the age of 96. He enlisted in 1944. https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/arizona/navajo-code-talker-has-died-wi...

Jun 14, 11:09am Top

Canadian WWII veteran Herb Peppard has died at the age of 98. In 1940 at the age of 20 he joined the Canadian Artillery then the First Canadian Parachute Battalion. He was recruited to the First Special Service Force known as the Devil's Brigade. From the U.S. he received the Silver Star and the Congressional Gold Medal. https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/local/second-world-war-veteran-herb-peppa...

Jun 21, 6:30am Top

Obituary: Franco Zeffirelli died on June 15th (Economist)

"fought bravely with the partisans against the fascists in the war"

Jun 21, 9:55am Top

Three British WW1 soldiers buried after 'emotional' DNA match (BBC)

Two young British privates killed in World War One have been buried more than 100 years later.

Pte Henry Wallington and Pte Frank Mead, of the 23rd (County of London) Battalion, were identified using DNA samples from relatives.

Their bodies and a body of another unidentified British soldier were found in a back garden in France when the owner dug a trench for a drainpipe.

The three were buried with full military honours...

Jun 23, 3:35pm Top

Grave of unknown First World War soldier from Gloucestershire finally bears his name, 105 years after he died (GloucestershireLive)

Captain William Kington, from Cheltenham, lay in a grave without his name on it after the First World War

Jul 1, 12:01am Top

Captain David Pentreath, who has died aged 86, commanded the frigate HMS Plymouth with distinction and bravery during the Falklands War...

Captain David Pentreath, commander of the frigate HMS Plymouth, which played a crucial role in the retaking of the Falklands – obituary (Telegraph)

Jul 10, 12:48am Top

Ross Perot - according to the BBC obituary, he "graduated in 1953 from the US Naval Academy" and had "a brief stint in the Navy".

Jul 17, 8:03pm Top

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Who Led Liberal Wing, Dies at 99 (NYT)

He was commissioned as an officer in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent most of his Navy service, which lasted until 1945, stationed at Pearl Harbor working on breaking Japanese codes, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star...

Jul 22, 6:00pm Top

David Hedison, actor

Hedison enlisted in the United States Navy in 1945, but the war ended before he completed basic training. He served 18 months, then mustered out. (Wikipedia)

Aug 2, 11:18am Top

Battle of Britain pilot Archie McInnes dies after 100th birthday (BBC)

A Battle of Britain veteran has died hours after celebrating his 100th birthday, taking the number of surviving members of "The Few" to five...

Archie McInnes, who retired to Cambridge, flew Hurricanes during the battle in the skies over southern England.

He completed his pilot training aged 21 and was commissioned the next day.

He celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday. He then died that night...

Ex-Battle of Britain pilot dies hours after celebrating 100th birthday (Guardian)

Edited: Aug 2, 12:00pm Top

Here's a link to The Few by Alex Kershaw and Five of the Few by Steve Darlow.

Aug 7, 1:50pm Top

Dorothy Olsen joined the WASPs in the first year of its creation in 1943 and served through the war ferrying planes. She died July 23 at the age of 103. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/dorothy-olsen-daring-aviatrix-wi...

Oct 13, 8:53am Top

One of the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipients, Francis S. Currey, died October 8 at the age of 94. Technical sergeant Currey was only 19 when his actions during the Battle of the Bulge earned him the honor. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/francis-currey-one-of-the-last-l...

Oct 14, 6:40am Top

Alexei Leonov: First person to walk in space dies aged 85 (BBC)

He was an air force pilot before being selected to train as a cosmonaut.

Oct 14, 6:49am Top

Hundreds turn out for 100-year-old veteran's funeral (Guardian)

Hundreds of people have turned out to pay their respects to a veteran who died with no known family.

Members of the public were invited to the funeral of 100-year-old RAF veteran Oswald Dixon after a plea from the care home where he lived...

Dixon, who joined the RAF in 1944 after arriving from Jamaica, died on 25 September...

Oct 16, 12:33pm Top

Scotty Bowers, ‘male madame to the stars’, dies aged 96 (Guardian)

Scotty Bowers, a former US marine, gas station attendant and bartender who became the “infamous male madame to the stars”...

Oct 28, 12:24am Top

John Conyers: Longest-serving black congressman dies aged 90 (BBC)

served in the military for nearly a decade, including 12 months in Korea during the war there (1950-53) when he was a Combat Engineers officer. "I like to think that my worldview was broadened by my military experience"...

Nov 2, 10:17am Top

John Moon was the oldest surviving Marine of the Battle of Iwo Jima. He died October 29 at the age of 103. https://www.google.com/amp/s/wgntv.com/2019/10/31/oldest-known-surviving-marine-...

Edited: Nov 9, 11:48pm Top

How Britain dishonoured its African first world war dead (Guardian)

Mass graves,a deliberate decision from the top not to have any individual names comemmorated anywhere and to let the mass graves run wild and untended, unlike the graves for British soldiers in Africa which contain individual headstones and are still well-tended by the British government even today...

Nov 4, 12:10pm Top

Yvette Lundy: French Resistance member who survived Nazi camps dies at 103 (BBC)

Yvette Lundy, a well-known member of the French Resistance and a Nazi concentration camp survivor, has died at the age of 103... Ms Lundy supplied fake papers to Jewish families, men fleeing forced labour, and escaped prisoners of war during the Nazi occupation of France. In 2017, she was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour...

Edited: Nov 7, 7:09am Top

General Peter Cirillo Swaka was among the founding leaders of the Anyanya liberation movement in Sudan (1955-1972) and has held numerous positions in the army and government until his death on 30th October 2019. He "has been eulogized as an icon, a man of integrity, pinnacle and liberation hero."

Late Peter Cirillo’s body to be flown to Juba on Thursday (Radio Tamazuj)

Nov 7, 2:36am Top

Since I'm new to the group I thought I should add to this list Tim Fischer, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia who died in August 2019. Tim was conscripted for National Service into the Australian Army and commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant after graduating from the Officer Training Unit, Scheyville (one hell of a tough course, by all accounts). Tim went on to serve in the infantry with 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in the Vietnam War where he was wounded in action. After the war he went back to farming then into politics.

He was also a big train buff: johnthefireman !



Edited: Nov 9, 12:34am Top

'He's now at peace': lost soldier identified and buried after 102 years (Guardian)

Lance Corporal Frederick Thomas Perkins identified and reburied with full military honours in front of granddaughter after 1917 death in a field near Lens, northern France.

Nov 9, 11:49pm Top

Marking the memories of a million soldiers (BBC)

The act of Remembrance takes place every day of the year for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It works to maintain more than one million headstones and memorials in 154 countries around the world to mark those who died in World War One and World War Two...

Except, or course, the graves of African soldiers who died in the service of the then British Empire - see >50 johnthefireman: above.

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