For several years photographer James Hill took fair and frank shots of Russian veterans
For several years photographer James Hill took fair and frank shots of Russian veterans.
Audio: RAF Pilot Frank Dell's story of survival in Nazi occupied Holland
Audio: RAF Pilot Frank Dell's story of survival in Nazi occupied Holland.
600 World War II veterans are dying every day, historian Rick Atkinson says
Interview of Rick Atkinson, the son of U.S. Army officer and a 25-year veteran at The Washington Post, who recently completed a three-volume history of World War II in Europe. The Liberation Trilogy started with "An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-43," continued with "The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-44" and concluded with "The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-45."
Calvin Graham: The American boy who became a World War II veteran at 13 years old
Calvin Graham was just 11 and in the sixth grade in Crockett, Texas, when he hatched his plan to lie about his age and join the Navy. "In those days, you could join up at 16 with your parents` consent, but they preferred 17." Graham began to shave at age 11, hoping it would somehow make him look older when he met with military recruiters. Then he lined up with some buddies (who forged his mother`s signature and stole a notary stamp from a local hotel) and waited to enlist. At 5-foot-2 and just 125 pounds, Graham dressed in an older brother`s clothes and fedora and practiced "talking deep."
Cremation of WWII veteran Ronald Brown leaves behind a huge pile of shrapnel
Ronald Brown stepped on a land mine while on a mission in France in August 1944. The blast peppered his left leg with red-hot fragments and he was forced to crawl 2 miles to safety. But because of medical conditions of the day it was thought safer to leave shrapnel in his body. He survived the war but only ever told his family the basic story and said the accident had left him with a "bad knee". But when he died his family had him cremated and were stunned when staff handed them back a big bag of shrapnel. The bag contained a 6oz of bomb shrapnel that he had been carrying around for 60 years.
WWII hero deafened by the Nazis tells of joy as ear operation allows him to hear again
A former army bandsman, deafened after being blown up three times by the Nazis, has heard birds singing this spring for the first time in 60 years after a life-changing operation. WWII hero Kenneth Broom was discharged as medically unfit from the army in 1950 because of his severe hearing loss, and by 1971 he had become completely deaf. But recently Broom had a cochlear implant in his right ear and he is now gradually re-discovering a lost world of music and speech. "It's absolutely marvellous - a new lease of life," Broom explained.
WWII PoW Stanley Francis left £400,000 to Royal Air Forces Association and Erskine
A 90-year-old World War II veteran - held was prisoner by the Japanese for two years - has left £400,000 to veterans' charities in his will. Stanley Francis, who served with the RAF, gave generous donations to both the Royal Air Forces Association and Erskine, the UK's foremost provider of care for veterans. Each charity is in line to receive £200,000.
WWII veteran Harley Kiger collects German militaria and tours schools showcasing his collection
Harley Kiger fought in World War II where he spent a lot of time on the front lines in the European theater 1943-1945. He was one of the first servicemen to take POWs, and relieve them of the things in their pockets. This was an important task; anything that could be turned into a weapon had to be taken away. So Kiger and his fellow soldiers had a unique opportunity to collect souvenirs. 66 years later, Kiger still has an extensive collection of memorabilia, ranging from currency, to weapons, to even shrapnel. These collectibles don't just sit in a box in his closet: Kiger visits schools to display his collection for the students.
A rare pair of WWII veterans - American Seaman and German Waffen SS Officer - enthralls students and teacher
They fought on opposite sides of World War II, but a German Waffen-SS officer and a U.S. Seaman stood next to each other in a Santa Margarita classroom. They told tales and answered questions in Scott McIntosh's WWII class. McIntosh, who has been teaching for 11 years, called it one of the top three classes he has ever had: "It was pretty intense." So intense that even after the bell rang for lunch, students remained in their seats. At the center of attention were Dr. Werner Langer, a lieutenant in the Waffen SS, and Ernesto Schimmer, a Seaman First Class in the American Navy.
Daughter receives films and photos his father, a German WW2 soldier, hid inside a secret wall cabinet (Article no longer available from the original source)
The World War II came to Kate Werkman in a series of boxes delivered to her door in Edmonton. In canisters of movie film and photographs, she discovered what she has come to describe as "My Father's War." Werkman came to Canada from Germany at age three with her mother, leaving her father, Kurt Rittner, behind. Rittner, a graphic artist and photographer, kept his WWII past hidden in a cabinet in the office of his brick home on the Flensburg Fiord. His treasure trove of film, war medals and his army mementoes weren't discovered until after his death from a secret wall cabinet concealed by a bookshelf.
WWII veteran starts new career at 92, helping students learn to succeed
E. Herman Heimann Jr., a World War II veteran and former businessman, was awarded a Ph.D. in education at age 91 and has now started another career at 92. He has developed a plan that targets those between the ages of 15 and 25 to help them be successful after college. He challenges them to have goals, and to have a written plan for getting from point A to point B.
Rebecca Scull, a nursing major, was at his lecture: "Mr. Heimann was really inspiring. He makes any problems I am facing seem trivial."
WWII veteran donates his Victory Medal, sergeant stripes and his 40th Infantry Division patch to school
600 students applauded in Marshwood Middle School's gym as local veteran Kenneth Goodwin of North Berwick, Maine, donated his WW2 Victory Medal, his sergeant stripes along with his 40th Infantry Division patch, and a book he wrote about the 185th Infantry Regiment to Marshwood Middle School's World War II museum. For many years Goodwin has spent time with students on World War II Day at the school recounting stories of his service with the U.S. Infantry in the Pacific.
It's encouraging that not all WWII memorabilia end up in the big museums or into the hands of the collectors - or worse yet, being thrown away by the relatives after the veterans pass away.
Homeowner in Centennial discovers Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medals in attic, tries to identify veteran
The everyday task of cleaning an attic turned exciting for a homeowner in Centennial when he discovered a framed shadowbox containing military medals and a photo with the name "Cullinan" written in pencil. Here's the problem: the items were left there by a previous owner, and he has no idea who the heirlooms belong to. The box contains a soldier's portrait and several medals like a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Shane Callahan, a friend of the homeowner, believes that "Cullinan" wore the rank of 1st lieutenant on his Army uniform and that a patch found in the shadowbox, bearing a panther, was the insignia of a tank destroyer battalion.
American reenactor befriends German WWII veteran: He lets me know if I'm wearing something incorrectly
A WWII re-enactor has found a friend who actually served in the German armed forces during World War Two. Jason Mixell met Gustau Rewwer in 2010 when he was setting up a display of German militaria. The two got acquainted and later Mixell even took Rewwer to a re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge.
When Rewwer saw Mixell in the German army uniform, he was shocked: "I was dumbfounded. I was right back in the military again, 70 years ago. What amazes me is that he has such interest in it."
Mixell said he was learning a lot from the Luftwaffe veteran: "I try to take him with me as much as I can. He's teaching me how to learn German and he helps with my uniform. He lets me know if I'm wearing something incorrectly. This is living history."
WW2 sniper proves he hasn't lost his skills as he picks off a target at 300 yards, and with modern gun at 1,000 yards (video)
When 85-year-old U.S. Army sniper veteran Ted Gundy was given the chance to show off the skills he used in World War II, he proved he could still keep up with the very best. At first the Army presented him with a 1903 A4 replica sniper rifle – the same he used in the war - and Gundy's all three shots hit the target at 300 yards. Then the officers taught him how the Army's custom made Remington Model 700 works and explained how a 1,000 yard shot can be achieved. Result: 3 head shots less than five inches apart at 1,000 yards.
A direct link to the video.
Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man's True Story -- Biography of oldest living American WWII veteran
As a WWII POW, U.S. Army Major Albert Brown was beaten, tortured and bayoneted. His back and neck were broken, he struggled trough 15 tropical diseases and the Bataan Death March. Amazingly Brown, 105, is the nation's oldest confirmed living WWII veteran, says the American War Library. How did Brown manage to survive? Don Morrow and Kevin Moore asked that question many times while writing his biography "Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man's True Story."
WWII P-38 pilot Fred Hargesheimer dedicated his life to improving Pacific island whose residents saved him
Fred Hargesheimer, a WWII P-38 pilot with the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, was downed by a Japanese fighter. He parachuted into a jungle on the island, where he struggled for 31 days before he was found by local hunters, who hid him from Japanese patrols for 7 months before he was rescued by Australian commandos. Hargesheimer devoted his post-war life to building better infrastructure (schools, clinic, library) for his rescuers: "These people were responsible for saving my life. How could I ever repay it?"
Dick Greiner faced German bombers and u-boats, plus Japanese kamikazes during World War Two (Article no longer available from the original source)
Dick Greiner once took a photo of the man who started World War II. It wasn't a great picture. But Greiner, an American exchange student visiting the Third Reich in 1938, only had seconds after making his way to the front of a crowd shouting "Sieg Heil" - to take a few quick shots of the man posing outside a hotel doorway. Little did Greiner knew that in a few short years, after joining the U.S. Navy and seeing action on U.S. destroyers, he might wish he'd used a gun instead of a camera when he shot Adolf Hitler. Greiner still has the photo and the old Zeiss camera as a part of his WWII souvenirs and memorabilia.
Russia grants free housing and amnesty to imprisoned World War II veterans
The Russian Duma passed legislation giving amnesty to most veterans of the Great Patriotic War and providing them with free housing. The amnesty also covers those who survived imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, ghettos created by the Nazi Germany and its allies, workers in munitions factories and survivors of the Leningrad siege.
British World War II Veteran discovers arthritis was German bullet
A WWII veteran who believed he had arthritis only to discover his discomfort had been caused by a German bullet lodged in his hip. Fred Gough had been been carrying the memento since his time battling on the front line in World War II. He had been sent to hospital for an x-ray after having an ache in his leg. He was amazed to learn it was the result of a bullet that had been embedded since the last months of World War II when he served with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. But rather than have it removed, he has still got the bullet inside him as long as it causes him no more ache.
Vast majority of British WWII veterans agree: This isn't the Britain we fought for
3 years ago Nicholas Pringle asked WW2 veterans to send in their experiences about Britain. The 150 replies, published as a book, reveal the profound disillusion. "I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me, and I wonder why I ever tried," wrote a sailor. "My patriotism has gone out of the window," said another. Immigration tops the list: "Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought... are having to sell our homes for care." Many are bewildered by a multicultural Britain that they were never consulted about. "Our British culture is draining away... and we are almost forbidden to make any comment."
Photographs: Veterans Day across America
Veterans Day photos across America.
D-Day soldier shares Second World War memories
Carlos Crews and Henry Smith Keel are members of an exclusive club: They were among the survivors of D-Day. In 1941, Keel got his pilot's license, and on D-Day he flew with his commander as they dropped 21 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division. Crews earned the rank of master sergeant and was an air engineer, dealing with C-47 Transport airplanes. As a supply plane, the twin-prop C-47 could carry 6,000 pounds of cargo: hold a jeep, a 37 mm cannon, or 28 soldiers in full combat gear. At the end of the European Theater of war "primarily we were flying gasoline for Patton's tanks, because they were running out of fuel," Crews said.
World War II veteran recalls survival skills and survives for two days trapped in ravine
Daniel Currie was taking a walk through forest when he lost his footing on a path and fell 250ft down an embankment. He suffered a broken elbow and shoulder but his military background stood him in good stead as he lay in heavy undergrowth. He cleared vegetation to make himself more visible, and he curled up into a ball and covered himself with leaves during the nighttime. As he waited to be rescued, he began to hallucinate, thinking back to his wartime, and recalling comrades wounded on the battlefields. "I could see trains arriving nearby with lots of troops on them, and then there were about 30 Army trucks..."
UK WWII veterans traveling to D-Day beaches reject Lottery funding
A veterans' association has turned down an offer of Lottery funding for a trip to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Peter Hodge, of the Normandy Veterans Association, said it was too late. "There is no way in the world I am going to agree with the National Lottery standing up and saying they sent our veterans to Normandy in the 65th anniversary. The people of this country have put the money together ... and there is no way, that 10 weeks before the kick-off, that they are going to take the credit for this." For many D-Day veterans this anniversary will be their last chance to commemorate the sacrifices made on 6 June 1944.
FAQ on Filipino World War II veterans equity compensation fund
The President of the United States signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Feb. 17, 2009, authorizing a one-time payment to eligible WWII Philippine veterans. This benefit will not affect other existing Veterans benefits. (Q) Who is eligible for the new benefit? (A1) Persons who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, while such forces were in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces. (A2) Members of the guerrilla forces under commanders appointed, designated, or recognized by the Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, or other competent authority in the U.S. Army.
U-boat hunter Mac Bettjeman volunteers to restore a WWII Sunderland
It's been 60 years since Mac Bettjeman patrolled the Atlantic for German U-boats in a Sunderland flying boat. But he still spends long hours on the vintage aircraft by volunteering weekly at Motat, where he's assisting to restore a World War II Sunderland (one of only 4 in the world). The Sunderland is one of several aircraft restored by a team of 82 aviation volunteers. But Nazi submarines were difficult to find during Mac's time as a second pilot patrolling the Atlantic. "We didn't find any. They were there but there's a lot of sea." On one patrol they dropped depth charges after having a persistent radar echo but couldn't confirm a hit.
Parcel from occupied Japan reaches World War II veteran, wife 63 years later
63 years after packing a rifle in a box and mailing it from occupied Japan to his wife in Michigan, a World War II veteran received the parcel, without the rifle. "It brought up a lot of memories, there's no doubt about it," George Freel said. He served as a a sergeant in an Army field artillery unit when the war ended in 1945. He said "miscellaneous stuff to send home for souvenirs" was there for the taking. Freel didn't query his wife about the box when he returned to home after the war. "There was too much commotion for there to be concern over a silly thing like a souvenir."
World War II veteran Jan Babik shook off a knife-wielding burglar
Jan Babik, a World War II RAF radio operator, faced knife-wielding heroin addict Leigh Lees, after he broke into his house. Rather than cower in fear at Lees, who had an 8-inch blade, Babik took him on: "He was really frantic, rushing around my desk and screaming: 'Where's the money?' He had picked up a knife off the kitchen table. I told him... that I didn't have any money." Lees tried to lock him in, but Babik was unphased. "The keys were in the door, but as he was locking it I grabbed him from behind by the coat and neck and shook him... next thing I knew he was running towards the back door with the knife and keys to get out."
For over 50 years WW2 veteran Don Mates wanted nothing to do with Japan
For over 50 years World War II veteran Don Mates wouldn't go near sushi, never dreamed of having a Toyota and wanted nothing to do with Japan or its people. "The only time I saw them is when we were trying to kill each other." So he surprised even himself when he took part in a Japanese documentary about the battle of Iwo Jima. "Back in the 1940s ... everything was geared that the Japanese were short, myopic ... they were all interbred, they were rapists and they were just evil people. We had that drummed in our head. When I look at movies from the 1940s... they're absolutely ridiculous."
Abner Aust, WW2 fighter ace turned felon, rejects lawyer's plan to get him out of prison
Abner Aust, 86 years old WWII fighter ace turned felon, could be sent back to prison for 12 years. Aust has been jailed since 2000, when he was convicted of trying to have a fire set in his ex-wife's house. In 2002 he was convicted of solicitation of murder of his ex-wife. His friends say no one was harmed and he's not a threat. Lawyer Jeff Holmes, initiated the idea of sending Aust to an assisted living facility, where the state could keep track of him. But Aust was having none of it: "I've been examined by a famous doctor... and I have a physical age of 55. I don't associate with old people."
Tom Pretty survived 50 operations after his bomber crashed, killed by hospital superbug
World War II gunner Tom Pretty was the only survivor of a 9-man crew when his Halifax bomber crashed in 1942. He was so severely burned that he had to undergo 50 operations. He was given the last rites 3 times and had his face reconstructed using pioneering plastic surgery. But he pulled through and lived until he was 86 – when he went into hospital, caught a superbug and died. Surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe performed over 50 operations on him, earning him a place in the famous "Guinea Pig Club" - made up of 200 injured airmen whose features were reconstructed using experimental treatments.
Package brings back World War II - Coincidence draw two vets closer
Pat Sasso couldn't believe his eyes as he opened the package that had been delivered to him and came face to face with his life as a young soldier 62 years ago. There was the Nazi flag that he hauled down after American troops took over Cologne in 1945. There was the swastika armband he took as a souvenir of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. And there was the note from his sweetheart of those days. Over 6 decades after he sent her the German militaria for safekeeping, she wrote Sasso again: "It is not my intent for you to revisit WWII, however, it was a pivotal time in your life. With sincere respect and obligation, I am returning these items to their rightful owner."
Artificial hip of a war veteran lasts 60 years - Shot by a sniper
War veteran William Jefferies - a private with the 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers - has made history with a hip replacement joint that is still going strong after 60 years. He underwent the operation to temporarily repair his hip in 1947 after being shot in Burma by a Japanese sniper. 6 decades on, the metal joint which was fused in place with a bone graft, is as good as new. Surgeons said the operation's success was astonishing as modern hip replacements last 15 years.
Man admits wearing phony World War II uniform, medals
Augustine Hernandez charged with posing as an Army major general who had earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart has pleaded guilty to wearing a military uniform without authorization and displaying ribbons and medals that he didn’t earn. He was sentenced to 1 year of probation and a fine of $270 - and ordered never to wear a military uniform again. Hernandez was seen and photographed wearing the rank of a 2-star general and decorations he didn’t earn during a December ceremony. Members of the military community who saw Hernandez at the ceremony became suspicious of his uniform and ribbons, and they hired a private investigator.
Legs smashed by Gestapo: Soldier dies of injuries 68 years later
World War II hero Peter Vernon-Ward has died of injuries inflicted by Nazi torturers 68 years ago. He had his legs smashed with rifle butts while a PoW - leaving ulcers which perforated 3 years ago. Doctors warned that he faced slow poisoning unless he had a limb amputated. But he refused the surgery. Son Bob said: "He saw having the operation as giving in to the Nazis." Peter joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps aged 17 but was captured with 1,000 other men in Dunkirk. He was tortured by the Gestapo at a camp in 1939 for refusing to work in mines, before escaping in 1944.
Don Burgett from the 101st Airborne: The foxholes are still there (Article no longer available from the original source)
As a member of the 101st Airborne Don Burgett parachuted into the French countryside at 1:14 a.m. on World War II's D-Day, June 6, 1944. 101st would go on to invade Holland, battle the Germans in the siege of Bastogne and, take over Adolf Hitler's mountaintop retreat. He's been to Normandy about 10 times since the war: "The foxholes are still there after 63 years." Preserving the truth is one of the reasons he wrote 4 books: "Currahee!" tells the story of the D-Day invasion. "The Road to Arnhem" deals with the invasion of Holland. "Seven Roads to Hell" addresses the siege at Bastogne and "Beyond the Rhine" looks at the invasion of Germany.
One American veteran didn't join in reconciliation at the Eagle's Nest
Jewish American veteran Shep Waldman knew what he would do when he came face to face with the former enemy at the Eagle's Nest, Adolf Hitler's mountain retreat. Approaching a German veteran, he let out a friendly greeting: "Comrade." "Comrade," pondered Alois Wuerzer. Then his weary eyes lit up. "Kamerad," he repeated, which in German also means "friend." One of the past century's bitterest divides was bridged with a hearty handshake. Standing at the Eagle's Nest, another American veteran could not bring himself to join in the reconciliation: "I was not going to get involved in that," said Pfc. Cy Marmelstein.
Teen robbers don't scare 81-years-old WWII marine
Tracy Butler and Christopher Young apparently didn't much feel like going to school. The two 17 year olds had a gun and felt like getting some money. They moved on to someone they must have figured was vulnerable: an 81-year-old man loading groceries into his van. They ordered him to hand over both his money and his keys. "I am not going to give you the money," responded Wayne Smith. "I am not going to give you the keys." ... "You don't want to do this," said one of the children, imagining himself a man. "No," replied Mr. Smith, "you don't want to do this." Wayne Smith was at Okinawa in 1945, as part of a division that landed in Nagasaki after the bomb.
Home soil under threat for group of World War II Desert Rats
More than 60 years after the historic siege of Tobruk in which the Desert Rats held out against the Desert Fox, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and his Africa Korps, the diggers found themselves battling to cling to their Victorian headquarters. Membership had dwindled from 2000 to just 80 and the Victorian Rats of Tobruk Association could no longer afford Melbourne hall. But tycoon Bill Gibbins saved the day, buying the hall. He is happy for the resident "Rats" to have the run of the place for as long as they wish. "It just seemed like the right thing to do. I just gave money, they gave their youth and some of them gave their lives, it pales into insignificance doesn't it?"
Decorated WWII pilot awarded $1.13 million in belated pension
A decorated Canadian war veteran who served in the World War II was awarded $1.13 million for pension benefits he was denied 45 years ago. Squadron leader Clifton Wenzel flew bombers for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after he completed the daring feat of flying a crippled bomber home. After the WW2, he flew with the Royal Air Force and completed nearly 400 sorties during the Berlin airlift for which he received an Air Force Cross. When he applied for his pension in 1961, the Air Force told him he needed 25 years of service and turned him down.
Vets of WWII to receive highest award France bestows
It is the highest award France bestows. The Legion of Honor, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate extraordinary contributions to the country, has been awarded to the explorer Jacques Cousteau and General George S. Patton. In a ceremony steeped with tradition and run with military precision, 18 New England veterans will be honored for helping liberate France during World War II. "France is very grateful for what they have done," Francois Gauthier, the consul general in Boston.
Soldier Hid For 60 Years After Burma Horror
A traumatised former POW has finally emerged from his home after 60 years hiding. The 100-year-old British veteran was left a broken man after being part of the slave labour force used to build the Burma railway. When he was liberated at the end of WWII, his devoted wife cared for him at their house. After she died, their spinster daughter carried on looking after him. It was only after the daughter's death that the old soldier's plight was uncovered. He finally explained his story to the ex-servicemen's mental illness charity. Officials described it as the most extreme example of battlefield stress they had ever encountered.
William McCaffrey, 91; Fought in Three Wars
William J. McCaffrey an Army lieutenant general who saw combat in 3 wars and was a high-ranking commander during the Vietnam War, passed away at the age 91. Gen. McCaffrey was born in Omaha and was a 1939 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During WWII, he was a colonel and chief of staff with the 92nd Infantry Division and received the Silver Star for leading a nighttime reconnaissance mission in Italy.
Aboriginal Second World War veterans honoured in Normandy
Twenty aboriginal veterans of the Second World War were honoured at the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France, near where the troops stormed ashore at Juno Beach on D-Day. The ceremony marked one stop to a Canadian aboriginal delegation commemorating the contributions of Indian, Inuit and Métis soldiers. At least 33 aboriginal soldiers are buried amid the pines and maples of the Bény-sur-Mer cemetery. They're a small fraction of the estimated 4,000 aboriginals who joined the Canadian military in the Second World War.
Red Army Veterans Clash With Partisans in Kiev
Thousands of aging Red Army veterans and their supporters clashed Saturday in downtown Kiev with partisans who fought the Soviets and Nazis during World War II and now want pensions and official recognition as veterans. Hostility toward the partisans runs deep in Ukraine because they initially sought support from the Nazis, believing the Germans would grant Ukraine independence.