Farewell to Old Soldiers - 2015

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Farewell to Old Soldiers - 2015

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1varielle
Jan 6, 2015, 8:39am

You may remember last summer when British veteran Bernard Jordan snuck out of his retirement home and made his way across the Channel to attend the 70th D-Day celebration in Normandy. Mr. Jordan has passed away at the age of 90. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11327751/Bernard-Jordan-who-absconded-fro...

2elenchus
Jan 6, 2015, 10:57am

I had not heard that story! Somehow so fitting that Mr Jordan made the swashbuckling effort he did, and seemingly just the way his life should end.

3varielle
Fev 2, 2015, 9:39am

There are three remaining members of Doolittle's Raiders following the death of Retired Lt. COl. Edward J. Saylor on January 28 at the age of 94. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/edward-j-saylor-airman-who-took-fight-to-ja...

4varielle
Editado: Fev 9, 2015, 11:02am

WWII Ace Alex Vraciu died January 29 at the age of 96. During eight months in 1944 he downed 19 Japanese aircraft in the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot in the Philippine Sea and destroyed another 21 on the ground. The biography of his career was called Fighter Pilot: The World War II Career of Alex Vraciu by Ray E. Boomhower. He was also the subject of a History Channel biography of fighter pilots. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/us/alex-vraciu-indestructible-ace-of-world-war...

5varielle
Editado: Mar 8, 2015, 7:08am

US Lt. Col. Dean E. Hess, the flying preacher, died March 2 at the age of 97. His wartime exploits were portrayed in the movie Battle Hymn starring Rock Hudson. There is an excellent obituary in the Sunsay NY Times, but unfortunately I'm using a cell and can't post the link, but do take a look.

6varielle
Mar 31, 2015, 12:05pm

Lt. Col. Robert Hite was the last survivor of eight airmen captured by the Japanese during Doolittle's Raid in 1942. He died March 29 at the age of 95. http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-robert-hite-20150331-story.html

7varielle
Abr 21, 2015, 3:34pm

One of the last French SOE agents Bob Maloubier DSO, died April 20 at the age of 92. He parachuted into France in a number of daring sabotage missions with other notable agents such as Violette Szabo. He wrote several memoirs Les Coups tordus de Churchill, Agent Secret de Churchill and L'Espion aux Pieds Palmes. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11552650/Bob-Maloubier-SOE-agent-obit...

8varielle
Editado: Maio 28, 2015, 10:26am

In 1939 Graham Howarth enlisted the Royal Army Medical Corp, he also became a volunteer fire fighter and earned the BEM (British Empire Medal) for his rescue of a senior officer during the Blitz. He was shipped to Singapore where he worked to eradicate malaria mosquitoes. He was captured when Singapore fell and spent the next three years enduring forced labor at the Changi and Jinsen POW camps. To distract himself from this ordeal he began collecting insects which helped launch him in his later career as an entomologist. He collected over 1,500 specimens, discovering a new species along the way by the time he was liberated in 1945. The Graham Howarth PoW collection fills 13 trays at the Natural History Museum. Not one to hold a grudge he became an expert on Japanese butterflies and became a life member of the Japanese Lepitopterological Society. He died on April 8 at the age of 99. It's interesting what adversity can sometimes lead people to. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11633695/Graham-Howarth-entomologist....

9varielle
Jul 8, 2015, 3:28pm

Norman Poole, the first British soldier to land in France on D-Day has died at the age of 95. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11725078/First-British-soldier-to-land-in...

10elenchus
Jul 9, 2015, 9:05am

Not a valid indication, but it seems so far your posts are less frequent in 2015 than in 2014, presumably a reflection of the fact there are fewer veterans around. That in itself is sobering.

11varielle
Jul 9, 2015, 10:20am

It does seem that they are thinning out. :(

12varielle
Editado: Ago 4, 2015, 3:32pm

The last of the Dambusters pilots has died. New Zealander Squadron leader Les Munro died August 4 at the age of 96. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11782700/Squadron-Leader-Les-Munro-Da...

13John5918
Ago 4, 2015, 3:15pm

>12 varielle: Last of the Dambusters pilots; I saw press reports that there are still two living crew members.

14varielle
Ago 4, 2015, 3:32pm

Corrected. Thank you.

15varielle
Ago 19, 2015, 10:16am

Former British Army Commando Maj. James Dunning died on August 15 at the age of 95. He participated in the raids on the Lofoten Islands and Dieppe. After the war he became a teacher and wrote a number of books about the Commandos including The Fighting Fourth: No. 4 Commando at War 1940-45, It Had to be Tough and The British Commandos: The Origins and Special Training of an Elite Unit. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/11810760/Major-Ja...

16Polaris-
Ago 19, 2015, 5:02pm

Thank you for all of these posts - their stories are all so inspiring. James Dunning's The Fighting Fourth looks a great read as well.

17varielle
Ago 20, 2015, 3:55pm

The last surviving member of the Italian Navy's human torpedoes has died. Emilio Bianchi died August 15 at the age of 102. He did write a memoir, but my Italian is so poor I'm not certain which of the books under this author it might be. In 1941, he and his unit sank British battleships in Alexandria. He was captured right after and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp in South Africa. His group's daring so impressed the British that even they recommended them for medals. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/naval-obituaries/...

18elenchus
Editado: Ago 20, 2015, 4:24pm

Am I right in thinking this is the first Axis soldier's obit you've posted?

In any case, I didn't notice until reading this one. Another interesting story, wholly separate from the war machine in which a soldier was fighting.

ETA

The Telegraph missed an opportunity, though I grant points for style:
A modest, straightforward man, with what Italians thought an English sense of humour, Bianchi retired from the navy in the equivalent rank of lieutenant-commander after a final posting at the academy at Livorno. Working in a naval shipyard, he settled near Viareggio, and at the age of 68 entered a burning building to save the life of a woman. He published a memoir in 1996.

Um, any instances of said humour to be shared? And why the gentle implication his wasn't truly English, to those who know?

19varielle
Ago 20, 2015, 7:49pm

Alas, I am limited to the English press since my other language skills are limited to the ability to order dinner. The American and British press doesn't often report on the old soldiers of other countries. We have many multi-lingual folk on LT and I encourage any and all to contribute.

20elenchus
Ago 20, 2015, 10:46pm

Oh, your efforts are pretty robust, even "limiting" yourself to English media!

21varielle
Editado: Ago 24, 2015, 9:45am

Retired U.S. Marine Brigadier General Frederick Payne died August 20 at the age of 104, the oldest WWII Ace. Gen. Payne saw action throughout the Pacific theatre and was highly decorated including the Navy Cross and the Congressional Gold Medal. http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-fritz-payne-20150812-story.html

22varielle
Ago 27, 2015, 9:12am

Retired U. S. Marine Corps General Frank E. Petersen, Jr. died August 25 at the age of 83. He was the first African American Marine Corps General. He wrote Into the Tiger's Jaw: America's First Black Marine Aviator. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/frank-petersen-jr-first-black-marine-corp...

23John5918
Ago 28, 2015, 1:11am

Australian 'Great Escape' survivor dies, aged 101 (BBC)

One of the last survivors of World War Two's most famous prison break, known as the Great Escape, has died aged 101.

Australian Paul Royle was one of 76 airmen who escaped from notorious Nazi Stalag Luft III camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1944...

24varielle
Ago 28, 2015, 10:52am

Denis Avey was a British POW who claimed to have twice broken into Auschwitz in his book The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz: A True Story of World War II. He died July 16 at the age of 96. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11828297/Denis-Avey-Auschwitz-witness...

25Polaris-
Ago 28, 2015, 7:03pm

There's a book I've nearly bought before. Rest in peace.

26varielle
Ago 31, 2015, 8:54am

One of the few remaining survivors of the great escape, Australian Flight Lieutenant Paul Royle died August 23 at the age of 101. He was the 54th man to exit the tunnel and was at liberty for nearly two days before being recaptured. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11830917/Flt-Lt-Paul-Royle-Great-Esca...

27varielle
Set 2, 2015, 1:21pm

Former RAF Squadron Leader Ian Hewitt, DFC, died June 30 at the age of 94. In April 1942, he was the navigator of a Halifax bomber attacking the German warship Tirpitz anchored at Trondheim Fjord, Norway. He landed the flaming plane on frozen Lake Hoklingen where he and the surviving crew were sheltered by Norwegian farmers before escaping to Sweden. On returning to England he joined the Pathfinder Force. The plane was recovered in 1973 and went on display at the RAF's Hendon Museum. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11839614/Sqn-Ldr-Ian-Hewitt-obituary....

28varielle
Set 8, 2015, 3:05pm

Retired diplomat and former British army Maj. John Campbell, MC, MBE, CVO, CBE, died July 30 at the age of 93. He was awarded two military crosses for his house to house advance through Italy in '44 & '45. He was with the No. 1 Demolition Squad and Popski's Private Army. After three of the houses he was in were blown up within 24 hours he earned the nickname "Bulldozer". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11842074/Major-John-Campbell-obituary...

29Polaris-
Set 8, 2015, 7:53pm

Thank you again varielle. I was lucky enough to come across a copy of Popski's Private Army a few months ago. You've reminded me to move it up my reading plans. I look forward to reading about "Bulldozer".

30varielle
Set 9, 2015, 10:16am

Japanese American Ben Kuroki overcame many obstacles in WWII to serve with the US armed forces. He earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses for his actions as a gunner in the European Theater and with special permission also flew missions over Japan. He died September 1 at the age of 98. A biography about his life was written by Ralph G. Martin called The Boy from Nebraska: The Story of Ben Kuroki. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/us/ben-kuroki-dies-at-98-fought-bias-to-fight-...

31varielle
Editado: Set 21, 2015, 2:00pm

One of the last three surviving Battle of Britain and Battle of France aces has died. RAF Group Captain and Spitfire Ace Allan Wright died September 16 at the age of 95. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11880019/Group-Captain-Allan-Wright-o...

32varielle
Editado: Set 29, 2015, 12:37pm

Brian Stewart CMG (Most Distinguised Order of St. Michael and St. George), died August 16 at the age of 93. Starting with the infantry blowing up Panzers in Normandy in WWII he went on to a 50 year career with MI6 from the Malaysian Civil Service to the Joint Intellilgence Committee with Whitehall to Secret Intelligence's Far East Controller in Hong Kong. He wrote a memoir called Eighty Years Around Asia: The Scrapbook of a Roving Highlander and Why Spy? On the Art of Intelligence. Check out his picks in the attached obituary. A more distinguished gentleman I don't believe I've ever seen. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11896713/Brian-Stewart-intelligence-o...

33elenchus
Set 29, 2015, 12:58pm

>32 varielle:

The height of epitomy! The same expression is evident between the old and new portraits.

34John5918
Editado: Out 3, 2015, 12:06pm

'Labour Party giant' Denis Healey dies at 98 (BBC)

I didn't know about his war record until I saw the obituary today. In the words of the BBC, "A hero in World War Two as Beach Master at Anzio and a brave politician".

35varielle
Editado: Nov 20, 2015, 1:22pm

Alix D'Unienville was an SOE courier who worked inside occupied Paris delivering money and orders to members of the French Resistance. She was captured on D-Day by German intelligence agents of the Sicherheitdienst, but eventually managed the escape during a prisoner transfer and hid out until liberated by the Americans. She was the author of Hotesse courageuse. She died on November 10 at the age of 97. She was appointed MBE (military) in Britain and from France received the Croix de Guerre and Legion d'Honneur. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12005980/Alix-dUnienville-SOE-agent-o... I've not heard of the Sicherheitdienst before, so if any members can shed some enlightenment about their relationship to the Gestapo please do.

36varielle
Nov 20, 2015, 1:27pm

Tuskegee Airman and three time Olympic gold medal winner Mal Whitfield died November 19 at the age of 91. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/sports/mal-whitfield-olympic-gold-medalist-and...

37varielle
Dez 4, 2015, 1:42pm

George Sakato, DSC, was the last survivor of seven Japanese-American soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor 50 years after it was initially denied. Mr. Sakato was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In October of 1944, near the French town of Biffontaine in the Vosges Mountains, his squadron was involved in a firefight. He killed five German soldiers, captured four, rushed a hilltop under heavy fire, took control after his squadron leader was killed, killed another seven Germans and assisted in the capture of 34 prisoners.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/obituaries/george-sakato-94-dies-awarded-medal...

38varielle
Dez 9, 2015, 8:56am

Hungarian-American Tibor Rubin joined the U.S. military in thanks for his rescue from a Nazi concentration camp and went on to win the Medal of Honor. Mr. Rubin died December 5 at the age of 86. His story is told in the book Single Handed: The Inspiring True Story of Tibor "Teddy" Rubin--Holocaust Survivor, Korean War Hero, and Medal of Honor Recipient. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/us/tibor-rubin-is-dead-at-86-award-of-medal-of...





39elenchus
Editado: Dez 9, 2015, 11:42am

>35 varielle:

The Sicherheitsdienst translates to Security Service, typically it was abbreviated SD as opposed to Gestapo (Geheimnis Staats Polizei or Secret State Police) and the more familiar SS. If I recall correctly, the SD were a Nazi Party organization aka the brownshirts, responsible for so much street violence leading up to the Nazi assumption to power, and after. Not military, not government, though incorporated into government once the party was in power.

I welcome corrections here, I'm going by memory.

ETA correction, Gestapo is apparently Geheime Staatspolizei, same meaning but I butchered the Kaiser's German.

40varielle
Dez 9, 2015, 10:36am

Thanks!

41Shrike58
Dez 9, 2015, 11:27am

I was reading a book this year simply called The Gestapo that went to some lengths to illuminate the relationship between the SD and the Gestapo. When you think SD don't think paramilitary street toughs, think lawyers with political ambitions; essentially the party intelligence service.

42elenchus
Editado: Dez 9, 2015, 1:44pm

>41 Shrike58:

Good insight there. Were the brownshirts in another party organisation, or were they merely the goons doing the lawyers' bidding? I'll look online eventually, but I like to start with a context and I find real people are the best place to get that.

ETA I think I confused the SD with the SA: the SA (Sturmabteilung or Storm Detachment) were the brownshirts, a paramilitary group with the history of street violence. Evidently the origin of the term stormtrooper.

But it soons becomes a nest of acronyms and scary history, trying to untangle the various groups. For instance, the SS originated as an SA group, splintered off, and then later helped purge the SA in the Night of the Long Knives.

Enough history lesson.

43Shrike58
Dez 16, 2015, 8:52am

Yeah; the SA is the party militia, the SS is Hitler's personal security force and the SD is Himmler's intelligence bureau.

44John5918
Dez 16, 2015, 1:05pm

Admiral Sir Jeremy Black obituary (Guardian)

Naval commander in charge of HMS Invincible during the Falklands conflict

45varielle
Dez 28, 2015, 12:01pm

Major Peter Cochrane, DSO, MC, earned his awards for his actions under heavy fire in Egypt and Eritrea during WWII as a member of the 2nd Bn the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. In his life after the war he wrote several books including his autobiography Charlie Company: In Service with Charlie Company 2nd Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders 1940-44, with his wife Louise A Digest of British History as well as Dr. Johnson's Printer and Scottish Military Dress. He died December 5 at the age of 96. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12070676/Major-Peter-Cochrane-obituar...

46varielle
Jan 4, 2016, 9:17am

Royal Navy Rear Admiral Peter Dingemans died December 6 at the age of 80. He commanded the landing ship Intrepid during the Falklands War. He wrote My Incredible Journey from Cadet to Command. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12076242/Rear-Admiral-Peter-Dingemans...

47varielle
Jan 4, 2016, 9:21am

Bruno Lonati was an Italian partisan during WWII, who claimed in his book Quel 28 aprile: Mussolini e Claretta, that he was responsible for killing Mussolini. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12076247/Bruno-Lonati-partisan-obitua...

48varielle
Jan 11, 2016, 9:49am

One of the last members of the Roosevelt/Truman White House, George Mckee Elsey died December 30 at the age of 97. As a naval officer at the White House he wheeled FDR around the war room, bumped into Churchill, sent coded messages to Stalin and gave Truman election advice. He went to record the invasion of Omaha Beach as a naval historian while it was still being shelled. He wrote An Unplanned Life: A Memoir. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/us/george-elsey-one-of-the-last-survivors-of-w...

49varielle
Fev 11, 2016, 8:35am

In 1945, Capt. John Webster became one of the first British officers to enter Bergen-Belsen. At first he thought he had entered an insane asylum. Details in his obituary of what he saw are chillling. He died on December 24 at the age of 93. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12150657/John-Webster-soldier-obituar...

50varielle
Mar 30, 2016, 8:59am

RAF Wing Commander Arthur Aldridge, DFC, was one of the most successful torpedo bomber pilots. Mr. Aldridge died December 20. His autobiography was called The Last Torpedo Flyers: The True Story of Arthur Aldridge, Hero of the Skies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12206662/Wing-Commander-Arthur-Aldrid...