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Oadlad Posted on 06/06/2019 10:37
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I am surprised that the local press (unless I missed it) and this modest forum seem unaware that this elite division were quartered in Oadby and jumped into Normandy 75 years ago last night.
The US side of the drop was planned and organised from a house in Glebe road by Gen. Matthew Ridgeway and Lt/Gen. James Gavin.
The troops were at the racecourse and Shady Lane as well as various places around including the site on which I now live.
After the op they returned to Oadby to prepare for Arnhem. Well half of them did after suffering 45% casualties in France.
They were the lads featured in the film The Longest Day...
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jase36 Posted on 06/06/2019 10:54
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Thanks for that, a great debt we owe those brave men.
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borebage53 Posted on 06/06/2019 11:10
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Edited On: 06/06/2019 11:29
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The "All American" 82nd Airborne Division. Feared by the Germans as the "Devils in Baggy Pants"!
I have many books on their history and of their time spent in Leicestershire.
Major General James M Gavin even had an affair with Marlene Dietrich!
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Timbucktoo Posted on 06/06/2019 11:17
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I had the privilege to sit among them when they returned for a church service at St Peter's in Oadby a few years ago. They all turned up in a bus and looked immaculate for their age. A very moving service with a few tears of remembrance for their lost comrades and a round of reminiscing about their time spent in and around Oadby. An absolute honour to have been with them on such an occasion.
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sixthswan Posted on 06/06/2019 11:30
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The contribution of the 82nd will be remembered forever locally.

The high-ranking officers were stationed at Glebe Mount in Oadby, but the Divisional HQ was at Braunstone Park and the "war rooms" were at Braunstone Hall.

There is a memorial on Victoria Park, on a large stone and protected by railings. It reads:

In tribute and memory of those men of the United States (All American) 82nd Airborne Division who served in Leicester and county prior to the "D" Day invasion of Europe 1944

They came in freedom
They fought with gallantry
Many never to return to their Homeland

Only a few years ago, a network of tunnels was discovered under Braunstone Hall, which were created by the 82nd.

There are several other memorials dotted around Leicester and Leicestershire to the 82nd.

They were an unruly lot as well. Many were farmhands who had suffered in the years following the Great Depression.

The Mercury a few days ago, published a story about the Old Dixie Arms in Curzon Street; which saw to 82nd soldiers fatally stabbed in 1944. Yet another of many fights between black and white American soldiers in the city.

Link: Tribute
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hackneyfox Posted on 06/06/2019 11:41
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Linky no worky
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borebage53 Posted on 06/06/2019 11:44
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Their famous night 'Oil Drum Drop' onto the precariously held beachhead at Salerno. Oil drums filled with gasoline soaked sand were ignited every 50 yards to guide them in!
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StalybridgeFox Posted on 09/06/2019 10:44
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Weren’t they also the ones featured in the excellent Band of Brothers?
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Pen4 Posted on 09/06/2019 10:54
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No - that was the 101st Airborne
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Oadlad Posted on 09/06/2019 11:04
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No, that was the 101st's Easy company of their 506th Regiment. The tv show was remarkably accurate with every episode featuring a particular contact.
They differed slightly from the 82nd in being relatively 'green, having flown in from the States for D Day.
The 82nd were battle experienced having fought in Italy.
A fact overlooked in the last few days was the inexperience of almost all the US forces who landed, in contrast to the German defenders, all battle hardened.

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brizzlfox Posted on 09/06/2019 12:24
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When I lived on Evington Road (which I did for a few years), I noticed that every 4th of July a floral tribute appeared on the memorial on Viccy Park - fashioned into the Stars and Stripes flag and the single word "DAD" underneath it...so it seems they left behind more than just a few memories...
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LGFOX Posted on 09/06/2019 13:36
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Oadlad. I always had the assumption that a lot of the German troops on the ground in Normandy on D-Day were quite inexperienced than those deployed in the Pas de Calais where the invasion was always thought to be going by Hitler, especially as most of their Panzer divisions were stationed there in readiness.
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Wombat Posted on 09/06/2019 13:51
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I am sure we've all seen Saving Private Ryan and the opening 20 mins of beach landings mayhem.

Germans were well prepared with pill boxes, machine gun nests, mortars, etc, so to leave the relative safety of the steel clad landing craft must have been a living hell.

Natural instinct must have been to find some cover and bury your head in the sand and hope you don't get hit.

To bring your head up and somehow attack the German defensive positions took amazing courage, the like most of us could never imagine.

The British, Americans and Canadians that served and sacrificed on D-Day, turned the tide of WWII in the Allies favour and we remember all those brave boys with honour & respect every June 6th.
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northleicsblue Posted on 09/06/2019 15:13
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My mum used to knock about with some of these guys.
They used to go to the Liberty works in Leicester and hang out drinking bottles of beer and smoking fags under our statue of Liberty.
She also said they thought nothing on a night off of driving down to London for a night out.
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Oadlad Posted on 09/06/2019 17:03
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I'll bow to you about experience as it was an impression from a memory, not very bright at my time of life. I have also just remembered that we took one in (they weren't all in tents).
His name was Gene Talbot and he came from Baton Rouge. He was shipped back home with a leg wound and we did not hear from him again until the early fifties.
Us kids did OK for gum and chocolate and a baseball, confiscated at school by a thieving teacher. He also took later an Iron Cross my dad brought back from Italy.
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borebage53 Posted on 12/06/2019 16:22
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Countless men later acknowledged that they owed their lives to the dedication,courage and sometimes inventiveness of aid men. PFC Floyd Maquart,with the 101st, saved one soldier severely wounded in the face and neck by cutting open his throat with a parachute knife and inserting the hollow part of a fountain pen into his windpipe! This in temperatures well below freezing!
Christmas Eve,Bastogne,Belgium. Extract from Ardennes 1944, Antony Beevor.
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borebage53 Posted on 14/06/2019 12:20
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Edited On: 14/06/2019 12:23
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......American field hospitals could also be a grisly spectacle. A senior nurse with the Third Army described a ward known as the 'Chamber of Horrors', which stank of 'gore and sweat and human excretions'. She recounted a night shift,tending two soldiers "who had been dying all day yesterday,and they were dying all night now......One,a private in the infantry,had lost both legs and one hand: he had a deep chest wound and his bowels were perforated by a shell fragment.....The other patient was a corporal in a tank outfit. His spinal cord was severed and he was paralyzed from the waist down. His belly was open,and so was his chest". Both boys were in a coma,breathing noisily. "It's a good thing their mothers can't see them when they die", she said.
Ardennes 1944.
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channys6thswan Posted on 14/06/2019 15:39
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I do a lot around the Mighty 8th further east. Remarkably brave men who made such sacrifices.
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borebage53 Posted on 14/06/2019 16:02
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Another put the book down and walk the room to collect my emotions after reading that bit, Channy!
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astleyfox Posted on 14/06/2019 16:16
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What book is it?
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borebage53 Posted on 14/06/2019 16:25
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Ardennes 1944 - Antony Beevor.
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borebage53 Posted on 14/06/2019 16:33
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See also,
Stalingrad
D-Day-The Battle for Normandy
Arnhem-The Battle For The Bridges 1944
Berlin-The Downfall 1945
by the same author.
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channys6thswan Posted on 14/06/2019 16:52
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Masters of the Air - Don Miller.
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borebage53 Posted on 19/06/2019 22:30
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Major Robert Cain, 2nd South Staffordshire's, the only recipient of a Victoria Cross at Arnhem to survive the battle,was the father-in-law of Jeremy Clarkson!
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Oadlad Posted on 19/06/2019 22:47
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Oadlass's Uncle George was a radio op captured at Arnhem. He is featured in a famous German press pic of his officer giving the snapper the V sign.
He said, after being silent for sixty years that he hid up a tree thinking that the Jerries would pass but they camped down for the night right under him.
He fell out the next day and got a one way trip to Czechoslovakia.
He'd also been captured on Italy but they ran into a British advance.
He was S. Staffs airborne and his funeral a few years ago was packed with Para vets..
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borebage53 Posted on 19/06/2019 22:51
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[^]
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borebage53 Posted on 20/06/2019 01:13
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504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Evington,Stoughton and Oadby.
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Quorn.
325th Glider Infantry Regiment in Scraptoft.
319th/320th Glider Field Artillery and 456th Parachute Field Artillery in Lubenham.
Division Headquarters,Airborne Medical Company,Military Police and the Signals Company in Braunstone.
376th Parachute Field Artillery in Hinckley.
307th Airborne Engineer Batallion in Burbage/Ullesthorpe.

507th PIR at Tollerton Hall,Notts.
508th PIR and 509th PIR in Wollaton Park,Notts.
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astleyfox Posted on 20/06/2019 06:07
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I cant remember the name of the author, but a book called, “D Day, Through German Eyes”, was very interesting. Im presently reading,”The Big Show”, by Pierre Closterman.
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