Blog

oktober 2017

STANDING TALL

2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00

Although I gave my book on the only American World War II cemetery in The Netherlands ‘The Margraten Boys’ as title, I do mention that four of the more than eight thousand Americans buried in Margraten are women. Lieutenant Wilma Vinsant is one of them. All her life she was known as Dolly, apparently because [...]

STANDING TALL2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00

SELFIE WITH HEROINE

2017-10-09T19:57:08+02:00

I have in recent weeks been taking quite a few small and large groups from all over the world on my author tours to Bastogne and America’s World War II cemeteries. Here I am taking some time out to pose for a selfie at Augusta Chiwy’s final resting place in the Bastogne cemetery, just opposite [...]

SELFIE WITH HEROINE2017-10-09T19:57:08+02:00

augustus 2017

STARDUST COMING DOWN

2017-08-29T18:40:06+02:00

A special moment in a field in Bastogne. On 27 December 1944 a C-47 Skytrain named Stardust crashed near the trees to my rear after safely releasing a towed glider with emergency supplies. As I explain in my book, Those Who Hold Bastogne, the town’s defenders were still lacking in everything even after the arrival [...]

STARDUST COMING DOWN2017-08-29T18:40:06+02:00

juni 2017

ON A WING AND A PRAYER

2017-08-29T18:41:58+02:00

At the start of January 1945, the 17th Airborne Division was thrown into the Battle of the Bulge with the task of pushing the Germans back from the area west of Bastogne. Its soldiers, fresh from Britain, had no combat experience whatsoever. The opposing troops were battle-hardened soldiers like Walter Denkert’s 3rd Panzergrenadier Division. As [...]

ON A WING AND A PRAYER2017-08-29T18:41:58+02:00

WISH ME LUCK

2017-08-29T18:40:42+02:00

When Lieutenant Harold Stalnaker took off from the 366th Fighter Squadron’s base in Toul, northeastern France, on 23 December 1944, he had flown more than 90 missions. The 21-year-old fighter pilot should not even have been in the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt as he had been given a 72-hour pass to Paris. But the [...]

WISH ME LUCK2017-08-29T18:40:42+02:00

mei 2017

LOVE, WANDA

2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00

This is one of many heart-wrenching stories I came across while writing my book, The Margraten Boys. The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk, from August 1943 until April 1945. The group was awarded one Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing an aircraft and components factory at Gotha on 24 February 1944, [...]

LOVE, WANDA2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00

A CHILD’S WISH

2017-08-29T18:42:26+02:00

Judy’s father, Gordon Russ, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge on 8 January 1945 when she was just five years old. Gordon, a 30-year-old bartender from Minnesota, was a private in the 87th Infantry Division’s 346th Regiment. Some time ago, a journalist from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press who was researching Gordon’s story [...]

A CHILD’S WISH2017-08-29T18:42:26+02:00

april 2017

A BROTHER’S AGONY

2017-08-30T14:22:17+02:00

Virginian and Private First Class Ronald McNeil was one of seven brothers. "My uncle Ronald, a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was wounded during the Normandy invasion and was in Belgium, where my father was also serving,” Edie Jeter said in an interview. “They planned to meet during Christmas, but the Battle of [...]

A BROTHER’S AGONY2017-08-30T14:22:17+02:00

CHILDREN OF GOD

2017-08-29T18:50:56+02:00

During the Bastogne siege, two young Belgian nurses braved constant danger while feverishly caring for countless American casualties. One of them, Renée Lemaire, was killed during a German bombing raid. The other nurse, Augusta Chiwy, was lucky and survived. Augusta was the daughter of a Belgian veterinarian and an African mother from the Belgian colonies. [...]

CHILDREN OF GOD2017-08-29T18:50:56+02:00

FAREWELL TO A SILVER STAR

2019-01-28T23:48:04+02:00

This is a rare picture. We are familiar with images of soldiers posing in uniforms and with comrades during training or at the front. But it is not often we get to see glimpses of the wrenching moment when a civilian says farewell to his family before reporting to duty. This is Bob Burns on [...]

FAREWELL TO A SILVER STAR2019-01-28T23:48:04+02:00