When Heroes weren’t so Heroic

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We all have heroes and that is important, you need someone to look up to. But Heroes are human beings like anyone else and sometimes they say or do things that are not so heroic.

Following are some examples where some heroes said something very un-heroic.Some of these will really surprise you.

John Lennon, on his son

“I can’t stand the way you fucking laugh! Never let me hear your fucking horrible laugh again.” — Lennon screaming at his son, Julian, while the latter was a boy and helping his mother make pancakes

“I’m not going to lie to Julian. Ninety percent of the people on this planet, especially in the West, were born out of a bottle of whiskey on a Saturday night, and there was no intent to have children. So 90 percent of us — that includes everybody — were accidents…Julian is in the majority, along with me and everybody else. Sean is a planned child, and therein lies the difference.” — Lennon, describing the difference between his first son, Julian, and his second son, Sean

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Abraham Lincoln, on racial equality

“And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.”

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Roald Dahl, on Jewish people

“There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity; maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”
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Martin Luther King Jr., on domestic abuse

“I would suggest that you analyze the whole situation and see if there is anything within your personality that arouses this tyrannical response from your husband.” — King’s advice for a woman who asked him for help because her husband was abusive to her and their kids

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Mahatma Gandhi, on black Africans

“Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir [a slur for black Africans that is now classified as hate speech and generally considered to be the equivalent of “nigger” in the United States] whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

“Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”

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4th of May-Honoring the Heroes.

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Every 4th of May at 20.00 PM, 2 minutes of silence is observed in the Netherlands to remember those who died in WWII and other military conflicts.

Today I want to honor those who died for my freedom. It is impossible to honor them all for there were so many. The ones I selected are buried only a few miles from where I was born in the War Cemetery of Sittard.

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The Fallen Hero

 

Thank you soldier for setting my country free.

You did not want to die but yet you gave your life.

It was for strangers you sacrificed yourself, who weren’t even family.

Your ambitions were cut short never again did you see your wife.

 

Thank you, young man to liberate my land.

Your youth stolen from you by a violent act of hate.

A picture of a young girl you held in your hand

The blood drenched battlefield sealed both your fate

 

Thank you proud parents for sending us your son.

The pain you feel is something I will never be able to comprehend

But know this your child did not die in vain, his memory will go on

Even if everyone else forgets, I will remember until my end.

Pvt John Bowles

Died Jan 23 1945 -Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment), 6th Bn. Age 21

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Dennis Donnini

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Birth: Nov. 17, 1925. County Durham, England. Died Jan. 18, 1945,Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously from British King George VI (presented to his father) at Buckingham Palace in London, England for his actions as a fusilier in the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scot Fusiliers, British Army on January 18, 1945 near Stein, Germany during Operation Blackcock in World War II. Born in Easington, Durham, England, his father emigrated from Italy during World war I and owned an ice cream shop and billiards establishment in Easington. During World War II he was placed in an internment camp because of his connection to a country that was at war with England. Shortly after his older brother was killed in combat in May 1944, he enlisted in the Royal Scot Fusiliers and following his training, he was sent to the European Theater of Operations where he was killed in combat at the age of 19 near Stein, Germany. His Victoria Cross citation reads: “In North-West Europe, on 18th January 1945, a Battalion of The Royal Scots Fusiliers supported by tanks was the leading Battalion in the assault of the German positions between the rivers Roer and Maas. This consisted of a broad belt of minefields and wire on the other side of a stream. As the result of a thaw the armour was unable to cross the stream and the infantry had to continue the assault without the support of the tanks. Fusilier Donnini’s platoon was ordered to attack a small village. As they left their trenches the platoon came under concentrated machine gun and rifle fire from the houses and Fusilier Donnini was hit by a bullet in the head. After a few minutes he recovered consciousness, charged down thirty yards of open road and threw a grenade into the nearest window. The enemy fled through the gardens of four houses, closely pursued by Fusilier Donnini and the survivors of his platoon. Under heavy fire at seventy yards range Fusilier Donnini and two companions crossed an open space and reached the cover of a wooden barn, thirty yards from the enemy trenches. Fusilier Donnini, still bleeding profusely from his wound, went into the open under intense close range fire and carried one of his companions, who had been wounded, into the barn. Taking a Bren gun he again went into the open, firing as he went. He was wounded a second time but recovered and went on firing until a third bullet hit a grenade which he was carrying and killed him. The superb gallantry and self-sacrifice of Fusilier Donnini drew the enemy fire away from his companions on to himself. As the result of this, the platoon were able to capture the position, accounting for thirty Germans and two machine guns. Throughout this action, fought from beginning to end at point blank range, the dash, determination and magnificent courage of Fusilier Donnini enabled his comrades to overcome an enemy more than twice their own number.” He was the youngest soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II.

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Major Magnus Vivian Gray

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Died January 22 1945. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

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Trooper Alfred Thomas Heath

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Birth:Dec. 26, 1924, Staffordshire, England. Died Nov. 21, 1944, Germany.Royal Armoured Corps

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Gunner Robert R McCOLLESTER

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Birth 1940:Burnley, Died December 20,1944.Royal Horse Artillery.

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Andrew Churchill

Birth unknown. Died February 6 1945. Gunner, Royal Artillery, 59 (Newfoundland) Heavy Regt. Age 32..

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Nearer my God to thee-And the band played on.

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105 years ago today as the Titanic was sinking,band leader Wallace Hartley decided to stay on the ship together with his fellow musicians.

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Why I don’t really know but I think it was to give that glimmer of hope to those who were facing their last minutes before their mortal coils would give up.What is even more amazing is the fact that the piece of music they played was “Nearer my God to thee” these are the heroes who are often forgotten.

After the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink, Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors said that he and the band continued to play until the very end. None of the band members survived the sinking, and the story of them playing to the end became a popular legend. One survivor who clambered aboard ‘Collapsible A’ claimed to have seen Hartley and his band standing on the boat deck, near the entrance to the grand staircase, near the base of the second funnel. He went on to say that he saw three of them washed off while the other five held on to the railing on top the Grand Staircase’s deckhouse, only to be dragged down with the bow, as Hartley exclaimed, “Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!” A newspaper at the time reported “the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea.”

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Many of the survivors said that Hartley and the band continued to play until the very end. One second class passenger said:

“Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame”

This is my salute to those who kept faith until the last moment.

Elise and Otto Hampel-Defiant heroes

Like in so many other conflicts often the inhabitants of the aggressor nation are also victims as was the case in Germany. Many defied the Nazi regime and paid the ultimate price for it.

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Otto and Elise Hampel were a working-class couple who created a simple method of protest while living in Berlin during the early years of World War II. They composed postcards denouncing Hitler’s government and left them in public places around the city. They were eventually caught, tried, and beheaded in Berlin’s Plötzensee Prison in April 1943.

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On this day in 1943, a working-class German couple were executed for treason and sedition in Berlin, Germany: Otto and Elise Hampel’s reign of postcard-writing terror had finally come to its conclusion.

Elise Lemme married Otto Hampel in 1935.

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She was a domestic servant and a member of the National Socialist Frauenschaft (Women’s League). Otto had served in WWI and was a factory worker. After the death of Elise’s brother, a soldier killed during the German assault on France, she and her husband decided to oppose the Nazi regime in their own way. They had handwritten  about 200 postcards and leaflets anonymously which called upon people not to buy Nazi papers, to refuse to serve in the war and to overthrow Hitler.

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Their campaign lasted for two years before they were eventually betrayed and arrested.

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What actually happened was that almost all the cards were delivered to the authorities immediately. Nobody wanted to be caught in possession of such dangerous words.

Because of the sheer number of postcards and the long duration of their distribution, the Gestapo at first thought they were dealing with a much larger group of traitors. Doubtless they were frustrated that this riffraff, who couldn’t even write properly (the postcards were full of grammatical errors and misspellings), were able to evade them for so long.

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But the Hampels’ resistance activities eventually caught up with them.

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They were unrepentant after their arrests in October 1942, and had little to say for themselves, beyond Otto’s statement that he was “happy” about protesting against Hitler. Roland Freisler‘s People’s Court duly condemned them to die for “preparation for high treason” and “demoralizing the troops.” They were executed by guillotine in the Plötzensee Prison.

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For some reason, unlike their equally courageous, naive and doomed counterparts in the White Rose, the Hampels’ story didn’t really catch on with historians.They were saved from oblivion by the dangerously unstable, drug-addicted author Rudolf Ditzen, aka Hans Fallada, who came upon their Gestapo file after the war.

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His 1947 novel,”Every man Dies Alone, written in just 24 days, is closely based on Elise and Otto’s story. This book was Fallada’s swan song; he died weeks before its publication.

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It’s time we started honouring real heroes again-Part 2

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The world has gone crazy honouring ‘Heroes’ whose only achievement is being famous for the sake of being famous. It is time to start honouring the real heroes again. The men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can live in freedom.

Cpl. Patrick Mazzie, who is buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, died April 11, 1945

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1st Lt. Paul Donald Meyer met his wife 2nd Lt. Elaine Gardner Mitchell during World War II. Paul was killed on February 25, 1945, and he’s buried in Netherlands American Cemetery.55 PDM

Sgt. John K Barry, he was a Tail Gunner of B-17G 42-32213 “”Pistol Packin Mama”” plane crashed Near Nordhausen Germany.

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Dorothy J. Burdge was a school teacher before going overseas as a Red Cross worker. She was sent overseas by the Red Cross in September 1943 and served in England and followed the American troops to Normandy, through France and Belgium and finally to Germany. She operated a Red Cross clubmobile with her sister Grace. She was killed in a plane crash in Germany.

Pvt Frederick Bryan Coldicott Oct. 22, 1921, England,Oct. 22, 1944.

He was born in England and came to America with family at age of 3.
He lived in Roseville, Michigan USA. He was married to Elizabeth and left a daughter, Sandra and a Son Frederick.

He recieved the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge 10233138_123738070160

PFC Aston Hugh Morgan, III,Oct. 3, 1925, USA,Apr. 5, 1945, Germany

From Aston’s obituary in newspaper:
Pfc Aston H. Morgan III
Killed in Germany, April 5, while serving with field artillery of the Ninth Army.
Entered service in Feb 1944.
Trained at Fort Benning, Ga; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Wood, Mo.
Stationed in England, France, and Belgium before joining Ninth Army in Hurtgen Forest.
Graduated from Kingston High School in 1943; member of National Honor Society.
Member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (president of Young People’s Society).
Employed by Craftsmen Engravers before entering service.
Grandfather: Dr. Aston H. Morgan.
Father: Mr. Aston H. Morgan Jr, proprietor of Morgan Drug Store, 361 East Market Street, Kingston.

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William G. Walsh and Ross F. Gray two selfless heroes of Iwo Jima.

In these days when we have very few heroes left it is good to be reminded of some real heroes who made a difference by selfless actions and not self promotion.

William G. Walsh

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Gunnery Sergeant William Gary Walsh (April 7, 1922 – February 27, 1945) was a United States Marine who heroically sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. For his actions on February 27, 1945, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

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William Walsh was born on April 7, 1922, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He attended public schools in Boston before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in April 1942. He went to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and advanced training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

From Camp Lejeune, he went to Samoa and was assigned to a unit of Marine scouts. His next assignment was with the 2nd Marine Raider battalion, the famed Carlson’s Raiders. During the United States’ war with Japan in the Pacific, he saw action at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, and in the Russell Islands.

Following two years of service in the Pacific theatre, he returned to the United States. He returned overseas later with the 5th Marine Division in time for the Iwo Jima invasion

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It was at Iwo Jima, while leading his men against a fortified hill on February 27, 1945, he threw himself on a hand grenade, sacrificing his life to save the lives of fellow Marines. For this heroic act, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Initially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, GnySgt Walsh’s remains were later reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery on April 20, 1948.

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Ross F. Gray

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Sergeant Ross Franklin Gray (August 1, 1920 – February 27, 1945) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor — the highest military honor of the United States — for his heroic service in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II — he single-handedly disarmed an entire mine field while under heavy enemy fire. He was killed in action six days later.

Gray enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in Birmingham, Alabama on July 22, 1942, and was assigned to active duty the same day. After receiving his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he went to New River, North Carolina, and in September joined the 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division. Promoted to private first class in April 1943, he was transferred to Company A, 1st Battalion 25th Marines, a month later.

Private First Class Gray left for overseas duty on January 13, 1944 and landed at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands where he took part in the Roi-Namur campaign.

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He was made an engineering corporal in March and in June made another assault landing — this time at Saipan. At the conclusion of the fighting at Saipan, Cpl Gray took part in the landing on Tinian Island, also in the Marianas.

Promoted to sergeant in August, he attended the 4th Marine Division Mine and Booby Trap School, upon completion of which he was rated qualified to instruct troops in the laying of mine fields; the reconnaissance of enemy minefields, day and night; the location, neutralization, disarming, and removal of mines; the neutralization of booby-trapped mines; and the day and night clearance of lanes through minefields. Examined and found qualified for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant, Sgt Gray, due to the lack of openings for that rate in his organization, was never promoted to the third pay grade.

On February 21, 1945, two days after the initial landing on Iwo Jima,  Gray was acting platoon sergeant of one of Company A’s platoons which had been held up by a sudden barrage of Japanese hand grenades in the area northeast of Airfield No. 1.

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Gray withdrew his platoon out of range of the grenades and moved forward to get a better look at the situation.. He saw his platoon was held up by several Japanese bunkers connected by covered communication trenches  with a mine field in front of them.

With typical Gray tenacity and in spite a hail of enemy small arms fire, Gray cleared a path through the mine field up to the mouth of one of the fortifications, then returned to his own lines, where with three volunteers, he went back to the battalion dump and acquired twelve satchel charges. Placing these in a defiladed area within his platoon that was protected from immediate enemy fire, he took one weighing twenty-four pounds. Under covering fire from the three volunteers, Gray advanced up the path he had cleared and threw the charge into the enemy position in order to take it out of action.

Gray came under fire from a machine gun in another opening of the same position,  Gray returned to the defiladed spot, obtained another charge, returned to the position and this time completely destroyed it. Spotting another emplacement, he went through the mine field for the seventh and eighth time to get another charge and destroy another enemy stronghold.

He continued this one-man attack, all the time under heavy small arms fire and grenade barrage, until he had destroyed six enemy positions.  During Gray’s attack on the enemy positions , he was unarmed so that he could more easily carry the charges and accessories.

After he had eliminated all six Japanese bunkers, Gray disarmed the whole mine field before returning to his platoon.

For his personal valor, daring tactics, and tenacious perseverance in the face of extreme peril on February 21, Sgt Gray was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman

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The coveted award was presented to the hero’s father by Rear Admiral A. S. Merrill, United States Navy, then Commandant of the Eighth Naval District, at the football field at Centreville High School in the presence of the Governor of the State of Alabama, Chauncey Sparks, on April 16, 1946.

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Sergeant Gray was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, but later his remains were returned to the United States for private burial in Woodstock, Alabama.

The frigate USS Gray (FF-1054) was named after Sergeant Gray.

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The Four Chaplains-Heroic sacrifice

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The Four Chaplains, also sometimes referred to as the “Immortal Chaplains” or the “Dorchester Chaplains”, were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel as the troop ship SS Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943, during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out. The chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

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It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen and civilian workers.

Once a luxury coastal liner, the 5,649-ton vessel had been converted into an Army transport ship. The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland. SG-19 was escorted by Coast Guard Cutters Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche.

Hans J. Danielsen, the ship’s captain, was concerned and cautious. Earlier the Tampa had detected a submarine with its sonar. Danielsen knew he was in dangerous waters even before he got the alarming information. German U-boats were constantly prowling these vital sea lanes, and several ships had already been blasted and sunk.

The Dorchester was now only 150 miles from its destination, but the captain ordered the men to sleep in their clothing and keep life jackets on. Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship’s hold disregarded the order because of the engine’s heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable.

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester.
The U-223 approached the convoy on the surface, and after identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire the torpedoes, a fan of three were fired. The one that hit was decisive–and deadly–striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line.

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Captain Danielsen, alerted that the Dorchester was taking water rapidly and sinking, gave the order to abandon ship. In less than 20 minutes, the Dorchester would slip beneath the Atlantic’s icy waters.

Tragically, the hit had knocked out power and radio contact with the three escort ships. The CGC Comanche, however, saw the flash of the explosion. It responded and then rescued 97 survivors. The CGC Escanaba circled the Dorchester, rescuing an additional 132 survivors. The third cutter, CGC Tampa, continued on, escorting the remaining two ships.

Aboard the Dorchester, panic and chaos had set in. The blast had killed scores of men, and many more were seriously wounded. Others, stunned by the explosion were groping in the darkness. Those sleeping without clothing rushed topside where they were confronted first by a blast of icy Arctic air and then by the knowledge that death awaited.

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Men jumped from the ship into lifeboats, over-crowding them to the point of capsizing, according to eyewitnesses. Other rafts, tossed into the Atlantic, drifted away before soldiers could get in them.

Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety.

Witnesses of that terrible night remember hearing the four men offer prayers for the dying and encouragement for those who would live,says Wyatt R. Fox, son of Reverend Fox

According to some reports, survivors could hear different languages mixed in the prayers of the chaplains, including Jewish prayers in Hebrew and Catholic prayers in Latin. Only 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia, which killed most men in the water. The water temperature was 34 °F (1 °C) and the air temperature was 36 °F (2 °C). By the time additional rescue ships arrived, hundreds of dead bodies were seen floating on the water, kept up by their life jackets.

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“As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

— Grady Clark, survivor
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Frederick Mayer and Operation Greenup:The Real Inglorious Bastards.

One of my favourite WW2 movies is Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”

Although the movie was mostly fictional it is based,albeit loosely, on Frederick Mayer and the operation he was to head up, “Operation Greenup”

During World War II, the U.S. government’s newly formed Office of Strategic Services trained thousands of men and launched hundreds of undercover missions. The Real Inglorious Bastards recounts the thrilling story of one of the most successful of these missions—Operation Greenup, comprised of two young Jewish refugees and one Wehrmacht officer.

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Three unlikely brothers-in-arms parachute one perilous winter night into the Austrian Alps, risking their lives to strike back at Nazi Germany.

Friedrich Mayer was born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden, Germany, into a Jewish family. He was the son of Berthilda (Dreyfuss) and Heinrich Mayer.His father had served in the Imperial German Army during World War I, and was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class for gallantry during the Battle of Verdun.

After finishing high school, Friedrich Mayer worked as a diesel mechanic with the Ford Motor Company. He lived by a practical motto: “Do your best at everything every day, control what you can, and what you can’t, don’t worry about”.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, antisemitism became an official policy of the German government. Mayer’s father hoped his distinguished military record would protect his family, but his wife insisted that the family leave Germany while they still could. They emigrated to the United States in 1938, one year before World War II broke out in Europe. Frederick Mayer worked at twenty different jobs during his time in New York City. When one of his bosses made an antisemitic remark, Mayer knocked him down and resigned on the spot, just as he had previously done in Germany.

In December 1941, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Mayer enlisted in the United States Army.

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During a training exercise in Arizona, he crossed the “enemy” line and “captured” several officers, including a brigadier general. The general said, “You can’t do that! You are breaking the rules!” Mayer replied, “War is not fair. The rules of war are to win.” The general then raised his hands in the air, admitting defeat.

Mayer was trained in demolition, infiltration, raiding, sniping, and hand-to-hand combat. His knowledge of several European languages (German, French, Spanish) made him a good candidate for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a wartime precursor to the CIA. Mayer’s group of 30 men included four other European Jewish refugees: George Gerbner (Hungary), Alfred Rosenthal (Germany), Bernd Steinitz (Germany) and Hans Wijnberg (Netherlands). Each of them spoke at least two European languages, all were familiar with the European environment, and all were eager to do what they could to defeat the Nazis.

Eventually, all five would then serve in Austria in various OSS operations. Mayer became commander of Operation Greenup, with Wijnberg serving as his radio operator.

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Hans Wijnberg was born on November 28, 1922, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 1939 Hans’s father sent Wijnberg and his twin brother to the United States. The boys stayed with their father’s business partner and continued their education in Brooklyn Technical High School. In 1943 Wijnberg joined the United States Army. At about the same time his father, mother and younger brother, who stayed in the Netherlands were captured by the SS, and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. One day Wijnberg was approached by an officer, who said: “We understand you speak German, Dutch and English. Would you like to help your country?” Without hesitation Hans responded: “Sure”.

Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency William J. Casey called Operation Greenup “by far the most successful of OSS operations mounted from Bari”.

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The operation included three men: Mayer, Wijnberg, and Franz Weber, a former Austrian Wehrmacht officer.Their task was to scout “the heavily fortified area of Austria’s ‘Alpine Redoubt'”

It was decided the men should be parachuted near Innsbruck, but all flat areas were occupied by the military. Mayer recalled a small lake between two peaks that was frozen in February. It wasn’t an easy place to fly to, especially in the winter conditions, but finally a pilot named Billings volunteered. “If they are crazy enough to jump there, I will be crazy enough to take them there.” On February 26, 1945, the men jumped in the darkness. They found themselves at the ridge of a glacier at a 10,000 feet elevation. They found all but one container that was dropped with them. Unfortunately their skis were in that missing container. They had to walk down the slope in a waist-deep snow.

Eventually they reached Weber’s family. With their help, Mayer posed as a German Army officer. He actually stayed in the officers’ barracks in Innsbruck for several months. The information he collected was promptly radioed back by Wijnberg. After three months Mayer decided to pose as a French electrician, who supposedly was fleeing from the advancing Soviet forces.

Mayer was arrested when a black market racketeer he dealt with was caught by the Gestapo and named him as a spy. As soon as his interrogation became physical, the black marketer revealed that he knew a high ranking American agent. Mayer spoke only in French, and tried to convince the Gestapo that he was what he pretended to be. He was tortured to force him to talk.

All that time the Gestapo kept asking where his radio and radio operator were. One Nazi noticed that Mayer was circumcised, but the other dismissed it. They refused to believe that a Jew would return as an agent for the Allies.

Then the man who betrayed him was brought to face Mayer. Realizing that there was no more use pretending, Mayer began speaking German. He confirmed he was an American. However, he insisted that he worked alone.

At the same time Mayer was tortured, Hermann Matull, another American agent, was being interrogated by the Gestapo. He was shown the picture of Mayer’s bitten and swollen face, and was asked if he knew the man. Matull did not think long. He claimed that Mayer was a “big shot” in the American command, and that if Mayer were shot, the Americans would kill all who had mistreated him. Matull even insisted that a man as senior as Mayer could be interrogated only by the Gauleiter of Tyrol and Vorarlberg,Franz Hofer.

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Hofer believed that the defeat of Germany was inevitable, and was looking for a way to surrender to the Americans rather than to the Red Army. He ordered the Gestapo to bring Mayer to him. Mayer was introduced to Hofer’s wife and the German ambassador to Benito Mussolini’s government, Rudolph Rahn. They ate dinner and talked. Mayer initially believed that it was just a new way to make him reveal where his radio operator Hans Wijnberg was located, but he later understood that the Germans were really there to discuss their surrender. Rahn said he was going to Bern, and promised to deliver Mayer’s message to Allen Welsh Dulles, the OSS man there.

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Mayer agreed. It was the only way to inform the center of what was going on without revealing the existence of Wynberg. Dulles got the message and cabled it to OSS headquarters in Italy: ““Fred Mayer reports he is in Gestapo hands but cabled ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m really not bad off'” – a remarkable message considering that it was coming from a Jew.

On the morning of May 3, 1945, the American 103rd Infantry Division of the Seventh Army was ordered to take Innsbruck. When the troops got closer to the city, they saw an approaching car with a white banner made out of a bed sheet. Major Bland West, an intelligence officer, saw a young man with a swollen face jumping out of the car. He introduced himself as Lt. Mayer of the OSS, and explained that he was going to take the major with him to accept the German surrender. Later on West found out that Mayer was a sergeant. Thus, the German troops in this area surrendered to an American sergeant, a Jewish emigrant from Germany.

 

 

Bizarre WWII events

General Patton

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Gen. George S. Patton believed in reincarnation, and believed himself to have been a military leader killed in action in Napoleon’s army, or a Roman legionary. He assumed that his past lives had a similar status to his current life, which does fit many models of reincarnation. It is not done randomly but is based on what you have done in your past lives. He effectively thought a part of the reason he was a high level general was that he had earned it through his leadership experience in past lives.

Franz von Werra

Franz Von Werra, a Nazi POW who was transfered to Canada to deter his multiple escapes and recaptures, escaped again in less than a month, traveling through the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Italy to become the only Western held POW to return to combat. On 25 October 1941 Von Werra took off in Bf 109F-4 (W.Nr. 7285) on a practice flight. He suffered engine failure and crashed into the sea north of Vlissingen and was killed. His body was never found.

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America designed a grenade the weight and size of a baseball because they believed young American troops should be able to throw them.

Major Alexis Casdagli

After six months held by the Nazis in a prisoner of war camp, Major Alexis Casdagli was handed a piece of canvas by a fellow inmate. Pinching red and blue thread from a disintegrating pullover belonging to an elderly Cretan general, Casdagli passed the long hours in captivity by painstakingly creating a sampler in cross-stitch. Around decorative swastikas and a banal inscription saying he completed his work in December 1941, the British officer stitched a border of irregular dots and dashes. Over the next four years his work was displayed at the four camps in Germany where he was imprisoned, and his Nazi captors never once deciphered the messages threaded in Morse code: “God Save the King” and “Fuck Hitler”.

Crystal Meth In WWII

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Meth was invented in Japan. Under the brand name Philopon/Hiropon ヒロポン, anyone who needed to stave off hunger and stay awake took this form of methamphetamine. Of course, during the war this was everyone. Factory workers could work long hours without eating . Soldiers that needed a pick-me-up took it . Even kamikaze pilots were given this drug so they could fly long hours and not feel so bad about crashing into something at the end of their trip. If you’ve ever wondered why someone would ever go through with a kamikaze mission, this may be one of your answers.

Helen Duncan

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In 1944, a Scottish medium named Helen Duncan became the last person to be prosecuted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. Yes, WWII-era Britain actually wasted government resources prosecuting someone as a witch. Her crime? Claiming she saw an apparition of a dead sailor from the sunken HMS Barham during a seance.

William Overstreet Jr.

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William Bruce “Bill” Overstreet Jr. (April 10, 1921 – December 29, 2013) was an American fighter pilot and a veteran of the 357th Fighter Group, 363rd Fighter Squadron of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He is best known for his solo pursuit of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G underneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower in 1944.

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In 2009, Overstreet was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Ambassador to the United StatesPierre Vimont at a ceremony held at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.

He died on December 29, 2013, at the age of 92.

Sergeant Leonard A. Funk

During WWII, when Sergeant Leonard A. Funk was confronted by 90 German soldiers that had captured his squad, he began to laugh hysterically at the situation. Many of the enemy soldiers began to laugh along with him, until Funk wiped out his machine gun, gunning down 21 and capturing the rest.

Aleksey Petrovich Maresyev

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Aleksey Petrovich Maresyev was a Soviet fighter ace during the World War II.

In April 1942, Alexey Maresyev got into a dogfight with two German fighters. Maresyev’s plane was shot down in the forest near the city of Staraya Russa. He managed to bailout from the flaming aircraft with a parachute. During grounding he badly injured his legs. Despite that, Aleksey had to fight for his life in the winter forest. He started crawling in search for help. After 18 days in forest, fighting pain and hunger, Aleksey Maresyev managed to reach the village of Plavni.

During his 18-day wandering in the winter forest, his injuries became so bad that the amputation of both legs below the knee was the only way to save Aleksey’s life..

But Aleksey decided that he would fly again! Desperate to return to his fighter pilot career, he spent nearly a year of exercise to master the control of his prosthetic devices, and succeeded at that, returning to flying in June 1943. And shot down 7 more German planes. He also lived to be 84 (died literally an hour before his 85 birthday party), received Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, got a PhD in History, also served in the supreme soviet which was a legislative body for the USSR.

 

It is time we started honoring real heroes again.

What has happened to the world that they started honoring men as heroes where really at the end they failed and were a bad role model. On the other side the world has forgotten about the real heroes, the ones who selflessly sacrificed their lives for the betterment of the lives of strangers.

We need to start reversing the trend of celebrating failure and look up to the real heroes again.

I will be using 2 examples. One of an internationally known sports man and the other one of a man who died in a foreign land trying to liberate strangers from evil.

George Best.

 

The reason why I am taking him as an example is the last few days I have seen several video’s popping up to celebrate the ‘legend’ that is George Best.I think it is because this week 53 years ago he made his debut as a 17 year old at Manchester United

Don’t get me wrong I acknowledge he was a great sportsman and although I did not know him personally I am sure he was a nice man. but does this make him a hero? No!

He died an alcoholic, I am not accusing him for this, I sincerely feel sorry for him, having an addiction is a terrible thing. But here is the thing, he was given so many chances and opportunities in live,he was privileged. Yes he may have had a rough childhood, but there are billions like him.

He struggled with alcoholism most of his adult life and was convicted with drink driving several times.

Best was diagnosed with severe liver damage in March 2000.In 2001, he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.In August 2002, he had a successful liver transplant at King’s College Hospital in London.

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The transplant was performed at public expense on the NHS, a decision which was controversial due to Best’s alcoholism. The controversy was reignited in 2003 when he was spotted openly drinking white wine spritzers.On 2 February 2004, Best was convicted of another drink-driving offence and banned from driving for 20 months.

Best continued to drink, and was sometimes seen at his local pub in Surbiton, London. On 3 October 2005, Best was admitted to intensive care at the private Cromwell Hospital in London, suffering from a kidney infection caused by the side effects of immuno-suppressive drugs used to prevent his body from rejecting his transplanted liver. On 27 October, newspapers stated that Best was close to death and had sent a farewell message to his loved ones. Close friends in the game visited his bedside to make their farewells, including Rodney Marsh, and the two other members of the “United Trinity”,Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. On 20 November, the British tabloid News of the World published a picture of Best (at his own request) showing him in his hospital bed with jaundice, along with a warning about the dangers of alcohol with his message: “Don’t die like me.

This is what bugs me. He was convicted for drinking-driving several times, when he was getting behind the wheel drunk, he could have easily killed one or more people. Then he was given another chance, a new lease of life ,by getting a new liver and he squandered it.I am sure there were many other people waiting for a new liver but did not get it because they weren’t famous. I am sure someone else died because they did not get a new liver. This means that George Best did not only kill himself but also denied someone else the chance of a new lease of life. But yet he is seen as a Hero only because his skills as a footballer and his status as a celebrity, but not for any heroic actions. I am not blaming him for this but the media.

Mercer G. Abernathy.

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On the other hand we have 2nd Lieutenant Mercer G Abernathy. I know nothing of this man except for his Army records and a page of his high school year book.

Service # O2009170
Rank Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Unit 548th Bomber Squadron, 385th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered Service From Texas
Date of Death April 4, 1945

He doesn’t even have a grave because he died in Germany or the Netheralands  missing In Action as navigator on a B17 Flying Fortress.

All that he is remembered by is his name on a US roster of the dead WWII.

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And a memorial marker in the Netherlands American War Cemetery in Margraten near Maastricht in the Netherlands.

He died in a foreign land trying to liberate strangers from evil.He was not the only one. Over the years and especially the last century during both world wars millions died, fighting for the liberties we now take for granted.Yet most of these heroes are forgotten, no websites dedicated to them, no books full of information of their lives, no documentaries,no special sporting events, no airports called after them. Only a simple white cross or star of David or a simple memorial marker in a cemetery far away, like the Netherlands American War Cemetery in Margraten. where 8,301 heroes are buried.

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And even today there are still men and women dying to safeguard or rights and liberties.Those are the real heroes and not the privileged celebrities that are put on pedestals. It is time that we started honouring the real heroes again. We owe it to them.