Sal Caniglia was a classmate of Fran Canham's at FAOCS, Fort
Sill, OK. He has contributed several pieces to the list about his experiences in
"Trying to put into words my thoughts and feelings of Fran
Canham after seeing him for the last time 62 years ago is a daunting task. My
time spent with Fran was at OCS at Ft Sill and at Ft Bragg at the Field
Artillery Replacement Center. We were in different Battalions at Bragg and I
would just see him on non duty weekends -- I would estimate that our active
friendship was a too short 11 months of 1943. But it doesn't take long to get to
know someone while serving in the Military and I found Fran to be one of the
most honest, loyal and hardworking men I knew. The thing I seem to remember most
was a bit of shyness in his smile and the way he would listen intently when you
were speaking to him. I never heard him speak ill of anyone and he always had
something cheerful to say when I was having a bad day. We formed a very close
friendship -- yet we were from two different worlds -- he a farm boy from
Barker, NY and I from the big city of Philadelphia-- I think we fascinated each
"Rest in Peace my Dear Friend"
In July when we returned from Normandy to Whatcombe Farms, our
base camp in England, Jordan was assigned to the giddy heights of battalion
headquarters as a liaison officer. He would be subsequently severely wounded at
Bastogne. Replacements, among them Canham and Braswell, as well as the recovered
Gallant were waiting for us. With Jordan’s departure the FO party of Canham,
Gallant, Stone and Braswell was formed and worked together for much of the time
Since he had joined the battalion five months ago, Canham had won the respect of all, particularly those of us who worked closely with him in an FO party. He was the epitome of the person whose actions spoke much louder than did his words. However, when he spoke his words were worth hearing. Within our FO party everything, with one exception, was shared. Canham's responsibility was not shared. Except for a few very short breaks he maintained observation of the enemy area. Others might assist him but he was always there. On the march we shared the heavy load that an FO party carries, we shared the food, and his liquor ration. When we did not have telephone communication with our battalion, we had to maintain a radio watch and at night Canham took his turn at this.
On December 16th the Germans attacked through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and had penetrated the thinly held lines of VIII Corps. The next morning we heard of the attack on the radio but did not give it much thought. We gave it more thought when, that evening, the division was alerted for movement to VIII Corps on the morning of the 18th. Some us thought that the attack would be quickly contained and that the 101st would be in reserve for a few days and then return to Mormelon. We had no idea of the magnitude of the German attack. On the previous day we had turned in our helmets to supply for repainting. We picked up our unpainted helmets and made other preparations for movement.
At the time our FO party consisted of Canham, Gallant and me. Gallant had been detailed to go forward with the battery quartering party. Shortly after he left Battery B was ordered to send an FO party to the 506th for the movement forward and subsequent combat. (The idea of being in reserve for a few days rapidly dissipated.) The 321st was to be in direct support of the 506th once again. Canham, Sergeant Bill Plummer, who had joined the Detail Section after having been a howitzer chief of section, and I, along with our jeep driver, Wendell Byrne, reported to the S3 of the 506th. He told us to join the 506th column and follow the chaplain forward. With our radio and other equipment it was crowded and uncomfortable in the jeep. I soon felt better when I saw the open semi-trailers in which the riflemen of the 506th were riding. Comfort is, indeed, relative.
Early on the morning of the 20th we were ordered to return to Noville and rejoin the 1st Battalion. The Germans were trying to take Noville by attacking from the east and northeast. When the initial effort failed, the enemy continued to attack Noville while attempting to by-pass the village to the north and south. The Germans moving around Noville to the north were meeting with more success than were their fellows moving south of the village. To the north, there were no American troops. To the south were the 501st and the 506th. The enemy was trying to slip between their forward lines and Noville in an attempt to surround Noville and the going was slow. Within our FO party we knew nothing of this. We knew only that we had to get fire on the enemy north of Noville. In order to accomplish this, Canham selected a stone barn on the northeastern outskirts of the village as our observation post. He and Plummer went to the second floor from which they could observe through an open window. I set the radio up at the other end of the barn just outside a door on the first floor and ran a wire to Canham and Plummer so that we could send fire missions to the Fire Direction Center (FDC) of the 321st in Savy.
At this time Noville was taking a beating. The Germans were pounding the village (and us) with everything they had. The piercing whistle of incoming projectiles followed by the sounds of their explo-sions assaulted our ears. Their blasts buffeted our bodies. The sharp, bitter smell of the exploded powder invaded our nostrils. Buildings were severely damaged. Wounded were walking or being carried to the battalion aid station. If the enemy could take the village quickly he would have freedom to continue his advance to the west, where he was ordered to seize crossings over the Meuse River, or a straight road into Bastogne provided that he could break through the other battalions of the 506th. Still, the riflemen of the 1st Battalion and the men of TEAM Desobry, aided by the fires of the 321st, held. For now, there was to be no road through Noville for the 2nd Panzer Division. The defence of Noville gave the other battalions of the 506th time to occupy and improve their positions astride the Bastogne - Noville Road just south of Foy.
Despite the vigorous German attack, from the narrow perspective of our FO party, the battle seemed to be going well when Plummer called me on the telephone and said that a tank shell had just hit alongside of the window from which Canham was observing and that Canham had been hit. I grabbed the platoon aid man and went upstairs. He said that Canham was dead. I reported this to our FDC which urged Plummer and me to remain in Noville. We had no intention of doing other than that and were a bit put off by the urging from FDC. Plummer took over from Canham and we continued to direct the fires of the 321st.
After we withdrew through the lines of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 506th I located Captain Ben Skinner, a lisison officer of the 321st. who had been our battery commander in England and Normandy. I told him what had happened and he told me to come with him while he spoke with the commander of the battalion of the 506th with which he was working. When he met the battalion commander Skinner asked him if it would be alright if Lieutenant Eugene Brooks of Battery A worked as an FO with the battalion. (Brooks, who had joined the battalion with Canham, would be wounded badly on the next day.) The battalion commander replied, "Sure. Brooks, Canham or any FO from the 321st is OK." Skinner told the battalion commander that Canham had been killed in Noville. He replied, "I knew he'd get it. He took too many chances."
I doubt that Canham would have agreed with that battalion commander's assessment. Canham did not take "too many chances." He was a skillful, well-trained officer who pushed the fight to the enemy at every opportunity. He never let up. His skill, his attitude toward his duty, and his ability to get along with others probably brought him to the attention of the commanders in the 506th and they saw this man, who performed his duty to the utmost, as one who, "took too many chances."
|John Hawtrey Capes||Leading stoker on submarine HMS Perseus. Sank off Keffalonia. Capes managed an amazing escape from 170 feet deep.|
|Edward A CARTER||
Edward A. Carter. Carter's father was a black missionary from the United States, and his mother a native of Calcutta, India. Carter was born in Los Angeles and raised in the U.S., India and China. When his parents divorced, Carter joined the Chinese Nationalist Army to fight the Japanese, but was pulled out and taken back to the U.S. when his father revealed that he wasn't yet 18 years old. He soon joined up with the Lincoln Brigade and fought in Spain for 2.5 years, and then returned again to America and enlisted in the Army in 1941.
Carter's combat experience and weapons expertise got him promoted to staff sergeant just as WWII was breaking out. However, the only action he would see for the next two years was in Ft. Benning, Georgia, as US policy still saw fit to utilize black troops mainly in service capacities. Carter served there with the 3535 Quartermaster Truck Company until 1944, when the unit was finally shipped to Europe, to transport combat supplies to front line soldiers. Carter constantly volunteered for combat duty, but was continually rebuffed, until Feb. 1945 when replacements were desperately needed to fill the losses taken in the Battle of the Bulge. Carter was one of 2,600 black volunteers who gave up their ranks in order to be allowed to see combat as privates.
After the action of 23rd March, 1945, Carter was sent to an Army hospital to heal up, but soon went AWOL so he could rejoin his unit. Carter's CO smoothed things over, and Carter fought on until the end of hostilities. He was one of nine black soldiers to receive the Distinguished Service Cross (second-highest decoration for combat valor), and returned to Los Angeles a hero.
EPILOGUE: Carter continued on in the Army after the war and was eventually promoted to Sgt. 1st Class. Unfortunately, his military career was cut short due to the post-war Red Scare. In addition to Frank Sinatra and Ingrid Bergman, one of the many celebrities that feted him when he got back to LA was Harpo Marx, who was (incorrectly) suspected by the FBI of being a communist agent. Additionally, Carter was an intellectual black (he spoke fluent Mandarin and Hindu, and read voraciously) during a time of burgeoning racial tension, and had served with the left-leaning Lincoln Brigade in Spain. As a result, he was labelled a subversive and not allowed to re-enlist, although internal Army investigations cleared him of any suspicion and declared him an exemplary soldier. The Army however, was already under the gun by Sen. Joe McCarthy, and thus chose not to make any further waves at the time.
Carter died of lung cancer in 1963. In 1996, after a decade of pressure from Carter's widow, sons and daughter-in-law, the Army began an investigation which would officially clear his name. In 1997, President Clinton posthumously awarded Carter the Medal of Honor. He was reburied at Arlington National Cemetery.
|Céline||French writer, philosopher, anarchist. Real name Louis Destouches, he had been a cavalryman decorated for bravery in World War 1. Then he had roamed the world before qualifying as a doctor, a fact of which he was proud. His early novels depict atrocity as commonplace and evil as banality. To him what the Germans were doing everywhere in Europe confirmed that his views were not an aberration, but that nihilism had become the rule, as he had always said it would. Living with his wife and cat in the rue Giradon, in Montmarte, he was outwardly a bohemian, inwardly a crazed executioner. (More...)|
|Neville Chamberlain||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1939-1940. More....|
|General Chernyakhovskii||Ivan Danilovich
Chernyakhovskii was born in 1906 in Uman, a town in the Kiev province. The
son of a railroad man (and of Jewish origin, for those interested in such),
he worked on the railroads before enlisting in the Soviet Army in 1924. By
1928 he had joined the Communist Party, graduated from the Kiev Military
Academy, and received a commission as an officer, though which of these came
first isn't clear from my meager notes. Following several years serving as a
junior commander and "political worker" with an artillery regiment, in 1931
he was assigned to the command-engineering section of the Military Academy
of Motorisation and Mechanisation, remaining there for five years. 1936 saw
his appointment to chief of staff of a tank battalion, rising to the rank of
regimental commander by 1940.
In 1940 Chernyakhovskii was serving as deputy commander of the 28th Tank Division, a formation which by the summer of 1941 he was commanding with the rank of colonel. As part of the 12th Mechanised Corps, the 28th Tank Division was stationed in the Baltic frontier district at the beginning of the German invasion. Equipped primarily with often unreliable "sparrow shooters" such as T-26 and BT-5 tanks, the 28th Tank Division performed as well as can be expected under Chernyakhovskii's command, even going "head to head" with the First Panzer Division in a five-hour battle during the opening stages, but was soon heavily savaged, losing nearly all of its armour and being relegated to the status of a rifle division later that summer. Chernyakhovskii continued to lead this division in defensive fighting south of Leningrad until the summer of 1942.
July 1942 saw him commanding the 18th Tank Corps when events surrounding the defence of Voronezh resulted in Stalin dismissing the commander of the 60th Army and replacing him with Chernyakhovskii. For the next two years Chernyakhovskii led the 60th Army in a series of successful battles, including Kursk, being awarded Hero of the Soviet Union following his crossing of the Dnieper River in October of 1943 and the capture (or liberation) of Kiev the next month.
In June 1944 Chernyakhovskii was promoted to the rank of full General, and on the express recommendation of the Soviet Army's Chief of Staff, Marshal Vasilevskii, given command of the Third Belorussian Front at the age of only thirty-eight, the youngest Soviet general to attain such a posting. Under his leadership the Third Belorussian Front proceeded to liberate Minsk, Vilna, and Grodno, advancing into East Prussia by the autumn of 1944. Shortly after his troops had captured the German city of Koenigsberg, Ivan Danilovich Chernyakhovskii was killed by enemy shellfire while inspecting a field observation post in February 1945. By this time he had been awarded a second Hero of the Soviet Union decoration, and as a living memorial the East Prussian town of Insterburg, site of another of his victories, was renamed Chernyakhovsk in his honour.
assorted notes on file with the fabled, if not outright mythical Nordost Research Archives, together with data culled from an array of printed sources ranging from John Erickson's The Road to Stalingrad and The Road to Berlin, Seweryn Bialer's Stalin and His Generals, and the Encyclopedia Judaica as well as lesser works and passing references, some of which I haven't had time to dig up yet...I seem to recall one of the works on the Eastern Front on the shelves at home, and naturally an unindexed one, contains an account of Chernyakhovskii's death.
|Albert Chowne||NX24405 Lt
Lieutenant Albert Chowne, VC, MM
Date of birth: 19 July 1920
Place of birth: Sydney, NSW
Date of death: 25 March 1945
Place of death: Dagua, Papua New Guinea
Albert Chowne, Victoria Cross recipient, was born in Sydney on 19 July 1920. He went to Chatswood Boys Intermediate High School and later Naremburn Junior Technical School. In 1935 he began work as a shirt-cutter at David Jones. Outside work, Chowne enjoyed sports, mainly tennis and rugby union, and was also a member of the scouts.
He spent a brief period in the 36th Militia Battalion before enlisting in the AIF in late May 1940. Chowne was assigned to the 2nd/13th Battalion as platoon and later company runner. The unit arrived in the Middle East in November 1940 and served at Tobruk for eight months the following year. During his time at Tobruk, Chowne transferred to the carrier platoon and was promoted to corporal. After Tobruk the 2nd/13th performed garrison duties in Syria where, in September, Chowne was promoted to sergeant. He was wounded in the leg and hand at El Alamein the following month and spent three weeks in hospital. He returned to Australia with the battalion in January 1943 before moving to Papua in July.
Chowne, now the mortar platoon sergeant, was awarded the Military Medal for twice crawling close to enemy positions to direct mortar fire.
Regarded as exceptionally cool by his comrades, Chowne combined fearlessness with a self-effacing manner. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in January 1944 and he married Daphne Barton in March that year. Having completed the jungle warfare training course at Canungra, Chowne was posted to a new unit, the 2nd/2nd Battalion, in October 1944.
The 2nd/2nd was sent to New Guinea two months later.
Chowne brought a reputation for bravery and leadership to his new unit.
In March 1945 he carried out a one-man patrol in daylight, at one stage entering an empty hut and rifling through the belongings of Japanese soldiers, one of whom he shot when he was discovered. Some who knew him believed that Chowne was destined to either win the Victoria Cross or be killed in action. Sadly both happened. On 25 March 1945, Chowne, seeing the leading platoon in his company's attack on Japanese positions run into trouble, left cover and charged the enemy. He managed to knock out two machine guns before being killed. Chowne's actions enabled the attack to continue and, according to his citation, paved the way for the 6th Division's advance on Wewak.
Chowne was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously and was buried in the Lae War Cemetery in New Guinea. (Daniel Ross)
|Winston Spencer CHURCHILL||Prime Minister of the United
Great wartime leader of the British people. More...
|Brigadier General Henry CLAGGET||Commander, Philippine Department Air Force and then of FEAF|
|Sidney Cotton||RAF Wing Commander and pioneer of Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance. More...|
|Darrell Stuart Cramer||
Darrell Stuart Cramer was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1922. He
graduated from Weber High School and attended Weber College (now Weber State
In 1941, Darrell met Mildred ("Mickey") McPhie who was to become so much a part of his life. In January 1942, Darrell joined the Army Air Corps and began flight school, and a future that was to take him through three wars and a successful and influential career. At the same time, he had also found a life-long partner equally dedicated to a lifetime of service to nation and others.
Lieutenant Cramer was assigned to Guadalcanal in November 1942. During the Solomon Island campaign he shot down two enemy aircraft. He was also forced, however, to crash land two P-38s and had to bail out of two other aircraft. Each of these aircraft was nicknamed "Mick" and in them he flew 120 missions.
Darrell returned to the United States in 1943 and married Mickey. He then qualified in the P-51 and was re-assigned to Germany with the 55th Fighter Group. "Mick 5" proved to be more fortunate than its predecessors -- during his tour in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) Darrell became a double ace. In his next 60 missions he destroyed 11 German aircraft, bringing his WWII total to 13. At the conclusion of the war he returned to Utah to join his father in business, while maintaining his flying skills with the Utah Air National Guard.
In 1948 Darrell was recalled to active duty to serve during the Berlin Airlift and "Operation Vittles," where he became a squadron commander for the first time. After a short return to the U.S., he was re-assigned to command the 53rd Fighter Squadron in Germany. He subsequently served tours in the Pentagon, as a wing commander, as Deputy Commander for Operations at the 831st Air Division, in the Turkish Military Mission, and as commander of the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing. He returned to the 831st AD as its commander in 1960.
June 1969 found then-Colonel Cramer in his third war. He was stationed at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, as the commander of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The 432nd was then unique in that it had both the fighter and reconnaissance versions of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 "Phantom II" aircraft.
In February 1971 Cramer then returned to the Cold War as Vice-Commander of the 17th Air Force at Ramstein AB, Germany. Darrell and Mickey later retired from the U.S. Air Force, having skillfully and graciously served their nation, each in their own way.
Brigadier General Cramer's military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with cluster, 22 Air Medals, and numerous unit citations.
|Donald Crisp||Hollywood movie actor. More...|
|Clark GABLE||Hollywood movie actor and gunner in the USAAF. Biography of his war time service|
|Carole Lombard||Hollywood movie starlet. More...|