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Brian McDowell

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  • Location
    London, England
  • Interests
    World War I & II.

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  1. Lt. Colonel John Alfred Metcalfe died from his wounds on 15th July 1944, aged 30 years, he received his wounds on 29th June 1944 and died in Cambridge, England. He was buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Plot E, Row 6, Grave 104, I have visited this beautiful cemetery many times in the past but will endeavour to visit there again on 15th July to commemorate the 76th anniversary of his passing.
  2. Hi Alex, I’ve just found your articles on Stanley Vincent Aeck, you will be delighted to hear that I can add more detail to your story. When Stan, as he was known to my family, arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland in early 1942, he was provided with meals by my grandmother. He became very friendly with my grandfather, grandmother, mother and uncle, who is still alive and celebrated his 90th birthday last week. My mother was only around sixteen at the time but Stan fell in love with her, respectfully so bearing in mind her tender age. After Stan was transferred to England later in 1942, they continued to write to each other throughout the war and my mother retained the letters. Stan mentioned in one of the letters that he was sending a photo of himself and apologised about the quality but it had got a bit wet when he jumped off the boat on D-Day. To help you make further enquiries with US Army records, his service number was 37036817 and he also served in the HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, I believe 34th Division, prior to his transfer to the 29th Division. I am a military historian, having visited most of the famous World War 1 & 2 battlefields, including Normandy on several occasions, sometimes guiding US citizens. In another of his letters, written in pencil on American Red Cross writing paper with ‘Somewhere in France’, he describes spending most of his time being spent living in foxholes and hedgerows, presumably this was whilst fighting in the bocage. In the same letter he states, “I received your most welcome letter while hiding in a fox hole under heavy fire from our underrated German enemy over here in France”. He continued, “all I can say is I’m scared to death most of the time, combat is a terrible thing and I can’t describe it. We have lost most of our old friends but keep going with God’s help”. He added on the back of the last page of the letter, “answer soon I might not be alive long”. I had always wondered if Stan had landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and only discovered your articles yesterday. I will keep the letters and V Mails safe and hopefully visit you in the future when this vicious virus is finally defeated!
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