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1st Division G-2 Section on D-Day


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Both these groups came my way separately in the 2014-2015 timeframe, and research bore out that I had items from the 1st Division G2 and assistant G2, both of whom participated in D-Day. The first was a set of ribbons that a guy was looking for information on the forum saying he got them from his dad, but they did not belong to him. Many suspected that the ribbons belonged to a Navy man since some were wide but the man had no ID. I contacted him and we struck a deal for the lot. Once I got them, it was easy to tell they belonged to the same guy, and I wanted to try and figure that out. I asked the seller if he remembered any names that his father. The seller gave a few names, one of which was Paul Gale.

 

Research on Paul Gale showed he was a 26th Infantry lieutenant who participated in North Africa and Sicily with the division as well as Normandy. Google showed that he received a Silver Star for actions on D-Day, which thus far matched the ribbons. Research in the 1st Division archives yielded that Gale left for the Pacific in late summer of '44. Turns out he was recruited by Wild Bill Donovan to join the OSS after Sicily but the division would not let him go. Apparently they lost the fight post-Normandy, however.

 

So it's a ribbon group with a couple findagrave photos but the story behind them is fantastic. A neat array of ribbons to boot, including a CBI-made rack. Internet searches show some of Gale's items are floating around; perhaps they will someday be reunited.

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For whatever reason I experienced good luck with Craigslist in Texas, and this remains the tops. I had decided I wanted to focus on 1st Division items, and right around that time I noticed a stripped officers jacket bearing a 1st Division patch listed. I contacted the seller, bought it and some other items and explained I was interested in other items, etc. Initially, they planned to keep everything else, but provided copy photos and some paper.

 

When we met to exchange money for items, they mentioned they retained his helmet, knife, pistol, and glasses. I asked if they could send photos which they did. After seeing the helmet and knife, I let them know that if they ever desired to sell those I would like to make an offer. They said they would but I did not hear from them.

 

One year later, mere weeks before I was to move from Texas I received an email from the family stating they were wanting to part with the helmet and knife, but keeping the pistol for the time being. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to take care of this group. The man enlisted during World War I but the war ended before he went overseas. Once the second war started, he volunteered despite having started a family and career. His first day in combat was 6 June 1944, where he was decorated for heroism.

 

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Closeups of the helmet - at some point he re-did the front, but opted not to paint over the follow-me stripe on the back - it is a fixed bail helmet so I imagine it is the one he wore all the way through - if it could only talk! Note the Lt bar position when compared to later photos.

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