• Armond G WILSON (ASN 39167099) - 464th PFAB



    Armond G WILSON was born on October 29, 1917 in the North Dakota. He grow up in San Bernardino County, California and was inducted in the United States Army at Los Angeles on October 22, 1941. He received ASN 39167099. I don't know when he exactly joined the Airborne forces but he was finally assigned to the 464th PFAB and joined the 17th Airborne Division with his unit on March 1945 just before operation Varsity.

    Mr Wilson passed away on April 04, 2003 and is buried at Montecito Memorial Park, Colton CA with his wife Margaret.



    I am fortunate to have in my collection few artifacts that belonged to Mister Wilson, reason why I have realized some researches and writted this Tribute.

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    This is the first book dedicated to the 139th Engineer Battalion of the 17th Airborne ! It is really a huge source of information for military history enthusiasts, 17th Airborne's friends or relatives. The author (and friend) Ozzie GORBITZ has doing a great job of research with this book with a lot of fantastic photos. A real opportunity to learn more about the history of this battalion.  

    For all info : Blood on the Talon Volume 1 : Unit History




    This is another great book dedicated to the 17th Airborne Division during Operation Varsity now available in english ! The author (and friend) Jos BEX has doing a great job of translation of the book "Die Luftlandung" writed by the German historian Johan Nitrowski. It is really an interesting source of information for military history enthusiasts, 17th Airborne's friends or relatives with a lot of soldiers and civilian's testimonies and "then and now" pictures.

    A real opportunity to learn more about the history of the 17th Airborne Division during the largest single day airborne operation of the World War II.  

    For all info : ETO Tours




    In February 2015, I have had the great pleasure to publish in the famous French magazine "Militaria Magazine" the first article dedicated to the shoulder sleeve insignias of the 17th Airborne Division. This five pages articles is writed in French with a lot of illustrations. I hope it will be an interesting source of information for military history enthusiasts, 17th Airborne's friends or relatives !

    For all additional info : Militaria Magazine




    In November 2015, I have had the great pleasure to publish in the famous French magazine "Militaria Magazine" another  article dedicated to the 193rd GIR/17th Airborne Division. This six pages article is writed in French with a lot of illustrations. It is the first article written in this subject !

    I hope it will be an interesting source of information for military history enthusiasts, 17th Airborne's friends or relatives !


    For all additional info : Militaria Magazine






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  • Somewhere in England ...


    This photo was realized in England in September 1944. It shows soldier "CARUSO" of the 224th AB Medical Company. At least two CARUSO served in the 224th AB Med Co : Joseph A and Vincent A ! Unfortunaltely, there is no other info on the pic.

    With the help of Jos BEX (The Netherlands), the place is now identified : it is the staging area of the 17th Airborne Division near Ogbourne St. George. He kindly sends me pictures of the place realized in 2011 (unpublished photo - TFH collection & Jos BEX). Click to enlarge.





    Cette photo a été réalisée en Angleterre en septembre 1944. Elle met en scène le soldat CARUSO de la 224ème compagnie médicale. Au moins deux CARUSO ont servit au sein de cette compagnie : Joseph et Vincent mais il n'existe malheureusement aucune autre information au dos de la photo.

    Grâce à Jos BEX (Pays-Bas), l'endroit a pu être identifié. Il s'agit de la plaine d'entraînement située non loin d'Ogbourne-Saint-George comme le montre les photos actuelles de l'endroit (2011) qu'il m'a aimablement envoyé (photos non publiées appartenant à la collection TFH & Jos BEX).

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    Photos of the 17th Airborne in England are relatively uncommon. This is one of them. It shows men of Company B from the 193rd GIR. From left to right : Captain Francis B Mc ALLISTER (O-387607), 2nd Lieutnant Jackson T ROACH (O-313799), 2nd Lieutnant John R CASKEY (O-1314592), 2nd Lieutnant Edward E A GILLAM (O-512954) and 2nd Lieutnant Ross L PARKS. McALLISTER will be wounded in action and will received the Purple Heart Medal on January 7, 1945, 2nd Lieutnant John R CASKEY will be killed in action several weeks later, on January 7, 1945. He is burried on American cemetery of Ham, Great Dutchy of Luxembourg (with permission of Bill TOM). Click to enlarge.

    I'm fortunate to locate the place with the help of David BAILEY (England), member of the local historical society in Swindon.




    The same place in the 70's (with courtesy of David BAILEY).



    The same place today ... (with courtesy of David BAILEY)



    A bridge on the Meuse river ...

    The photos showing men of the 17th Airborne Division during the battle of the Bulge are relatively rare compare with those realized during training, Varsity or German campaign. This one was realized on December 31, 1944 and shows two men of the 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion : Pvt Robert W Bell (left) and PFC Charles W McCall. The scene is located in the little French city of Douzy (south-east of Sedan). The two soldiers are guarding the bridge over the Meuse river (the only one in the city). I am fortunate to locate the place with the help of Google Map and Street View and I share this with you. The little house on the left appears unchanged (click to enlarge) (US Army Signal Corps - TFH collection & Google Map).





    Les photos de la 17th Division Aéroportée réalisées en Ardennes sont relativement rares comparativement à celles faites aux Etats-Unis, durant Varsity ou durant la campagne d'Allemagne. Celle-ci a été réalisée le 31 décembre 1944 et met en scène deux hommes du 139° Bataillon de Génie : le soldat Robert W Bell à gauche et le soldat de première classe Charles W McCall. La photo a été réalisée dans le petit village de Douzy situé au sud-est de Sedan. Les deux soldats gardent le seul pont de la cité qui enjambe la Meuse. J'ai pû localiser l'endroit tel qu'il apparaît aujourd'hui grâce à Google Map et le Street View et partage celà avec vous. L'endroit a peu changé, en particulier la petite maison de gauche (cliquez sur la photo pour l'agrandir) (US Army Signal Corps - TFH collection & Google Map).

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  • Souvenir de la bataille des Ardennes ... 


    The battle of the Bulge was the last World War two great battle in Belgium and the first military campaign of the 17th Airborne Division. It is indeed during the combats that took place in north west of Bastogne in early Januray 1945 that the men of the 17th Airborne enterred in combat and distinguished themself against a determined and strongly entrenched ennemy. This battle is known today as the battle of "Dead man ridge". It mainly occured between January 02 and January 14 and involved no less than four american divisions : 11th Armored division, 87th Infantry division, 17th Airborne division and 101st Airborne division. Approximately 3000 17th Airborne's men were killed or wounded during this battle.

    When the storm went on and spring arrived, human and material civil losts were also heavy. Numerous belgian villages were completely destroyed and many families had lost everything.

    For example the little village of Chenogne in the vicinity of the Bois des Valets, in the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment area, counted only one intact house in spring 1945 !

    Confronted with this national catastroph, the belgian government decided to built hastily temporary houses to accomodate the more destitute families. These little wood houses had a temporary use and disappeared progressively with the reconstruction of the country. Only one remains today in the Bastogne area. It is located in Chenogne. I have had the chance to meet this spring the owner of this unique Battle of Bastogne memorabilia. He has give me his kind permission to make several pictures I can now share with you.



    La bataille des Ardennes, plus connue aux Etats-unis sous le nom de bataille du saillant, fût la dernière grande bataille livrée sur le sol belge au cours de la deuxième guerre mondiale et la première campagne militaire livrée par la 17ème division parachutiste américaine. C'est en effet lors des combats livrés au nord ouest de Bastogne au début du mois de janvier 1945 que les hommes de la 17ème division parachutiste vont faire leurs premières armes et s'illustrer face à un ennemi bien décidé à prendre la ville de Bastogne. Ces combats connues sous le nom de bataille de "Dead man ridge" se déroulent essentiellement entre le 02 et le 14 janvier et implique pas moins de quatre divisions alliées : la 11ème division blindée, la 87ème division d'infanterie et les 17ème et 101ème divisions aéroportées. Ils feront près de 3000 tuès et blessés rien que dans les rangs de la 17ème division.

    Lorsque l'orage s'éloigne et que revient le printemps, les pertes humaines et matérielles sont également considérables au sein de la population civile. De nombreux villages sont totalement détruits et de nombreuses familles se retrouvent sans logement.

    Dans le petit village de Chenogne situé au bas du bois des Valets, en plein secteur du 513th PIR, il ne reste par exemple qu'une seule maison intacte au printemps 1945 !

    Face à cette catastrophe nationale, l'état belge fait construire à la hâte des habitations provisoires destinées à accueillir ces familles qui ont tout perdu. Ces petites maisons fabriquées en bois étaient destinées à habriter provisoirement des familles sans abris et elles ont disparu petit à petit au gré de la reconstruction. Dans le pays de Bastogne, il n'en existe plus qu'une aujourd'hui. Elle est située dans le village de Chenogne. J'ai eu l'occasion de rencontré cet été le propriétaire de ce singulier souvenir de la bataille de Bastogne et il m'a aimablement autorisé à réaliser quelques photos que je partage aujourd'hui avec vous.




    Chenogne was also a rear position during all the battle of "Dead man ridge" and numerous american artillery units (up to 18) were located in the vicinity of the village to support the GI's in first line. A 155mm american gun's wheel ("Long Tom" gun) is still put against the old building as it is forget by the time since 1945 ...






    Chenogne fût aussi une base arrière de la bataille de "Dead man ridge" et de nombreuses unités d'artillerie (jusqu'à dix-huit) se sont installés dans les environs immédiat du village pour soutenir l'effort des unités qui luttaient en première ligne. Oublié là depuis près de 68 ans, une roue d'obusier de 155mm "Long tom" est posée le long de la vieille bâtice, comme oubliée par le temps qui passe ...

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