Normally, my focus is on my maternal James family and their connections via postal history by exploring the postcard collections that have been passed down to me from this line. My intro posting outlines the normal focus of this blog and can be viewed at Intro to my blog.
Today, being Veteran’s Day, my focus turns to my paternal side as I honor my dad’s memory and his service during World War II.
My featured postcard is a print made of an original painting by V. Mundorff, Chemnitz, No. 102 Nachrichten, published Berlin-Charlottenburg.
My dad was a very humble guy. Growing up, I was well-aware of his service in the great war but never heard many details. In later years, my parents were fortunate enough to attend several reunions held by his service unit from which I would hear various stories upon their return. Sadly, it was not until he was gone that I would really learn the details of his service. Furthermore, I learned he was a great track star in high school, having earned several awards and ribbons for longer distance and hurdles–these I stumbled upon while sorting through old things.
My dad, Earl Francis Lindall (1921-1997) was a son of James (1898-1972) and Alice (Holden) Lindall (1901-1985). My grandfather’s family first came to this country in the early 1600’s and were early settlers in the areas of Salem and Boston, Massachusetts.
My grandfather was the son of William and Elnora (Bennett) Lindall. He grew up in the town of Coventry, Rhode Island. After he married my grandmother, they lived in various areas of Warwick, including Oakland Beach, Pontiac and Greenwood. In the photos below, the one on the left is of Elnora and the picture on the right is Jim with his sister Claudia and their father William.
My grandmother, Alice, was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Wilde) Holden. My great-grandfather, John, was born in England 1866 and died on November 17, 1942 while a resident of 159 Knight Street, in the Pontiac section of Warwick, RI. In earlier years, he resided in Providence and was employed as a loomfixer and watchman at various times in the Atlantic Mills and Riverside Mills, in the Olneyville section of Providence. In later years, he worked as watchman at the B.B. & R. Knight Bleachery, in Pontiac. My great-grandmother, Elizabeth, was born in England 1865 and died prior to 1942. She married John, in England, on July 26, 1885.
The picture shown below is of John and Elizabeth Holden taken in 1924.
Reporting for Duty
The date of October 13, 1942 was the day my father became an active-duty soldier reporting for duty to Fort Devens.
Grammy had always kept a journal, and her first service related entry was dated September 1942:
Earl’s Army Life in World War II…Earl Francis Lindall started on his way to become a soldier in Uncle Sam’s Army…We went with him to Union Station. He didn’t seem to mind going and away he went to Fort Devens to report for duty…after 10 days he left for a new post…That being Atlantic City to attend Technical Training School and taking boot training. He resided in one of the big hotels on the boardwalk.
This postcard (shown below) of the Atlantic City Auditorium and Convention Hall is one my dad wrote to his grandfather (John Holden), while he was attending the service technical school.
This postcard was published by the Jersey Supply Company, Atlantic City, N.J. and is a genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” post card.
It seems John died soon after my dad had written this postcard, and it was likely the last contact he had with him.
Grammy’s journal went on to say:
He spoke of the good time they had walking or marching along by the water singing songs. He spent much of his spare time on the boardwalk by the water. Of course there are not many hours off duty in the Army…He spent 20 days here of his basic training.
He changed posts again on Nov. 11. He spent the night on the train which landed him in North Carolina now to be stationed at Seymour Johnson Field. He found out sometime later, they were put on the wrong train headed in the wrong direction and their destination should have been New York. But they had to find a place for them there.
He started in school to learn Airplane Mechanics…He had a large picture taken and sent home three, one for Marian (my mom), one for Rosie’s store and one for his mother.
He spent his first Christmas away from home but if he had known beforehand he might not have been able to get home.
According to military records, my dad achieved the rank of Corporal. He spent 10 months in the U.S. as an airplane and engine mechanic. He was assigned to the 461st Service Squadron (later renamed to the 461st Air Service Squadron) of the 9th Air Force, activated from Hunter Field, in Savannah, Ga.
“I have gotten as far as the Psalms in my Bible now,” said one of my dad’s journal entries. At the time I first read this, it gave me greater understanding of his Faith, which must have served as a source of strength in order to endure the face of battle.
My dad sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth to the shores of Britain, arriving in Ramsbury, Wilshire, England on Nov. 10, 1943. He served in the European Theatre for 23 months, seeing battle in four locations: Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland (Germany).
His title was Woodworker and according to military papers, he inspected, maintained and repaired wooden aircraft parts on fighter planes and worked long hours under “adverse conditions”.
A detailed account written by my dad’s unit commander, said they spent the first nine days in England getting used to the money, the customs and the blackout. The unit soon became the nucleus of Team “B” of the 326th Service Group and were assigned for service to the 354th Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force.
During the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, they were stationed in Kent, England. Allied soldiers invaded five sections of the beach at Normandy, France from June 6 to 25, 1944. After numerous battles, my dad’s group had been reassigned to an air station, Strip A-2, in Cricqueville, France.
A great celebration erupted in the Parisian streets in late August, 1944, marking their liberation from four years of German occupation. There were great parades in the streets including American military marching to the German border. Cheering people lined the Paris streets for 15 miles. Allied forces drove into Germany, leading to the fall of the Nazi regime on May 7, 1945.
My dad arrived back in the U.S. on Oct. 12, 1945, with his separation from the military taking place at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on Oct. 20. According to his enlisted record, the U.S. Army decorated my dad with the European Theatre of Operations Service Medal, with four bronze battle stars, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Soon before my dad died, there was a letter and information received about the Regional Council of Lower Normandy offering the Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty. This was a Commemorative Medal, issued by the government of France in June of 1994, upon the 50th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy. In an effort to get this medal awarded to my dad, a gentleman in his Senior Citizen bowling league wrote a personal letter to Senator Jack Reed, of Rhode Island. Senator Reed, in turn, wrote a personal letter to the French representative in Boston at the time, and he forwarded my dad’s medal application and documents to the necessary officials in France.
As a result, French officials posthumously awarded my dad this medal, received in December of 1997. When officials sent the medal to my mom, she also received a copy of the speech that was delivered on site, in Normandy, June 1994. The unknown speaker represented President Rene Garrec, of France. He spoke of Normandy as being “The Price of Freedom”. He also spoke about the lines of white crosses on their coastlines, “they show the terrible fights in which thousands of Allies gave their lives”.
“Normandy wants to take advantage of the Jubilee of 1944 to pay tribute to the Sacrifices of men who died so that their children live in a free country,” the spokesperson said, “…and at the same time transform this event in a Message of Peace…a place where the memory of future generations is cultivated so that freedom is not in danger anymore.”
Below is a slide show of several of the postcards that my dad brought back with him from Europe. Those cards in color are published Les Editions d’ Art “Yvon” Paris and the black and white “Escaliers” stairs published Editions Mireille, Ets G. Gandini, Marseille, are all images from Marseille, a port city in southern France. A couple of the other black and white postcards are from LIGNY-en-Barrois, a town in the northeast of France, published by Gourzon, Librairie. Also, there are a few real photo postcards from the Liberation of France, in Paris, including pictures of General de Gaulle and General Bradley. The last postcard is similar to the featured postcard and is a print of an original painting by V. Mundorff, Chemnitz, No. 109 Artillerie published by Berlin-Charlottenburg.
On this Veteran’s Day, we are reminded of those who have served for our freedom. Thank you, to those who currently serve and to those who have served in the past, such as my dad. Take time to listen to their stories. If they are no longer with us, take some time to learn about the details of their service.
Until next time…