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The entrance to the site of the former American cemetery at Lisnabreeny

The entrance to the site of the former American cemetery at Lisnabreeny

For years, many people in Northern Ireland felt that a proper memorial should be built on the site of the former temporary cemetery at Lisnabreeny. In 2012, the Castlereagh Borough Council decided that the time had finally come to do just that. At the dedication ceremony in the fall of 2013, a crowd of people–including dignitaries from Ireland and the United States–prayed together and watched as wreaths were laid at the memorial. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the British and U.S. national anthems and a flyover by a restored B-17 plane.

Also in 2013, a pretty memorial garden was completed at the entrance of Lisnabreeny. The garden contains a granite monument, on three sides of which are etched the names of all the American personnel temporarily buried in the cemetery.  A flagpole also stands prominently in the garden. On certain days, the Stars and Stripes proudly waves over this lovely piece of land, which is so much a part of World War II history–and an important reminder of ultimate sacrifices made during that war.

It’s good to know that the Americans who came to help the British in Northern Ireland will be forever remembered.

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Swedish soldiers at ease prior to the religious ceremony

Swedish soldiers at ease prior to the religious ceremony

In May 1948, my father was scheduled to attend an AGRC meeting and a religious service at the temporary American Cemetery at Malmo, Sweden. Several AGRC people flew with him in a C-47 from Paris to Copenhagen, and then to Stockholm–including my mother and me. He explained to me that the American military attaché in Sweden was responsible for overseeing the search and recovery of American airmen and was being assisted by ordinary Swedish citizens. The following quotes are from my book A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham:

“An example of this aid occurred in 1943, when a fisherman in Sweden’s waters found the body of an American. The airman was later identified as Vincent A. White of New Jersey, who was killed in action in October 1943, along with other members of his crew. He was buried in the American cemetery in Malmo, Sweden. The respectful fisherman later made a personal visit to the fallen airman’s grieving family in the United States.”

When we left Stockholm early on the morning of Tuesday, May 11, we motored south to Malmo, arriving at about noon. After driving past the historic buildings of the city’s old streets, we arrived at a cemetery where a large area had been set aside for the burial of American airmen.

“Here we watched helmeted Swedish soldiers stand quietly at attention before bowing our heads while Chaplain Pfeiffer, an AGRC colonel, led us in prayer. Howard Peckham then delivered a speech describing the heroism of the airmen buried here, whose planes had crash-landed either on Swedish soil or in Swedish waters during World War II. On each grave was a marker, in front of which was a petite bouquet of simple and colorful wildflowers. The decorations mirrored the Scandinavian disdain for ostentatiousness, but the tribute seemed very impressive nevertheless.That ceremony concluded our trip, and we returned to Paris.”

In a future post, I’ll provide information about some of the other airmen buried at Malmo. I’ll also explain what the former temporary site looks like today.

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The following is an overview of my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. As my valentine to you, from February 10 through February 17,2014, it will be selling on Amazon at the reduced price of $3.99:

After transferring from the Corps of Engineers to the Quartermaster Corps in 1942 and receiving a promotion to brigadier general, my father went to Washington, where he directed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. During those years, he served concurrently on the Army-Navy Petroleum Board (ANPB) and occasionally testified before Congress about the U.S. Army’s petroleum needs. He worked diligently to procure oil and gasoline and then allocate them to American troops worldwide.

His hard work paid off well. For meritoriously procuring fuels and lubricants and then allocating them to the military forces of the United States during the period October 1943 to September 1945, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. His division had efficiently allocated petrol, oil, and lubricants (POL) to all the theaters of operation, thus helping them to secure victory.

A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes and a graduate of West Point, Dad felt a sense of patriotism early in life. My book traces his idyllic childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, to his retirement years in Washington, DC. One chapter describes his engineering assignments during the Great Depression, such as serving as Deputy Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York City, and three chapters about his postwar work as head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Paris. The responsible service he performed in command positions after receiving his second star in 1952 is also described, as is his post-retirement job (1957-1958) as a consultant for the Free Europe Committee (FEC).

For my research, I examined government documents, my father’s diaries and letters, and numerous other sources. The book’s many photographs help to back up the veracity of its historical content.

One image in the book will undoubtedly linger in the reader’s mind longer than the others, in view of America’s ongoing search for energy resources. It shows military vehicles arriving on boats and rolling onto shore the day after D-Day. As noted in Fuels for Global Conflict by Erna Risch, before any vehicle was transported to Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy, it was filled with a full tank of gas and carried an extra supply of gas in five-gallon cans. For that foresightedness, and for other expert planning, America can thank the Fuels and Lubricants Division and its commander, Howard Louis Peckham.

 

 

 

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The temporary American Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland

The temporary American Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland

Lisnabreeny Temporary American Military Cemetery of World War II (1943-1948)

The following is a quote from my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham: 

Graves registration activities of the Quartermaster Corps in the European Theater began in December 1941, when the United States asked the British War Office about burial facilities for our military personnel expected to arrive in 1942 in Northern Ireland, where they would aid the British in their defense of that part of Ireland. Sadly, as was expected, American lives were lost after the men arrived. These burials had been in swampy ground in local cemeteries, but the U.S. Army negotiated with the British and secured a plot of land at Lisnabreeny, a suburb of Belfast, where the Americans were reinterred.

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By the end of World War II, 148 American servicemen had been buried in the temporary American cemetery in Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland. The deceased included U.S. Army Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy personnel. When the war ended, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) maintained the cemetery. To enter the site, visitors walked through a red brick entrance. A white gravel driveway lined with cherry trees led to a flagpole, where the American flag was hoisted every day.

The graves were laid out in rows with twenty-five gravesites in each row. Each grave was marked by a wooden cross or Star of David, depending on the religious affiliation of the deceased. Like the other 36 temporary American WWII cemeteries in Europe, the AGRC ensured that the Lisnabreeny cemetery was beautifully maintained: its more than ten acres of grass were regularly cut, and shrubs and trees were kept neatly pruned.

During the period 1947-1950, the AGRC was headed by my father, then-Brigadier General Howard L. Peckham. He was responsible for closing the cemetery in 1948 and for gradually closing the other 36 temporary cemeteries. This was occurring because of documentation signed by President Harry S. Truman stating that the deceased should either be sent home for reburial or reinterred in one of the ten permanent American WWII cemeteries in Europe, which were being constructed under the supervision of the AGRC.

Before they were closed, U.S. Army chaplains were appointed to preside over solemn benediction ceremonies at all of the 37 cemeteries, including Lisnabreeny.

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Here’s an announcement I’m sending out to people who have shown an interest in my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. The book has been on Amazon’s Kindle since the end of January, 2013, and I am now in the midst of an exciting  promotion. For three days, March 18 through midnight March 20 (Pacific Time) you can download the Kindle e-book FREE. The details are as follows:
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Jean Peckham Kavale, the author of A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, has a special surprise for you.  Her book is completely FREE on Kindle, for three days only.  This promotion begins on Monday, March 18, and ends at midnight on Wednesday, March 20 (Pacific Time).

A Salute to Patriotism is more than the biography of a dedicated army officer. It’s also the story of his remarkable family, starting with his ancestors who sailed from England to America in the seventeenth century and their descendants, who bravely served in the Revolutionary War and future wars. It also tells how they dealt with obstacles, tragedy, and success along the highway of life.

Additionally, the author brings well-documented insights into her father’s career and its significant contribution to the military history of the United States.

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Please spread the word about the promotion.

Also, if you enjoyed the book, I would greatly appreciate your adding a short customer review on Amazon. Here’s the link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6EIUNI/

Many thanks in advance.

Jean

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Happy Fourth of July to you all!

The American flag is proudly waving in front of my house and hundreds of others in my small community.

Yesterday my husband Bob and I enjoyed a great barbecue and saw some spectacular fireworks. We also nourished the patriotism we feel in our hearts about this great country.

While on the subject of patriotism, I want to give you some news concerning the biography I wrote about my dad, published in 2008. The first paperback edition of A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, has sold out and is no longer available.

Here’s the good news. The second edition, published in May 2011, is now on Amazon.com. Please take a look inside by clicking on the following link. I think you’ll be glad you did.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0966585550/

Thanks.

Jean

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The following is a press release that was published and widely distributed for my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. The emphasis in this release is on his World War II work in Washington as head of the Fuels and Lubricants Division.

A New Book Explains How the U.S. Army Procured Fuels during World War II and Efficiently Allocated Them

During World War II, securing enough oil and gasoline for American troops overseas and properly allocating these fuels was a tremendous task. This important job fell into the capable hands of the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. A new biography, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, describes the difficult work of the Division during the war and the dedicated army career of the man who headed it.

Manteca, CA (PRWEB) February 15, 2009 — Many books have been written about the famous U.S. generals of World War II, such as George S. Patton Jr. and Omar N. Bradley. That’s why A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, a 402-page biography published in 2008, is a much-needed addition to that war’s literary history. It follows the career of a man whose name is not widely known, but who made a big contribution towards the victory of the Allies over the Axis forces during World War II.

After transferring from the Corps of Engineers to the Quartermaster Corp in 1942 and receiving a promotion to brigadier general, Howard Louis Peckham went to Washington, where he directed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. During those years, he served concurrently on the Army-Navy Petroleum Board (ANPB) and occasionally testified before Congress about army petroleum needs. The necessity of adequate oil and gasoline for American troops was always on his mind, and he worked hard to obtain them.

His hard work paid off handsomely. For meritoriously procuring fuels and lubricants and then allocating them to the military forces of the United States during the period October 1943 to September 1945, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. His division had efficiently allocated petrol, oil, and lubricants (POL) to all the theaters of operation, thus helping them to secure victory.

A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes and a graduate of West Point, Howard Peckham felt a sense of patriotism early in his life. The author traces her father’s career from his early childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, to his retirement years in Washington, DC. She includes one chapter about his engineering assignments during the Great Depression, such as serving as Deputy Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York City, and three chapters about his postwar work as head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Paris. The responsible service he performed in command positions after receiving his second star in 1952 is also described, as is his post-retirement job (1957-1958) as a consultant for the Free Europe Committee (FEC).

For her research, the author examined government documents, her father’s diaries and letters, and numerous other sources. The book’s photographs, which number more than 150, also back up the veracity of the book’s historical content.

One image in the book will undoubtedly linger in the reader’s mind longer than the others, in view of America’s current search for energy resources. It shows military vehicles arriving on boats and rolling onto shore the day after D-Day. As noted in Fuels for Global Conflict by Erna Risch, before any vehicle was transported to Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy, it was filled with a full tank of gas and carried an extra supply of gas in five-gallon cans. For that foresightedness, and for other expert planning, America can thank Howard L. Peckham and the Fuels and Lubricants Division.

For additional information on the news in this release, or to purchase a copy of A Salute to Patriotism, contact Cypress Publishing at http://www.cypresspublishingsaratoga.com. You can also send an email to Jean Peckham Kavale, the author, at cypresstree123 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

About Cypress Publishing

This independent publisher has been in business in California for more than ten years. Formerly located in Saratoga, it is now situated in the Central Valley city of Manteca.

 

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