|04-04-2012, 03:26 PM||#1|
Curio & Relic
AKaholic #: 3738
Join Date: Apr 2005
Final surviving members of elite WW2 commando unit die within 12 hours of each other
Last of the Devil's Brigade: Final surviving members of elite WW2 commando unit die within 12 hours of each other in same town.
# Mark Radcliffe, 94, and Joe Glass, 92, passed away in Helena, Montana
# Served with the feared First Special Service Force
# Unit captured 27,000 Nazi prisoners
By Louise Boyle - The Daily Mail
Two veterans, who survived in one of the deadliest commando units of World War Two, have died in their nineties with hours of each other.
Mark Radcliffe, 94, and 92-year-old Joe Glass both passed away within 12 hours of each other on Sunday.
They both lived in Helena, Montana and were the last members of the First Special Service Force (FSSF) - an elite unit made up of American and Canadian soldiers who captured 27,000 enemy prisoners between 1942 and 1944.
The commandos were nicknamed the 'Black Devils' by the Nazis because of their formidable force.
'Mark and Joe were two of the original members of the First Special Service Force, and it’s appropriate that they were the last two survivors in the state,' FSSF aficionado Bill Woon told the Helena Independent Record.
Joe Glass was born in Ontario, Canada in 1920. After high school, he worked on a steamboat on the Great Lakes before signing up to the Canadian Army in 1940.
Mark Radcliffe was born in Farmington, New Mexico in 1918. He began active duty in 1941 and was deployed to the South Pacific. He was stationed in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941.
Both men were selected in 1942 for the Plough Project - described as a 'suicide mission' and trained together at Fort Harrison in Helena, Montana.
Mr Radcliffe was married to his wife Edith for more than 60 years after they met while at a dance for the troops and local girls in the Montana town. The couple had two children Bob and Carolyn.
For his bravery Mr Radcliffe received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with cluster and the Purple Heart with two clusters.
He became a civil engineer, staying in the Army Reserves and helping with the Montana Military Museum. He retired from the reserves a full colonel.
His wartime friend, Mr Glass volunteered for the Devil's Brigade in 1940 to 'get into combat quicker'.
One of the unit's first assignments in the FSSF was a daring midnight assault up Mount la Difensa in southern Italy.
Mr Glass was injured during exchange of fire with a German sniper but was soon back on the frontline.
He was later badly injured by a mortar in March 1944 during the siege of Anzio beach in Italy.
According to the military website, Firstspecialserviceforce.net, Mr Glass said: 'A big piece of shrapnel... went through my chest and out my back.
'My lung collapsed, it broke all my ribs connected to the backbone and I was paralyzed from the waist down.
'When I started coughing up blood, I told a friend of mine, ''Say goodbye to my wife and kid.''
'They picked me up and dragged me out of there, and then another shell hit me in the arm.'
Mr Glass survived the horrifying injuries and returned to the town of Helena with his wife Dorothy and raised four children - Chuck, Bob, Victoria and Dottie.
He had a varied life, working as everything from a truck driver to selling insurance and delivering milk. In the 1950s, he operated the Valley Speedway stockcar race track and later owned his own fish and chip shop.
THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE
The Devil's Brigade (also known as the Black Devils) was a joint operation between the U.S. and Canada founded in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison in Montana.
The soldiers fought across Europe in the Aleutian Islands in the Pacific and later in Italy and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944.
They saw only 251 days of combat but the force suffered 2,314 deaths, captured 27,000 prisoners and won five U.S. campaign stars and eight Canadian battle honors.
Modern American special operations have been founded on the work of this unit.
The name came about because the men smeared shoe polish on their faces to help them sneak up on enemies in the dark.
Nazis feared them. A journal of a German officer which was found by allies, read: 'The Black Devils are all around us every time we come into the line. We never hear them come.'
They were the subject of a 1968 eponymous film while director Quentin Tarantino cited the Black Devils as an influence for the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds.
Daraclor: A brand of anti-malaria pills which we had to drink every week while on the border. Legend had it that these would make you turn yellow and that you wouldn't be able to tan.
|04-04-2012, 04:12 PM||#2|
Curio & Relic
AKaholic #: 158321
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Amish Country
True American Heroes!!! of the Great Generation!! May their souls rest in peace for all eternity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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