Truer words have never been spoken by family members when they are left wondering about their relative's service during WWII. The greatest generation was also the silent generation. Because of this, children , grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are left sometimes clueless on what their loved one did during the war. Andrew Biggio has gone above and beyond to locate survivors, grave sites, and territory related to a WWII to specific veteran's service.
The above videos are of Albert Bucahrelli returning to Italy for the first time in seventy-five years since losing his leg to an enemy artillery explosion. Al's squad leader was killed in the same attack. He only remembered his squad leader's name as "Ray." In 1944, Al, like every other WWII veteran, returned home and trained himself to forget about the war. Andrew Biggio, unsure if "Ray's" body was returned home or buried in Italy, began a search of every 'Ray and Raymond' that had a tombstone at the Rome National American Cemetery. After sorting through dozens of names there were several that were in the 3rd Infantry Division with Al. The giveaway would ultimately be the Ray killed on November 12, 1943, the day Al lost his leg...
At a quiet bed and breakfast in the Normandy countryside, a drawing hangs in the living room. The Dutch family who purchased the property inherited the drawing as it was left there since the war by an unknown American soldier only known by his signature as "MACDONALD."
The drawing on the far left, signed by unknown American soldier " W.M. MacDonald", clearly depicts the property it was found on.
Although there were plenty of "Macdonalds" who served in WWII, a key giveaway for this particular veteran was his devotion to draw.
1. The veteran 100% served in Normandy. 2. He loved to draw, and even would sketch enemy positions. The last thing to do would be to contact surviving family members to confirm their father's signature.
Andrew Biggio was able to establish contact with a daughter listed in Mr. MacDonald's obituary. She provided Andrew with similar drawing her father completed during the war. The signatures matched, and so did a second building in the photo. It was a building from possibly the same farm in Normandy.
Building very similar to confirmation drawing. Notice the wall, windows, chimney, and doors or almost exact.
William Malcolm MacDonald proudly wearing his U.S. Army uniform in a photo given by his family. It was an accomplishment to put a photo with his drawing after seventy -five years of wondering. It brought closure to the curious property owners who have a deep respect for American WWII Veterans. The MacDonald family was also blessed to know that a piece of their dad still lives on in Europe.
Medal of Honor Recipients' brother identified. The story of two brothers isn't widely known. Woody Williams received the Medal of Honor for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima. His brother Gerald was wounded in Europe and died not long after the war, never speaking to Woody about his experience. In Woody's words "He just kind of gave up, and let himself go." Gerald was wounded while in France. He came home and suffered from PTSD and other ailments. He died without telling Woody what unit or battles he was involved in. After a year of investigating, I was able to find field hospital records place that place Gerald with the 79th Division, 313th Regiment, after he had been shot through the shoulder and treated in a Mourmelon, France Field Hospital. Today I was honored to show the last Marine MOH recipient of WWII his older brother's shadow box for the first time ever.
Ted Smith was a P-47 pilot shot down by flak in Jan 1st, 1945. His best friend, fellow pilot, and roommate Ed Cottrell (99) visits the crash site for the first time. Local German historians helped us locate the site and present Ed a piece of Ted's plane found forty years ago by a farmer. According to Ed, Ted's last radio transmission was "Tell my wife goodbye." Before slamming into the ground. His body was located not far from the plane.
Bob White, 507 PIR, 17th Airborne Division, returns to his drop zone seventy-seven years later in Fluren, Germany. Bob participated in Operation Varsity March 24th, 1945