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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our D-Day Fallen: Capt. Edward A. Peters

Captain Edward A. Peters
Capt. Edward A. Peters served in the HQ Company of 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of 101st Airborne Division when he was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Like nearly every other paratrooper dropped on D-Day, Capt. Peters hit Normandy far from his intended drop zone. However, he was able to get a few of his men together and reach the regimental objective on D-Day. According to his Silver Star citation, his patrol was attacked by a large force of German troops and his leadership led the patrol out of harm's way.

Like a number of war stories, though, the tale of just how Capt. Peters perished depends on who you ask. The regiment's S-1 (personnel officer) included in his report from D-Day – the segment written around 1430 hours – that Capt. Peters led a patrol of five soldiers to take a German machine gun post. The report concluded that he, along with two of the other soldiers in his patrol, was killed by the fire of that German MG42. The regimental S-3's report confirms this story, noting that a Capt. Moon was to take Peters' place as the commanding officer of the regiment's headquarters company.

However, Capt. Peters' friend Sgt. W. R. Myers wrote to Peters' wife in a September 10, 1944 letter that he had witnessed her husband's death and that it was a German sniper rifle that killed him on D-Day.

Perhaps the confusion stemmed from the uncertainty surrounding Peters' death in the days following D-Day. The initial reports home and Capt. Peters' headstone incorrectly stated his death as June 9, 1944. The later reports corrected the date of death to June 6. His son, Edward A. Peters, III, assumed that the registrars received Peters' body on June 9 and, unsure of his actual date of death, recorded June 9.

Sgt. Myers said that Capt. Peters was “as close to his men as a brother. He always had a cheerful smile, a helping hand or helpful advice for anyone who was troubled...his engaging smile was too strong to be eliminated even by gunfire and death."

Capt. Peters was posthumously awarded the Silver Star on November 1, 1944. This citation includes the correct date for his death, June 6, 1944.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Family Day: A 1940s Festival

This Saturday, travel back in time to a bygone era with music, vendors, living history, games, tours and more!   The National D-Day Memorial presents its 1940s family day festival on Saturday, July 21st from 10AM-5PM, with a full day of World War II programs, activities, and displays! Scheduled activities include a 1940s fashion station, dozens of living historians, artifact displays, posing in your own propaganda poster, period vehicles, homefront activities, face painting, book-signings, craft vendors, and opportunities to meet veterans. More than 40 activity stations are planned, all family-friendly and hands-on.  

Live entertainment will occur throughout the day with guest musicians Rick Dellinger and Keith Campbell providing big band tunes. Karen Nichols will perform jazz selections and Ken and Ally will feature an array of acoustic folk music.  The lawn concert begins at 11am and ends at 3:30pm.

This year the National D-Day Memorial is also hosting Art Beltrone, appraiser and dealer in military artifacts and documents who will give unofficial appraisals of military artifacts and documents.  Bring your favorite military memorabilia and see what it is worth.  (Limited to one per person.)

Food will be available on site throughout the day.  Family Day 2012 is generously sponsored by Woodmen of the World Lodge 175 and the Kiwanis Club of Bedford. Students 18 and under are free.  Adults are $7.00 per person.  All proceeds benefit education initiatives at the Memorial.
So come on out for a day of family-friendly fun this Saturday at the National D-Day Memorial.  I look forward to seeing y'all then.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Two-Piece Swimsuit: Utilitarian Fashion

Clothing fashions of WWII have always been a source of fascination for me, not because I'm a fashion goddess and just have to know every detail of vintage fashions.  Instead, I'm intrigued by the way the circumstances dictate fashion.  Just as rationing affected recipes and eating habits during the war, rationing also influenced fashion to a great degree.   In the 40s, when Americans were faced with fabric shortages, hemlines became shorter, necklines became lower, and outfits became slimmer and more streamlined.  

McCall's Sewing Pattern for a Two-piece Swimsuit, circa 1944
In addition to everyday wear, bathing attire also changed.  For the first time in the United States, the two-piece swimsuit emerged presumably due, at least in part, to fabric rationing.  It should be noted, however, that modesty was still very much in still, so ladies' two-piece bathing suits still covered a far amount of skin.  One thing that is quite noticeable about two-piece swimwear at the time is that few, if any, revealed a lady's belly button!  What tasteful way to introduce the latest in swim fashion while maintaining a proper, lady-like appearance!
So next time you head to the beach, pool, or other summer watering hole, think about the history of fashion and the lasting impact of wartime rationing!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Ration-Era Recipes: "Sugarless" Ice Cream

Ahhh. Ice Cream - one of my favorite things about summer, and in the midst of this heat wave in Central Virginia, I thought it was appropriate to test out a great ration-era ice cream recipe.  (The recipe was taken from Grandma's Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes which is an incredible compilation of family wartime recipes accompanied by fun facts about cooking with ration restrictions.)  

Last week we hosted our annual WWII day camp for 4th-6th grade students.  This is part of the reason for my lengthy blog silence as I've been working like a mad women to make sure everything was just right for our campers.  But I digress.... One of my favorite aspects of camp is that we serve ration-era snacks to our campers.  Some snacks are a huge hit (think butterscotch cupcakes) and others receive a less than enthusiastic response (oat sticks for instance).  This go round we served Sugarless Berry Ice Cream, and overall, it was well-liked by our young food critics.  The recipe is incredibly simple - although a little labor intensive - but the results were well worth the work.

Basically you take one can of sweetened condensed milk and mix it with a 1/4 cup lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Next you puree and strain roughly pint of any type of berry (I used strawberries).  Then you fold in the puree into the milk mixture.  Then, whip 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff and fold that into the existing mixture.  Finally, pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and pop it into the freezer for a couple hours.

The result comes out looking like this:


I would recommend allowing the ice cream to thaw for a few minutes before scooping or you just might bend your ice cream scoop.  But this recipe is so simple that you could whip it up in a few minutes, set it aside, and enjoy a delicious frozen treat in the sweltering July heat.


Hayes, J. L. (2000). Grandma's wartime kitchen: World War II and the way we cooked.  St. Martin's Press: New York, NY.