Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It is a time to give thanks, appreciate family, and care for those in need. The Bedford Boys spent many months in England and, for many of them, missed the holidays with their families for the first time. It was hard on all of them, not only were they not with their families, but they were practically worlds apart. They also knew there was a chance they would never see their loved ones again, but they could count on each other for support. Today I want to remember one of our D-Day Fallen, Sergeant Weldon Rosazza.
|Sergeant Weldon A. Rosazza|
Weldon Rosazza was considered a buck private when he joined the National Guard in 1939 at the age of nineteen. Named after an Italian town, Rosazza was an extremely handsome man who had all the luck with the ladies. By D-Day, Rosazza had earned his Sergeant stripes. He was considered the most sophisticated of the Bedford Boys, partially due to his short time in Washington D.C. as a child and his constantly neat appearance. He and John Clifton ran around southern England winning the hearts of many English ladies.
|Rosazza grave in Normandy|
Ivybridge was a particular town the GI’s favored. Almost every weekend you could find the boys in town drinking and carrying on. As time wore on and the soldiers became comfortable and disgruntled at times, testosterone was high and the entertainment low. Ivybridge was a place the soldier’s could relax and feel normal for once.
They ate ‘good’ pub food, played darts, read the local news, listened to American jazz on the radio, and gossiped with each other and the townsfolk. It was a regular home away from home. It was also a chance for the GI’s to hear the BBC radio reports of what was happening in Europe. Every night, just before 9 pm, the town would silence, awaiting the reports through the wireless. They would hear reports from all over, from the Russian front, to the fighting in Africa, even the slow progress through Italy. By 10 pm, the bar would close and the boys hiked back to their barracks where they had some personal time to write letters or read.
|British "War Brides" coming to America after the war.|
The Bedford Boys were also attending many dances and entertainment at the American Red Cross’s Tidworth House, a mansion that adjoined the 29th headquarters. There the men could meet English ladies, some for the first time, at weekly dances. Many of the women were part of the Land Army in charge of agricultural production for Britain. These women were used to wartime rations and bombings so American soldiers were the perfect companions for them. Quite a number of American’s became engaged or married to English girls they met while training. They were known as “War Brides”.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and remember your loved ones.