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Updated Casualty Count – 66 Servicemen Killed in Bombing

London Memorial today can confirm an additional serviceman was killed on July 3, 1944 when a German buzz bomb landed on Sloane Court in London.  The known death toll due to the bombing is now 66 servicemen.

Private First Class Reidar C. G. Ogle was standing in front of 12 Sloane Court, the house in which he was billeted, within ten yards of the point of contact of the bomb with the street.  According to a letter sent on October 6, 1945 by Edward F. Witsell, Acting Adjutant General, to a member of Congress, “a thorough search of the area revealed no trace of him and he was reported missing in action as of 3 July 1944.  Subsequently, reports were received in the War Department which were considered sufficient to establish the fact that Private Ogle was killed in action on 3 July 1944, during the above mentioned enemy air raid on London.”  London Memorial recently obtained the letter in response to a FOIA request.

According to the newly released documents, only PFC Ogle’s “nude torso remained.”  There were “no marks of identification found.”  Because PFC Ogle was the only solider unaccounted for in the area, the remains were linked to PFC Ogle.

Separately, London Memorial can also now confirm based on military records that the following servicemen who died on July 3, 1944 in the UK were not killed in the Sloane Court blast:

  • Gresik, Herman E., Capt., 1313th Engineer General Service Regiment (died in Dorchester, England)
  • Whitten, James C., 3076th Ordinance Motor Vehicle Distribution Company (died in Glasgow, Scotland in car crash)
  • Foley Jr., John D., Cpl., 72nd Station Complement Squadron (died in Newport, Essex)

Pete Wood of London first identified the possibility that PFC Ogle might be connected to the July 3, 1944 bombing.  London Memorial then filed a FOIA request with the Army Freedom of Information Act Office back in 2014.

-AS

Bombing survivor honored at Purple Heart ceremony

On Monday, Longmeadow, Mass. honored a survivor of the July 3, 1944 bombing at its first Purple Heart Day ceremony.  Samuel E. Hatch was honored along with four other servicemen who received the Purple Heart during their military service.  For more, see the report by Western Mass News/Channel 40: http://www.westernmassnews.com/story/36079107/longmeadow-honors-purple-heart-recipients#.WYpem5FGfHI.email.

V-1 Up-close at the Smithsonian

The V-1 flying bomb – or buzz bomb – is not the largest aircraft at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but it was certainly one of the deadliest.  For this resident of the Washington, D.C. metro area, seeing the bomb in one of the busiest museums on the National Mall was difficult, especially given the tortured history the bomb represents.  And yet, to see it displayed in a museum, juxtaposed with NASA rockets and crowds of excited children, is fitting, because only here is this horrible bomb harmless.  May we see a day when bombs like this are only found in museums.

-AS

‘London Remembers’ Posts Bombing Details

The London Remembers website has posted details on the July 3, 1944 bombing at its website, https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/sloane-court-east-bomb-wall-plaque. Thank you to that excellent website for their thoughtful and comprehensive work on a database of the memorials throughout London.

Were WACs killed on July 3, 1944?

Myth or Fact?: Rumors suggest members of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) were killed during the Sloane Court bombing.

Fact: WACs were stationed at Sloane Court.

In a letter to her family back home in Evanston, Ill., Sgt. Jean Castles revealed her billet had been destroyed during the July 3, 1944 blast.  “Unless you have been on the scene of an incident, you can have no conception of it,” she wrote. “It is like living a play where you see all that happens, feel it, and are a part of it, yet you are in a dream.” Read More →

Names of the Fallen: In Detail

In partnership with Pete Wood of London, London Memorial is finalizing the list of casualties from the Sloane Court bombing.  Our sources include testimonials, gravesite databases, and local archival records.  Track our progress: Read More →

PBS story on Glenn Miller features London Memorial photos

The photos showing the devastation at Sloane Court on July 3, 1944 are remarkable.

And, as it turns out, hard to find anywhere else.

Oregon Public Broadcasting producers contacted London Memorial last year requesting to reuse the signal corps photos, explaining that they seemed to be available only from LondonMemorial.org.  Two of the photos were featured today on the latest PBS History Detectives segment, “The Disappearance of Glenn Miller.”

Glenn Miller, the band leader who went missing at the end of 1944, was stationed at Sloane Court up until July 2, 1944.  A V-1 flying bomb would kill more than 65 American servicemen the next day.

To learn more, take a look at the latest from PBS at http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/video/2365284626/

70th anniversary remembered in West London paper

Alix Culbertson shared the story of the July 3, 1944 bombing for readers of GetWestLondon on July 3, 2014.  Her story, “In pictures: Grandson helps remember Americans killed in Sloane Court WWII bomb 70 years ago,” is available at http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/pictures-grandson-helps-remember-americans-7368549.

 

London Memorial uncovers second unit harmed in blast

The 130th Chemical Processing Company was decimated in the July 3, 1944 blast. But it was not alone.

The G-5 Unit of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) was stationed at Sloane Court and suffered two casualties with an additional 19 men wounded.

The news, confirmed by documents from the National Archives and a tip from a London Memorial reader is the first time this information has been publicly chronicled. News of the Sloane Court bombing was kept confidential due to wartime censorship.

We are posting a new testimonial of Sgt. Eric Stern, an interpreter with SHAEF who oversaw the surrender of the German forces, acting as an interpreter in Norway. He was also an interpreter for the initial meetings of the Council of States directed by the U.S. government in Frankfurt. According to his daughter, Stern and his unit moved to Edinburgh, Scotland immediately after the bombing.

We are also posting a new list of casualties obtained from the National Archives that confirm the presence of the G-5 division of SHAEF on Sloane Court. Our pages “Names of the Fallen” and “Unclear Death Toll” have been updated to reflect these changes.