I wanted to share this but I wasn't quite sure where to post it.
As WW2 fades farther and farther into history and we lose the vets who served bravely by the hundreds daily, stories like I am about to share are becoming more commonplace.
A retired friend of mine who likes to shop at flea markets and yard sales for items he can resell on the internet happened upon one such yard sale and after purchasing a few things asked if they had any military items. The lady at the yard sale stated she did have a few things but they were bagged up and ready for the trash as she didn’t think anyone would be interested in old Army stuff. My friend says, well I know a guy who is very interested in old Army stuff and asked to take a look at it if he could. After seeing what was in the bag he immediately called me and told me to get this house as soon as I could after work.
So after work I arrived at the house of the folks who were having the sale and after exchanging the usual pleasantries they showed me what they were about to throw out with the trash.
Trying to keep my eyes from falling out of my head I asked, whose items these where. The lady stated that these things were her brothers and that she was his only living relative and that is why she had them and since she had no desire to keep this stuff she didn’t think anyone else would want it either.
After explaining that I do collect this sort of thing, I paid her quite well for what she thought was junk and now it was her turn to be in shock. I explained that while I am a collector of militaria, my collection is not kept private. I am called several times a year to set up displays for various functions such as Veterans holidays, war memorial dedications and the like. I told her that her brothers group of items were very special and would be professionally displayed and viewed by many people and his memory would live on.
Which then brought her to tears as she said, “I had no idea these things meant so much to other people”.
Here is the history that was saved, Sgt. Warren R. Thompson-B-29 tail gunner, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Campaign Medals, WW2 Victory Medal, P.O.W. Medal, Wings, Qualification Badges, I.D’d Crew Photo, Patches, photo receiving the Purple Heart at a hospital ceremony, Western Union telegrams notifying his mother of his MIA status and updates, his handwritten account of his torture at the hands of the Japanese in the prison where he was held. Also among this group is a period government print out of all the Americans that were held in this Japanese prison. Plus, all of the general paperwork of a G.I.
As a side note I was able to locate the last surviving member of this B-29 crew, the right waist gunner, Clarence Pressgrove and we have since talked several times and I was given all of the particulars on their mission how the plane was brought down and their subsequent capture. He then was kind enough to write these things down and send to me. He was also just recently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his action taken on one of their missions and included that information as well as a video copy of the award presentation.
This is one of three groups I have like this and I will share the other two stories a bit later.
I apologize as this post went a little longer than I thought it would. I left out quite a bit of information to try and keep this as short as I could so that I wouldn’t bore you too much.