American Airborne in Nottingham


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Anyone have any memories of 508th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) who were stationed in Wollaton Park prior to the DDay landings in 1944? Also, the 507th PIR who were stationed at Tollerton Hall.

I became interested in the American Airborne after watching HBO'S 'Band of Brothers' miniseries on TV, and have been fortunate to meet some of the few remaining survivors of their company, the 506th.

I know they frequented many of the pubs and dance halls whilst over here, and many took to cycling to Beeston and other local area's, often absconding over the wall surrounding Wollaton Park.

I visited the American Cemetary overlooking Omaha beach in Normandy, and it really hit home the great sacrifice these, and all Allied forces made in WW2, many crosses were the guys who left Nottingham in June 1944.

I believe some of the men visited St. Margaret's church on Aspley Lane, which held a dance night featuring an American band.

A less popular pub on Derby Road, The Hand and Heart another haunt. Any more stories please?

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I got all of my Dad's photos from England in WWII scanned and uploaded to my Flickr photostream. I organized them into an album (WWII Photos). I tried to upload them to this site, but I couldn't mak

I thought that any of you that have been reading the 'Ziggy' part of this thread may be interested in this. I called in to see my mum today and quizzed her a bit more re Ziggy. In 1942 when she was

I've been sorting through my Dad's old photos and found a photo of his buddy, Ziggy Bednarski. On the back he wrote his address as Little Falls, New York. I'm pretty sure this is the fellow in this

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Hi 2easyco, met an old veteran , when I was in hospital last year,captain Warren'Spike'Edwards. he has become a good buddy,his son told me, that his dad never spoke of his war service to him. I think the fact I was English,and from Nottingham opened up his memory,the times he had in Nottingham pubs ,and his drops into occupied Europe.

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Thanks katyjay and mudgie49.

I already have a copy of ‘Airborne in Nottingham' by David Pike, who sadly died a few years back.

I would also recommend ‘The All Americans In World War II' by Phil Nordyke (for photographic history)

And ‘101st Airborne, The Screaming Eagles in World War II' by Mark Bando.

There was an archeological dig at Wollaton Park a couple of years ago, and some veterans and families turned up to see what was found, including a dagger hilt and several American coins etc.

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My Mother was born in 1924. She had a great time with the yanks. She had a bit of a thing with one in particular who was stationed at Langer. It was nothing serious, just a boy a long way from home. His name was Ziggy Bednarski (spelt). I still have a tin of Quality Street that he gave her. I did try and make enquiries as it would be nice to know what happened to him but didn't get anywhere. She never heard from him after he left. He was of Polish decent.

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Hi 2easyco, if you Google: 'Bygones: Memorial to GI's at Wollaton Park' you will be able to read an interesting article on the GI's stationed in Nottingham by well-known Nottingham writer, Joan Wallace.

I'm sure Joan wouldn't mind being approached for further information if you require.

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Hi letsavagoo,after searching came up with Zygfrid Bednarski,Brookfield Indiana,died 10th Feb' 2009.aged 85.

I looked under the dates 1943-44,when the U.S. Airbourne were billited in England,most of them in 44.

Pfc,508 PIR. slight wound Holland,awarded a purple heart.

Citation - bravery,Rhine river crossing awarded bronze star. He would have been 20 years old,just a boy a long way from home,so this could be your mum's Ziggy. regards Bryan

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Thank you very much Bryan.

Sounds like it is him. Is Bednarski a common name out there? Pity he's not still alive as I would have written to him. Mind you not knowing his domestic circumstances it could stir up problems and memories perhaps best forgotten. I believe that sometimes the boys had photos taken for a sort of 'year book' It would be interesting to see if I could find a picture to show my mum and confirm you have the right one. It is good to know he survived and lived to a good age. She is unwell now but still remembers these times well. I'll see her tomorrow and let her know.

Mick. I will check if Mum knows what state he was from but I think Bryan has probably scored a direct hit.

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Just rang my mum. She only recalls Ziggy as saying he was from 'Little Falls' but nothing further. No idea what state etc.

He told her he was 23 and had a fiancée back home. She went dancing at the Palis with him. Don't think it was anything serious at all. Just a 'glamorous' American boy to go dancing with.

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Further regarding Ziggy,there are many Americans of Polish heritage,most of them came here between 1880 - 1910. Poland was ravaged by Russia,and the Austro - Hungarian empire. The majority of these people were polish-Jews,and were dispossesed of everything, literaly whipped out of the country with just what they could carry on their backs,

I have a customer in Chicago of Polish heritage,very active in Polish - American history,alot of Polish folk in the Midwest states. Don't know about Bednarski being a common name,alot of names end in ski in that neck of the woods.I am sure Tom can come up with with your mums Ziggy.his last name is Welowski, there's that 'ski 'again.

It would be more than a coincidence for another guy to be identical in every thing. Bryan.

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It didn't say where he was born or went to school, just that he was buried in Brookfield,Indiana.Just went on Google,there is a Little Falls, Indiana.

' Looks like we have lift off Huston'.

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Many many thanks for the information Bryan. Its a pity they were never able to meet again just to say hello. He probably wouldn't even remember her but it would have been good to see if he did. It is really good to know that he got through the war with distinction and lived a long life. I almost feel like I am betraying my father but he's been dead 30 years and I am sure he would understand. I wish now that I had persevered 5 years ago when I last thought about this. I will pass this all on today when I see my Mum.

Thank you Bryan

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Hi letsavagoo,most of the American servicemen were 'kids' from rural areas,and not so worldly.History shows us,the G.I.s that caused trouble,were older city 'wise guys',that carried the switch blade knives. America is a small town country,take a look at a map and you will see that the further west you go the city's are fewer and further apart,and in between .thousands of small towns. So overall,the only thing Ziggy did wrong was fib to your mum about his age,they were both 20,maybe a bit innocent BS.

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There is a Little Falls in Minnesota, I know because a good friend here came from Big Falls, nearby. [big Falls has about 500 folks, and Little Falls is much bigger, go figure!] I'm sure there are some folks of Polish descent there, but mainly Minnesota was settled by Nordic folks.

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I thought that any of you that have been reading the 'Ziggy' part of this thread may be interested in this.

I called in to see my mum today and quizzed her a bit more re Ziggy.

In 1942 when she was 18 she was sent by the War Office to a munitions factory in Colwick. They worked 24 hours on shifts. She was issued with clock card and overalls but then failed the medical as she was anaemic and was sent away. The following week she was sent to Park Engineering as a secretary. They were situated on Derby Road near the Catholic Church opposite Baker and Plumb.

She was going regularly to Palais De Danse and obviously met up with the armed forces boys who went there and it was here she met Ziggy. He told her straight away that he had a girl back home in Little Falls. She learned he was of Polish decent and his folks had been forced out of Poland many years ago and they had re-settled in USA. They became a couple. Nothing serious or beyond a kiss and cuddle (so she says) and met regularly.

Apparently every week or two he and other US soldiers would come over to the City and stay in some sort of hostel that was on Derby Road just above where she worked. She says it was a bit like the Y.M.C.A but she doesn't remember what exactly.

He would be away training for days on end then when at work she would hear her name called and look out and see Ziggy shouting to her from the hostel window and know he'd be around for a few days. She knocked around with him for about 9 months. He did go home with her a few times and met her parents and even stayed over (in her brothers room who was away in the war, she was quick to point out. He boasted to her dad that he had met and shook hands with President Eisenhower and went down well with her parents. Then he just disappeared. Later she heard of the invasion and realised Ziggy was at war.

She never heard from him or saw him again.

She was very pleased to hear he served well and survived and delighted that he had lived to a ripe old age. She wondered if he had married the girl back home he spoke off. Not exactly a happy ending but interesting all the same. I left mum today with a twinkle in her eye!

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Giad to hear that you left mum with that twinkle in her eye,she will go to bed tonight, with warm and fond memories of almost 70 years ago,and a kid from Little falls, Indiana.

I have had the honour of interviewing many veterans of WW.2. They have a certain, far away look in their eyes,and a smile to match. Bet your mum had a likewise look about her too.

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That doesn't appear to want to work, fiddle around with it and you will find it, look up American troops in Wollaton Park WW2 and it will come up.

Dad was in the Royal Artillery in WW2, he came home to Wollaton for a spot of leave prior to the D-Day landings, he was an artillery instructor at Larkhill at the time and a senior NCO. He went into the Admiral Rodney pub in the village and asked for a glass of whisky. The pub, incidentally was full of American troops, not that, unlike many British soldiers, he had any resentment towards them. The Landlord said that whisky was unavailable, dad accepted that, but saw that there seemed to be a constant supply of it from below the counter to the American soldiers, he was not impressed, told the landlord so and wouldn't go there for years afterwards.

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Dad was part of XXX Corps during the D-Day landings, you mention the American Airborne troops, dad worked with them during the Arnhem battle, I recall him watching 'Band of Brothers' and claimed he knew some of these people and was involved in their battles, pity he's not around anymore to elaborate on some of his amazing stories.

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what a waste of all their live's, to see this country as it is today, all thes young men died for nothing, my dad was in north africa, and went through to italy, his brother, was at dunkirk, and later joined the para's, and went in to arnham, they would now be turning in their grave's to see their country turned in to a third world squat.

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