Archive for March, 2009

A Memorial

Monday, March 30th, 2009

In the newspaper clipping describing Joseph Lamont having been killed, it mentioned that he graduated from St Rafael’s Academy in Pawtucket, RI.  Someone suggested I try to contact St Rafael’s to see if they had any information they could share about him.  That seemed a good idea, so I did.

 I sent an email to their Alumni Director.  A couple of days later, I received a reply.  She told me that Joe Lamont had transferred into St Rafael’s and had been “about a C student” both before and after he transferred.  She said he had left school early to enlist, but had completed enough coursework to be graduated that June.  She said the school was pretty forgiving with young men who left to enlist, so whether he actually did finish enough or they just said he did, he still graduated.  By that time, though, he was in basic training.  He never got to see his diploma.

On the way back from a recent visit to RI, I stopped by the grounds of St Rafael.

There it was.
St Raphael Memorial

A close up.
Close up

It gave me a good feeling to know that even if I hadn’t “rediscovered” him, he would have been remembered somewhere.  Still, Im glad he’ll be remembered by family and not just his school.

Lt Col Richards, A 549th Comrade

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

I just hung up the telephone after a conversation with retired Lt Col Fred Richards.  His name and contact info were given to me by a relative of a former 549th member.  Mr Richards knew Joe Lamont, though not well.  He remembered him from flight school and still cant figure out how my uncle finished Night Fighter Training before he did.  They were separated at that time and Mr Richards followed my uncle to Hawaii, lagging some 2 or 3 months behind.  They were not reunited again until many months later on Iwo Jima.
 
Sadly, the only time Mr Richards remembers my uncle from Iwo was hearing that he had been killed the day before.  He regrets not having found him sooner.
 
Still, the validation of meeting someone who actually KNEW my great uncle is a wonderful feeling.  Mr Richards and I had a great conversation covering most of his career in the military.  He has many, many stories!  I’ll be in touch with him again, I have no doubt.
 
I did learn that night fighter training was purely voluntary.  And that the wash out rate was fairly high.  I asked if he knew Earl Kovara and he said Yes.  I told him I was in contact with Max Tomassini (Earl’s son-in-law), and would pass Mr Richards contact info to him.  Mr Richards said that would be great.  I think he really enjoys talking to people who are connected to one of his old units, the 549th.  That seems to be a common trait among the WW2 veterans I have met.

I’m very glad and very fortunate to have met Mr Richards.

The Crowley Side

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I know it seems that I’ve been ignoring this branch of the Tree.  I’ve made some progress on my maternal grandmother’s side (Saucier and Pichette), but virtually no progress on my maternal grandfather’s side (Crowley and Brady).  This is mainly due to my great-grandparents having come to this country from Ireland in the early 1900s and me having no way to trace them back beyond that point.

All I had to go on were things my mom had told me and a few random things I remembered from when I was very, very young.  Obviously, my mother’s memory would be no use – after all, her affliction with Alzheimer’s is what prompted me to start this project in the first place.  In other words, there wasn’t a lot.

I had hoped that some of the things my parents had found during their trip to Ireland would be useful, but we can’t find anything from that trip.  It may be buried in storage or it may have been packed by my sister, Suzanne, before she left to go back to South Dakota.  In any event, I recalled a few things from their trip, but not a lot, and, of course, any documents they had found are missing.

About all I know for sure is my great-grand parents were Timothy J Crowley and Theresa M Brady.  He was from County Cork and she was from County Roscommon.  I knew from the records on Ancestry that Timothy was born March 18, 1888 and I was guessing that Mary was born around 1886, perhaps 1887 or 89 – there were conflicting dates in the census records.  I also found evidence they came to this country in 1907.  I have what might be a ship’s manifest for each of them, but nothing definitive to tie the people on the manifest to me.  Lastly, I found a record of their marriage on April 23, 1913.  That was it, and that was what I recorded in my Tree on Ancestry.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from a woman in Ireland named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fuh) who offered to do some on-site research.  Im guessing she got my email from Ancestry.com, but I dont really care.  I took her offer to look into Timothy and Theresa for $20.  I didnt know what to expect, but $20 seemed like a fairly small risk. 

 So far, it has paid off better than I had hoped.

Aoife was able to find a record of the 1901 Census of County Roscommon that listed a Theresa Brady as the son of Martin Brady.  This matches the info on the ship’s register.  The census also listed Theresa’s aunt, brothers and sisters, and Martin’s father Patrick.  Amazingly, this matches a record of Patrick Brady Aoife found in the “Griffith’s Valuation” circa 1852.  No demographic details there, just a list of renters.

Quite a bit of progress, but still a long way to go.

In the meantime, I am still trying to get some info from my uncles on who their uncles’ wives were.  As I said, a long way to go.