Friday, May 1, 2015

Corp. Edmond J. Dziegiel - We Remember

Corp. Edmond J. Dziegiel was born February 25, 1924 in Lowell to Mr. & Mrs. Karol (Eva Mare) Dziegiel. His father was born in Krosmo Poland and was a veteran of the first world war.

Edmond attended the St. Stanislaus School and graduated from Lowell High School class of 1942 where he was a football player. He grew up on 6 Roosevelt Place in Centralville.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp November 11, 1942. He was killed in action on Iwo Jima March 4, 1945. He was 21 years and 7 days old. The only child of the Dziegiels.

He was the first Polish American from Lowell to be returned for burial after the war. His funeral mass was at Holy Trinity and he is buried in Holy Trinity Cemetery on Boston Road in Lowell.

We must remember Corporal Dziegiel and his supreme sacrifice for our freedom. His parents are gone, he is gone and he has no siblings, nieces or nephews. He gave it all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Wesley H. Davis Jr. of Tyngsboro - We Remember

Wesley Herbert Davis was born in Tyngsboro on October 10, 1919 to Mr. & Mrs. Wesley (Ruby I. Willett) H. Davis. Soon after he was born the family moved to Spencer, MA and he graduated there class of 1937. The family moved back to Tyngsboro where his dad bought a dairy farm located next to the Tyngsboro Country Club on Pawtucket Boulevard. Young Wesley nicknamed "Bud" or "Buddy" was a milkman and worked the farm with his dad.

He enlisted in Boston June 12, 1944 in the United States Marine Corp and assigned to the Fifth Division. On March 9th his family reported to the Lowell Sun that he spoke "of the dramatice rising of the flag on the volcano on Iwo Jima". He reported that his farm experience helped him dig his fox hole.

He was killed in action on Hill No. 362 on March 6th on one of the bloodiest fights of all. He was twenty five years old. He left his parents, three sisters, a brother and a fiance, Miss Virginia Goldwaite of Dunstable.

He was the first Tyngsboro hero to be repatriated on American soil. The entire population of Tyngsboro came to his funeral in April of 1948. He is buried near his home in the Sherburne Cemetery on Coburn Road.

After the war his father was active in civic politics and owned "The Dairy Bar" across from the Tyngsboro Country Club.

Please remember this Tyngsboro hero that was surely missed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pvt Gerard Ulric Belley - We Remember

Private Gerard Belley was killed in action on Iwo Jima March 4, 1945. He was the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Ulric (Albertine Guillemette) Belley of 61 Crawford Street in the Pawtucketville section of Lowell. He had attended St. Joseph's School and prior to his service was employed at the Wamesit Power Company.

 Courtesy Lowell Sun

He was a member of the Fifth Marine Division and was only 21 years old. He enlisted in May 1943.

In addtion to his parents, he was survived by two sisters Ella and Jeannine and a brother Normand. He is buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY. The Cape Cod National Cemetery was dedicated in 1980.
Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Lowell remembers.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pvt Joseph Edward Albert - We Remember

During World War II word reached Lowell quickly (compared to WW1) to notify the families when someone was killed in action. Joseph Edward Albert was killed in action on March 6, 1945 during the fighting on Iwo Jima. He was in the Marine Corp and had been serving for just about a year. He was drafted in Lowell, MA almost exactly a year before. He was a transfer from New York City where he had lived previously.
Courtesy Lowell Sun, March 26, 1945

Private Joseph Edward Albert was born in Lowell on October 12, 1910 the son of Alfred and Alia (Brunelle) Albert. He was killed in action on Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945. The family lived in the acre section of Lowell and New York City. Joseph was 33 years old when he died in the Pacific. He had a 7 year old son Thomas E. Albert who was left an orphan when his dad died. He was the one that unveiled the plaques honoring the WW2 soldiers that line the Hall of Flags.

When Joseph Edward Albert died he was survived by his mother, two brothers Joseph Andrew Albert of New York City and Alfred Leo Albert of Lowell and a son, seven year old Thomas E. Albert and his aunts Mrs. Eugenie Lemay and Mrs. Alice Barlow. His mother died on September 19, 1950 and is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Chelmsford. He graduated from St. Joseph  School and was employed at the Lowell Ordinance Plant.

He was killed during the fierce fighting on Iwo Jima. He left his son with no parents. His son grew up in Lowell, married and had two daughters. It looks like he had a full life. He died in 2010 at age 72. His dad is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu Hawaii. Please do not forget him. Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lowell's Iwo Jima Honor Roll

Shortly after the battle for Iwo Jima news came to Lowell about the personal losses of our young men. Seventy years ago Lowell mourned the loss of the following men killed in action:

  • Pvt Joseph E. Albert, USMCR, 831 Merrimack St., Lowell
  • Pfc Gerard U. Belley, USMCR, 61 Crawford St., Lowell
  • Pvt. Wesley J. Davis, Jr. USMCR of Tyngsboro
  • Corp. Edmond J. Dziegiel, USMCR, 6 Roosevelt Place, Lowell
  • Corp. Edward Espinola, USMCR, 516 Lawrence St., Lowell
  • Pvt Raymond R. Hamilton USMCR 41 Burdette Rd., Dracut
  • Pfc Theodore F. Maguire, USMC, 31 Prospect St., Lowell
  • Corp. Raymond P. Martineau, USMCR of Dracut
  • Seaman 1-C Howard R Patric, USNR, 179 Hale St., Lowell
  • 1st Lieut. James P. Scondras, 287 Dutton St., Lowell

Over the next month I plan on writing on each hero. We must not forget. It's been seventy years so many of their siblings and friends are gone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Iwo Jima and Greek Independence Day

Seventy years ago this month the United States captured a tiny volcanic island off the coast of Japan. The Japanese had three airfields on the island. The battle for Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945 and ended March 26, 1945.
Courtesy photo: National Archives taken February 23, 1945 
by Joe Rosenthal atop Mount Suribachi

The United States Navy and Marine Corps lost over 7,000 men. The greater Lowell area  lost men during this two month battle as well.

March 25th is an important day for the Greek community remembering Greek Independence Day.  The Greek community in Lowell is an important part of Lowell's history and culture. The Greeks left Greece to come to America to seek a better life and many of the them ended up in Lowell. Peter and Catherine (Ivos) Scondras came to Lowell and started a family. They had six sons of which four served during World War II. Two sons were killed in action. David was killed in action in Europe and James was killed in action on Iwo Jima on February  25, 1945 two days after the flag raising.

Lieut. James P. Scondras, USMC also known as "Jimmy and the Big Chief" was a graduate of the Bartlett and Lowell High School class of 1938. He was one of the best athletes to come out of Lowell High. Before he enlisted in the Marines he was an outstanding baseball player at Holy Cross College. Had he survived the war he was good enough to turn pro. He was awarded the Silver Star for actions a few days prior to his death.  His body  was returned to Lowell in 1949 along with his brother David killed in action in France and his cousin Sgt. Costos Ivos, shot down over Germany,  where an impressive funeral was held and burial at Westlawn Cemetery.

The gymnasium at the Rogers School on Highland Street is named in honor of Lieut. James P. Scondras. 

Please remember the Scondras and Ivos family and their contributions to the Lowell community.

More to come tomorrow on the other greater Lowell heroes who died on Iwo Jima.

Friday, March 6, 2015

John Scott Keenan - KIA Vietnam

Warrant Officer John Scott Keenan
November 17, 1948 - April 22, 1970

Grew up in the Highlands on Viola Street with his grandparents, Irene & William Scott. Graduated from Lowell High School Class of 1966. Married to Anne Kelley Keenan of Bedford, NH with two children Kelley and John Scott. After six weeks in Vietnam he was killed. He was a helicopter pilot. The intersection across from the 99 on Chelmsford Street is named in his honor. He is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Section I Lot 213.

Please remember W.O. John Keenan when you drive onto Stevens Street. Thank you sir for your service and your family has missed you I'm sure all this time. I've taken this turn so many times but I'll never take it the same again. Thank you for your service and God bless.