Saturday Reader: A WWII Soldier Returns Home

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Helen Cooke touches the casket of her late husband Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville as her son Eddie Harris looks on. A World War II soldier, Harris was killed in action in France in 1945 but his remains were not discovered until last year. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

Helen Harris Cooke’s husband Cecil was lost in battle during World War II. Since then, she never stopped hoping that some sign of him would turn up. 70 years later, it did.

Helen Harris Cooke had her whole life ahead of her when her first husband, Cecil E. Harris, was lost in the fog of war and the mountains of northeastern France.

Pregnant when Harris left home in Shelbyville to fight in World War II, a 20-year-old mother the last time she heard from him, Cooke remarried and had two more children after Harris was declared dead.

But she never stopped hoping and praying that some sign of him would turn up someday.

Amazingly, it did.

“I always say my prayers at night,” said Cooke, now 90. “The Lord answered my prayers after 70 years.”

Harris was a 19-year-old private first class in the Army’s 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, when his rifle platoon came under heavy fire from German troops in Dambach, France, on the second day of 1945. American soldiers who survived the German attack later realized he was missing.

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Pfc. Cecil Harris.(Photo: Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs)

But four French men stumbled upon what turned out to be a human skull while hiking near Dambach, near the German border, last year. Discovery of the shallow hilltop grave led to an ID tag bearing Harris’ name, a DNA match, the return of the remains to American soil and, finally, a funeral Friday morning at Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, where Cooke lives.

About 100 people, many of them relatives and veterans, attended the solemn service seven decades after his passing. Members of the Tennessee Army National Guard carried in Harris’ casket, draped by the American flag. Many-Bears Grinder, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, presented Cooke a state flag and other gifts, and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Chattanooga Republican, gave the widow her husband’s military medals.

A bagpiper played taps and “Amazing Grace.”

Harris will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Oct. 22. His and Cooke’s son, Eddie Harris, who was just a few months old the only time he ever saw his father, said he’s looking forward to burying him with the full military honors he deserves.

Eddie is 70 now, a veteran of the Vietnam and Gulf wars who, like the father he has no way of remembering, loves to hunt and fish and ride horses.

“This is just a miracle to me,” he said.

Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, a World War II soldier who was killed in action in France in 1945 but whose remains were not discovered until last year. He was 19 when he died. His funeral was at Red Bank Baptist Church, 7 decades later. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, a World War II soldier who was killed in action in France in 1945 but whose remains were not discovered until last year. He was 19 when he died. His funeral was at Red Bank Baptist Church, 7 decades later. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

The body of Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, a World War II soldier who was killed in action in France in 1945 but whose remains were not discovered until last year, is carried into the Red Bank Baptist Church on Friday Aug. 29, 2014, in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

The body of Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, a World War II soldier who was killed in action in France in 1945 but whose remains were not discovered until last year, is carried into the Red Bank Baptist Church on Friday Aug. 29, 2014, in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

A young father gets drafted

The former Helen Lewis met Cecil Harris, one of nine children, at her brother’s wedding in Palmer, Tenn. They went on their first date at a revival meeting, chaplain Reggie Asplund said during the funeral service, and then wrote each other regularly and saw each other whenever they could. They got married on Oct. 21, 1942, and went to live on Harris’ grandmother’s farm in Bedford County.

Janice Carlton of Shelbyville holds a picture of her brother, Pfc. Cecil E. Harris, and his wife, Helen, just before he was drafted during World War II. Carlton was just 10 when her brother died in 1945.(Photo: Steven S. Harman, The Tennessean)

Janice Carlton of Shelbyville holds a picture of her brother, Pfc. Cecil E. Harris, and his wife, Helen, just before he was drafted during World War II. Carlton was just 10 when her brother died in 1945.(Photo: Steven S. Harman, The Tennessean)

Harris, described by his son as a “happy go lucky guy,” was running the farm when he got drafted. Just before he left for basic training in February 1944, he told his pregnant wife, “I have a feeling I won’t be back,” the chaplain said. She was so distraught that she couldn’t bear to get out of the car and go to the train to see him off.

Less than a year later, Pfc. Harris’ unit was pinned down by “an overwhelming and desperate German force” in Dambach on Jan. 2, 1945, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Gulley said. It was Operation Nordwind, the Germans’ last offensive on Europe’s western front, near the end of the Battle of the Bulge.

The Americans were forced to withdraw to a better position, but they lost track of Harris, the ammunition bearer, in the chaos. The battle “was the last time anyone who knew his name would see him alive,” Gulley said.

Back in Palmer, where she had moved with her young son so they could be close to her parents, Helen Harris was shopping one day that month when she ran into the postman. He handed her a telegram with terrible news: Her husband was missing in action.

She took off running down the street, dropping her purse and everything she had bought.

“I just lost it,” she said in a phone interview earlier this week.

It was a couple of years before the Army declared Cecil Harris dead, his sister Janice Carlton said. By then, the fallen soldier’s wife had already been saying her prayers for many, many nights.

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Janice Carlton reads a letter her brother wrote to their mother on Dec. 31, 1944, just two days before he was killed in action. (Photo: Steven S. Harman / Tennessean)

Janice Carlton of Shelbyville still has letters her brother, Pfc. Cecil E. Harris, wrote to their mother during World War II. Harris was killed in action in France, when he was 19. (Photo: Steven S. Harman / Tennessean)

Janice Carlton of Shelbyville still has letters her brother, Pfc. Cecil E. Harris, wrote to their mother during World War II. Harris was killed in action in France, when he was 19. (Photo: Steven S. Harman / Tennessean)

An H and a cross

A few years after Harris was declared dead, his wife married David Wayne Cooke. They had two boys and were married for 51 years before he passed away, she said.

There was never any word about what had happened to Harris until September, when the American Battlefield Monuments Commission told the Pentagon’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command that French hikers had found what appeared to be human remains. They had discovered a possible grave under a large stone outcropping on which someone had carved a cross and a single letter: H.

Harris’ son, Eddie, said one of the hikers, a man named Vito DeLuca, told him that when he sat down under the big rock, he touched the ground and felt “what he thought was a skull.” It was poking out of a grave that was less than 2 feet deep, DeLuca told Harris, who lives in Mountain City, Tenn.

The Pentagon unit later found what Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, called “a World War II version of a dog tag” with Harris’ name on it. The excavation team also found buttons from a World War II-era Army uniform and “a single lapel disc, badly corroded, but still readable” that said “U.S.,” Gulley said.

DNA tests and dental records proved that the remains were Harris’. More than 25,000 days after he died, he would be coming home to Tennessee.

‘Mama, do the best you can’

Harris’ body was flown from Hawaii to Knoxville on Wednesday. Family members were on hand to see his flag-draped casket come off the plane. When the casket was opened, they saw the soldier’s military dress blues and medals carefully arranged, said Carlton, who was 10 when her brother died.

Helen Cooke watches outside her car window as a member of the Tennessee National honor guard walks by. Her late husband Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, was a World War II soldier. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

Helen Cooke watches outside her car window as a member of the Tennessee National honor guard walks by. Her late husband Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, was a World War II soldier. (Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

It was a moment that brought some relief, though it couldn’t change the terrible truth.

“It is closure on the wondering what happened,” Carlton said Thursday while sharing letters, photos and news clippings about her brother at her home in Shelbyville. “But you never close a loss like that. It’s always on your mind. It’s always there.”

Harris posthumously received the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs said. He also received the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Two days before he died, on Dec. 31, 1944, Cecil Harris closed out the year with a letter to his mother, Mary, from “somewhere in France.”

“Tell all hello from me,” he scrawled. “Mama, do the best you can till I get back.”

Nearly 70 years later, he finally got back.

Rest in Peace.

Crash

Travel: Scotland’s Kelpies Sculptures

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The Kelpie is a legendary Scottish creature that is said to haunt lochs and bodies of water. Since April, there has been a phenomenal sculpture to honor it.

In myth, the Kelpie appears to takes on both the physical appearance of horse or a human, and is said to represent the strength and endurance of the horse.

Standing at an astonishing 98-feet-tall, ‘The Kelpies’ statue located at The Helix Park towers over the Forth and Clyde Canal, in Helix Park, Falkirk. The two beautiful metal myths form their own magical entranceway to the canal and the newly built extension where visitors can walk under the heads of the gargantuan creatures.

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The awesome sculptures weigh a combined 600-tons between the two and were created by Scottish artist Andy Scott for a rumored £5m budget.

“The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures. I took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses.” – Andy Scott

A lighting test is carried out on the Kelpies in Falkirk ahead of their official April 7, 2013 opening to the public. Designed by sculptor Andy Scott each of The Kelpies stands up to 30 metres tall and each one weighs over 300 tonnes.

Each of the sculptures are made from sheets of metal, with an intricate display woven between the panels that light up at night, giving off quite a show. The statues are slated to bring in 1.5 million a year from guided tours, and plenty of people have been happy to cough up a few bucks to learn a bit more about Scottish mythology.

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The Kelpies are part of the £43 million redevelopment project that hopes to attract thousands of new tourists to the areas local parks, restaurants, stores, and museums. And if you’re a fan of mythology, art, and really big sculptures (and who isn’t) it’s worth it to spend the afternoon exploring the park and visiting the two largest horses in Scotland.

On the Web:

Kelpie – on Wikipedia

Kelpie – Mysterious Britain & Ireland

Kelpie – Harry Potter Wiki

Crash

Crash’s Kitchen: Labor Day Stuffed Tomatoes

stuffed tomatoes

This is a great side dish or appetizer that pairs well with any entrée – and it’s easy!

Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
8 medium tomatoes, preferably with stems intact
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 pound luganega or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced, plus a handful of celery leaves
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 cups bread cubes (from about 1/2 baguette)
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, slice off the top quarter of each tomato and reserve the tops. Scoop out the pulp from inside each tomato and transfer it to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the cayenne to the food processor and process until smooth; pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, herbes de Provence, bell pepper, onion, diced celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the sausage browns, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture and bread cubes to the food processor and pulse until chopped. Pack the tomatoes with the sausage-bread mixture so the stuffing is domed on top. Put the stuffed tomatoes in the baking dish on top of the sauce.

Place the basil, walnuts, cheese and celery leaves in the food processor and chop. Sprinkle onto the tomatoes. Put the tomato tops, cut-side down, between the stuffed tomatoes. Bake until the stuffing is golden, about 20 minutes. Cover each tomato with a top and serve with the sauce.

Crash

Whistleblower Claims CDC Covered Up Data Showing Vaccine-Autism Link

TIME

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a war going on between those who believe in the health benefits of vaccines – that they can prevent deadly infectious diseases such as measles and polio – and those that believe that the immunizations do more harm than good. Now one of the authors of a 2004 government study that found similar vaccination rates among children with and without autism says the study omitted some important data.

The vaccine war is being fought on social media, in social circles and increasingly in doctor’s offices, as physicians are faced with doubts and questions from parents who find themselves being recruited onto the side of skepticism. Skepticism is healthy, and the sign of curious minds, but not when it flies in the face of evidence. Especially gold standard, rigorous scientific evidence that has been accumulating for decades and shows that vaccines are not linked with an…

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#ThrowbackThursday: Robin Williams and Vintage Print Ads

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A young but studious-looking Robin Williams

A young but studious-looking Robin Williams

Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve hailing a cab in NYC, 1981

Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve hailing a cab in NYC, 1981

1975 : Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park, New York

1975 : Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park, New York

1975 : Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park, New York

1975 : Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park, New York

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Vintage Print Advertisements

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Eons ago, it was common to have a parent or grandparent say such things as ‘You have more excuses than Carter has liver pills’ …an ad from 1916.

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WWII ladies shampoo

A USMC recruitment poster from WWI.

A USMC recruitment poster from WWI.

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Sure! Measure her for that iron room table – but come Christmas…..

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….there’s gonna be hell to pay!

Eons ago, it was common to have a parent or grandparent say such things as 'You have more excuses than Carter has liver pills' ...an ad from 1916.

Before the advent of locking mechanisms on cars, kids were habitually, opening the doors while the vehicle was in motion – causing a number of horrible deaths. This ad and device changed everything!

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The guy or gal with the coolest shoes back then, got the dates!

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WWII Ivory soap ad. We were at war, but ya gotta stay pretty doing it!

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Six proof whiskey toothpaste. In many cases, the nightly toothbrushing regime eliminated the nightly nightcap over ice or straight.

August 15, 1911 – Proctor and Gamble Company introduced Crisco vegetable shortening.

Crash

#WarriorWednesday

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1951 : Two F-9F Panther's dump fuel alongside the USS Princeton CV-37 off the Korean coast It was safer and easier to land without the excess fuel - a criteria called "Maximum Landing Weight"

1951 : Two F-9F Panther’s dump fuel alongside the USS Princeton CV-37 off the Korean coast
It was safer and easier to land without the excess fuel – a criteria called “Maximum Landing Weight”

An Irish Guards machine-gun team in 1914 during the beginning of World War 1. Not a single one of these men pictured here survived the war.

An Irish Guards machine-gun team in 1914 during the beginning of World War 1.
Not a single one of these men pictured here survived the war.

Jan 1944 : Portrait of 28 year old Soviet Army tank commander Captain M. S. Smirnov during the Battle of the Korsun After suffering a direct hit by an enemy shell, killing several crewmates, Smirnov was still able to crush three enemy anti-tank guns and kill over 20 German combatants. Cpt. Smirnov would be killed six months later in Latvia during the Battle of Daugavpils on 29 July 1944.

Jan 1944 : Portrait of 28 year old Soviet Army tank commander Captain M. S. Smirnov during the Battle of the Korsun
After suffering a direct hit by an enemy shell, killing several crewmates, Smirnov was still able to crush three enemy anti-tank guns and kill over 20 German combatants.
Cpt. Smirnov would be killed six months later in Latvia during the Battle of Daugavpils on 29 July 1944.

1918 : A wounded AIF soldier receives an affectionate welcome home kiss after WWI, Sydney, Australia

1918 : A wounded AIF soldier receives an affectionate welcome home kiss after WWI, Sydney, Australia

Juana Galán was known for beating Napoleon’s troops out of her village during the Battle of Valdepeñas in June, 1808. There weren’t enough men to defend the village from invading French.  Juana, 21, immediately rallied all of the women in the village. When the French troops marched in, the women dumped boiling oil on top of them. One version has it that she smashed in the heads of the soldiers with her cast-iron stew-pan. The French never returned.

Juana Galán was known for beating Napoleon’s troops out of her village during the Battle of Valdepeñas in June, 1808. There weren’t enough men to defend the village from invading French.
Juana, 21, immediately rallied all of the women in the village. When the French troops marched in, the women dumped boiling oil on top of them. One version has it that she smashed in the heads of the soldiers with her cast-iron stew-pan. The French never returned.

Boston Corbett, the mad hatter.. Thomas P. "Boston" Corbett (1832 – presumed dead 1894) was an American Union Army soldier who shot and killed Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Corbett was born in London, England. His family emigrated to New York City in 1840. He became a hatter in Troy, New York. It has been suggested that the fumes of mercury used in the hatter's trade caused Corbett's later mental problems. Corbett married, but his wife died in childbirth. Following her death, he moved to Boston, and continued working as a hatter. He was confronted by a street preacher one night and his message persuaded him to join the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he did, subsequently changing his name to Boston, the name of the city where he was converted. In an attempt to imitate Jesus, he began to wear his hair very long. On July 16, 1858, in order to avoid the temptation of prostitutes, Corbett castrated himself with a pair of scissors. He then ate a meal and went to a prayer meeting before he sought medical treatment. In April 1861, early in the American Civil War, Corbett enlisted as a private in Company I of the New York Militia.Then on April 24, 1865, he was sent to apprehend John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, who was still at large.  Two days later the regiment surrounded Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, in a tobacco barn on the Virginia farm of Richard Garrett. Herold surrendered, but Booth refused to give himself up. The barn was set on fire in an attempt to force him out into the open, but Booth remained inside. Corbett was positioned near a large crack in the barn wall. Corbett claimed in an 1878 interview that he saw Booth aim his carbine. At that point, Corbett shot Booth with his Colt revolver despite Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton's orders that Booth should be taken alive. Eyewitness Lieutenant Edward Doherty, the officer in charge of the soldiers who captured Booth and Herold, stated that "the bullet struck Booth in the back of the head, about an inch below the spot where his shot had entered the head of Mr. Lincoln." Booth's spinal cord was severed, and he died two hours later. Corbett was immediately arrested for violation of his orders, but Stanton later had the charges dropped. Stanton remarked, "The rebel is dead. The patriot lives." Corbett received his share of the reward money, amounting to $1,653.84 (equivalent to $25,000 in 2014). In his official statement, Corbett claimed he shot Booth because he thought Lincoln's assassin was preparing to use his weapons. This was contradicted by the other witnesses. When asked later why he did it, Corbett answered that "Providence directed me". After his discharge from the army in August 1865, Corbett went back to work as a hatter, first in Boston, later in Connecticut, and by 1870 in New Jersey. His life was marked by increasingly erratic behavior. In 1875, he threatened several men with a pistol at a soldiers' reunion in Caldwell, Ohio. In 1878, he moved to Concordia, Kansas. In 1887, because of his fame as Booth's killer, Corbett was appointed assistant doorkeeper of the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka. One day he overheard a conversation in which the legislature's opening prayer was mocked. He jumped to his feet and brandished a revolver. No one was hurt, but Corbett was arrested and sent to the Topeka Asylum for the Insane. On May 26, 1888, he escaped from the asylum. He went to Neodesha, Kansas, and stayed briefly with Richard Thatcher, whom he had met when they were both prisoners of war. When he left, he told Thatcher he was going to Mexico. His "madness" may have been the result of exposure to mercury. Rather than going to Mexico, Corbett is believed to have settled in a cabin he built in the forests near Hinckley, in Pine County in eastern Minnesota. He is believed to have died in the Great Hinckley Fire of September 1, 1894. Although there is no proof, the name "Thomas Corbett" does appear on the list of dead and missing.

Boston Corbett, the mad hatter..
Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett (1832 – presumed dead 1894) was an American Union Army soldier who shot and killed Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
Corbett was born in London, England. His family emigrated to New York City in 1840. He became a hatter in Troy, New York. It has been suggested that the fumes of mercury used in the hatter’s trade caused Corbett’s later mental problems.
Corbett married, but his wife died in childbirth. Following her death, he moved to Boston, and continued working as a hatter. He was confronted by a street preacher one night and his message persuaded him to join the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he did, subsequently changing his name to Boston, the name of the city where he was converted. In an attempt to imitate Jesus, he began to wear his hair very long. On July 16, 1858, in order to avoid the temptation of prostitutes, Corbett castrated himself with a pair of scissors. He then ate a meal and went to a prayer meeting before he sought medical treatment.
In April 1861, early in the American Civil War, Corbett enlisted as a private in Company I of the New York Militia.Then on April 24, 1865, he was sent to apprehend John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, who was still at large.
Two days later the regiment surrounded Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, in a tobacco barn on the Virginia farm of Richard Garrett. Herold surrendered, but Booth refused to give himself up. The barn was set on fire in an attempt to force him out into the open, but Booth remained inside. Corbett was positioned near a large crack in the barn wall. Corbett claimed in an 1878 interview that he saw Booth aim his carbine. At that point, Corbett shot Booth with his Colt revolver despite Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton’s orders that Booth should be taken alive. Eyewitness Lieutenant Edward Doherty, the officer in charge of the soldiers who captured Booth and Herold, stated that “the bullet struck Booth in the back of the head, about an inch below the spot where his shot had entered the head of Mr. Lincoln.” Booth’s spinal cord was severed, and he died two hours later.
Corbett was immediately arrested for violation of his orders, but Stanton later had the charges dropped. Stanton remarked, “The rebel is dead. The patriot lives.” Corbett received his share of the reward money, amounting to $1,653.84 (equivalent to $25,000 in 2014).
In his official statement, Corbett claimed he shot Booth because he thought Lincoln’s assassin was preparing to use his weapons. This was contradicted by the other witnesses. When asked later why he did it, Corbett answered that “Providence directed me”.
After his discharge from the army in August 1865, Corbett went back to work as a hatter, first in Boston, later in Connecticut, and by 1870 in New Jersey. His life was marked by increasingly erratic behavior. In 1875, he threatened several men with a pistol at a soldiers’ reunion in Caldwell, Ohio. In 1878, he moved to Concordia, Kansas.
In 1887, because of his fame as Booth’s killer, Corbett was appointed assistant doorkeeper of the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka. One day he overheard a conversation in which the legislature’s opening prayer was mocked. He jumped to his feet and brandished a revolver. No one was hurt, but Corbett was arrested and sent to the Topeka Asylum for the Insane. On May 26, 1888, he escaped from the asylum. He went to Neodesha, Kansas, and stayed briefly with Richard Thatcher, whom he had met when they were both prisoners of war. When he left, he told Thatcher he was going to Mexico. His “madness” may have been the result of exposure to mercury.
Rather than going to Mexico, Corbett is believed to have settled in a cabin he built in the forests near Hinckley, in Pine County in eastern Minnesota. He is believed to have died in the Great Hinckley Fire of September 1, 1894. Although there is no proof, the name “Thomas Corbett” does appear on the list of dead and missing.

1940: A Canadian soldier searches for mines during an exercise in England.

1940: A Canadian soldier searches for mines during an exercise in England.

Oct 1944 : The commander of a Soviet infantry battalion, Major Romanenko (seated, center), tells Serbian civilians about the military affairs of a very young scout, 13 year old Corporal Vitya Zhavoronok (left), Vojvodina, Yugoslavia (Serbia) In 1941 Vitya joined a partisan unit. In 1943 he voluntarily entered one of the Red Army units. For participation in the battles with fascists he was awarded the Order of the Red Star.

Oct 1944 : The commander of a Soviet infantry battalion, Major Romanenko (seated, center), tells Serbian civilians about the military affairs of a very young scout, 13 year old Corporal Vitya Zhavoronok (left), Vojvodina, Yugoslavia (Serbia)
In 1941 Vitya joined a partisan unit. In 1943 he voluntarily entered one of the Red Army units. For participation in the battles with fascists he was awarded the Order of the Red Star.

1955 : West Berlin policemen and East German Volkspolizei face each other across the border after a young girl managed to cross the border into West Berlin

1955 : West Berlin policemen and East German Volkspolizei face each other across the border after a young girl managed to cross the border into West Berlin

The only known photograph of a black Union soldier with his family, c. 1863-65.

The only known photograph of a black Union soldier with his family, c. 1863-65.

June 1945 : Brazilian soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (Força Expedicionária Brasileira, or, FEB) return home aboard the Pedro II following the Allied victory of the Italian Campaign.  The FEB was an expeditionary force of about 25,700 men and women arranged by the Brazilian Army and Air Force to fight alongside the Allied forces in the Mediterranean Theater of the war. Brazil was the only Allied independent South American nation to send troops to fight in the war. The BEF fought in Italy from September 1944 to May 1945

June 1945 : Brazilian soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (Força Expedicionária Brasileira, or, FEB) return home aboard the Pedro II following the Allied victory of the Italian Campaign.
The FEB was an expeditionary force of about 25,700 men and women arranged by the Brazilian Army and Air Force to fight alongside the Allied forces in the Mediterranean Theater of the war.
Brazil was the only Allied independent South American nation to send troops to fight in the war. The BEF fought in Italy from September 1944 to May 1945

Walter Ernest O'Neil Yeo (20 October 1890 – 1960) was a sailor during World War I, and is thought to be the first person to benefit from advanced plastic surgery, namely a skin flap. Yeo was wounded on 31 May 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, while manning the guns aboard the battleship HMS Warspite. He sustained terrible facial injuries, including the loss of upper and lower eyelids. Walter went through several procedures, which were considered a great success in the pioneering field of what will come to be known as 'plastic surgery'.  Walter married Ada Edwards in 1914 in Plymouth, Devon. They had two daughters: Lilian Evelyn Yeo, born 21 October 1914 in Plymouth, and Doreen Y. Yeo, born in 1919. Walter Yeo died in his birth town, Plymouth, where he had spent the majority of his life, in 1960.

Walter Ernest O’Neil Yeo (20 October 1890 – 1960) was a sailor during World War I, and is thought to be the first person to benefit from advanced plastic surgery, namely a skin flap.
Yeo was wounded on 31 May 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, while manning the guns aboard the battleship HMS Warspite. He sustained terrible facial injuries, including the loss of upper and lower eyelids.
Walter went through several procedures, which were considered a great success in the pioneering field of what will come to be known as ‘plastic surgery’.
Walter married Ada Edwards in 1914 in Plymouth, Devon. They had two daughters: Lilian Evelyn Yeo, born 21 October 1914 in Plymouth, and Doreen Y. Yeo, born in 1919. Walter Yeo died in his birth town, Plymouth, where he had spent the majority of his life, in 1960.

June 1944 : Canadian soldiers storming Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer, France

June 1944 : Canadian soldiers storming Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer, France

Crash

Happy 29th Birthday to What Is Believed to Be The Oldest Wombat in Captivity

TIME

Patrick, the oldest wombat in captivity, according to Ballarat Wildlife Park, turned the ripe old age of 29 on August 25.

His longevity is not the norm. In the wild, wombats tend to live only five years, while those in captivity average a lifespan of around 20 years.

Patrick — who was named the “3rd best city mascot” by CNN — is an Australian legend who has been greeting visitors to the wildlife park for decades. He was hand-raised by zookeepers after he was orphaned as a joey, as marsupial babies are called. According to Tourism Australia, “the team at the park tried releasing Patrick back into the wild a couple of times but he couldn’t defend himself against other wombats.”

The plus-sized Common Wombat may also be the world’s largest, tipping the scale at 88 lbs (40kg). He’s so big that Ballarat Wildlife Park curator Julia Leonard…

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What Are Animals Thinking? (Hint: More That You Suspect)

TIME

Let’s be honest, you’d probably rather die than wake up tomorrow morning and find out you’d turned into an animal. Dying, after all, is inevitable, and there’s even a certain dignity to it: Shakespeare did it, Einstein did it, Galileo and Washington and Twain all did it. And you, someone who was born a human and will live your life as a human, will end your life that way too.

But living that life as an animal — an insensate brute, incapable of reason, abstraction, perhaps even feeling? Unthinkable. Yes, yes, the animals don’t recognize the difference, and neither would you. If you’re a goat, you possess the knowledge of a goat, and that can’t be much. But there’s more to it than that.

Human beings have always had something of a bipolar relationship with the millions of other species with which we share the planet. We are fascinated by…

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The Ideal Earthquake Warning System and Other Fascinating News on the Web

TIME

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1. You Have Ten Seconds

According to scientists at U.C. Berkeley, an earthquake early warning system sent an alert ten seconds before a 6.0 magnitude quake hit the Napa area. Researchers think they can get that number up to 40-50 seconds. What good would it do if such a system could be implemented before the next big one? A lot. As the LA Times reports, an alert of even less than a minute could give “time for elevators to stop at the next floor and open up, firefighters to open up garage doors, high-speed trains to slow down to avoid derailment and surgeons to take the scalpel out of a patient.”

+ How responsible are scientists when it comes to providing warnings about the risks of quakes? Matter’s David Wolman takes a look back at the case of seven Italian scientists who got their predictions very wrong and were…

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#MilitaryMonday: Allied POW Monopoly and Other Images

monopoly

“Monopoly” board games helped thousands of Allied POWs escape German camps.

Germany allowed the Red Cross to send care packages to POWs(not Russians/Polish) and among the items that could to be sent were board games. Special Monopoly boxes were created that contained items to help the prisoners escape:

– German, French, and Italian money currency was hidden within the Monopoly money.

– A metal file, hidden within the board.

– A small compass hidden in a play piece

– Silk maps of the prison and it’s location hidden inside the hotel pieces.

Military Monday Images:

Jimmy Stewart and his father Alexander Stewart in front of the family hardware store in September 1945. Jimmy was expected to continue his father's business, which had been in the family for three generations. Jimmy however had other plans.  Despite his movie career, he remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Brigadier General.

Jimmy Stewart and his father Alexander Stewart in front of the family hardware store in September 1945. Jimmy was expected to continue his father’s business, which had been in the family for three generations. Jimmy however had other plans.
Despite his movie career, he remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Brigadier General.

July 1944 : Odette Billy teaches correct French pronunciation to T/5 Mel. White Harlan, Iowa (left) and M.P. Pvt. William Barrs, Rt5, (Dublin), in Isigny, France

July 1944 : Odette Billy teaches correct French pronunciation to T/5 Mel. White Harlan, Iowa (left) and M.P. Pvt. William Barrs, Rt5, (Dublin), in Isigny, France

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July 1943 : British soldiers are warmly greeted by Italian children during the Allied Invasion of Sicily, Province of Syracuse, Italy.

Dec 1944 : American soldiers watch a B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber take off from the now Allied controlled island of Saipan in the Pacific. Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Dec 1944 : American soldiers watch a B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber take off from the now Allied controlled island of Saipan in the Pacific. Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

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USS Long Island (ACV-1) underway with a mixed cargo of planes and stores, 25 May 1943. Planes include F4F’s, SBD’s and TBF’s. National Archives photograph, 80-G-83216.

1917 : A very young member of the Irish Guards, pictured at Waterford Barracks with the regiment's mascot, an Irish Wolfhound named Leitrim Boy.  Leitrim Boy was born on Tuesday, 12 November 1907, and was 9 years old when this photo was taken.

1917 : A very young member of the Irish Guards, pictured at Waterford Barracks with the regiment’s mascot, an Irish Wolfhound named Leitrim Boy.
Leitrim Boy was born on Tuesday, 12 November 1907, and was 9 years old when this photo was taken.

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July 1944 : Royal Air Force, 2nd Tactical Air Force Wing Commander J E Johnson, leader of No. 144 (Canadian) Wing RAF, rests on the the wing of his Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX with his Labrador retriever Sally, between sorties at B2/Bazenville, Normandy

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July 1944: A French woman prays for lost loved ones in a church following the Battle of Cherbourg, Lower Normandy, France. The Battle of Cherbourg was part of the larger Battle of Normandy and was fought immediately after the successful Allied landings.

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Oct 1944 : An American Dive Bomber Curtiss Helldiver from 7-th bombardment Squadron after a crash landing on the USS Hancock

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French partisans celebrate taking of Marseille with ‘V’ for Victory Sign.” Note the American soldiers are celebrating with the US flag hanging from the bridge. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

An armed French partisan emotionally embraces 2nd Lt Jack Willis of Kingston, Iowa, whom he found uninjured after he shot at the officer mistaking an advance Yank armored spearhead for retreating Germans.  U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

An armed French partisan emotionally embraces 2nd Lt Jack Willis of Kingston, Iowa, whom he found uninjured after he shot at the officer mistaking an advance Yank armored spearhead for retreating Germans.
U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

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August 1945 : A young Filipino Resistance fighter poses with a flag of the United States Army Forces in the Far East following the routing of Japanese occupying forces from her province, Central Luzon, Philippines. Tarlac was recaptured piece by piece by combined Filipino and American troops together with the recognized Filipino guerrilla fighters against the Japanese Imperial forces.

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1973 : Operation Homecoming; the return of 591 prisoners of war held by North Vietnam back to American soil.

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Aug 8, 1944, France. Grave of American pilot, w/rounds from a 50cal machine gun of his P-47 Thunderbolt

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Lyudmila Mikhailivna Pavlichenko was the most successful & feared woman sniper of World War Two.

After moving to Kiev with her family at the age of 14, she became a metal grinder at the Kiev Arsenal factory. When Nazi Germany invaded Russia during Operation Barbarossa in 1941 the 24 year old Pavlichenko was studying history at the Kiev University, she was one of the first volunteers at the recruiting office and she requested service in the infantry.

The recruitment officer looked bewilderingly at her, Lyudmila Pavlichenko was quite a beautiful young woman with stylish clothes and a trendy hairstyle, she told the recruiter that she wished to join an active infantry unit and to carry a rifle. The recruiter apparently gave her a warm hearted look and smiled saying that perhaps she should join the field nurse unit instead. Pavlichenko became one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army, as Russia utilized women in warfare with almost the same manner as they did men, this is something that never happened in the west and is unfamiliar to westerners.

Pavlichenko officially confirmed German kills amounted to a total of 309, this amazing figure also included 36 German snipers…one of whom had himself notched over 500 Soviet kills after she retrieved his detailed log book after killing him. She also killed many high ranking German Officers, everyone who she shot and killed knew nothing about it, as their deaths were so fast.

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June 1945: German SS guards, exhausted from their forced labour clearing the bodies of the dead, are allowed a brief rest by British soldiers but are forced to take it by lying face down in one of the empty mass graves. Bergen-Belsen, Nnorthern Germany

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Dick Winters and Easy Company (Band of Brothers) at the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s residence.

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April 1945 Members of the Royal Australian Air Force squadron of Beaufighters, Scotland.

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October 1941 : A fond farewell for this little boy from a guardsman who is returning to duty after leave, London station. The little boy seems to have forgotten his trousers in the excitement of the moment.

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1944 : A British nurse assisting a wounded Allied Soldier and a Stug III Tank laying on the side after heavy bombing, France.

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1941 : Filipino women of the first Women Guerrilla corps practicing at a rifle range in Manila, Philippines.

1943 : Róża Maria Goździewska (nickname the "little nurse") - outside the field hospital of the Koszta Company, wearing a Polish emblem and red cross armband during Warsaw Uprising, Poland Roza was 8 years old at the time of the uprising and lived to tell the tale. She died in France in 1989, at the age of 53.

1943 : Róża Maria Goździewska (nickname the “little nurse”) – outside the field hospital of the Koszta Company, wearing a Polish emblem and red cross armband during Warsaw Uprising, Poland
Roza was 8 years old at the time of the uprising and lived to tell the tale. She died in France in 1989, at the age of 53.

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Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk fighters of the American Volunteer Group during World War II.

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Result of the American bombardment of Naha, Okinawa, Japan, on June 13, 1945.

Crash