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American 82nd Airborne men revisit Quorn and Loughborough

Loughborough Echo - 7th June 1974

Thirty years after the invasion of Normandy, which in retrospect heralded the finish of the 1939-45 war, a group of members of the American 82nd Airborne Division left New York on Friday for "Invasion II" - accompanied by their wives.

And one of their ports of call on Monday was Quorn Camp, where 505 Infantry Regiment was stationed for about a year, taking part both in the "drops" in Normandy and Nijmegan (Holland) some months later.

The unit suffered serious casualties in both engagements and many Quorn people will still remember the many wounded who returned to camp, which over the years changed considerably. Mr Don Lassen, editor of "Airborne Static Line,", the newspaper circulated monthly to ex-Airborne men, told an "Echo" reporter that when the party, about 35 strong, re-visited Quorn on Monday, they hardly recognised the camp, which has been developed for housing over the years.

"Some of the local people came up to our group and told us they were happy to see us again", said Mr Lassen, who served in 505 as a private and remembers Quorn well. He chuckled, "We trained all round the area over 30 years ago and some of the people who talked to us remembered this - and other happenings."

Mr Lassen, the party's leader, brought them to the Burton Bar of Loughborough Town Hall for a reception given by the Mayor of Charnwood (Coun. L H Bradley), but unfortunately they were late arriving and only had about 10 minutes with him before he had to leave to preside over the monthly meeting of the Borough council. The Deputy Mayor (Coun. J A Bradley), remained with the Americans to do the honours and meet local members.

Mr Lassen said about four or five of the party were stationed at Quorn and they were re-tracking the steps they took during the history-making fighting of 30 years ago. From New York they had flown to London and then visited Leicester, Quorn and Loughborough. Then they were going onto Paris, Normandy, Nijmegan, Belgium (where the 82nd took part in the famous "Battle of the Bulge") and back to Paris en route for home. The trip is costing 750 dollars a head.

The men of the group wearing the American field service cap, which are made no longer, with their regimental insignia, and the whole trip is an exercise in nostalgia.

 Submitted on: 2013-04-12
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1773
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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