CAMBRIDGE, England (5/17/2012) – Whether they perished on
the fields of battle, the blackened skies above or out on
the foamy brines, it's remarkable how the commitment to
fellow service members never waivers, particularly when
paying respect to those who will never be forgotten.
On May 28, service members from across the United Kingdom
will make their way to the Madingley American Cemetery
Memorial Service in Cambridge, to remember the Soldiers,
Sailors, Airmen and Marines who fell during World War II in
defense of the U.K.
The drive to Madingley is a
somber one, with scenic roads near the heaths, quaint
cottages and farmlands of East Anglia slowly winding toward
the cemetery. The distinct sound of flag's cleat clanking
against the flagpole drums cadence to the visiting forces,
slowly beckoning the Airmen, gowned in pristinely pressed
service dress uniforms, toward the ceremony soon to ensue.
Airmen filing among those ranks this Memorial Day will
bear witness to messages of gratitude, inspirational
speeches, hundreds of floral decorations, proud displays
from RAF Mildenhall's Honor Guard, a bagpiper and a U.S. Air
Why not make a day of it and pay
tribute to some of the many heroes buried there afterward?
The following stories take a look at seven of the 3,812
American heroes laid to rest and another 5,127 names
inscribed at the Wall of Missing at Madingley. Nearly 10,000
service members are buried or honored there, and each has
their own unique tale.
Why not visit the fallen
American heroes this Memorial Day, their legacy lives on
through a free Great Britain and their stories should be
remembered by the service members serving in the U.K. today.
Lt. Gustav D. Kjosness, 572nd Bomb Squadron, U.S. Army Air
Stepping away from the Wall of Missing,
airmen may make their way over to Plot F, Row 4, Grave 6,
and find the headstone of 2nd Lt. Gustav D. Kjosness, a B-26
Marauder bombardier, who died while paving the success for
the Normandy, France, landings.
in the June 6, 1944 bombing missions against enemy ground
targets. Two days later he was killed during his 32nd combat
mission and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished
Service Cross (the second highest award in the U.S. Army,
equal to the Air Force Cross).
Lt. Cmdr. Heywood
Edwards, Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Navy
may discover the name Lt. Cmdr. Heywood Edwards on the Wall
Edwards assumed command of the USS Ruben
James and in March 1941, joined a convoy force whose mission
was ensuring the safe arrival of war materials to Britain.
On Oct. 31, 1941, while performing their escort duties,
Edwards' ship was torpedoed by a German U-562 submarine. Of
the crew, 44 sailors survived but 115 were lost, including
Edwards. His body was never recovered.
Sgt. Anthony Fidares, 303rd Bomb Group, U.S. Army Air
Forces; and Sgt. Nicholas Fidares, 44th Bomb Group, U.S.
Army Air Forces
By visiting the Wall of Missing,
airmen can find the name Tech. Sgt. Anthony Fidares
inscribed. His brother, Sgt. Nicholas Fidares is buried in
Plot D, Row 6, Grave 23.
According to information
provided by Arthur Brookes, Cambridge American Cemetery,
while attempting to bomb an airfield at Esbjaerg, Denmark,
Aug. 27, 1944, Anthony Fidares's B-17 Flying Fortress
received a direct hit to the fuselage, breaking the plane in
half. Anthony Fidares and the other crew members were never
His brother, also an aviator, was on a
mission to bomb a rail junction at Kaiserslautern, Germany,
Dec. 28, 1944. Just prior to reaching the enemy coast, the
B-24 Liberator he was traveling in encountered engine
trouble. On the return to England, the plane lost another
engine, crashing and detonating a bomb on board, killing
Nicholas Fidares and the rest of the crew.
James E. Keys, Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Navy
leaving the Wall of Missing, perhaps Airmen will discover
the name Cmdr. James E. Keys inscribed.
was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his
extraordinary heroism against the German submarines during
the Battle of the Atlantic, was killed in action Dec. 23,
1943. His ship, the USS Leary, received three torpedo hits
and Keys gave the order to abandon ship. Prior to leaving
the ship himself, he checked to make sure all the sailors
While doing his checks, Keys came across a
young kitchen mess sailor whose life jacket was torn and
useless. Keys removed his own life jacket and gave it to the
young sailor. According to his citation, once all the
sailors were safely off the ship, Keys calmly climbed over
the side and was quickly swallowed up by the cold Atlantic
waters. His body was lost at sea.
Sgt. Merl W. Skinner, 301st Squadron, U.S. Army Air Forces
Staff Sgt. Merl W. Skinner, a C-47 Skytrain
crewchief, can be found buried at Plot F, Row 4, Grave 6.
Skinner, seven crewmates and 13 medical patients crashed
into cliffs while on an air evacuation to Prestwick,
Scotland. Everyone on board, except Skinner, was killed
instantly. He was rescued but passed away before he could
receive medical treatment.
First Lt. Sidney Dunagan,
50th Squadron, U.S. Army Air Forces
In Plot E, Row 1,
Grave 34, airmen can find the grave of 1st Lt. Sidney
Dunagan, a pilot who perished June 6, 1944, while leading
his element in the initial invasion of France.
locating his drop zone, many of the paratroopers Dunagan was
ferrying jumped into France. After clearing the drop zone,
Dunagan's crew chief notified him that not all the
paratroopers got off. Disregarding his own safety, Dunagan
turned his plane around and returned toward violent enemy
ground fire as a single ship to deliver the remaining
soldiers. Defenseless in an unarmored plane, Dunagan was
directly hit by enemy ground fire, killing him instantly.
Dunagan was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service
By USAF Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
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