Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, June 6, 2014 6:15 am

“Like waiting for an earthquake.”

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 6:15 am
Tags: , , , , ,

D-Day and its aftermath in Bedford, Va., home of Company A, 116th Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, the first wave on Omaha Beach:

On July 4th, 1944, the Bedford Bulletin reported that Company A had been commended for their actions on D Day – but still, no news about individual Bedford Boys. It was about this time that letters written to the men came back as undeliverable.

Bette Wilkes would be the first to get some news, a month after D Day, and it was much less than official. She was standing on a street corner when called to by a woman across the street. “Bette, did you hear about John?” Then the woman crossed the street – “he was killed.” Bette rushed home in a state of shock. Family tried to convince her that surely the government would have told her if anything had happened. Bette Wilkes never revealed the name of the bearer of bad tidings.

Another letter followed to the Fellers family that Taylor had been killed, but still no word from the Army. According to Helen Stevens, “it was like waiting for an earthquake.”

On July 17th, twenty one year old Elizabeth Teass reported to her job at Green’s drugstore where she was the Western Union Operator. She switched on her teletype machine and sounded a bell heard in Roanoke twenty-five miles away. She typed the words, GOOD MORNING. GO AHEAD. BEDFORD. Words came chattering back. GOOD MORNING. GO AHEAD. ROANOKE. WE HAVE CASUALTIES. Teass watched as one telegram, then two, then three came through. She waited for it to stop but it didn’t, not for a long time. Teass was in shock, why so many? But she knew her job. The families must be the first to know. …

There could not possibly be a more appropriate place for the National D Day Memorial that was dedicated on June 6th, 2001.

Of the thirty five Bedford Boys who went away to war, thirteen came home.


  1. The Memorial is at a very appropriarte place. Had never heard ot this. Thanks for sharing

    That town suffered a great loss.

    Reminds me of the five Sullivan brothers who went down to a watery grave on the USS .Juneau in 1942 along with 805 of their shipmates. Only 10 survived.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, June 6, 2014 3:04 pm @ 3:04 pm

  2. I remember reading long ago about the Sullivans, but for some reason I had it in my mind that they had gone down with the cruiser USS Indianapolis, which was torpedoed in 1945 just after delivering the Hiroshima bomb to Tinian. A lot of men survived the sinking, but fatigue and sharks got most of them — because the mission was so secret, Indianapolis was under strict radio silence and her itinerary not generally known. By the time she was reported overdue, only a few survivors remained.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, June 6, 2014 4:04 pm @ 4:04 pm

  3. Prety grim scene .Sinkimg of the Juneau..The Sullivan brothers Only 10 of the original 820 man crew remained alive when all rescue efforts were completed

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, June 7, 2014 4:48 pm @ 4:48 pm

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