D-Day Remembered

To mark the 73rd anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy, I wish to remember 4 servicemen from Mount Ephraim who participated in D-Day.  

Sergeant Joseph Kelly was the radio operator aboard a C-47 aircraft that transported paratroopers into France in the early morning of June 6.  "It was the greatest show on earth and I am certainly glad to say I was on it.  We dropped our troops and supplies right on the bullseye amid all the flak that was being thrown at us."  Kelly, a 1942 Audubon High School alumni, lived at 722 Gaskill Avenue. He enlisted in the Army after graduation and was sent to radio school in Chicago.  Kelly was assigned to a troop carrier unit at Maxton, NC., where he was stationed for several months before heading to England in early 1943. 

Corporal William H. Munro Jr. was a paratrooper who saw 37 days of action in France. He injured his knee upon landing deep into enemy territory on D-Day.  His regiment was scattered and Munro was listed as MIA for 9 days.  Of 18 reported missing, only he and 4 others safely returned to their unit.  William lived at 718 Gaskill Avenue in Mt. Ephraim and had attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden until 1941 at which time he joined the Army. He received his first training at Ft. Dix, NJ.  

Staff Sergeant James J. Mahoney of 22 East Kings Highay, Mt. Ephraim, served with the Rangers in France until September 22, 1944, when he was captured by the Germans at Belford Gap, France.  James was on patrol with 2 Americans soldiers and 2 members of the French Forces at the time. The others were able to escape while Mahoney covered them. He was sent to several POW camps until he and two others escaped from the camp on January 31, 1945.  Mahoney fought along side of the Russians and journeyed through several countries before finally making his way back to American lines on June 1, 1945 .  James previously saw action in Italy where he was one of only a dozen Rangers to survive the Battle of Cisterna.  

Corporal Delbert K. Sandt was with the invasion force that crossed the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.  He served with Headquarters Company of the 747th Tank Battalion.  He was at first only a spectator to the landings on June 6th, 1944 as the barge that held his tank was waiting just offshore of "Omaha" Beach.  The mass of machinery and manpower cluttered the landing site leaving them with nowhere to go until 3 days later.  Sandt and his tank disembarked on June 9 and was eventually killed in action on June 16.  The updated to his story will be posted next Friday.  

I thank them all for their service and sacrifice.


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