James Nicholl Jr.

 

James Nicholl Jr. joined the Navy in 1944 to honor his father and history teacher. He would serve on several vessels, including an armed cargo vessel and mine sweeper, in Scotland, Russia and the North Atlantic. Nicholl would also serve during the Korean War.

James Nicholl Jr. during WWII.

 

James Nicholl Jr. among a group of veterans receiving diplomas from Everett High School.

 

James Nicholl’s certificate of honor for his service in the Korean War.

 

Citation from the American Legion; Nicholl served as a commander for Post 210.

 

 

Ferdinand “Fred” Lucontoni

 

“Fred” Lucontoni was drafted into the Army in 1943, and served in General George Patton’s 3rd Army, 733 Field Artillery Service Battery, as a machine gunner. He remembered seeing “thousands of planes” flying overhead en route to a bombing mission at St. Lo in France; Lucontoni also took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center by James Ramsey.

 

Hyman Hipsman

 

Holocaust survivor, Poland and Russia

 

Hyman Hipsman grew up in Wlodawa, Poland; after the German invasion in 1939, he went to work for a German war contractor, Bernhard Falkenburg, who saved Hipsman’s life on several occasions. When Falkenburg could no longer protect him, Hipsman went into hiding, and eventually joined a group of Russian partisans. Hipsman would lose his parents, two brothers and sister to Nazi atrocities.

 

 

Newspaper article about the Hipsmans’ experiences during the Holocaust.

 

Arnold Lessard

 

U.S. Army Air Corps, 1943-47

Arnold Lessard helped his father run a grocery store in Newburyport, and also owned a band that toured around the area. He enlisted in the Army in 1943; his ability to do math quickly helped him join the Army Air Corps soon after. He became a navigator and bombardier, and would be part of a B-17 crew testing radar equipment. Arnold Lessard was stationed in Japan during the American occupation. Lessard’s experience in the military led to a lengthy and successful career in consulting.

This interview was conducted by his son, Arnaud Lessard, at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

 

 

 

Walter Gilbert

U.S. Army, 1943-45

 

Walter Gilbert was born and raised in Cambridge. While a student at Northeastern University, he enlisted in the Army Reserve Corps, and was called up in 1943. Gilbert served in the 104th Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division as a platoon sergeant. He would see action in France, Luxembourg and Belgium, and would earn a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor for his service.

 

 

Walter Gilbert with his medals, 2018