French Lady Saves Lives
of 29th Inf. On Christmas Day
By Jack W. Lamken Co. E, 29 Infantry Reg, WWII
During WWII the 29th Inf. was unattached. We were on different details all
over France. At this time I was, along with 12 others from my company
guarding a supply depot in a small French village.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944, word came we were to be ready about
6:30 PM. to move out to the front lines.
A large truck convoy with a canvas cover picked us up. We stopped many
times during the night to pick up more men from our company.
It was cold and we almost froze. One truck broke down. We were travelling
on a paved road going toward the Our River.
Christmas Day, December 25, about 1:30 PM. we stopped at a French Chalet
and were told to go in and out as quickly as possible. Our Christmas
dinner was a slice of bread, peanut butter, jelly, and one cup of coffee.
We got back in the truck, still cold and hungry, so I decided while we
were waiting for the others to be served, to go to the back of the chalet
where there were people living. I told the fellows to give me any candy,
cigarettes, or whatever they had and I would see if I could get some bread
or more food.
So with my little French, I talked with the lady at the house. She said
they had no food at all. If fact, she showed me the empty cabinets.
I told her that I was sure that the when the soldiers were all fed, that
they would give then some food. She said, "I want to show you something.
We went out the back door and around the side of the house. She pointed to
the hill across the way. With the naked eye, you could see Germans moving
fast going West. The road and River Our was just ahead of us. She said the
Germans had planned to make it to Paris by Christmas.
I thanked her and hurried to find the lieutenant to tell him what I had
seen, and he said, "Jack, we were to have met the 1st Battalion at 11 am.;
it is now 1:30 PM. and were are lost. We are going to turn around and go
Everyone got back on the trucks and we left as fast as possible. If we had
continued on, we probably would have been ambushed, as we heard these were
German soldiers who spoke good English, wearing our uniforms, directing
traffic on this road, and would have sent us into the ambush. This
happened to many companies.
I will never forget the French lady who saved our lives on Christmas Day,
"Merci Beaucout, French Lady."
Lucky Lamken counts his blessings
by Mick Walsh
Jack Lamken knew the day was coming.
He was after all, in counterintelligence.
But the exact day and time?
"I wasn't in on that," he laughed.
So, on the morning of the largest seaborne invasion in history, the 30
year-old soldier was riding his bike near Southampton, one of the
launching areas from which 2,700 ships carrying 176,000 troops made their
way across the English Channel to France.
"I'm one lucky son of a gun," smiled the 88-year-old Pine Mountain,
Georgia, resident. "Oh, I later crossed the channel, but not on D-Day."
Lamken knew exactly what his fellow GIs would face once they landed at
Utah and Omaha beaches.
They had spent months training on the beaches near Southampton.
"We knew there were German boats in the channel and we knew they had heavy
fortifications on Normandy. What we didn't know was the exact day we'd be
On June 6, 1944, Lamken had an inkling that the invasion had begun when he
say "a sky full of our planes, some pretty banged up, returning to their
bases north of us. They were the ones which had made bombing runs over
Normandy that night and early morning. They were flying so low I could
practically count the bullet holes in 'em. To me, it was the greatest show
Actually, the luck of the Bloomfield, New Jersey, native had begun long
He spent much of the war far from harm's way, on an Army post new
But as plans for the invasion of Europe began in earnest, Lamken was
transferred to Great Britain.
Long after D-Day, he and members of Easy Company made their way across
France until arriving at what was to be called the Battle of the Bulge.
"We were the only company in the 29th Infantry Regt. that didn't suffer
heavy casualties. Again, I was just plain lucky."
Lamken returned home after the war, married his beloved Bet, fashioned a
successful career with the U.S. Postal Service and retired to the serenity
of Pine Mountain in 1979.
Though he survived the war unscathed, he finds his emotions running high
on each D-Day anniversary.
"These men, the ones in the picture with me, were part of the Royal Welsh
Fusiliers that I had befriended when I arrived in Southampton," he said.
After a second, he added: "And every one of them was killed in the
PETER STODDART born: ?..died 21 May 1875..PETER appears in the 1851
census as living in Stenhousmuir with wife and 5 (I think) children.
However in that census he states that he originally came from Perth. PETER
married HELEN LAIRD b: (7 Nov 1813), on the 8th April 1838 in Larbert,
Stirling (probably Church of Scotland). HELEN'S parents were JAMES LAIRD
and HANNAH TWEED.
They had the following children: JOHN abt 1839/1840 married JAMIMA WILSON
19 April 1864 (probably Falkirk), MARY b: 1 April 1841, MARGARET abt 1843,
AGNES b: 3 Aug 1845, PETER b: 11 Oct 1849 migrated to Australia after
1861, DAVID b: 16 Oct 1851, married JESSIE SHARP in Glasgow in Nov 1877,
migrated to Australia 1883..(my great grandfather), THOMAS b: 18 Dec 1853,
m MARGARET ROBERTS in Falkirk 1 July 1875, ISABELLA b: 24 Jan 1856.
There is a possibility that three of the above daughter migrated to the
USA about the same time as the other sons did to Australia. I fee that
migration took place after HELEN, their mother passed away. I do not know
when she died, but she was alive and living with her son PETER in Foundary
Road, Falkirk according to the 1861 census. Of course this was a
calculated guess on my part.
With the exception of my Great Grandfather DAVID all of the above dates
are church records and therefore probably christening dates.
I have searched for parents of PETER born in Perth and I come up with the
2 lots of possible parents, ie, JOHN STODDART married MARY BROWN in Perth
1811 and 1814 and on different dates.
As previously stated one STODDART finishes with a d and one with an a t. I
don't think you can rely on that and I go along with what you said in
regard to imputing of info. and the same name again in 1814.
If you have any information contact: Warren Stoddart, 70 / 274 Mulloway
Rd., Chain Valley Bay, NSW Australia 2259,
The name game, where did
that come from?
Have you ever wondered how your given name was chosen? Why do we, for the
most part, have middle names? For some it is as easy as looking back a
generation and you will find a like named person.
Was this the person for whom I was named? Maybe, maybe not. A good
discussion of naming conventions can be found in Emily Croom's Unpuzzling
Your Past, 2001.
Naming patterns have been used throughout history. The one that most
directly affects us in America is the one brought to the colonies from
England and Wales during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Croom,
Of course there were no rules concerning this practice, but it was adhered
to by many. Many times a middle name may be a mother's maiden name, a
practice to insure that her name was perpetuated in her new family. Here
is the most common pattern.
The first son was named after the father's father.
The second son was named after the mother's father.
The third son was named after the father.
The fourth son was named after the father's eldest brother.
The first daughter was named after the mother's mother.
The second daughter was named after the father's mother.
The third daughter was named after the mother.
The fourth daughter was named after the mother's eldest sister.
Thanks to the Ballentine Branches, 2714 Phyllis Dr., Copperas Cove, TX
Are you researching in Virginia?
The following is an example of our changing boundaries in this country
that has continued until today. In doing our research, we need to be aware
of these situations. Are you looking in the right place?
>From The Carolina Herald and Newsletter, Vol.XXX, No.2, April May June
>From 1728 to as late as 1863, a person born or living in Virginia could
have been in:
Any part of Illinois from 1781 to Statehood in 1818.
Any part of Indiana from 1787 to Statehood in 1816.
Any part of Kentucky from 1775 to Statehood in 1792.
Any part of Maryland from 1775 to Statehood in 1792.
Any part of North Carolina from 1728 to 1779.
Any part of Ohio from 1778 to Statehood in 1803.
Any part of Pennsylvania from 1752 to 1786.
Any part of Tennessee from 1760 to 1803.
Any part of West Virginia from 1769 to possibly as late as 1863.
Thanks to Bell county Genealogist, PO Box 851, Killeen, TX 76540-0851,
Newsletter of the West Bell Genealogical Society
What did geese mean in the Celtic Culture?
In Celtic culture birds are usually used to represent prophetic knowledge,
bloodshed, and skill. Birds represented the messengers and servants of
gods, omens of good or evil, bringers of luck, omens of death, and
sacrificial animals. The interpretation of the flight patterns, habits and
songs of birds were all methods by which knowledge of future events might
be told or an unfortunate circumstance avoided.
Supernatural powers were often attributed to birds by the Celts, primarily
because of their power of flight and ability to leave the bounds of earth.
Because of the ability of birds to navigate air, land and sea they were
often thought to be a link between this world and the Otherworld.
They were regarded as divine messengers with the ability to traverse
worlds, time and realities. The general qualities of birds which envoked
religious or symbolic importance for various Celtic cultures included
their ability to leave the earth and fly high in the heavens.
A number of birds in Celtic lore were considered symbols of war, depicted
on helmets that have been found by archeologists. Geese, ravens and crows
were associated with war because of their natural aggressive traits, which
envokes the ideas of conflict and combat.
In Central Europe and Eastern Europe, bones of geese have been found
buried in the graves of Iron Age Celtic warriors.
As with cockerels, Julius noted that Britons did not eat the flesh of
geese, suggesting a sacred taboo.
For more information go to:
http://www.users.bigpond.com/troy-kim/the_goose.html or The Iona
Community/Wild Good Publications at:
Thanks to Martha Mason and The Argent Castle, 3313 Dana Drive, Minnetonka,