My Army 'Book of Memories'
James Frank Alban Sr
143rd AAA Gun Battalion - WWII
There Are No Greater Heroes Than Those Who Defend Our Freedom
James Frank Alban Sr was my father.
We had studied our ancestry together for several years before his death on June 1, 2008.
The week after his death, I was at his home in Hudson Florida, searching through his meticulous ancestral records and memorabilia and came across an old book that he had used as a journal to record his experiences in the second world war.
The book is titled 143RD GUN BN and was compiled by officers and EM of the the 143rd AAA Gun Battalion.
It was printed by Richard Bechtle, Esslingen/ Neckar.
I could find no copyright information in the book, so I will treat it as public domain until someone comes forward to advise me otherwise.
It is most likely the Year Book mentioned on Page 38.
Dad's copy of the book was used to record his experiences during the war and was also used to keep track of many of his friends and acquaintances that served with him in Europe.
The book itself is out of print, but an occasional copy can be found by searching the title on Google. I've seen them priced from $70 to $200, depending on the condition.
This website is dedicated to all of our American Heroes that participate in the battle to preserve the freedoms we enjoy and our way of life. It is and will remain non-profit.
Taped in the front of his book was an email that he had received from a beloved friend Jim Potter and dad's reply
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Jan.
The graveyard in Normandy, France is beautiful, acres and acres of bright green grass, with thousands of bright white crosses and stars of David evenly spaced for what seems like miles and miles. The statues are amazing. Particularly the one showing an angel assisting the dying soldier off his horse to bring him to his final home. The little chapels are painted with glorious artwork and words that bring tears to your eyes. Silent crying is the norm for this place of reverence, here among the fallen heroes. All those who gave their lives to save others. Those that never made it back home to their own loved ones. Families who never got to see where their son, or father, or brother, or husband was laid to rest. The sea is gorgeous today. Not red anymore. I never knew the enemy had underground bunkers to hide in right where they could attack us at our weakest after getting over enormous, steep cliffs, seemingly impossible to climb.
I spent the evening with a family there whose matriarch was a young teenager living there when the battle went down. While we were taking turns on a scooter running down the slippery wet green slopes, I crashed into a tree. My ankle swelled immediately and I was carried into the living area of her cozy abode. She told me in broken English not to worry. Her son was a foot doctor. I laughed, saying how lucky could I be? She told me, Thank you. I asked what for, thinking, did she think I was going to sue her? Never! Thank you again she insisted. For what? I had chill bumps up and down my spine as she replied, 'Thank you, Americans, for saving us.' I wasn't even born at the time, and here I felt as though I was given a message to give to those brave soldiers of another time. Both dead and alive. Thank you, Americans, for saving us.
James: You do beat all for bringing back flashes of my past. My Army unit (143rd AAA Gun Bn) landed on Utah Beach France on August 31, 1944. If anyone had told me before the time that in landing onto a barge, I would have to crawl over the side of a huge ship on a rope ladder with full-field pack, a duffel bag and a rifle on my back, I would have thought it an impossibility. Seeing others doing it, I realized I at least had to try, and I made it.
Our outfit was fortunate indeed that the Germans had been pushed back as far as Paris by the time we got there.
This story (that you sent me) of the grave yard at Normandy, France has been printed out and will be included in my Army 'book of memories'. Many many thanks. Jim Alban
What a shame that the Fold3 website came along after dad died. He would have spent months building memorial pages to his comrades in the war.