Friday, January 11, 2013

509th PIB Update: A Gift From Down Under

My mail carrier brought me a real surprise this afternoon. A reminder of a friend in Australia that I have yet to meet in person. I was contacted last November by  Frank, who lives in a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, concerning a research effort he was participating in. I never told Frank that my sister-in-law and her husband live near Adelaide, so through some weird association in my mind, I just had to help out. Just know that I have to jump in on anything having to do with researching the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. ;-)

You see, Frank has a friend who is the nephew of Kenneth Edney, a British paratrooper during WWII who happened to be killed in action at Anzio while he was with the Geronimos. Frank is helping his friend research the circumstances that led Edney to be with the 509th at Anzio, where no British Airborne units were deployed. There is also some confusion as to whether or not Private Edney was killed in action or taken prisoner and later died of his wounds. Kenneth Edney is mentioned in Richard Fisco's book, "Your Lives Will Be Beautiful," only in passing. Fisco mentions that he was with his scout section and again later, describing the circumstances of his death while on patrol in the area of Carano, Italy on January 30, 1944. My new friends in Australia report to have some documentation of other accounts that conflict with what Fisco remembered happening that day. I did not find Private Edney's name in any of the sources I used for "The Boldest Plan is the Best." I have to assume that he was with the Gingerbread men in an "unofficial" status. The questions I would really like to see answered is why was Private Edney with the 509th PIB at Anzio and under what authority? If anyone has any information about Private Kenneth Edney, his relationship and service with the 509th Parachute Infantry at Anzio, or in prior campaigns, I would certainly appreciate an email.

Back to the boomerang:  So during our correspondence we traded a few emails and I signed a copy of the book for him. As token of appreciation Frank sent me a boomerang! I LOVE IT! Actually, I'm looking at it right now sitting on a shelf over my desk. You know, the best thing about the adventure of researching and writing a history book is the contact with the readers and meeting people who share your interest in that piece of history that is so important to you both. Thank you, Frank. That was a classy gesture. I wish you good luck in solving your "history mystery" and I hope I have the opportunity to travel "down under" one day to meet you in person.

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