Thomas Fitzpatrick, US Army Air Corps (Transcript)

Interview with Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, U.S. Army Air Corps

Name: Thomas Fitzpatrick

Military Branch & Rank: US Army Air Corps

Dates of Service: 1943 – 1945

Date of Interview: April 3, 2019

Interviewer: Michael D. Brown

Audio Producer: Laura Bang

Length of Interview: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Transcribed by: Keith M. Mathews

Edited and annotated by: Laura Bang

URL for Audio:



INTRO (MICHAEL BROWN:): [Music playing in background.] Thank you for joining us today. My name is Michael Brown, and we are here today at Villanova University recording another installment of the Voices of Villanova’s Veterans. [Music stops playing.]

MICHAEL BROWN: Alright, today is April 3rd, 2019, and today I am joined by Thomas Fitzpatrick – a World War II veteran of the United States Army Air Corps[1] – and we’re going to listen to his story about his time before, during, and after the service and we are very excited to be here today with you and to hear that story. So, to get things started, talk to me about where you were born, where you grew up, and what your family was like.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: I was born in 1924. My dad had been in World War I, and, uh, he married shortly after he was discharged. My sister was born in 1922 and I was born in ’24. Things were pretty rural. The country was really just growing up back then. Uh, horses were still a big mode of transportation for, uh, milk delivery, bread delivery, and even wholesale delivery. They- ‘Cause my dad had a little, um, grocery store when he first got out of the military and they delivered, uh, a lot of wholesale things with a double-team of horses. And, uh, of course, you know, it was right after World War I, but I knew a lot of the boys of ‘98[2]. [Chuckles.]  The Rough Riders[3], you know- I knew a lot them. And, uh, I knew a couple of Civil War veterans and a couple of freed slaves ‘cause it wasn’t that far- you know, time was pretty short right in that period. Civil War was over in ‘64[4]. And a lot of them were young enough to still be, uh, active in my childhood.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: So, we lived in Wyndmoor[5] and, uh, as I say it was fairly rural. Um, I remember, these were back in the Depression years[6]


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: …and, uh, my father bought me a 16-gauge shotgun when I was about 12 or 14 and he said, “If you have some time, put a little meat on the table, boy.” [Chuckles.] So, I could go out in the morning before going to school in my area and, uh, bring home a couple of pheasants for dinner. That sort of thing.

MICHAEL BROWN: And how often did you do that sort of thing? Did you go out huntin’…?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Quite, quite, quite- I still do! [Laughter.]

MICHAEL BROWN: Well, hence why you bought a chainsaw the other day.[7]

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, I- I did that quite frequently, at least once or twice a week.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: We ate a lot of pheasant those days and that’s about $80 a plate at the Four Seasons. [Chuckles.]


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But, uh, by the time I went in the military I was a dead shot. So, I went to, uh, Seven Dolors[8] Grade-School and Northeast Catholic High School[9]. Our whole class was graduated in 1942. And, uh, we all went in the military. We were all just of an age. I wasn’t quite old enough, but I got a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture which was just opening a new laboratory in my neighborhood. And that was probably the best move I ever made, because I worked there for 10 months and then I knew I was going to be drafted, so I enlisted in the Air Corps- they opened it up for non-college graduates, before that it was for college graduates. But, uh, I tried to, you know, convey how rural and how, uh- the country was still in its infancy back then. Things were, uh, very rural and, uh, in fact, I liked it very much that way. You go fishing in clean streams and… [Chuckles.]

MICHAEL BROWN: Right. Everything was pristine.


MICHAEL BROWN: Uh, so what made you- what was so alluring about the Air Corps? What made you say, you know, that’s the choice I want to make as opposed to a different branch?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, I always, uh – my father was an artillery man. But, uh, I always [Clears throat.] thought I wanted to be a flier, even when I was a kid. I say that because, uh, when an aircraft would fly over, you’d call out all the neighbors – it was such a rarity. We’d all see this plane flying over, and I, uh- to digress, I actually met one of the Wright brothers[10]. He died in 1947- Orville Wright. But that was when I was in the military. But, uh, it- it was the coming thing, you know, it- and, uh, just like space travel is today for some of these younger chaps. So, I, uh, took the, uh, examination to be an aviation cadet and I guessed at half the answers, but I got a 99 on the test. That’s the- and I was in.

MICHAEL BROWN: Well, good!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: And a very stringent physical.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: And, uh, an eye exam, of course- which I wish I had them today. But, uh, we went, uh, down to Keesler Field, Mississippi[11] and we got complete infantry training. And that was in the summer, and, uh, Mississippi is very hot and uncomfortable in the summer.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Then the 50-mile hike or whatever it was. [Laughter.] And, uh, you know, we qualified with the machine guns and everything else. I enjoyed that a lot before- but then, we traveled by troop train from Mississippi to northern Minnesota. That’s about as long a train ride you can get. And that was on a troop train!

MICHAEL BROWN: Also a big change of climate. [Laughter.] Mississippi to Minnesota.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: It was. And, uh, but a troop train is run just like a military camp. You get off, you have drill, you have mess, you have everything else. And, uh, we’re with a bunch of Infantry mostly. It was only about 30 of us. So, um, we went to Moorhead, Minnesota[12]. An interesting aside – uh, I was interviewed in- at Flourtown a couple months ago for their archives in Chestnut Hill[13]. And the girl that interviewed me was from Moorhead, Minnesota…


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: …Little spot on the earth that I never knew there were- It was Moorhead State Teacher’s College. That’s where we had our aviation cadet training. And right across the river in Fargo, North Dakota, we learned to fly, at the Fargo airport. And that was a nice, uh, interlude, for the people out there- hardly knew there was a war on, you know, but, uh, I guess we were there for about 3 months or so. And then we travelled to Santa Ana, California. Am I getting ahead of myself?

MICHAEL BROWN: No, you’re good!


MICHAEL BROWN: So, first year in Mississippi. You take a train right up to Minnesota, you’re there for around 3 months. What year is this?


MICHAEL BROWN: So, this is right in the middle of the war.


MICHAEL BROWN: And now you’re headed off to California. What are you doing in California?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: That was for, uh, finding out where you were going to be on- on the plane. Classification. [Clears throat.] I was still, like, 18 years old. I didn’t even have a driver’s license. And, uh, even though I flew pretty well in Fargo – they thought I did a good job – I wasn’t cut out to be a pilot. One thing- I was going to be in the bombers and they were all 4-engine and my hand- my hand wasn’t big enough for the 4 throttles. You had 4 individual throttles. [Chuckles.] But there- I guess there were other reasons but- I, uh, could have been a bombardier, but I didn’t, uh, feel like I wanted to be a bombardier. So, I, uh, I chose to be a radio operator. A radio navigator really. We had a celestial navigator onboard who was a commissioned officer, but, uh, I was kind of a secondary navigator- radio navigator, they called it. And, uh, so we trained- we were formed into crews. We went to, uh, after we had classification and we found out what we were going to be, we went to, uh, Florida where we were formed into crews. And we stuck with these guys for the rest of the war. So, we, um, then trained on the B-17s, uh, flew all over Florida, night flights and everything else. One thing we did down there that was at, um- I’m getting my airfields mixed up. But anyhow the Memphis Belle[14] had flown there – familiar with the old Memphis Belle?


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: It came back from Europe and it was stationed at our airfield. So, for one reason or another, we won Crew of the Week. As a prize they were going to let us fly the Memphis Belle up to New York for 3 or 4 days then come back. And we were the last ones to fly the old Memphis Belle. It was kind of rickety, you know, after 25 missions over to Europe.

MICHAEL BROWN: Right, sure.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But I looked back at that as being a real privilege when I was- It was an unusual thing. But..

MICHAEL BROWN: And I see that you’re wearing your Memphis Belle tie today.


MICHAEL BROWN: Um, so, talk to me about what a radio navigator- What does a mission of a radio navigator- for all the listeners out there who maybe have no idea what that means.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, I didn’t do much navigation, but what I did was very important. As a radio operator, uh, we learned to use Morse code[15]. We had to get up to 25 words a minute and, uh, operate all of the radio equipment onboard- the intercom and repair everything as well. Uh, but the main thing we did was with the old key, we could let out a huge amount of trailing wire antenna, which had a lead ball on the bottom. And you could judge how much antenna you needed by an aural null. You had an aural sound on the radio- it went wooooo down to nothing, whirrrr and up again. But when you were down in that aural null, it tells you how much trailing wire to send out. And, from there, we could transfer[16] halfway around the world. And, uh, a friend of mine went to one of these exhibitions for a B-17 and he thought the radio room would be a whole phalanx of blinking lights. This little cigar box on the desk[17] was it. [Chuckles.] And you could- with that radio and that antenna you could- you could do a good job. Well, after we had trained at, uh, in- in Florida, we’re ready to go overseas. We flew up to, uh, Maine, and it was interesting. They used to fly the bombers from Maine directly to England or Europe, and, uh, half of ‘em never made it. So, Churchill’s[18] idea was to build a base in Newfoundland[19]. This cut several hundred miles off the trip. And that’s what we did. We were one of the early crews to land in Newfoundland. They have a big airbase there now, but it was pretty primitive when we were there. They had a steel-mat[20] runway and, uh, 50-gallon drums full of sand and gasoline, and a guy in a jeep would go down the line and light all these drums for your landing lights. [Laughter.] And you came. But we were there. It was under the auspices of the Canadian Air Force. We, uh- it started to snow, and we had 8 foot of snow. It was just before Thanksgiving.

MICHAEL BROWN: 8 feet of snow?!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: 8 feet of snow. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL BROWN: Just to clarify.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: We, uh, were snowed in there for best part of a month. And then, we were a squadron- we were going to go over in squadron strength. But when it was time to go, we had a malfunction and we had to stay behind and the rest of ‘em went on without us. So, we’re there for another week or two. We were flying a special aircraft. It was called a Mickey ship[21]. It had a transmitter in it which hung below, near the, um, lower turret. And what it would do- would block the German, uh, gunner’s transmission, you know, they picked you up on their radios. They had a special operator- this was called a Mickey ship and he would super-impose, um, a frequency on the German frequency which would block it. And then he would move along- He was able to block 3 different German frequencies with his frequency.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Up until then, we used what they called chaff to, uh, disturb the German gunner’s, uh, radio operator. It was just like Christmas tinsel. You threw bags of this stuff, it would be a big cloud, and it would, uh, hide your position and it helped a good bit. But the Mickey ship was really high-science, you know, with a different situa- but we were flying that ship over. And, uh-

MICHAEL BROWN: So, before we get to Europe, I want to talk to you about you growing up in Wyndmoor, you’re- you’re riding around on horses, you’re living a rural life.


MICHAEL BROWN: And fast forward a year, you’ve been to Mississippi, Minnesota, California, Florida, and Maine. Had you ever envisioned that you’d be travelling that much before you got to the age of 19 years old?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: No. I had never been any further than Atlantic City[22]. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL BROWN: And so, what was that travelling like and adjustment like? Was that- were you welcoming that or were you…?


MICHAEL BROWN: You were happy to be travelling all over the country.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I wasn’t a homebody or anything like that. We grew up pretty fast back then. I was tendin’ a big vegetable garden, shootin’ pheasants for the table and all by the time I was 12 or 14 years old. When I went to North Catholic- I guess you know where Wyndmoor is?


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: We walked from Wyndmoor to Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill every morning. Got the 23-car down to Broad and Erie and got the 52-car over to Frankford where Northeastern Catholic was. We had to be there at 8:30, so you know what time we had to leave Wyndmoor? And for 4 years, I never missed 1 day of school. I got a certificate for it.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: I was as healthy as a pig.

MICHAEL BROWN: And some days you went hunting for pheasant before you caught the car to the school!


MICHAEL BROWN: So, what time were you usually up in the mornings?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, during those high school years I didn’t do much morning hunting. Mostly my grade-school years I did that. [Laughter.] We were up- we had to leave- we got the 7 ‘o clock trolley in Chestnut Hill. So, we probably left Wyndmoor around 6:30, we were up at least by 6 or before that. And, uh, I had to pack my own lunch and, you know, that sort of thing. But, uh, the biggest surprise I got when commencement night was I got the certificate for complete attendance for 4 years.

MICHAEL BROWN: Yeah, that’s- that’s fantastic. No excuses. So now let’s go back to Maine – you’re about to fly over to Europe. What are you thinking about? Are you anticipating being part of this war? Are you nervous? What are your thoughts?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: No. Because it was- the problems you had at hand, you know. We were there over Thanksgiving, in fact the whole squadron hadn’t left yet, I might add. And the Newfoundlanders, they were not part of Canada yet[23]. They were independent- they had their own coinage and their own postage, but they, uh, had never heard of Thanksgiving, and they thought it was a great idea to set a day aside for Thanksgiving. And we put on- they cleared the tarmac of snow and we put on a military parade. And, uh, they thought that was a great thing. So, I guess they’re still celebrating it…

MICHAEL BROWN: Thanks to you! [Laughter.]

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But then, we were all alone one morning- we also needed a tailwind. One morning they woke us up about 4 am and they said, “You’re good to go.” Well, the celestial navigator- he’d been at his cups[24] all the night before and he was out like a light. So, we- you know, hot coffee, showers, everything else. We could pour him into the airplane, but he wasn’t capable of any navigation.

MICHAEL BROWN: So, he had a few too many the night before, is what you’re saying?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Exactly. The name was Sharp. Malcom Sharp. [Laughter.] But I had to navigate that bomber from Newfoundland to the Azores[25]. And I was 20 years old and I had 10 men and a bomber and I did it with the radio compass and a radio- I triangulated. I called Iceland, and, of course, I could call the Azores and Newfoundland so I could triangulate. And, uh, with the radio compass I could get headings, and then figure in the wind and the drift for the Azores. Fortunately, the weather was good all the way across. I could get weather reports from Iceland, and that was in a double-code that I had to encode and decode. But, uh, we had good weather all the way across and, uh, we finally got to the Azores. And I mentioned earlier about the trailing wire antenna. The air strip at the Azores was on top of a cliff. And we’re coming in, I thought we still had plenty of altitude and I didn’t wind in the trailing wire antenna. And all of a sudden, we’re on the ground and the trailing wire antenna is somewhere in the ocean. [Chuckles.] First thing out of the plane, a major gave me complete hell as I- it was only, he wasn’t really mad, but they put a new trailing wire antenna.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But, uh- That was a big surprise. You know, the Azores was a unique situation. It was owned by Portugal who were neutral during the war. And, uh, they still traded with Germany, particularly, um, [Taps table while thinking.] minerals. Now the Germans wanted the Azores for their submarine patrols. Those days, they were wreaking havoc with our shipping, you know, to Russia from the United States. And of course, we wanted the Azores for an interim, um, stop from Newfoundland to North Africa. Well, it sort of hung fire[26] for a while, but Churchill found an old treaty from 1367 that said we could protect the Azores if they were in danger of being engulfed by a foreign power.[27] And, one thing about the Germans, they honed to paperwork – treaty or whatever you had, they stuck to it. So, we were able to lease the island of Lajes[28], and they built a British air strip on Lajes. The Germans had one – we could see the swastika flapping across the water – on another island. But we did, uh, keep the submarines out of there, and it really helped a lot with our shipping. Uh, it was- We were only over there for a couple of days, thank goodness, but it was loaded with Bubonic plague. These lovely houses, thatch-roofed houses, they said stay out of them, you know, the rats are in there and they had a rat patrol go ‘round every morning and pick up these traps they had set overnight and they had this big pit filled with aviation gasoline lit and they just throw trapped mou- er, rat and everything into that. So, I think we- Now I talked to somebody in recent years, who had been there. It’s no longer a threat, so we probably did a lot to eradicate most of the Bubonic plague.

MICHAEL BROWN: How many rats are we talking about?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Thousands! So, we, uh, were told to stay away from stone walls and thatched-houses and, as I say, we were only there for 2 nights and then we took off. By then, the navigator was back on his feet, and we went to North Africa from there. And that was pretty interesting. We went to, um, the French Foreign Legion[29] base in Marrakech[30]. It’s still their base at Marrakech, but those days was primitive. But we got there late in the afternoon. They were lined up on the tarmac. They were playing the “Marseillaise,”[31] taking down the Tricolor[32]. And, uh, their chant was “Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le Légion étrangère” – “Hurray for death. Hurray for war. Hurray for the French Foreign Legion.” [Chuckles.] So, were there for a couple of days, and we ate horsemeat at least once and, I think, camel the second day. They don’t kill a camel until he’s too old to work so…  The horse wasn’t bad. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL BROWN: The horse “wasn’t bad.” What was the camel like?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Tough as boiled owl! [Laughter.] So, we, uh- we were glad to leave.

MICHAEL BROWN: How long were you there?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: A, a couple of days.

MICHAEL BROWN: And this is what year?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: It was still ’43.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: We, uh, we did get out into the town a little bit as a group. We carried our sidearms and all. That area had been cleared by, uh, the British by then- but they were auctioning off girls in the square, and these old Arab chieftains, they were picking them out and buying them for their harems and various things. And the girls were, uh, very happy because they were going to a better life than they had been brought up in, obviously. But, uh, as I say, it was pretty primitive. But we, uh, they had, uh… In addition to the Legionnaires, the French Legionnaires, they had the- I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing it right- the Gouams,[33] uh, part of a French territory in Africa, but they’d kill you as quick as look at you. They were, but, uh, and then we hopped across North Africa to Tunis[34] and, uh, I guess we were overnight in Tunis. They took us to some sort of a USO[35] show while we were in Tunis and there must have been a thousand GIs in there. But it was a good show. I remember one tenor and he sang a lot of Broadway songs including “Charmaine.” You remember “Charmaine”?

MICHAEL BROWN: I don’t remember “Charmaine.”

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: The- You gotta find “Charmaine”[36] somewhere on a record.  He had a- he was a little guy, but a great voice. I don’t remember anything else, but I remember “Charmaine.”

MICHAEL BROWN: So, what- with this USO there’s a thousand troops. Did they feed you well? Did they entertain you? What was that experience?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: That was the only entertainment that I think we ever got. They fed us well along the line. The USO didn’t feed us. I mean, it was the Air Force fed us. But the next day, we jumped up to southern Italy. North Africa had been completely won by then. And we landed at a little town called Gioia[37]. We couldn’t go to our regular camp because the mission for that day was just coming back and they were using the airbase’s landing strips. So we, uh, waited there for several hours and while we were there, a couple of planes had landed there that were, um, shot up a bit, but the crews were men that I had known back at Moorhead State Teacher’s College. They all had been in combat, you know, they were ahead of us. So, it was a little bit of a reunion there.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But, uh, then we got up to, uh, where we’re going to be permanently ensconced – Amendola Air Base[38] at Foggia – Foggia, Italy, which is, uh- The airbase we used was one that the Italians used in World War I. The Italians were our allies in World War I and they had the only bomber. The British and the French had fighters, you know, the Jenny[39] and the Spitfire[40], but they had no bombers. But the Itali- I did know the name of that bomber, it was named after the inventor but I can’t recall it now, but-. We sent the Yanks over to fly that in World War I and one of them was Fiella- Fiarella La Guardia[41]. Name ring a bell?

MICHAEL BROWN: Sounds like an airport in New York.[42]

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: It’s a generational thing, I think. [Laughter] Yeah, he was mayor of New York. Named La Guardia Field after him of course. And, uh, he used to read the funnies over the radio on Sunday morning for the kids. But he was a captain in the old Army Air Corps. He flew those bombers over the Alps into Germany.



THOMAS FITZPATRICK: So, we shared that base with the British. They were a branch of the 82nd Fusiliers. They flew night missions and we flew day missions. I got to know some of them, and, uh, they were great guys. They- they flew in small squadrons of, like, 3 bombers. And if they didn’t get caught in the lights, you know, but they kind of refused to fly day missions anymore because of the- the constant knock-downs. They had a lot of losses, but they would be coming back in the mornings as we’re gettin’ ready to go out. They’d be calling the tower and saying, “Well, we’ve got 1 or 2 dead aboard and a couple of wounded. What’s for breakfast?” You know? They were very British about it. [Chuckles.] But I, uh, I got to know one guy, his name was Robert Bruce McClain. And he’d slip me into their mess once in a while, ‘cause they had a rum ration every day. Every Brit had a silver cup equivalent to a double-shot and he’d slip me his cup and I’d get a double-shot of rum. But they had things like steak-and-kidney pie, fish and chips, a little different from our mess.

MICHAEL BROWN: What was your typical mess?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Uh, pretty much meat and potatoes, you know? [Chuckles.]

MICHAEL BROWN: So, you wanted something a little bit different every now and again?


MICHAEL BROWN: Ain’t nothing wrong with a little double-shot of rum on occasion.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yeah. That’s right. But he gave me his bonnet, his Glengarry bonnet[44], which I still have- maybe I should have brought some of these things today. But, uh, he said, “If you ever get to Scotland, wear my bonnet.” So, some years later, my sister and I, we did a lot of travelling in Europe. We got to Scotland and I wore his bonnet, but we found a town- he lived in the town of Dornoch[45].

MICHAEL BROWN: Yeah, it’s up in the north.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yes. Beautiful little place. But everybody knew everybody in the town, so we inquired at the church if Robert Bruce got back. They said he got back but he’s in the cemetery out here. He got back in a coffin.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: They took us out, showed us his grave. And that hat means so much more, so much more to me now than it did before that, you know. But, uh, where were we here now?

MICHAEL BROWN: We were- you were talking about the- how the day missions and the night missions, they’d be coming back. And so, talk to me about what these missions are. What are your- what are you going out there and doing? Um…

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, we had briefing. We were up at about 4 am, I guess. The radio operators had a separate mission ‘cause we got all the codes for the day and all the paperwork, which incidentally if we were going down we put all those codes inside the radio and push the button, there was a bomb in there that blew everything up. But, uh, and the pilot and the co-pilot and the navigator- they had their own briefing. They got the targets for the day. But it was common knowledge there were spies in the camp. They usually were children. They would post the, uh, target for the day on a bulletin board and these people would convey it to the Krauts[46], you know, these kids, because it was these radio people- Axis Sally, have you ever heard of “Axis Sally”?[47]


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: She’d get on the radio and, uh, she’d tell you, “We’re coming. We’ll be ready for you when you get here.” I think she was either American or British or something like that. A traitor of course.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But, uh, they tried to scare you: “Your wives and girlfriends are home, uh, making love to other men while you’re over here fighting.” And all demoralizing sort of thing. But, uh, Axis Sally. So the- the target was pretty well known throughout Europe. [Chuckles.] So, uh, we’d rally- we took off but there were several bomb groups all over southern Italy and it’d take us several hours to rally, maybe we’d put a thousand bombers together. And, uh, when you went into a target with a thousand bombers, you looked out the window and you said, “That is Uncle Sam.” It’s a great thing to see a thousand B-17s flying into- into combat. Our first mission was rather a what we called a “milk run.”[48] It was a [Pause.] castle-something. It was to, uh, a factory- a chemical factory. And it was a s- it was a rather simple target with very little aircraft and no fighters, so it was a good break-in for us, you know. But they all weren’t that good. We, uh, our targets primarily were oil. I was on the last mission to Ploesti[49] in Romania.  If you didn’t have religion before you went to Ploesti you had it afterwards, you know. And, uh, fortunately I wasn’t on the first mission. We had about 7 or 8 major missions, ‘cause that was Hitler’s major oil supply – Ploesti. And, uh, it was well fortified.[50]

MICHAEL BROWN: So, it was a dangerous mission.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Very dangerous, very dangerous. [Chuckles.]

MICHAEL BROWN: But a very strategic…

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Very. Yeah. He didn’t want to lose all that oil.

MICHAEL BROWN: And we didn’t want to allow him to have all that oil.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Chuckles.] We hit oil- there were 7 oil refineries around Vienna. And then he had, uh, a synthetic oil refinery at a place called Wiener Neustadt[51]. It was about as big as Villanova, I think. And we had to make many flights up there to knock it out[52], but, uh, getting back to Ploesti, er, check this, a lot of the planes got shot up pretty badly, but they would start home and then get as far as Yugoslavia and either had to crash-land or bail out. Now, when we first got to Europe, we backed a gentleman called- he had been general of the Army when Yugoslavia was a monarchy. His name was Mihailović[53] and he had a group called the Chetniks. Germans occupied the whole country at this time, but he was an underground chap, and he took all these downed airmen in, put a few in each village and try to get enough food for them. Meanwhile, Marshal Tito[54] came on the screen. And he was Communist, and he had a little hookup with Russia, so the British backed him, particularly Churchill. So, we stopped backing Mihailović and we started backing, uh, the Communists.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yes. And, uh, the thing is we did nothing- the numbers of airmen that were down reached 500 and we did nothing to get them out. This is what they didn’t want to hear at the Pentagon. [Chuckles.] Called the “Forgotten 500.” And, uh, “Wild Bill” Donovan[55] was head of the OSS[56] at that time, which became the CIA, he had formed this group – and he was “Wild Bill” – but he had a lot of wealthy people in there who had been to Europe and were bilingual and that sort of thing and used their talents, and, uh, one of ‘em was that radio-cook-lady that, maybe the girls know her?

Female Voice: Julia Child?[57]

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yes. She was one of his operatives when she went to Burma.[58] But, uh, he said he was going to get these GIs[59] out of Yugoslavia. So he had them build- we dropped in guys with black parachutes and radios. They, uh, had these guys build an airstrip up in the mountains right under the nose of the Germans. And, uh, when it was finished, we flew in C-47’s and we got every one of those guys out.[60] They had to leave their shoes behind ‘cause Mihailović’s army didn’t have shoes. So they had to leave their shoes behind. [Chuckles.] That’s the happy part! Then, Tito accused Mihailović as conspiring with the Germans, had him arrested, the 500 that he freed marched around the city hall in New York City protesting this arrest by Tito. Tito had him executed and buried in an unmarked grave.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: And as I told them in the Pentagon, we could have saved this man with ease – send a brigade over there, or maybe even done it diplomatically, but, uh, they let him swing in the wind. There was a few red faces on that.

MICHAEL BROWN: Yeah, I’m sure. They didn’t want to hear that.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Laughter.] No. But I knew a lot of those guys that were freed, you know, they were fellow flyers- fellow airmen. But, uh, it was a great thing at least to get them freed. And then, uh, as I say, we continually bombed the oil refineries. We always had a military target. I can’t say the same for the British, because- but they suffered a little different war than we did. But, uh, Air Marshal Harris[61], he was the one that picked these, uh, German targets out for the British, and they carpet-bombed municipalities. [Chuckles.] They- they- they weren’t particularly after a military target, but we refused to bomb anything that was not a military target. It made me feel pretty good, but, uh, there was one non-military target. Fortunately, I had not joined the group yet at this time. I joined the group, uh, it was about Christmas in 1944 when we got into the- we were the second bomb group, 15th Air Force. But, um, in February of that year, there was a monastery called Monte Cassino Abbey[62] and it was in the path toward Rome. It took our army a year to fight from Naples to Rome. And, uh, Kesselring[63] was the German general, he was an expert. He stopped the- it was the British Army and our- our 8th Army and the British 5th Army were struggling North. Well they hit Monte Cassino and they were stopped there and it wasn’t so much for the Abbey but there was, I think, the Rapido River[64] came- all of the rivers that came out of the Alps and the Adriatic, he had the Magano Line, the Hitler Line, and stopped everything on the way north.[65] Well there was an Australian general that said that the Germans were using the Abbey as an artillery base and that, uh, it should be bombed. Well, Mark Clark[66] flew- our General, he didn’t see any German artillery or Germans in there. And he was right, because Kesselring had been educated by the, uh, Benedictines and he said, “Hands off the Abbey.” And, uh, the monks were still in there. But what never came out, probably for a reason, was 250 men, women, and children, had taken refuge in the Abbey, thinkin’ it wouldn’t be bombed. Well, then Churchill got on the same tack and he said the Abbey should be bombed. So, uh, they listened to him. On February the 14th at 9am we flew 47 bombers up and leveled the Abbey.[67]

MICHAEL BROWN: And everyone in it…

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: The monks survived. They went down in what they call the crypt, but they never said anything about the 250 men, women, and children – the civilians. Never heard anything more about them, but I think every one of them were annihilated.[68] Normally, I would have been on the first plane, you know? Fortunately, I wasn’t there. They didn’t want to hear that- [Laughter.] But these are things that just happened in wartime and, uh, that happened in February, and it was May before they finally took the Abbey ‘cause when it was a ruin, then the Germans moved into the ruins and it was a real fortification and it held us back from February until May.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Finally, the Polish troops took it in May and, uh, the Allies were able to proceed north into Rome.[69] Rome fell the same day as D-Day. People don’t know that, but we were- we got page seven[70], I think. You know, because D-Day- [Chuckles.] We took Rome, that was in June- June the 6th.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: So, it- that was an interesting part of the war. The Germans still held everything north of Rome.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: And, uh, we’d fly over every morning, but, uh… We had R&R[71] and, incidentally, right near our airbase was a little town called San Giovanni Rotondo[72], and the parish priest there was Padre Pio[73] who was a Capuchin Franciscan[74] priest, and he, uh, he had the Stigmata[75]– he had the Five Wounds of Christ.[76] But we’d go up there to hear Mass. I got to know him pretty well. And, uh, in fact, he wanted me to serve his Mass one day, but the Italian Latin was mostly Italian and not Latin and I wasn’t familiar with it. I wish I’d have given it a try nowadays. [Chuckles.] I knew he’d be canonized someday, but I still call on him. “I knew ya, Pio!” Believe it or not, some of the favors I’ve gotten- you’d be surprised. [Laughter. Coughing in background.] But, uh, that was a high- a highlight- high spot. And then I had R&R in Rome, for a week or so, and we lived in, uh, Millini’s[77] troops’ barracks- that’s where we lived for R&R. But, uh…

MICHAEL BROWN: What’d you on R&R? Did you get to see some—



THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Saw the sights, but, uh, the highlight was- I had a private audience with the Pope. The Red Cross was giving us tours, but we could see that they were only able to hit the “highlights.” So, we asked if we could get our own personal guide. And they said, “We’ll get you a guide.” Three of us. So, we got this chap, as they came around the next morning, “we got a guide for you.” His name was Francesco Frederici. He had been educated in the United States and, uh, he was kind of the go-to guy – he knew everybody in Rome. Uh, but, uh, he took us into places where you never would get- the Vatican Art Gallery[78] [Coughing in background.], but the highlight was the Vatican Stacks.[79] Nobody gets in the Vatican Stacks! They have, you know, paperwork in there from before Christ. [Chuckles.] And, uh..

MICHAEL BROWN: And you got to see it all!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yeah. We spent an hour down there, I guess. But he- all he’d do- knock on the door, he’d say, “Give me about 3 American cigarettes” – that was the “open sesame.”[80] With his knowledge and the cigarettes, that’s where we got in every place in Rome. [Chuckles.] But then we had the audience with the Pope. There were 12 of us, they call it a “private audience.” And they were, uh, different members of the Allied army, but, uh, when the Pope came out they said, “Make sure you say, ‘Viva il Papa.’[81] So, we yelled, “Viva il Papa!” when Pius XII[82] came out. He was, uh- big, tall, very intelligent man. But he’d just look at your insignia[83] and talk to you in your own language. He was proficient in 12 languages. So that was the high spot.

MICHAEL BROWN: What’d you- What’d you talk about with the Pope?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, he did most of the talking. He hoped that we would be safe for the remainder of the war. He thanked us for, uh, freeing Rome and all the rest of it. There was a movie out called The Scarlett and the Black.[84] It’s a DVD if you haven’t seen it, and you can get a hold of it. That does a pretty good job of, uh, describing Rome during those days. If you got inside Vatican City, you were safe, even though the Germans occupied Italy, you know- that part of Italy. But, uh, I had three friends that made it in there. They walked around the city for 2 or 3 days trying to get in. They finally found a tree where the branch went over the wall. So, up the tree they went and over the branch and down. [Laughter.] So, they were safe, secure. But this Scarlett and the Black gives a lot of that, you know, how they took care of Allied airmen. Gregory Peck, he’s the lead in it.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Does a good job, but, uh… That was about all we did on those R&Rs. They were only about a week. But we went back to flyin’ and on, I guess it was our 13th mission, our ball-turret gunner got hit. It was a pretty- you know, was hanging underneath the bomber. His name was Joe Martin. Fortunately, the seat in that turret was armor plate and we all had these things like catchers used to wear- breast protectors, and he always sat on his. And, uh, when the piece of flack hit him it had to penetrate the armor plate and the other thing- it caught him right in the left-hip. So, it wasn’t awfully serious but scared the hell out of him. And I got him out of that turret and, uh, took him up in the radio room. We had to cut his heated suit- we wore heated suits that plugged into the aircraft’s heat- electrical supply to get at his wound. Am I running over time?

MICHAEL BROWN: No, you’re good! You’re good. Keep going.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: And, uh, to get at his wound- so we fixed him up. I was the Red Cross on the airplane in my-

MICHAEL BROWN: The combat medic!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Laughter.] But I didn’t have to give him a shot or anything like that. We didn’t even have antibiotics yet. We had Sulfa[85], so we put a bunch of Sulfa in his wound and, uh, we were still at high altitude and when we cut his suit off he wasn’t getting’ warm anymore so, it was after the target, and we were able to get back over the Alps and drop down to a much more friendly altitude. So, we got Joe into the 61st Station Hospital in Foggia. And, uh, he didn’t fly anymore, but they fixed him up and, uh, I was able to find in the ball-turret the piece of flack that hit him. It was just about as big as your fist. But, uh, and he was the last one I had any contact with. He only passed away about a year ago. He lived in Fort Worth, Texas. We both belonged to the, uh, Second Bomb Group Association[86]. That’s how I got to know him. Lost track of all the rest of the crew. But Joe always claimed I saved his life. I think he would have lived one way or the other. [Chuckles.] But, uh, fortunately he was the only casualty we had. I had a minor accident coming back over the Alps on a future mission, we hit an air pocket and that bomber dropped 5,000 feet in a matter of seconds, and it took the pilot and co-pilot all their strength to pull that bomber out of it, but I didn’t have my seatbelt on, and, when that bomber dropped, my head hit the ceiling and I split my head open. [He imitates the sound of hitting his head.] It bled like hell. Didn’t break any bones. But when we got back on the ground, uh, I went up to the flight surgeon and he said, “Ah I can clean that up.” So, he did. He bandaged me up. He said, “Now you can get down to the highway and thumb-it into the 61st Station Hospital, you stay overnight, maybe they give you a Purple Heart, or you can go to dinner.” And I said, “Well sir, I haven’t eaten since 4 o’clock this morning. I’ll pass up the Purple Heart and go to dinner.” I went to dinner, and, uh…

MICHAEL BROWN: Hopefully the dinner was- was some good food!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Laughter.] We had good food, yeah. But the thing was, I was all bandaged up and there were two new crews that come over from the States and they saw me, you know, with a little blood on the bandages and they panicked. “This is what we’re getting into?!” The sad thing was, the very next morning, it was a rainy morning, and they flew a practice mission. They used to do this when you weren’t flying a combat mission. And these two new crews were involved in this practice mission. One of ‘em smacked into a mountainside and killed the whole crew—


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: —that I had seen just the night before in the mess hall. They had to send the infantry up there to get them out, you know, the bodies. But that was a sad…

MICHAEL BROWN: Yeah, that’s terrible.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: There were things that we- you know, shouldn’t have done things like that. You know, it’s pouring rain, cloudy day, these people didn’t know the terrain. Didn’t know there was a mountain there and smacked into it. It- Another thing they asked me at the Pentagon, I said, uh, another thing I disliked was four weeks before the war was over, they sent us to Berlin. Now, Berlin had been leveled by the 8th Air Force from England for two years. There wasn’t hardly a stone upon a stone left. And I think they just wanted to get it in the books that we had bombed Berlin. It was a 7-hour flight from Southern Italy to Berlin. Luckily, I was not scheduled to fly, but they took, I think, 147 bombers up there to bomb the Opel[87] car factory which was making tanks. So what if they were makin’ tanks? They didn’t have enough gas- we found aircraft on the ground that never had a drop of gasoline in them! So, four weeks before the end of the war, they’re worried about somebody makin’ tanks? [Chuckles.] The sad part is we lost two crews. four weeks before the end of the war. Didn’t like to hear that at the Pentagon. They did tell me, they said, today we would have had some input, even enlisted men would have had some input today and maybe scratched that mission. ‘Cause we knew the war was practically over. We ran out of targets! So, uh, but that was another sad story.

MICHAEL BROWN: A little bird is telling me that you have an interesting story about the German Luftwaffe prisoners-of-war.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Yeah, we had a good relationship with the Luftwaffe. They never joined the Nazi Party to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler.[88] And, uh, a common denominator that we were fliers- they called it Brüderlein, “little brothers.” And, uh, we had a little POW containment on our base, and they ate the same food we did, they saw the same movies that we had, and word got back to Germany and they tried to treat us in a similar manner. Stuck to the Geneva Convention[89] and, uh, so that was a good thing. The, uh, there was one incident. It was well publicized; in fact, it was in the Philadelphia papers. Uh, a B-17 was shot up on a mission and his compass was shot up and he thought he was flying back to England, but he was flying east. And all of a sudden this enemy 109 came up and he had- one of his crew was dead and two or three were severely injured and he had a big hole in the fuselage, but he thought this enemy 109 was going to finish him off. But he waggled his wings – “follow me” – so he escorted him all the way back over Germany, all the way over these anti-aircraft batteries, but they saw the enemy 109 and thought he was in control- took him all the way to the French coast and gave him a salute, sent him home.[90]


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: It’s called a higher calling. There’s a book out with that same title, A Higher Calling[91]. But that’s how the, uh- the Luftwaffe were gentlemen, you know, you can still fight a war in a gentlemanly fashion. [Chuckles.] But it was an interesting thing, uh… When the war was over in Europe, before Japan surrendered, we had R&R up in Rome again and, uh, we were near the Vatican and everybody was running up toward the Castle San Angelo[92]. So, we ran with everybody and I was standin’ on the curb and this big open car came by and, in the back seat was King Victor Emmanuel[93] and his son Umberto II[94]. They put the king back on the throne right after the war, but, uh, only for about a month.[95] June the 2nd was the Fourth of July in Italy – that’s when they voted to have a democracy.[96] But, as the car came by, uh, Umberto was only about as close as you and I, so I put my hand out and Umberto but his hand out and I shook his hand. It was interesting, uh, the rest of the family went to Switzerland after they- it became a democracy. But they also had an estate in Portugal, which I didn’t know until my sister and I were on a trip to Portugal and we were on the bus on a coast road and the bus stopped to point out some archeological, uh, machinations that the sea had carved out. And we got off the bus, but on the other side of the road I saw these two pillars, and one of them had a little sign that said Italia. And, as I stood there, a convertible came out the driveway and who was driving it? Umberto II.[97]


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Twice in one lifetime! I was giving a talk to the Italian American Club in Chestnut Hill[98], they said, “Did you shake hands with him the second time?” [Laughter.] I would have, had I been close enough! That was a real kick, you know, unusual situation. So, it was pretty much all over by then, uh, and the thing had broken out in North Korea.[99] We thought maybe we’d be sent to North Korea, but, uh, I guess they didn’t need a bomb group- at least they didn’t need our bomb group. But I had tallied up enough points, I don’t know what the break point was, but I had 96 points, and this entitled me to- to get out.[100] So, I had an opportunity to come back either in a war-weary airplane or on a ship. Well, just before I made up my mind, a war-weary airplane full of GI’s crashed on take-off and most of them were killed af- after having fought a war. So, I naturally chose the service vessel. I came back on a Victory ship[101], the Lake Charles Victory[102], and it was just a few airmen and the 52nd Infantry, the Blue Devils[103], and they were a hard bunch of men. They had been in the line for about two months and they lost a lot of their personnel. They had a grievance with an officer, and I’m not going to go into the details of that – which I’d rather forget – but, uh, I was in charge of feeding these guys, two meals a day – not three meals, we had two meals a day – but, uh, I gave them everything I could get – extra milk, extra everything. So, they confided in me and told me a lot of their secrets, but they had a big, uh, poker game going in the galley. There were three guys ended up with all the money, and it narrowed down to one guy, and he walked away with $6,000. He had the ship’s captain put it in the safe ‘til we got back home. [Chuckles.] It was just a sea of faces in there watching each card flip over.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: But that was, uh-

MICHAEL BROWN: How long was that journey home on the ship?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: 14 days. From Italy, through the Mediterranean, and across the Atlantic- we come into Newport News[104]. It was an interesting thing- an old Irishman, uh, told me why they named the Strait of Gibraltar, “Gibraltar,” and the Rock of course. He said when you come out of the Mediterranean, to either go north or south you had to alter your jib sail[105] in the old sailing ship days. So, jib-alter. I think you…[106]



MICHAEL BROWN: Interesting. The things you learn!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Old Jim […][107], he taught me that. So, fortunately, it was a- I lost- think I lost 30 pounds on that trip back, which I needed to do, but after feedin’ these guys and I hardly got any sleep or anything else. So, after we got off at Newport News, we, uh… We hired a car, a bunch of us, they included me, we drove up to Washington, and then I was able to get a train to Philadelphia, and then out into the suburbs and home. But, luckily as I mentioned early in the interview, I had already worked for the federal government for 10 months and under the GI Bill[108], they had to reserve your position until you returned, and if someone had temporarily taken over your job, uh, and they got any raises or anything, you acquired them when you came back.[109] You got your job back and- Well, my job had been taken over by a lady who had a college degree, and they gave her a higher rating and when I came back I got her rating, but fortunately she married the boss, so no hard feelings. She just passed away too, a couple of months ago. Nice lady. But that GI bill was a wonderful thing. It was Harry Truman that signed that[110], and they had to fly a senator in from one of the midwestern states at midnight to give the one vote that passed it, ‘cause it was not welcomed by everybody. My father was a Democratic committeeman at that time and he- they had meetings and, uh, we lived in Wyndmoor, a very wealthy area, it was all big estates, and those that worked for them. But, uh, they did not want a free education for the general population! So, it was a hard-fought thing and this one vote from this senator that the American Legion flew in from Nebraska or some place at midnight to cast that one deciding vote.[111] And that gave a free education to 12 million guys and we had prosperity through the ‘60s and ‘70s, you know, that we haven’t had since! But, uh, I went back to the laboratory and picked up my job and then I was able to get a leave of absence for all of the school years, and then go back there and work in the summertime. So, I got my bachelor’s degree at Penn State. Got a master’s degree at the University of Maryland, and a doctor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts. Free. Try that today! [Laughter.] But, uh, it was a wonderful opportunity. Might I have been a machinist, I might have struggled to get some sort of education but that made it a lot easier, I’ll tell you. And I worked at the laboratory in between, the summers, then I spent the rest of my career there. Did a lot of work on pre-natal vitamins, and, uh, lactose-free milk and things that you hear about today, but, I retired at 55 and they counted my Air Force time because it was government time and I had 40 years and counting that. So, after that I was offered three jobs after I retired- teaching jobs at Saint Joe’s Prep and another girls’ college. But I figured I’d worked long enough, and my parents were getting elderly and so I hung tight and did a lot of hunting and fishing, and travel. I took my sister to Europe about five times and we saw a lot of great things. I know Europe from one end to the other. The names of the streets, practically! [Chuckles.] But, uh, that sort of brings me up pretty much to the present. You know, my parents became ill and passed away. My father lived to be almost 100 and my mother lived to be 95. And then I- I was relegated to take care of two of my mother’s sisters ‘til they passed away. And then my sister came along, and she just passed away a couple of years ago. We took care of her and she lived to be 94. So, I- I’m into horses. I have a riding club at one of the stables and I have five horses and 15 members. And, uh I compete in the Devon Horse Show[112] and things like that. And I still hunt deer and bear and that’s about it.

MICHAEL BROWN: So, you’re living a- you’re still living an active lifestyle!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Laughter.][113] Yeah, very active.

MICHAEL BROWN: Well, good! I love hearing that. So, when you look back on your time in the military, what are some of your fondest recollections?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, we had a wonderful crew. Uh, our pilot was named Clifford Foose[114]. He was only 24 but he was a big, massive man, you’d think he was 30 or so, you know. Great pilot, and, uh, the day that we really got shot up, um, I guess number-one engine, a piece of flak[115] cut the drive-shaft and we couldn’t feather the engine[116], so it windmilled at a million-miles-an-hour and it made the plane shake like a milkshake machine and then it went on fire. We were over Germany at the time, so he rang the bail-out bell and everybody put their chutes on and they were ready to jump, the CO2 bottles between all the engines, the co-pilot pulled the first CO2 bottle – didn’t put the fire out. He rang the bail-out bell again and we were ready to jump. He pulled the second CO2 bottle – fire went out, so we didn’t have to jump. That was as close- I could see the guy down there with a pitchfork waiting. [Laughter.] That, uh, we got up, and number-four engine then quit so we got back over the Alps with two engines. You needed 18,000 feet to get over the Alps and then down through the Brenner Pass so we made it home. The pilot got the Distinguished Flying Cross for that mission, which he well deserved. But we had a lot of faith in him and we could count on him to bring us home, including that Boeing B-17. I say “Boeing” tongue-in-cheek, you know, right now, [Chuckles.] the problem they’re having with the new bomber. But I still have a lot of Boeing stock and it’s doing very well. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL BROWN: Uh and now you’re living in Flourtown now, right?


MICHAEL BROWN: I live just up the street. I live up in Lafayette Hill. Um, but, you know, now that you’ve- you’re not hunting pheasant for dinner anymore, but you’re still hunting and you’re still active.


MICHAEL BROWN: You know, if someone’s listening and they’re thinking about joining the military, what advice would you give those people?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, I encourage- I’ve been encouraging my nephew’s three sons to join the military. I haven’t had any takers yet. But, uh, even the Coast Guard, because a military background opens a lot of doors for you and, uh, like yesterday, I bought a chainsaw up at Lowe’s, I got a 10% discount. They opened a special register for me, because the other one was filled up with people and they had special parking places out front – “Veteran’s Only,” you don’t even have to have a card, you know. If you’re a veteran, you park there. All these little things add up, you know, in the- I think. I will say I belong to a military club in London, because of my affiliation with the Brits, and, uh, and, uh, they take good care of their vets over there, maybe a little more so than we do here. I never pay for a drink over there, if I have one of these hats on, you know. “Hey yank! How ‘bout a drink?” And I belong to this, uh, club in London called the Victory Service Club.[117] Beautiful club, right near, uh, Speakers’ Corner[118] in London. And, uh, I haven’t been over there now for a couple of years. I’d like to get back again, at least once. [Chuckles.] The dues are 20 pounds a year though, I think I can find that somewhere. But, uh, I like the Brits. My sister and I have eaten at the club a lot of times. They have a “buttery”[119] for lunch and we have, uh, maybe fish and chips or something great, but, uh, what else have I missed here?

MICHAEL BROWN: Well, I think you’ve lived a- a great life, and hopefully we have many more years of you huntin’ bears and flyin’ to London.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, you know, people wonder why I have pushed back the aging process. I kid them and say it’s wine, women, and song, but it’s really not, it’s a lot of biochemistry. I read the scientific literature constantly and they’re doing an awful lot of work on pushing back the aging process, particularly at Harvard, Dr. Sinclair at Harvard.[120] He said he’s doing it for his own personal longevity, but he’s come out with some wonderful things. And the British just finished a study on a drug called Metformin[121] which is commonly given to diabetics, uh, the British discovered it in 1957[122] but it took 20 years before we okayed it. But they just found out that it increases the lifespan by 25 or 30 years.[123] Our government has picked up on it, they’re working around the clock on it. You’re going to be hearing more about it. They’re trying to get a- a- a clinical trial of 3,000 people. Drug companies aren’t sponsoring that ‘cause they don’t want to hear it, and neither does our NIH[124], but a private group that’s trying to get this, uh, group together, you know, to- to prove the British work was true. I’ve been aware that it has this propensity, maybe not quite to that extent, but I’ve been takin’ it myself for 4 or 5 years. It’s cheap as dirt. You can take it like jellybeans, I think 2000 milligrams a day. No side effects. And I think that’s one of my contributors, one of many.

MICHAEL BROWN: What’s it called again? [Laughter.]

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: M-E-T-F- [Chuckles.] Metformin. So, that’s uh- you need a prescription for it, but if you have a friendly doctor you can, you know… And doctors are going to be prescribing it now because NIH is behind it- our government is behind it. So…

MICHAEL BROWN: Well, good! I hope it gives you another 25 or 30 years. I think that would be fantastic.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, that and a few other things.

MICHAEL BROWN: Sure. A glass of wine every now and again never hurts anyone.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: The first one that, uh, Sinclair came up with was discovering the French Paradox – why the French can eat pâté de foie gras and smoke like chimneys and still live longer and healthier than we do: because they drink red wine every day. Well, Sinclair isolated the active ingredient in the red wine, called reservatrol[125] and it has to do with your telomeres[126]. When every one of your, uh, elements- you have a tail like on a pollywog, and on the end of that tail you have a telomere, just like the plastic ends of your shoelaces, and every time that- it turns over, every time it regenerates itself, the telomere gets a little shorter until it gets so short the cell dies and that’s the end of that cell. But what- through this reservatrol, prevents that telomere from ever getting any shorter. It was on 60 Minutes![127] So thereby, you could live forever. And, um, there is a group that- that claims your lifespan is definitely based on your telomeres. So, there’s another one. You can write that one down. [Laughter.] You can get that over the counter. [Laugher.] But, uh, and there’s a few more, they just found another one. The space people- they tested the atmosphere and they found that everywhere on the planet there’s an element called Pyrroloquinoline quinone.[128] PQQ for short. [Laughter.] And what that does is your- increases your mitochondria.[129] Your mitochondria are the power elements that make your heart beat, your lungs contract, and everything else. There’s nothing else that will, um, give you more of them except this PQQ. You have other things that will maintain the ones you have, although they do decrease as you get older, but PQQ will increase the number that you have.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Of course, I’ve been taking that ever since it was- it’s only been discovered about a year ago. But the, uh, space people discovered that one. PQQ. [Laughter.] And a couple more, but they’re the three main ones.


THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, Tom, I think it’s been a pleasure sittin’ here with you today. We’ve- we’ve laughed. We’ve heard some great stories. You know, growin’ up in Wyndmoor with horses and pheasant-hunting to taking PQQ is, you know, quite a…


MICHAEL BROWN: Quite a spread. But it sounds like you’ve lived a great life thus far.


MICHAEL BROWN: And is there anything you want to add before we wrap it up today?

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: Well, we should live to be 120. Every other mammal lives to be 5-times his maturity. Our maturity is about age 25, give or take a year. So, therefore we should live to be 120. And, uh, that’s what they’re shooting for, uh, both at Harvard, Duke, Southern Cal, they’re all working on pushing back the aging process. So, maybe you guys, you’re young enough to take advantage of some of these discoveries! [Laughter.] You- You’ll be around collecting Social Security for…

MICHAEL BROWN: If there’s any left!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: [Laugher.] But, uh, that’s about all. I enjoy reading the scientific literature constantly and, as I say we…

Female Voice: And you have your favorite stocks!

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: I was going to be in the Devon Horse Show again this year, but I don’t have a driving horse. I was in the carriage-class other years. We did well. Had a good carriage horse called Seamus, they called him Famous Seamus the Wonder-horse, and we won ribbons every year at Devon. But he’s retired to a farm now and my friend has a horse but not quite the same- but we’re going to the local- Wissahickon has a big horse parade at the end of this month. So, we’re gonna do that and that will probably be the end of my-


 THOMAS FITZPATRICK: -competitive years in horsemanship.

MICHAEL BROWN: Alright. Well, plenty of good years, though, you’ve spent doing it, so that’s good. Well, thanks for coming out today. It’s been a pleasure. I know we’ve all, uh, enjoyed hearing your story.

THOMAS FITZPATRICK: I enjoyed it very much, gentlemen.

MICHAEL BROWN: And, uh, we look forward to- to talking to you soon. Thank you much.

OUTRO (MICHAEL BROWN:): [Music playing in background.] That concludes this installment of The Voices of Villanova’s Veterans, a joint project of the Villanova University Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and Falvey Memorial Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Departments. Thank you for listening! For more information and for more interviews, please visit us online at [Music fades out.]


[1] The U.S. Army Air Corps had actually just transitioned into the U.S. Army Air Forces in June 1941, though it may have taken a while for the general public to update how they referred to the branch. “The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) was the major land-based aerial warfare service component of the United States Army and de facto aerial warfare service branch of the United States during and immediately after World War II (1941–1945). It was created on 20 June 1941 as successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and is the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force, today one of the six armed forces of the United States.” Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

[2] i.e., Those who fought in the Spanish—American War of 1898.

[3] “The Rough Riders was a nickname given to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish–American War and the only one to see combat.” Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

[4] Referring to the year 1864. However, the Civil War officially ended on May 26, 1865. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

[5] “Wyndmoor is a census-designated place (CDP) in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, US.” Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

[6] Referring to the Great Depression. “The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.” Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

[7] Referring to a comment made before the recording started.

[8] Apparently referring to a school that was affiliated with the Seven Dolors Church, founded in 1916. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

[9] “Northeast Catholic High School opened in 1926 as Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, and was located at 1842 Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. […] The school closed permanently in June 2010.” Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

[10] “The Wright brothers – Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912) – were two American aviation pioneers generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, 4 mi (6 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.” Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

[11] “In early January 1941, Biloxi city officials assembled a formal offer to invite the United States Army to build a base to support the World War II training buildup. The War Department activated Army Air Corps Station No. 8, Aviation Mechanics School, Biloxi, Mississippi, on 12 June 1941. On August 25, 1941, the base was dedicated as Keesler Army Airfield, in honor of 2d Lt Samuel Reeves Keesler Jr., a Mississippi native and distinguished aerial observer, killed in action in France during the First World War.” Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

[12] “Moorhead is a city in Clay County, Minnesota, United States, and the largest city in northwest Minnesota.” Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

[13] Referring to an oral history project for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy Archives: A brief write-up appeared in the Chestnut Hill Local:,14737 Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

[14]Memphis Belle is a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress used during the Second World War that inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress and the 1990 Hollywood feature film, Memphis Belle. It was one of the first United States Army Air Forces B-17 heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions, after which the aircrew returned with the bomber to the United States to sell war bonds.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[15] “Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to encode text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations, called dots and dashes, or dits and dahs. Morse code is named after Samuel Morse, one of the inventors of the telegraph.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[16] He may mean “transmit” here.

[17] Indicating a small box on the table in the recording room.

[18] “Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War…” Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

[19] “Newfoundland […] is a large island off the east coast of the North American mainland and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province’s land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world’s largest estuary. Newfoundland’s nearest neighbour is the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[20] Likely Marston Mat or a similar material. “Marston Mat, more properly called pierced (or perforated) steel planking (PSP), is standardized, perforated steel matting material developed by the United States at the Waterways Experiment Station shortly before World War II, primarily for the rapid construction of temporary runways and landing strips.” Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

[21] “The British scientists developed the initial use of radio detection and ranging (RADAR) for airborne use. American scientists added their skill and knowledge to further improve the bombing techniques and help attain a reasonable degree of accuracy. The end result of the combined effort of the scientists was initially known as BTO (Bombing Through the Overcast) and eventually referred to under the code name Mickey (PFF – Pathfinder Force).” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[22] “Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[23] “Newfoundland joined Canada at one minute before midnight on March 31, 1949. Union with Canada has done little to reduce Newfoundlanders’ self-image as a distinctive group.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[24] i.e., drinking. To be “in one’s cups” is to be drunk. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

[25] “The Azores […], officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal (along with Madeira). It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,400 km (870 mi) west of Lisbon, about 1,500 km (930 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,930 km (1,200 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.” Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

[26] To “hang fire” is to delay making a decision. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.


[28] “Lajes is a civil parish in the municipality of Praia da Vitória, on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores.” “Along with Santa Cruz, Lajes also became the focus, during the Second and Post-Second World War of British and American forces stationed at Area Base No. 4, supporting progress and providing a dynamic economic innovator for the parish and region.” Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

[29] “The French Foreign Legion (FFL; French: Légion étrangère…) is a military service branch of the French Army established in 1831. Legionnaires are highly trained infantry soldiers and the Legion is unique in that it is open to foreign recruits willing to serve in the French Armed Forces.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[30] Marrakesh (also Marrakech), “the fourth largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[31] “”La Marseillaise” is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled “Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin” (“War Song for the Army of the Rhine”). […] The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic’s anthem in 1795. The song acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching to the capital. The song is the first example of the “European march” anthemic style. The anthem’s evocative melody and lyrics have led to its widespread use as a song of revolution and its incorporation into many pieces of classical and popular music.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[32] “The flag of France (French: drapeau français) is a tricolour flag featuring three vertical bands coloured blue (hoist side), white, and red. It is known to English speakers as the French Tricolour or simply the Tricolour (French: Tricolore).” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[33] Best Guess. Likely referring to Goumiers: “The Moroccan Goumiers (French: Les Goumiers Marocains) were indigenous Moroccan soldiers who served in auxiliary units attached to the French Army of Africa, between 1908 and 1956. While nominally in the service of the Sultan of Morocco, they served under French officers, including a period as part of the Free French Forces.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[34] “Tunis […] is the capital and largest city of Tunisia.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[35] “The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is an American nonprofit-charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of War, and later with the Department of Defense (DoD), relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Although it is congressionally-chartered, it is not a government agency.” Accessed 8 Jul. 2021.

[36] “’Charmaine’ is a popular song written by Ernö Rapée and Lew Pollack. The song was written in 1926 and published in 1927. […] The song was originally in waltz time, but later versions were in common time. ‘Charmaine’ is one of many popular songs whose lyrics use a ‘Bluebird of happiness’ as a symbol of cheer: ‘I wonder, when bluebirds are mating, will you come back again?’ The song was originally composed for the 1926 silent movie What Price Glory?” Accessed 12 Jul. 2021.

[37] Likely Gioia del Colle, “a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy.” An airbase there was captured by the British in 1943 and used by U.S. forces. Accessed 12 Jul. 2021.

[38] “Amendola Airfield was a pre-war Royal Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) facility, built about 1931. With the surrender of Italy to the Allies on 3 September 1943, the German Luftwaffe quickly seized control of the airfield upon hearing of Italy’s capitulation, and briefly used it as a combat airfield. However, Allied forces seized control of the Tavoliere plain in late September/October and occupied the airfield. The United States Army Corps of Engineers eventually rebuilt the facility into a heavy bomber-capable airfield, to be used by bomber groups assigned 15th Air Force.” Accessed 12 Jul. 2021.

[39] “The Curtiss JN “Jenny” was a series of biplanes built by the Curtiss Aeroplane Company of Hammondsport, New York, later the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. Although the Curtiss JN series was originally produced as a training aircraft for the US Army, the “Jenny” (the common nickname derived from “JN”) continued after World War I as a civil aircraft…” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[40] “The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war.” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[41] “Fiorello Henry La Guardia (… December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) was an American attorney and politician who represented New York in the House of Representatives and served as the 99th Mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945. Known for his irascible, energetic, and charismatic personality and diminutive stature, La Guardia is acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history. La Guardia was frequently cross-endorsed by parties other than his own, including the Democratic Party, under New York’s electoral fusion laws.” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[42] “LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA, ICAO: KLGA, FAA LID: LGA) … is a civil airport in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York City. Covering 680 acres (280 ha) in its present form, the facility was established in 1929 and began operating as public airport in 1939. It is named after former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and among pilots is sometimes referred to as “USS LaGuardia” in reference to its short runways surrounded by Flushing Bay, thus giving the feel of landing on an aircraft carrier.” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[43] “La Guardia took office [as U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th district] on March 4, 1917, but was soon commissioned into the United States Army Air Service amid the American entry into World War I. He rose to the rank of major in command of a unit of Caproni Ca.44 bombers on the Italian-Austrian front. He was re-elected to Congress in 1918.” Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

[44] “The Glengarry bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a toorie on top, frequently a rosette cockade on the left side, and ribbons hanging behind. It is normally worn as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress, either formal or informal…” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[45] “Dornoch […] is a town, seaside resort, parish and former royal burgh in the county of Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[46] “Kraut is a German word recorded in English from 1918 onwards as a derogatory term for a German, particularly a German soldier during World War I and World War II. Its earlier meaning in English was as a synonym for sauerkraut, a traditional Central and Eastern European food.” 19 Jul. 2021.

[47] “Axis Sally was the generic nickname given to women radio personalities who broadcast English-language propaganda on behalf of the European Axis Powers during World War II. […] On their radio shows, the two Axis Sally personalities would typically alternate between swing music and propaganda messages aimed at American troops. These messages would emphasize the value of surrender, stoke fears that soldiers’ wives and girlfriends were cheating on them, and point out that the Axis powers knew their locations. American soldiers listened to Gillars’ broadcasts for the entertaining music even as they found her attempts at propaganda ‘laughable.’” 19 Jul. 2021.

[48] “The phrase milk run originated in World War II, when US Army Air Corps and RAF aircrews used it to describe any mission where minimal resistance from the enemy was expected.” Accessed 29 Oct. 2021.

[49] “Ploiești […] formerly spelled Ploești, is a city and county seat in Prahova County, Romania.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[50] “Although badly damaged after the November 1940 earthquake, the city was a significant source of oil for Nazi Germany during much of World War II. The Allies made Ploiești a target of the oil campaign of World War II and attacked it repeatedly, such as during the HALPRO (June 1942) and Operation Tidal Wave (1 August 1943) at a great loss, without producing any significant delay in operation or production. Soviet troops captured Ploiești in August 1944.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[51] “Wiener Neustadt […] is a city located south of Vienna, in the state of Lower Austria, in northeast Austria.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[52] “During World War II, strategic targets in Wiener Neustadt, including the marshalling yards, the Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke (WNF) factory, and two Raxwerke plants which used forced laborers imprisoned at Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, were repeatedly bombed. Bombing operations such as Operation Pointblank left only 18 of 4,000 buildings undamaged.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[53] “Dragoljub “Draža” Mihailović (27 April 1893 – 17 July 1946) was a Yugoslav Serb general during World War II. He was the leader of the Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army (Chetniks), a royalist and nationalist movement and guerrilla force established following the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[54] “Josip Broz (7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito […], was a Yugoslav communist revolutionary and statesman, serving in various roles from 1943 until his death in 1980. During World War II, he was the leader of the Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe. He also served as the president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 14 January 1953 until his death on 4 May 1980.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[55] “William Joseph ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959) was an American soldier, lawyer, intelligence officer and diplomat, best known for serving as the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II. He is regarded as the founding father of the CIA, and a statue of him stands in the lobby of the CIA headquarters building in Langley, Virginia.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[56] “The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a wartime intelligence agency of the United States during World War II, and a predecessor to the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and the independent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The OSS was formed as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Other OSS functions included the use of propaganda, subversion, and post-war planning.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[57] “Julia Carolyn Child (née McWilliams; August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) was an American cooking teacher, author, and television personality. She is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[58] “Child joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1942 after finding that she was too tall to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) or in the U.S. Navy’s WAVES. She began her OSS career as a typist at its headquarters in Washington but, because of her education and experience, soon was given a more responsible position as a top-secret researcher working directly for the head of OSS, General William J. Donovan.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[59] “G.I. are initials used to describe the soldiers of the United States Army and airmen of the United States Air Forces and also for general items of their equipment. The term G.I. has been used as an initialism of “Government Issue”, “General Issue”, or “Ground Infantry”, but it originally referred to “galvanized iron”, as used by the logistics services of the United States Armed Forces.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[60] “Operation Halyard (or Halyard Mission), known in Serbian as Operation Air Bridge (Serbian: Операција Ваздушни мост), was an Allied airlift operation behind Axis lines during World War II. In July 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) drew up plans to send a team to the Chetniks force led by General Draža Mihailović in the German-occupied Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia for the purpose of evacuating Allied airmen shot down over that area. This team, known as the Halyard team, was commanded by Lieutenant George Musulin, along with Master Sergeant Michael Rajacich, and Specialist Arthur Jibilian, the radio operator. The team was detailed to the United States Fifteenth Air Force and designated as the 1st Air Crew Rescue Unit. It was the largest rescue operation of American Airmen in history. According to historian Professor Jozo Tomasevich, a report submitted to the OSS showed that 417 Allied airmen who had been downed over occupied Yugoslavia were rescued by Mihailović’s Chetniks, and airlifted out by the Fifteenth Air Force. According to Lt. Cmdr. Richard M. Kelly (OSS) grand total of 432 U.S. and 80 Allied personnel were airlifted during the Halyard Mission.” Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[61] “Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet, […] (13 April 1892 – 5 April 1984), commonly known as “Bomber” Harris by the press and often within the RAF as “Butcher” Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) RAF Bomber Command during the height of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.”,_1st_Baronet Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.

[62] “Monte Cassino (today usually spelled Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (80 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1+1⁄4 mi) west of Cassino and at an elevation of 520 m (1,710 ft). Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. […] In 1944 during World War II it was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino and the building was destroyed by Allied bombing. It was rebuilt after the war.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[63] “Albert Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe during World War II who was subsequently convicted of war crimes. In a military career that spanned both world wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany’s most highly decorated commanders…” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[64] “The Battle of Rapido River was fought from 20 to 22 January 1944 during one of the Allies’ many attempts to breach the Winter Line in the Italian Campaign during World War II. Despite its name, the battle occurred on the Gari River.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[65] “The Winter Line was a series of German and Italian military fortifications in Italy, constructed during World War II by Organisation Todt and commanded by Albert Kesselring. The series of three lines was designed to defend a western section of Italy, focused around the town of Monte Cassino, through which ran the important Highway 6 which led uninterrupted to Rome. The primary Gustav Line ran across Italy from just north of where the Garigliano River flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, through the Apennine Mountains to the mouth of the Sangro River on the Adriatic coast in the east. The two subsidiary lines, the Bernhardt Line and the Hitler Line ran much shorter distances from the Tyrrehnian sea to just North East of Cassino where they would merge into the Gustav Line. Relative to the Gustav Line, the Hitler Line stood to the North-West and the Bernhardt Line to the South-East of the primary defenses. Before being ultimately broken, the Gustav Line effectively slowed the Allied advance for months between December 1943 and June 1944. Major battles in the assault on the Winter Line at Monte Cassino and Anzio alone resulted in 98,000 Allied casualties and 60,000 Axis casualties.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[66] “Mark Wayne Clark (May 1, 1896 – April 17, 1984) was a United States Army officer who saw service during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. He was the youngest four-star general in the US Army during World War II.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[67] “At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido-Gari, Liri and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD 529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys. Lying in a protected historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans, although they manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey’s walls.

“Repeated pinpoint artillery attacks on Allied assault troops caused their leaders to conclude the abbey was being used by the Germans as an observation post, at the very least. Fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction. On 15 February American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of high explosives, creating widespread damage.[6] The raid failed to achieve its objective, as German paratroopers then occupied the rubble and established excellent defensive positions amid the ruins.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[68] “It is certain from every investigation that followed since the event that the only people killed in the monastery by the bombing were 230 Italian civilians seeking refuge in the abbey. There is no evidence that the bombs dropped on the Monte Cassino monastery that day killed any German troops. However, given the imprecision of bombing in those days (it was estimated that only 10 per cent of the bombs from the heavy bombers, bombing from high altitude, hit the monastery) bombs did fall elsewhere and killed German and Allied troops alike, although that would have been unintended.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[69] “On 16 May, soldiers from the Polish II Corps launched one of the final assaults on the German defensive position as part of a twenty-division assault along a twenty-mile front. On 18 May, a Polish flag followed by the British Union Jack were raised over the ruins. Following this Allied victory, the German Senger Line collapsed on 25 May. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties, with German losses being far fewer, estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[70] i.e. The fall of Rome was not front-page news because of the D-Day action in France. Actually, however, “Rome was captured on 4 June 1944, just two days before the Normandy invasion.” Accessed 20 Jul. 2021.

[71] “R&R, military slang for rest and recuperation (or rest and relaxation or rest and recreation or rest and rehabilitation), is an acronym used for the free time of a soldier or international UN staff serving in unaccompanied (no family) duty stations. The term is used by a number of militaries such as the United States Armed Forces and British Armed Forces.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[72] “San Giovanni Rotondo is the name of a town and comune in the province of Foggia and region of Apulia, in southern Italy.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[73] “Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione in Pietrelcina, Italy on May 25, 1887. […] He died on September 23, 1968 and was beatified on May 2, 1999 and canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 16, 2002.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[74] “The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum; postnominal abbr. O.F.M. Cap.) is a religious order of Franciscan friars within the Catholic Church, one of two “First Orders” that sprang from the Franciscan Friars Minor Observant (OFM Obs., now OFM), the other being the Conventuals (OFM Conv.). The Capuchins arose in 1525 with the purpose of returning to a stricter observance of the rule established by Francis of Assisi in 1209.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[75] “After celebrating morning Mass on September 20, 1918, while praying in thanksgiving before a crucifix, he received the Stigmata. Padre Pio was the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[76] “Stigmata (Ancient Greek: στίγματα, plural of στίγμα stigma, ‘mark, spot, brand’), in Christianity, are the appearance of bodily wounds, scars and pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists and feet. An individual bearing the wounds of stigmata is a stigmatist or a stigmatic. […] Stigmata are primarily associated with Roman Catholicism. Many reported stigmatics are members of Catholic religious orders. St. Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic. For over fifty years, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin reported stigmata which were studied by several 20th-century physicians.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[77] Best guess.

[78] “The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani; Latin: Musea Vaticana) are the public art and sculpture museums in the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display…” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[79] “Stacks” as in library stacks. “The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Italian: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Formally established in 1475, although it is much older—it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[80] “’Open Sesame’ (French: Sésame, ouvre-toi; Arabic: افتح يا سمسم‎) is a magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in Antoine Galland’s version of One Thousand and One Nights. It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[81] Italian: “Long live the Pope!”

[82] “Pope Pius XII (Italian: Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli […]; 2 March 1876 – 9 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958.” Accessed 22 Jul. 2021.

[83] The military insignia on their uniforms, indicating the country they were fighting for.

[84]The Scarlet and the Black is a 1983 American made-for-television historical war drama film directed by Jerry London, and starring Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer. Based on J. P. Gallagher’s book The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican (published in 1967), the film tells the story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a real-life Irish Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews and escaped Allied POWs in Rome. It was directed by Jerry London. CBS distributed more than 500,000 scripts of The Scarlet and the Black to students in elementary and high schools throughout the country, to be read aloud in class to stimulate student interest in English and history. The title The Scarlet and the Black is a reference not only to the black cassock and scarlet sash worn by Monsignores and bishops in the Catholic Church, but also to the dominant colors of Nazi Party regalia.” Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

[85] “Sulfonamide is a functional group (a part of a molecule) that is the basis of several groups of drugs, which are called sulphonamides, sulfa drugs or sulpha drugs. […] Sulfonamide drugs were the first broadly effective antibacterials to be used systemically, and paved the way for the antibiotic revolution in medicine.” Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

[86] Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

[87] “Opel Automobile GmbH, usually shortened to Opel, is a German automobile manufacturer which is a subsidiary of Stellantis since 16 January 2021. It was owned by General Motors from 1929 until 2017…” Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

[88] It is unclear what Fitzpatrick is referring to here as the Luftwaffe was, in fact, allied with Hitler. “The Luftwaffe was deeply involved in Nazi war crimes. By the end of the war, a significant percentage of aircraft production originated in concentration camps, an industry employing tens of thousands of prisoners.” Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

It is possible that individual officers that Fitzpatrick encountered professed to be against the war, however they would also possibly have had an ulterior motive for seeming sympathetic to the Allies in wanting to be treated better as prisoners of war.

[89] “The Geneva Conventions are four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–1945), which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, and added two new conventions. The Geneva Conventions extensively define the basic rights of wartime prisoners (civilians and military personnel), established protections for the wounded and sick, and provided protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone; moreover, the Geneva Convention also defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants.” Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

[90] “The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident occurred on 20 December 1943, when, after a successful bomb run on Bremen, 2nd Lt Charles “Charlie” Brown’s B-17 Flying Fortress (named “Ye Olde Pub”) was severely damaged by German fighters. Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler had the opportunity to shoot down the crippled bomber but did not do so, and instead escorted it over and past German-occupied territory so as to protect it. After an extensive search by Brown, the two pilots met each other 50 years later and developed a friendship that lasted until Stigler’s death in March 2008. Brown died only a few months later, in November of the same year.” Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

[91] Referring to: Makos, Adam, with Larry Alexander. A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II. New York: Berkley Caliber, 2012.

“The incident was later recorded by Adam Makos in the biographical novel A Higher Call (released in 2012).” Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

[92] “The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo (Italian pronunciation: [kaˈstɛl sanˈtandʒelo]; English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome.”’Angelo Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[93] “Victor Emmanuel III (Vittorio Emanuele Ferdinando Maria Gennaro di Savoia; Italian: Vittorio Emanuele III […]; 11 November 1869 – 28 December 1947) reigned as King of Italy from 29 July 1900 until his abdication on 9 May 1946. In addition, he was Emperor of Ethiopia (1936–1941) and King of the Albanians (1939–1943). During his reign of nearly 46 years, which began after the assassination of his father Umberto I, the Kingdom of Italy became involved in two world wars. His reign also encompassed the birth, rise, and fall of Italian Fascism and its regime.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[94] “Umberto II (Italian: Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria di Savoia; 15 September 1904 – 18 March 1983) was the last King of Italy. He reigned for 34 days, from 9 May 1946 to 12 June 1946, although he had been de facto head of state since 1944, and was nicknamed the May King (Italian: Re di Maggio).” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[95] “In an effort to repair the monarchy’s image after the fall of Benito Mussolini’s regime, Victor Emmanuel transferred his powers to Umberto in 1944 while retaining the title of king. As a referendum on the abolition of the monarchy was in preparation, Victor Emmanuel abdicated his throne in favour of Umberto in the hope that his exit might bolster the monarchy. However, the referendum passed, Italy was declared a republic, and Umberto lived out the rest of his life in exile in Cascais, on the Portuguese Riviera.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[96] The referendum was actually the following year, in 1946.

“An institutional referendum (Italian: referendum istituzionale, or referendum sulla forma istituzionale dello Stato) was held in Italy on 2 June 1946, a key event of Italian contemporary history.

“Until 1946, Italy had been a kingdom ruled by the House of Savoy, reigning royal house of Italy since the national unification in 1860 and previously rulers of the Duchy of Savoy. However, in 1922 the rise of Benito Mussolini and the creation of the fascist regime, which eventually resulted in engaging Italy in World War II alongside Nazi Germany, considerably weakened the role of the monarchy.

“Following the civil war and the Liberation from foreign troops in 1945, a popular referendum on the institutional form of the state was called and resulted in voters choosing the replacement of the monarchy with a republic. A Constituent Assembly was elected on the same day.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[97] “Umberto II lived for 37 years in exile, in Cascais, on the Portuguese Riviera. He never set foot in his native land again; the 1948 constitution of the Italian Republic not only forbade amending the constitution to restore the monarchy, but until 2002 barred all male heirs to the defunct Italian throne from ever returning to Italian soil.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[98] “Founded in 1924 by fine craftsmen from the Friuli Venezia-Giulia region of Italy who emigrated to the United States, The Venetian Social Club is a 501(c)7 non-profit social organization in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia and a great place for fun, friendship and fellowship!” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[99] “After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel, with the northern half of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern half by the United States.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[100] “The Adjusted Service Rating Score was the system that the United States Army used at the end of World War II in Europe to determine which soldiers were eligible to be repatriated to the United States for discharge from military service as part of Operation Magic Carpet.”  Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[101] “The Victory ship was a class of cargo ship produced in large numbers by North American shipyards during World War II to replace losses caused by German submarines. They were a more modern design compared to the earlier Liberty ship, were slightly larger and had more powerful steam turbine engines giving higher speed to allow participation in high speed convoys and make them more difficult targets for German U-boats. A total of 531 Victory ships were built.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[102] “Launched 1945 and served in the Pacific Theatre of war. One of 531 ships constructed as part of the better designed Victory series. 414 were used as cargo ships with 97 of them, including Lakes Charles Victory, refitted as troop carriers. Many of these ships were used to return troops [in] the Pacific theatre to Australia and the US.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[103] The 52nd Infantry were known as the “Ready Rifles” so it is possible Fitzpatrick may have been referring instead to the 88th Infantry, known as the “Blue Devils.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[104] Newport News, Virginia.

[105] “A jib is a triangular sail that sets ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bows, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[106] This is a sailor’s joke. The actual etymology for Gibraltar comes from “the Spanish derivation of the Arabic “Jabal Tariq,” which means “Mountain of Tariq” and which refers to the Rock of Gibraltar.” Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[107] Indistinguishable surname, possibly something like Lockhart.

[108] “The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for some of the returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). The original G.I. Bill expired in 1956, but the term “G.I. Bill” is still used to refer to programs created to assist some of the U.S. military veterans.” Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

[109] The preference for veterans returning to jobs was actually part of the Veterans Preference Act of 1944, not the “G.I. Bill”: “The Veterans Preference Act of 1944 defined to whom and under what circumstances preference would be granted. It provided that Preference be given in competitive examinations, in appointments to positions in the Federal service, in reinstatement to positions, in reemployment, and in retention during reductions in force. Preference would apply to civilian positions — permanent or temporary ;— in all departments, agencies, bureaus, administrations, establishments, and projects of the Federal Government, and in the civil service of the District of Columbia.”’_Preference_Act_of_1944 Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

[110] Fitzpatrick is conflating this with another bill. As the “G.I. Bill” was passed in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the one to sign it. “Originally established to provide services and benefits to the veterans of World War II, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, after it had passed the House and the Senate unanimously.” Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

[111] “Harry W. Colmery, a former national commander of the American Legion and former Republican National Chairman, is credited with drawing up the first draft of the GI Bill. It was introduced in the House on Jan. 10, 1944, and in the Senate the following day. Both chambers approved their own versions of the bill.

“But the struggle was just heating up. The bill almost died when Senate and House members came together to debate their versions. Both groups agreed on the education and home loan benefits, but were deadlocked on the unemployment provision.

“Ultimately, Rep. John Gibson of Georgia was rushed in to cast the tie-breaking vote. The Senate approved the final form of the bill on June 12, and the House followed on June 13. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on June 22, 1944.” Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

[112] “Although the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is now the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse show in the country, it started with much more humble beginnings. In the 1890’s there was a new migration into the rolling rich farmlands and small towns of the Philadelphia western suburbs. The railroad lines attracted development to the newly christened “Main Line” area. Although families arrived to the Main Line by train, once settled they used horses as their primary form of transportation. Horse-drawn vehicles were used to go to church, to town, and to the market. On May 22, 1896 a meeting was called by the gentlemen of the Main Line area inviting their friends and neighbors to “effect an organization for the purpose of holding a Horse Show at Devon.” Less than two months later the first Devon Horse Show was held!” Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

[113] An indistinguishable woman’s voice is heard in the background.

[114] Best guess, personal name.

[115] “antiaircraft fire, especially as experienced by the crews of combat airplanes at which the fire is directed.” Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[116] “On most variable-pitch propellers, the blades can be rotated parallel to the airflow to stop rotation of the propeller and reduce drag when the engine fails or is deliberately shut down. This is called feathering, a term borrowed from rowing. On single-engined aircraft, whether a powered glider or turbine-powered aircraft, the effect is to increase the gliding distance. On a multi-engine aircraft, feathering the propeller on an inoperative engine reduces drag, and helps the aircraft maintain speed and altitude with the operative engines.” Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[117] “We offer accommodation, dining and respite for members and former serving members of the Armed Forces.” Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[118] “A Speakers’ Corner is an area where open-air public speaking, debate, and discussion are allowed. The original and best known is in the northeast corner of Hyde Park in London, England.” Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[119] Buttery, n. (British): “a room where you can buy meals and drinks, especially in a college or university.” Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[120] “David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School. He is best known for his work on understanding why we age and how to slow its effects.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[121] “Metformin, sold under the brand name Glucophage among others, is the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, particularly in people who are overweight. It is also used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[122] “Metformin was discovered in 1922. French physician Jean Sterne began the study in humans in the 1950s. It was introduced as a medication in France in 1957 and the United States in 1995.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[123] “Metformin is the most widely prescribed oral hypoglycemic medication for type 2 diabetes worldwide. Metformin also retards aging in model organisms and reduces the incidence of aging-related diseases such as neurodegenerative disease and cancer in humans. In spite of its widespread use, the mechanisms by which metformin exerts favorable effects on aging remain largely unknown. Further, not all individuals prescribed metformin derive the same benefit and some develop side effects. Before metformin finds its way to mainstay therapy for anti-aging, a more granular understanding of the effects of the drug in humans is needed.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[124] The National Institutes of Health.

[125] I.e., resveratrol. “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient that makes red wine heart healthy.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[126] “A telomere is the end of a chromosome. Telomeres are made of repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA that protect the chromosome from damage. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter. Eventually, the telomeres become so short that the cell can no longer divide.” Accessed 8 Sept. 2021.

[127] Here is the clip on CBS’s YouTube channel, “Wine Rx,” posted 25 Jan. 2009: Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

[128] I could not find the study he is referring to about PQQ’s presence in the atmosphere. “Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), also called methoxatin, is a redox cofactor and antioxidant. It is found in soil and foods such as kiwifruit, as well as human breast milk. Enzymes containing PQQ are called quinoproteins. Glucose dehydrogenase, one of the quinoproteins, is used as a glucose sensor. PQQ stimulates growth in bacteria.” Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

[129] “Although plants and animals do not make or directly use PQQ in the same way that bacteria do, researchers have found that PQQ promotes plant growth and improves mitochondria function and memory learning ability in animals. If a human cell is a city, mitochondria are the power station that generates energy for the city to be functional. Mitochondria dysfunction causes many diseases in the aging process.” Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.