Grace and his crew of 6 Americans of a B-26 Marauder 9th U.S Air Force
391st bomb group 573rd squadron assigned to carry out their fifth bombing
raid for the United States and Allied forces.
dropping their bombs they over heard on the radio another plane was unable
to drop their bombs. At this moment Sgt. Grace and his crew decided without
hesitation to circle back around and assist their fellow bombers in
completing their mission knowing the dangers of making a second Passover
they flew slightly lower and to the left, of the plane still loaded with
their bombs. In order to shield the loaded plane from any enemy fire
directed at them. Just as the bombs were dropped Sgt. Grace and his crew
were hit by enemy fire over Northern France.
where this story begins.
recollection as to who he is or how he ended up there. Confused by his
surroundings, unable to gather his senses; he hears a voice calling out.
Sgt. Grace stumbles towards the voice with blood pooling on his coat collar
from a an obvious cut on his head. Upon reaching the voice calling out for
help, his fellow crew member addresses him as Thaddeus Grace, this is the
first he knows of his name. His crew member answers Sgt. Grace questions
and warns him the Germans will be coming soon. Sgt. Grace soon hears the
Germans coming from the tree line of the forest. While doing his best to
fend off the Germans and save his crew members life and preserve his own,
Sgt. Grace is shot and stripped of his belongings and anything of any value
to the Germans as a trophy and left for dead.
the crash and he himself shot in the upper right chest. Without his field
jacket, dog tags or anything that would verify his identification Sgt.
Grace is left with nothing but a photograph tucked away in his left sock.
The photograph was of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, still
tired and weak from his injuries Sgt. Grace only has enough energy to bury
his friend and crew members before passing out from the pain and lack of
no longer a Sgt. Title before his name. He was rescued by a local farmer of
the village where just outside the village Grace's plane had come to its
final resting place. After a month or so of being nursed back to health by
a Frenchman in his basement. Grace is now on his feet, still blown away by
the beauty of the woman in the photograph. He vows to one day find her, but
first he must survive the war.
militia through Northern France in hopes in someway to make a difference in
the war against the mighty German Army.
relies on the woman in the photograph to keep his sanity through it all.
Thus changing his reasons for wanting to find this woman. He has now fallen
in love with her, not by her beauty but by the respect and admiration for
her because of how she has saved him and continues to carry him through
hell they called war.
cemetery to Grace's daughter who is visiting her fathers tombstone.
old photograph her father had carried with him through the war. Hesitant to
ask, he still ask if she could tell him who is this woman in the
photograph? She is perplexed as to how he has this photograph, she replies
"that's my mother." The scruffy old man proceeds to tell her he knew her
father during the war. If she would be willing to sit and learn as to how
he knew her father. Quick to oblige his request as she is eager to learn
more. The old man continues, I met your father on that fateful day at the
crash site on March 19th 1944. To strengthen his claim that he knew her
father was the photograph Grace had on him at all times, to your father
this photograph was his saving grace. He always carried it with him, in
hopes one day he could have met this woman to simply thank her for saving
with a photograph at Normandy Cemetery.