Farewell Gerald (Jerry) Baszner
#1

To All:

Yesterday I received a phone call from Marge Baszner of Whitinsville, MA that her husband Gerald (Jerry) had died. Jerry was a member of our Central Mass. Chapter-22 Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. He was in England as a Medic when the call came that the 82nd Airborn Div. was in need for Medics for the anticipated Invasion of Normandy.As told to me 1st person from Jerry himself. .." they picked some us out and we were told to get in these 'deuce and half trucks', and were driven down the road about 20 miles per hour and told to jump out and roll over a few times"....this happened a few times and then we were told."OK!...You are now paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Div."..."Later we had a couple of practice jumps"....Jerry jumped on D-day as a Combat Medic with his unit landing over the beaches of Normandy.

 

He eventually fought his way upon the village of Sainte Mere Eglise where paratroopers of other outfits got hit pretty bad descending in their chutes into the village Square. As told in the book and movie, "The Longest Day". by Cornelius Ryan (the battle of Normandy); John Steele a paratrooper got hung up in his chute on the steeple of the church at St. Mere Eglise. He was wounded in the foot but still alive until rescued later by fellow paratroopers. Jerry Baszner told me he was the soldier that went up into the steeple to cut down John Steele. Jerry was a little fellow about 5'5' and was selected for the job.

 

After this battle Jerry was transferred to the 130th General Hospital Group, which occupied the Christian Brothers Monastery in Ciny, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, just previously occupied by the Germans. It was on Christmas eve, 1944 during the height of the battle that a pregnant Belgian woman was brought to the makeshift hospital to be delivered of child. Jerry Baszner assisted in the delivery.

 

For many years after the war Jerry had tried to find this now mature woman. It was only during the 60th Anniversary of the Bulge in Dec. 2004 that Rose Young of Billerica, MA, also a former nurse who served with the 130th Gen. Hosp. at Ciny, but didn't know Jerry at the time...through the efforts of our Historian Chris de Marcken, doing much research in the area had been able to find the woman, born that Christmas Eve by the US Medics.. Both Rose and Jerry belonged to our Cent. Mass. Chapter and enjoyed swapping their stories. Jerry was not able to attend the 2004 Anniversary, but Rose Young did and had a personal audience with King Albert of Belgium. I am shown to Jerry's right in this photo.

 

Best Regards to All, and Happy Thanksgiving Day !!

 

JohnMcAuliffe, Pres. Cent. Mass. Chapter-22 VBOB

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Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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