Photographs of site R-11 in Eschwege, Germany, headquarters of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance after their brief stay at Limburg. Included are photographs of the Officer's Club, hangars and a memorial service held April 13, 1945, commemorating the death of President Roosevelt. R-11 would be the Group's last base in the war.
"Mementoes of Days in Service" details Lawrence Layden's service in World War II from his induction in June 1941, six months before Pearl Harbor, until his formal discharge in December, 1945. Part of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Layden's squadron provided aerial reconnaissance for Operation Overlord and the assault on Nazi Germany. Through photos and text, Layden's scrapbook follows him from his initial assignment in Louisville, Kentucky to bases in England and continental Europe. The album contains reconnaissance photos used in the assault on Europe, photographs of Layden at various bases throughout the war and several photographs of Buchenwald concentration camp, visited by Layden six days after its liberation.
To stay close to the front lines the Reconnaissance Group moved to site "A-46" on the west border of Paris. Page includes a stock postcard of their headquarters, Le Chateau d'Ors, and a photograph of the Eiffel Tower. Lawrence Layden and friends were able to visit Paris shortly after its liberation.
Photograph of Lawrence Layden, Phil Reverman, Charlie Kofler and others at the PX after transfer of Fifth Air Support Command to New Orleans in January 1942. Included is a postcard of Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.
Photograph of colleagues welcoming Layden back after officer candidate school. Layden would command the same squadron he served with as an enlisted man in the 67th Observation Group. Page also notes a week long furlough taken by Layden in London and includes a flyer from the Holy Trinity Gazette in Louisville mentioning Layden's promotion to 2nd Lieutenant.
Photograph of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group headquarters at site Y-83 in Limburg, Germany. Layden notes that the brevity of the group's stay at their last bases reflects how quickly the ground forces were overrunning the Germans.
Photographs of "Site A-9" in Le Molay, France, where the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group established their first base on the continent. Includes a map showing the various headquarters of the group as it advanced through Europe.
Typewritten copy from the Army and Navy Register detailing the reconnaissance operations leading up to the German breakthrough and the Battle of the Bulge. Inclement weather had hampered aerial reconnaissance for several days before and after the German breakthrough.
Newspaper clipping from the Columbia Record (Columbia, S.C.) on September 2, 1967, reporting the suicide of Ilse Koch, wife of the Buchenwald concentration camp commander, in a West German jail. Newspaper clipping from the State (Columbia, S.C.) on July 29, 1993, reporting on the ongoing legal plight of John Demjanjuk.
Photograph of Layden's squadron during a "Presentation of Awards" ceremony at Membury Air Base. Layden also describes in captions the unit's move to Middle Wallop Air Base in November and includes a map of southern England.
Reconnaissance photographs taken over Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944. Photos include pictures of gliders and a crash-landed C-47 near Bastogne, a crash-landed B-24 near Namur, a tank battle southwest of Stavelot and a picture of the crossroads of Malmedy where German soldiers gun downed captured American soldiers.
Four photographs of Benito Mussolini after death. The photographs were brought back from Italy and given to Lawrence Layden. Top left: Mussolini and mistress after execution. Top right: Mussolini hung upside down after execution. Bottom left: Battered body of Mussolini in coffin after abuse of corpse. Bottom right: Battered body of Mussolini after abuse of corpse.
Excerpts from two books concerning Buchenwald concentration camp. Top: From "Paris in the Third Reich -- A History of the German Occupation, 1940-1944'" by David Price-Jones, 1981. Bottom: From "The Arms of Krupp" by William Manchester, 1964.
Layden embarked for home on the SS Bardstown Victory on September 26, 1945, and arrived in New York on October 6th. This onboard newsletter, the "Sea Bag," thanks Capt. Layden for "giving his afternoons in the interest of Personal Affairs" during the voyage home.
Small photos of the Rhine River and the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. The 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group passed by here en route to their next base a few weeks after the capture of the bridge at Remagen. The page also includes a brief historical overview concerning the strategies employed in chasing the Germans across the Rhine.
Typewritten page written by Lawrence Layden in January 1946 as an introduction to the photographs of Buchenwald concentration camp that follow. Layden visited the camp with his C.O. and the Group Photographic Officer on April 17, 1945, six days after the camp's liberation.
Three photographs of Buchenwald. Top: Bodies stacked outside furnace. Right: Another view of bodies stacked outside furnace. Middle Right: Bodies of two camp guards who disguised themselves as inmates. Also includes a May 1945 newspaper clipping about Lawrence Layden's visit to Buchenwald.
Certificate detailing Layden's promotion to corporal. Layden comments in the boxed caption that the promotion certificate is signed by a brigadier general, indicating the (small) size of the U.S. army prior to Pearl Harbor.
Photograph of Lawrence Layden and his "personnel specialists." After V-E day, Layden transferred out of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and was assigned to the IX Tactical Air Command and tasked with auditing and inspecting service records for the unit to facilitate troop transfers home and to the Pacific theater.
Visitor tag for Fort Dix, New Jersey, assumedly used by his wife Kay during a quick visit. The 67th Observation Group was sent here for processing for overseas shipment and left August 29, 1942 on a five day "zig-zag" journey across the Atlantic (on the original "Queen Elizabeth") to Membury Air Base, England. His "official" note home to Kay telling her of his arrival overseas does not explicitly tell her where he is.
Reconnaissance photograph showing the destruction of St. Lo, France. Included are two photographs of General Eisenhower, who visited the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group at site A-9 to witness the saturation bombing of the German line from St. Lo westward to the Atlantic that permitted the Allies to breakout across France.
Five photographs of Lawrence Layden and fellow officers. Top left: Capt. Colin S. White, Greenwich, Conn. Top right: Capt. Franklin B. Tostevin, Westfield, New Jersey, K.I.A. Middle: Maj. Paul F. Ebeltoft, Dickinson, N. Dak. Bottom left: Chaplain Julian Lindsey, Washington, N.C. (at Wurzburg Castle). Bottom right: Lawrence Layden (at Wurzburg Castle)
Photographs of Paris including the Arc de Triomphe, the Seine River with the Eiffel Tower in the background and a close-up of Napoleon's tomb. Layden was able to briefly visit Paris shortly after its liberation.
Newspaper clipping from the Louisville Times about Louisville residents, including Lawrence Layden, who were members of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Unit that received the Presidential Unit Citation. Included are three reconnaissance photographs showing pill boxes and dragons teeth in the Siegfried Line near Aachen and the Hurtgen Forest in Germany.
Shoulder patches worn by Layden's unit from 1941-1943. In October 1943, Layden's group was assigned to the IX Air Force. Page also includes an article from the Stars and Stripes about the not-so secret arrival of the IX Air Force in England.