Today is the 96th birthday of Jack Womer, World War II hero and Casemate author of Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen. A few weeks ago, Jack and his daughter Ellen traveled to Europe and Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen co-author Steven Devito had some incredible stories to share:
Jack and Ellen began their trip by staying a few days at what is now known as the Littlecote House, in Wiltshire England. During World War II Jack and the rest of the Filthy Thirteen, as well as the rest of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 101st Airborne Division’s 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment stayed at the same place, only then it was known as Sir Will’s Manor Estate. They where there for a total of about 7 months or so, mostly during 1944. Jack told me that the place looks largely the same since he was last there (September, 1944.)
They then went to Normandy France, to participate in the anniversary events commemorating the Normandy Invasion. Jack received the French Legion of Honor Medal in Carentan. Apparently, the book about Jack Womer has brought a lot of attention throughout Europe to Jack and his military service during World War II. Months ago these people petitioned the French government to award Jack the Legion of Honor Medal. It was quite an elaborate ceremony, and many people were in attendance.
If you look at the cover of the book of Fighting With the Filthy Thirteen, you will see a bunch of US soldiers standing or sitting near a structure of some sort. The same photo appears on page 229 of the book, and provides more detail. Jack Womer is the soldier sitting/squatting with his back against the wall of the building and smiling. This photo was taken in June of 1944, shortly after D-Day (June 6, 1944).
Prior to Jack’s trip, a guy from Normandy contacted us and told us that he recognizes the building as being the house that he now lives in. Being somewhat dubious, I asked him to send me photos as it currently looks. He sent me photos and it is indeed the same place. He invited Jack and Ellen to stay as guests in the house during their stay in Normandy. He organized a book signing for Jack, and took photos of Jack standing and sitting in the exact same spot 69 years later!