Original U.S. WWII Named 82nd Airborne 460th Artillery Grouping - Ray W. Wilson
Original Items: One-of-a-kind grouping. This is perhaps the most emotionally moving grouping we have ever offered. PFC Wilson joined the Army before his was 18 with a special letter signed by his mother (included). He spent and astonishing 186 days in combat, jumping into Italy and fighting his way through Rome in June 1944, then Southern France, moving up into Belgium, then Ardennes for the battle of the Bulge, witnessed the aftermath of the Crossroads at Malmedy massacre and finally to Berlin in the summer of 1945.
All of his movements from training at Camp Marshall in North Carolina in January 1943 to Belgium at Christmas 1944 are documented in over 25 letters (75 pages) addressed to his employers Mr. & Mrs. Evans of Valley Printing and Stationary company of Eugene, Oregon.
Private First Class Ray W. Wilson was at some point a member of the following: 82nd Airborne Battery A, 460th Parachute field artillery battalion, battery B 376th parachute artillery battalion, 517th parachute regimental combat team.
Included in this astonishing set are the following:
- Class A tunic (size 38L) with sterling silver combat jump wins (one star). Medal ribbon bar with the following awards: Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European- Africa- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Invasion Arrow Head (jump) and 5 battle stars. Presidential unit citation, ruptured duck, Belgian Red and Green Fourragère shoulder cord, as well as the French Croix De Guerre Fourragère shoulder cord. A wonderful white x stitched 82nd airborne patch on left shoulder, and black/orange eagle claw airborne patch on right shoulder.
- Ike Jacket, named to WILSON with sterling silver combat jump wins (one star). Medal ribbon bar with the following awards: WWII Victory Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European- Africa- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Invasion Arrow Head (jump) and 5 battle stars. Presidential unit citation, ruptured duck, Belgian Red and Green Fourragère shoulder cord, as well as the French Croix De Guerre Fourragère shoulder cord. A wonderful white x stitched 82nd airborne patch on left shoulder, and a Allied Airborne patch on right shoulder.
- Standard army issue wool trousers.
- Overseas Garrison cap in size 6 3/4 with red artillery piping and a red artillery paratrooper patch to left front.
- Binder containing: O
- Over 25 letters, most with original envelopes hand written by Ray beginning January 2nd, 1943 and finishing in September 1945. There are over 75 pages of handwritten letters of correspondence, many from war zones in Italy, France and Belgium. Jaw dropping excerpts include:
Rome, July 16, 1944 I’ve seen one of the greatest masterpieces of work and the largest in the world, St. Peter’s Church in Rome. You can go to the top if you walk up 630 steps that wind around and around. At the top you can see all over Rome, its a beautiful sight.
November 14th, 1944 Somewhere in France The other night the Gerries threw a few shells and promptly rooted us out of our tents into dugouts and three of us crawled into a sewer that serves as a drain for rain water running under the road. Boyd in his shorts sitting there shivering, I had to laugh, but it was not funny, for we stayed their for the night.
December, 26th 1944 I’m in Belgium and amazed to find the people so hospitable. They invite you into their homes for coffee and instead of throwing flowers at you as the people did in Italy, or throwing kisses and cheering like the French did, they give you something hot to drink and to eat.
The day before Christmas a German plane was shot down the pilot bailed out, didn’t pull his rip cord and made an awful splat about 200 yards away from us. The paratrooper had him practically stripped before he stopped trembling. Two German planes exploded in mid air what a mess. Good Night.
April, 22nd 1945 I started to write of a few of my experiences, but my thoughts were so bitter I tore it up. Anyway why write of things when I should be trying all the more to forget such experiences.
- Original official documents such as his: Mothers notarized letter giving her consent for her 17 year-old son to join the Army (12/28/1942), Order to Report for Induction (2/2/1943), physical and mental exam scores (he failed his first mental exam but passed the second!), Selective Service letter postponing his report to June 5th, 1943, photocopy of his Honorable Discharge dated 1/1/1946, and many more documents.
- Multiple photos both original and high quality printed scans (family kept some originals) of Ray in these uniforms and overseas during and after the war.
- Original fully embroidered 406th Parachute field artillery battalion, unattached (this patch alone is worth $800!).
- Original Book- Saga of the All American: History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II. Some pages with hand scribbled notes made by Ray, naming soldiers and memories. One page with RAY WAS HERE (Holziem, Germany, Battle of the Bulge).
- Silk parachute scarf.
- Post war Parachute field artillery battalion large jacket patch.
- Lots of newspaper clippings.
- Multiple packs of tourist photo packs from Paris, Cannes and other places, along with a Vatican City tour guide which is marked Rome 1944, Ray W. Wilson, 460 Parachute F.A. Bm.
- One day CLASS B PASS for Berlin dated August 24th, 1945.
- Airborne Artillery shoulder patch (unattached)
- Lot of other tourist maps and pamphlets from Paris, Pompeii, Versailles as well as postcards and the like.
This is nothing short of a stunning grouping, with all the provenance one could every wish for from a soldier that spent 186 days in combat in Europe as a member of the legendary 82nd Airborne. You won’t see a comparable grouping of this size and quality again anytime soon, if ever!
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