Memorializing the War in Windsor

This week we took a look at how the town of Windsor elected to memorialize the war. When taking a deeper look at these monuments and memorials in the town of Windsor we really the see precedent of respect that the town has placed upon revering its soldiers.

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Deerfield Globe, Deerfield District, Windsor, CT

One noticeable memorial that cannot be missed by anyone traveling from the east to Loomis’ campus is the Deerfield Globe. This memorial is 3.5 feet tall and stands upon a cement base. Originally memorialized in the 1950s by the Town of Windsor, this memorial honors all WWII Deerfield veterans. The structure contains 144 hand-carved wooden blocks. The metal role displaying names of those World War II veterans from Deerfield initially covered the façade of the globe; however, due to the toll taken upon the memorial by the elements, the names enfacing the globe became lost with time. Repairs were made to the globe in 1993 to reinstall a new bronze plague containing names of the Deerfield District of Windsor’s World War II veterans.

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Windsor World War II Monument, Broad Street, Windsor, CT

Another monument that we struggle to look past if we are ever travelling on Broad Street or stopping by CVS is the Windsor World War II Monument. This beautiful monument memorializes thirty-five Windsor soldiers who fought to defend the United States in World War II. The structure of this monument consists of carved granite stone and a bronze plague stating the names of these brave soldiers. The plague on this monument also contains the inscription, “In Memory of the Gold Star Casualties of World War II.” This “gold star” term is one very relatable to the town of Windsor. After a family lost a son at war, they would place a gold star in their front window at home, something known to be all to familiar to the town of Windsor.

A vital player in the beginning and erection of war memorials in Windsor is Loomis’ own

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Evelyn Longman Batchelder

Evelyn Longman Batchelder. Mrs. Batchelder is most well known for her sculptures of war memorials and monuments that remember the veterans and lost soldiers of Windsor, Hartford, and the United States as a whole. One of her own works can be seen on campus tucked under the front side of Longman Hall. Her “Victory of Mercy” memorializes the lost boys and men of Loomis Chaffee in the struggles of war. Evelyn Longman Batchelder made a strong presence in the town of Windsor with her sculptures as well. Having contributed to monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, Mrs. Batchelder consistently showed the precedent she placed on her work for memorializing those nearest to her heart, the veterans of Windsor and the lost souls of the Loomis Chaffee School.

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Evelyn Longman Batchelder’s “Victory of Mercy,” Longman Hall, Loomis Chaffee

We found a very powerful presence that coincided with examining these memorials. The more we began to look deeper into the war memorials of Windsor, and as we took the opportunity to walk down to the memorials and examine them ourselves in person, we discovered the strong sense of community that exists in Windsor. This supportive and tight-knit community of Windsor began to form an even greater bridge and bond with Loomis as the strife of war became even more prominent.

http://www.ct.gov/ctva/lib/ctva/digital/vet_memorials_in_town_of_windsor_publication.pdf   http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/batchelder_collection_tour_2014.html  http://www.cwhf.org/educational-resources/historic-sites/batchelder/#.Vz27frQm-04

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Bradley Field and the Windsor Airmen of World War II

Whether you are traveling internationally for vacation, flying across country for a business trip, or perhaps visiting your great aunt in Wisconsin, if you live in Connecticut you will most likely find yourself flocking to Bradley International Airport to kickoff your getaway trip. As we run through terminals and fight through security praying not to miss our flights, the rich wartime history of what was previously known as the Windsor Locks Air Base is most likely the last thought that scurries through your mind.

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Bradley Field, Photographed 1946 Post-World War II

Bradley Field’s construction was completed in July of 1941, while the United States still remained neutral in the War. Following the establishment of Bradley Field, airmen flooded to Windsor and the surrounding areas, this steep change led to a housing shortage that led to local Windsor and Windsor Locks families taking in single airmen.

Upon the installment of the Windsor Locks Air Base, the reality of war was quickly realized. Deaths were no longer exclusive to the immediate war. Just a few days following his arrival to Windsor, Eugene Bradley died during a training exercise on the base. Subsequently, the field was renamed in Bradley’s honor. Unfortunately, however, death in the training field was not limited solely to Bradley.

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Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant Eugene Bradley

As we travelled to Windsor Locks, CT this past week to the New England Air Museum, we received a first hand glimpse at the reality of the War and the role Windsor and its men played. Johnny and I found ourselves extremely intrigued by many aspects of the museum as the knowledge our visit afforded us led to us to possessing even deeper questions on our subject matter of the role of wartime Windsor. We now began to wonder; why was Windsor chosen to play such a large role in the United States air defense and artillery? We also began to wonder more about the lives of the young men who flocked to Bradley Field and if their training brought a source of fear and reality of the war due to the dangerous nature.

Primarily used for aerial defense of New England during World War II, Bradley Field also played a vital role in training and preparing pilots and airmen. Due to this purpose of training and housing of United States planes and bombers, during the War Bradley Field was very interestingly camouflaged to reveal itself as tobacco fields and barns.

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Airmen Returning to Bradley Field, May 22, 1945

During our visit, Johnny and I also got a chance to do some pilot training ourselves. At the museum a pilot offered to help teach us a little bit on how to fly and pilot an airplane, and we even got the chance to practice on a computerized flight simulator! Johnny did a much more successful job, as I crashed many times I can certainly understand the difficulty of training and preparing airmen for the war. However, computerized flight simulators were not an option during the War for obvious reasons, which perhaps could have prevented many deaths during the course of training.

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Bradley Field, German POWs Repairing Fence

As the War continued, the purpose for Bradley Field shifted a few times from its original use as to train fighter units for overseas missions to as a training camp for P-47 pilots. Later on, the Field became a prisoner of war camp. Finally the Field after being utilized one last time as a base for returning European Theater units, was handed back over to the state of Connecticut and no longer in active duty as a base. This tumultuous history, often concealed from public knowledge, leads us to today, Bradley International Airport: proudly serving Connecticut residents with lagging security lines and baggage claim service that ensures you most definitely will not be home from your trip in time for dinner.

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Bradley International Airport, Present Day

New England Air Museum                                                                                                      connecticuthistory.org                                                                                                                                                   the Hartford Courant.                                                                                                                                            pictures (citations in respective order): connecticuthistory.org                                                    www.airfields-freeman.com                                                                                                           cslib.cdmhost.com                                                                                                                               www.courant.com                                                                                                                                    www.explore-massachusetts.com