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Old 02-19-2017, 12:54 AM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Default Casualties of War

I thought of this while looking at the thread related to MLB players in WWII. During my collecting I have acquired quite a few signatures of Olympic athletes who were killed during war time. One of my favorites I neglected to scan before I sold it (Japanese gold medalist died on Iwo Jima), but here are some that I do have scanned.

Ron Zinn - race walker 1960 & 1964. KIA Ho Chi Minh City July 7, 1965. One of 3 U.S. Olympians who died during the Viet Nam War. Technically still MIA.

Endre Kabos - 1932 and 1936 3 golds and one silver in fencing for Hungary. A Jew, he was sent to a labor camp. A guard recognized him as an Olympic champ and he was sent to Budapest to work as a driver for the German Army. Driving an ammunition truck across the Margaret (Margisziget) Bridge between Buda and Pest when it was blown up by resistance fighters. He either died in the blast or drown in the Duna River on November 14, 1944

Janusz Kusocinski - 1932 gold in athletics. Joined the Polish Army at outbreak of WWII and wounded twice. Joined the resistance. Arrested by the Gestapo and executed June 21, 1940.

Leszek Lubicz-Nycz - 1932 bronze in fencing. Joined the Polish Army in WWI and a career officer. He was killed early in the German Invasion of Poland at the Battle of Lomianki September 22, 1939

Stanislaw Urban - 1932 bronze in rowing. Enlisted in the Polish Army WWII. Captured by the Soviet Army. One of 10,000 Polish officers killed by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) in the Katlyn Massacre April, 1940

Fritz Hendrix - 1932 silver in athletics. German soldier killed in action on the Russian Front outside of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, August 30, 1941

Erwin Wegner - 1932 and 1936 athletics. SS officer killed in action Sareguemines, France February 16, 1945

Arthur Tell Schwab - 1936 silver athletics. German born, he fled for Switzerland during WWII. Killed on an International Red Cross transport train during an air raid Siglingen, Germany February 27, 1945

Mario Zorzi - 1932 and 1936 shooting for Italy. Killed on the ground during a bombing raid near Frascetti, Italy February 17, 1944.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Zinn,-Ron-(1961).jpg (11.5 KB, 582 views)
File Type: jpg Kabos,-Endre-(1932)---1.jpg (9.1 KB, 588 views)
File Type: jpg Kusocinski, Janusz (1932).JPG (68.2 KB, 589 views)
File Type: jpg Lubicz-Nycz,-Leszek-(1932).jpg (5.7 KB, 589 views)
File Type: jpg Urban,-Stanislaw-(1932).jpg (5.8 KB, 590 views)
File Type: jpg Hendrix,-Fritz-(1932)---1.jpg (11.8 KB, 588 views)
File Type: jpg Wegner,-Erwin-(1932).jpg (10.1 KB, 588 views)
File Type: jpg Schwab.-Arthur-Tell-(1932).jpg (5.6 KB, 590 views)
File Type: jpg Zorzi,-Mario-(1932).jpg (3.1 KB, 586 views)
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Last edited by Michael B; 02-19-2017 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:39 AM
btcarfagno btcarfagno is offline
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I used to own this Elmer Gedeon signed mini bat from his two weeks with the Washington Senators in 1939.

Gedeon was killed piloting a B-26 on a bombing run over France.



Tom C
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:29 AM
JoeDfan JoeDfan is offline
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WOW. Those are really cool. I would have never thought to try and collect signatures for that category.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:27 AM
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Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick would be another to add.
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:59 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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My intention of the thread is to show signatures of those KIA or MIA and declared deceased. Listing names is easy I can come up with about 150 Olympians that were killed from WWI through the Iraq War. The wow factor for me is going through an autograph album to decipher the signatures and discovering that they died during a war. I find that fascinating. The signatures of Polish Olympians I showed were all on the same page of an autograph album. They were collected by a New Zealand boxer who competed in 1932. He had this album with 6x8 pages and his name embossed in gold on the front. He had theme pages - Argentine Boxing Team, 18 of the 19 members of the team from India, Italian Boxing team, half of the Greek team, Italian fencing team and all of the male members of the Polish team segregated by sport - fencing, athletics and rowing. There were also about 8 pages of Japanese athletes in all sports. The boxer who obtained these signatures was Harold Thomas. He fought one match in the Olympics and lost which ended his Olympic career. Eight months later, on March 29, 1933, he committed suicide by jumping from a train in Wellington, New Zealand just a few hours after hearing his fiance had died. He was 24 years, two months old. I cut the signed pages from the album but could not destroy the album. I was able to return it, along with photocopies of the removed pages, to the president of the New Zealand Olympic Committee when he was in Washington, D.C. for the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) convention in October, 2015. I felt like I was getting it back home.
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Last edited by Michael B; 02-20-2017 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:15 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Here are a couple more.

Foy Draper - won a gold medal as part of the 4 x 100 m relay in Berlin along with Jesse Owens, RAlph Metcalfe and Frank Wycoff This was the first 4 x 100 m relay team to run under 40 seconds. Draper was shot down during the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Tunisia on January 4, 1943. The first signature is from the 1934 AAU Championships in Milwaukee. the second is while a member of the Olympic Team signed on the boat coming home.

Charley Paddock - technically not a casualty of war as he did not die in battle, but he did die during the war while in the military. Served as a Lieutenant in the artillery in WWI. Won several gold medals at the Inter-Allied Games in 1919. Won 2 golds and silver, including the 100 m dash at the 1920 Olympics He is depicted in the movie "Chariots of Fire'. He would only win a silver in the 200 m in 1924. When WWII broke out he enlisted in the Marine Corps with the rank of captain serving as an aide to General William Upshur. He had served as an aide for Upshur in WWI. They both died in a plane crash in Sitka, Alaska on July 21, 1943. The letter was written on Christmas Day 1942, less than seven months before he died. I also have the envelope in his hand. The photo is his official USMC photo in my archives.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Draper,-Foy-(1934).jpg (9.4 KB, 385 views)
File Type: jpg Draper, Foy (1936).jpg (29.7 KB, 386 views)
File Type: jpg paddock1.jpg (32.6 KB, 389 views)
File Type: jpg paddock-2.jpg (29.3 KB, 387 views)
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Last edited by Michael B; 02-22-2017 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:54 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Here is another person I would consider a war casualty. He did not die in battle, but he did die during war time while in the service.

Tommy Hitchcock (1900-1944) - Considered the greatest American Polo player of all time. Won a silver medal in polo at the 1924 Olympics. He enlisted with the French forces in WWI later transferring to the U.S. Army Air Corps. He flew in the Lafayette Escadrille. He was shot down and captured. He escaped when he jumped from moving train as it crossed a river. Walked 100 miles to the Swiss border. Attended Harvard and Oxford after the war. Re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He died in a plane crash in England.

The person selling the second signature below claimed it was not him, but rather his father even though someone had written on it that it was obtained at a field where they had polo matches.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hitchcock,-Tommy-(1930's)--.jpg (3.9 KB, 325 views)
File Type: jpg Hitchcock,-Tommy-(1921)---2.jpg (4.9 KB, 328 views)
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:02 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Here are a few more casualties of war. All three signatures were part of a recent acquisition that included around 250 competitors from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles

Mauri Nyberg-Noroma also known as Mauri Noroma - He competed in gymnastics for Finland in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. He won a bronze medal in the team all-around event in 1932 and 1936. He was killed in action December 23, 1939 during the Finland Soviet Winter War.

Clayton Mansfield. He competed in Modern Pentathlon at the 1932 Olympics, but did not medal. He graduated from West Point in 1928. Originally in the cavalry he turned to tank warfare, studying it at Fort Knox. In August, 1944 he was sent to Europe where he was chief of staff of the 2nd Armored Division. In December he was promoted to regimental commander of the 66th Armored Division. He was leading that regiment when he was struck by enemy fire during the Battle of the Bulge on January 9, 1945. He died later that day shortly after receiving the silver star on the field for gallantry.

Attila Petschauer - Competing in fencing for Hungary he won a gold and silver medal in 1928 and a gold medal in 1932. He was a Hungarian Jew and would have been deported to a concentration camp but for his elite athlete status. He was eventually deported to the Davidovka concentration camp in the Ukraine. One story I found suggested he was walking down the street without the papers that gave him his exemption and he was picked up. While at the camp he was called out one day by the commander, a fellow Hungarian Olympian from the 1928 team. It was January 20th, 1943, the middle of the winter. He was forced to strip naked and climb up a tree where he was sprayed with freezing water. He would die that day. His story was told in the 1999 film "Sunshine" starring Ralph Finnes, Rosemary Harris and Rachel Weisz though the names were changed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Nyberg-Noroma, Mauri (1932).jpg (62.9 KB, 212 views)
File Type: jpg Mansfield, Clayton (1932).jpg (56.8 KB, 211 views)
File Type: jpg Petschauer, Attila (1932).jpg (81.9 KB, 211 views)
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'Integrity is what you do when no one is looking'

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Last edited by Michael B; 01-03-2018 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:09 AM
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Michael, all I can say is Wow!! Amazing items, and what stories to go with them. Your dedication to these stories and researching the men, let alone having the ability to acquire them, is amazing. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:04 PM
2dueces 2dueces is offline
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Bob Kalsu. The only professional football player killed in the Vietnam war.
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