Sunday, June 17, 2018
News Roundup

Dunedin man honored for contributions to liberation of France during World War II

Good for you | by Nova Beall

Basil Woolf of Dunedin was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor for his contributions to the liberation of France during World War II.

The 89-year-old was honored May 3 at the Boynton Beach Civic Center for his association with the Support Squadron Eastern Flank and his participation in the Normandy invasion, which took place June 6, 1944.

Presenting the award was Capt. Philippe Petitdidier from the French detachment at U.S. Central Command, Tampa.

To receive this award, Woolf answered an ad in 2000 placed by the French ambassador asking all those who had been part of the Normandy invasion for proof of participation. Woolf's information was researched and documented, and he received his appointment this year.

He was born in 1923 in Hackney, London. He volunteered for the Royal Navy in the early 1940s and was initially sent to Norfolk, Va., for training in landing craft infantry. There, Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Woolf and his shipmates learned the intricacies of flat-bottomed beach landing craft that included gunboats, rocket-firing ships and a headquarter ship (LCH 269).

The fleet of ships ferried supplies to Malta, smuggled guerillas into Crete and took part in Sicily and Italy landings.

"We followed the war around," said Woolf.

The vessel on which he served, LCH 269, provided logistical support during the invasion of Normandy.

When the beach had finally been secured, Allied soldiers made their way to a row of boarding houses and discovered they'd been connected underground by a series of tunnels. "The Germans who'd been using them got out in a hurry," Woolf recounted. "The coffee cups were still warm."

Following D-day, the ships returned for repairs and refitting to their home base of Poole, Dorset, in southern England.

Woolf also took part in the Battle of Walcheren Island, a mission similar to Normandy but on a smaller scale.

The goal of Operation "Infatuate" was to position more than two dozen landing crafts onto the shoreline of the heavily fortified Dutch island in order to deploy Royal Marine commandos whose orders were to systematically silence each German gun position. Only then could Allied supply ships travel the Scheldt River safely and unload much-needed supplies.

The attack began around 7 a.m. Nov. 1, 1944. Heavy seas and stormy weather made anticipated air support impossible.

Ultimately, the mission was a success after an intense firefight lasting nearly five hours that resulted in a large number of casualties and damage to most of the vessels.

A London Daily Mail story dated Nov. 2, 1944, reported that out of 25 gun and support landing craft taking part in the operation, nine were sunk and eight badly damaged.

"By the end of the operation, our ship, the only left, limped into Poole Harbor," Woolf notes in his memoirs. "Our ship returned with a crew of 18 and many wounded men in our troop quarters."

For his meritorious action in the face of the enemy, Woolf was acknowledged by the First Lord of the British Admiralty on behalf of the King of England and Mentioned in Despatches, published Nov. 14, 1944, in the London Gazette.

Lychgate, a permanent memorial to those who took part in the Walcheren operation, was installed July 5, 1952, at St. Michael's Church, Blandford Road, Hamworthy, near Poole.

That same year, Woolf and his family emigrated and he became an American citizen. They came to Florida 25 years ago from New Jersey and have lived in Dunedin since 2000.

The couple have three children and four grandchildren.

• • •

Raytheon Co. celebrated Math Awareness Month by awarding Bradley England of Clearwater a $1,000 scholarship to be used for a math, science or technology camp or program or saved for college. His school, Palm Harbor Middle, received a matching grant.

Raytheon is awarding $300,000 to 150 students and schools across the country as part of its MathMovesU program.

Scholarship recipients were selected from a pool of middle school students who created multimedia presentations that illustrated the importance of math in their daily lives.

Comments
Fatherís Day on the water

Fatherís Day on the water

Luis Santana | TimesBoaters take advantage of the calm seas and warm weather to enjoy the waters near the Dunedin Causeway on Fatherís Day. Dozens of boats were beached along the shores of Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Park.
Updated: 3 hours ago
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administrationís move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.Itís also...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

CHICAGO — Not long after her father went missing during the Korean War, Carol Elkin spotted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in downtown Chicago and did what any kid might do when coming face to face with the nation’s most famous soldier: She ...
Published: 06/17/18
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J ó Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Published: 06/17/18

spain600 migrants allowed off ships after rescueAbout 600 migrants disembarked from three ships Sunday in the port of Valencia, more than a week after they had been rescued at sea only to be turned away by Italy and Malta. Arriving separately, the Aq...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., June 17, midday:87 662 6806e_SRit48442Sun., June 17, evening:66 701 0866e_SRit27697Fantasy 5Sunday...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gunfire erupts at festival; 22 hurt

Gunfire erupts at festival; 22 hurt

TRENTON, N.J. ó Gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts and music festival early Sunday morning, sending people running over each other in the scramble to safety, authorities said. One suspect was killed and 22 people, including two suspects, were in...
Updated: 3 hours ago