Intriguing WWII Album found in Dartmoor Cottage

“I remember Grandpa giving the album to my father at some point in the 1960s,” says Patrick McCormack, grandson of John.

“But at the time I was too young to be interested, and it had slipped my mind until I was clearing out my late parents’ house in Chagford a few years ago.

‘When I rediscovered it, all work stopped while I sat on the floor and browsed through this fascinating treasure trove!”

John McCormack survived Dunkirk and then in 1941 was promoted to Colonel and appointed Director of Public Relations, Middle East.

Later he was posted to General Eisenhower’s staff, where he directed public relations for the North African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns.

During his time in North Africa and Italy he kept an album of photographs as a memento. Some of the pictures are official shots – King George VI with Montgomery, for example.

Others look less formal – the King sharing a picnic lunch with General Patton somewhere in North Africa.

There are pictures of Churchill, President Roosevelt and Eisenhower, of Montgomery and Alan Brooke, of de Gaulle and Giraud.

There are pictures of soldiers on the march, of Italian civilians welcoming the Allies, and of captured Germans.

Later the album moves to Yugoslavia, and there are shots of Tito and his partisans.

John retired from the army in 1947 and died in the mid-seventies, leaving his fascinating memories depicted in one unique album.

Stuart Clarke

Author: Stuart Clarke

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