The Bloggers
Subscribe to this Blog

The Bedford Boys

Joe Holley

In my September 5 obituary for Elliot Berlin, I mentioned that the Alexandria-based documentary filmmaker had recently completed work on "Bedford: The Town They Left Behind." I noted that the documentary explores "the impact of the D-Day invasion upon a small southwestern Virginia town that lost several of its young men in the first minutes of fighting."

In an e-mail, reader David Nelson took me to task for using the word "several." And rightly so.

As Berlin and his co-director Joe Fab recount in their documentary, 38 National Guardsmen from the close-knit community, members of Company A of the 116th Infantry, left home to serve when World War II broke out. On June 6, 1944, 19 were killed when they landed on Omaha Beach at the start of the D-Day invasion. Most of "the Bedford Boys" were killed within the first half hour.

Their deaths gave the Bedford community, whose population numbered about 3,200 during World War II, the sad distinction of reportedly losing more men per capita on D-Day than any other community in America. In 2001, Congress chose the town as the site of the National D-Day Memorial.

The last of "the Bedford Boys," retired postal worker Ray Nance, died in May of this year at age 94. The movie will soon be available on dvd.

By Joe Holley |  September 8, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  | Category:  Joe Holley
Previous: The Daily Goodbye | Next: The Daily Goodbye


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company