Gust Thompson, a member of Company F, amongst those who jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944.
His niece, Jackie Knott related that Gust had told her: "He was separated from his unit and after several days reunited with some other paratroopers. Six of them tried to find their way to their unit and were captured.
Gust said the Germans came at them so fast [that] a shotgun would have been more effective than a rifle. Gust told us the Nazis lined them up against a hedgerow and assassinated five ... Gust was the last one. A Nazi officer drove up and ordered them to take Gust prisoner. He spent the remainder of the war in Stalag 7B. "
The items depicted in this painting created by Jackie
in memory of her uncle contains many items of significance.
In her own words, "My brother, Col. Jerome A. Watson (retired), went to
Normandy in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the invasion and tried very
hard to convince our uncle to come with him. He told him, 'Jerry, I just
can't.' So, my brother went by himself and returned with two cases of
commemorative wine. You will note the labels and the years. In his
Jerry is also a military historian. He pulled out
several books on the 508th [as well as] The Battle for Mortain,
Ridgeway's Raiders, etc. That book is opened to the map where Gust was
captured. You will recognize the patches as significant to the battle,
plus the clicker.
The Nazi flag is the very one Gust brought back with him from the war.
The brown postcards in the desk are the actual postcards Gust sent to
his sister from Stalag B. One mentions the whole barracks sharing one
loaf of bread. We were stunned when these things turned up in Gust's
You see, had Pvt. Gust A. Thompson not survived D-Day, he would not have
"been there" for us when our mother died. Gust raised me until I joined
the AF. He influenced my brother to pursue a military career, and
subsequently his son and daughter. This painting hangs in my brother's
home in VA."