What's New
Search Engine
Photo Gallery
Unit History
Unit Honors
Voices Of Past
How To Submit


Paratrooper lands top award

By Marie Wyman

NORTHBORO — The Vincent Picard Post 234 recently selected Northboro resident Irving T. Shanley as Legionnaire of the Year for 2004.
   Shanley was a paratrooper who participated in the invasions of Normandy, France on , June 6, 1944 and at Nijmegen, Holland, Sept. 17, 1944.
   He is a modest man who would rather speak about his project of writing biographies of men in his company, the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment than talk about him-

   "I was asked by the company commander, Capt. Chester Graham, to write as many biographies as I could for an upcoming reunion at Camp Blanding in Starke, Fla. in October. At that time, the biographies ...and other memorabilia and the regimental colors of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, will be retired," Shanley said. "This will be our final reunion."
   According to Shanley, officers in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Association encouraged their men to write and share their stories at a 1975 reunion held in Chicago where 400 to 500 veterans and family members participated.
   "I got involved with the research several years ago and in the course of putting together the biographies for the next reunion found out some interesting things," Shanley said.
   For instance, Shanley would learn that a Northboro man, Capt. Francis Ernest Flanders, from his paratrooper regiment, was killed while he was a prisoner in Germany.
   "I wrote to his company commander, who was living in California, and he sent me back a lot of information as to what really happened to Cap-
■ Continued on page 10
■ from page 1

tain Flanders," Shanley said.
   Flanders, a 1938 graduate of Northboro High School, was captured by the Germans and put into a prisoner of war camp. He subsequently died when the German convoy, he, and other captured prisoners were traveling in, was attacked by Allied P-47 airplanes.
   During his research other facts would surface for Shanley.

"I found out while gathering information for the biographies that a World War I veteran, from Northboro, Vincent F. Picard (for whom the American Legion Post 234 is named), was also part of the same 82nd Infantry Division that the famous Sgt. Alvin Yorke [sic] came from.      
   Marksmen Yorke captured 132 Germans, killed 20 and captured numerous machine guns," Shanley said.
   After World War I the 82nd Infantry Division went inactive, but was reactivated during World War II as the 82nd

Airborne, which was Shanley's division.

Shanley said that being chosen as Legionnaire of the Year was a total surprise.
   "I had no idea," he said. "I think that there were many more deserving people than me, but I am very grateful and proud to receive it."
Florence Shanley, his wife of nearly 56 years, said she was very proud of her husband.
"I've always been proud of him. I knew about it (the award) beforehand, but it was hard to keep quiet; it's hard to keep a secret," she said.
   Irving Shanley retired from military service in 1969 as a Lt. Col. after more than 26 years active service. He served for 14 years In the infantry and 12 years in the adjutant general's corps.

Shanley received the Le-gionnaire of the year award at a ceremony held on Memorial
Day at the Howard Street Cemetery.
   "It was a wonderful award to receive," Shanley said, "but we were there at the cemetery to pay tribute to all our fallen comrades. Those fellow soldiers that paid the supreme sacrifice."

Copyright and all other rights reserved by the Family and Friends of The 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Association or by those who are otherwise cited,
For problems or questions regarding this web site, please contact