An unlikely spy, Marthe Cohn risked life to help Allied cause

marthecohnepl.03.adv.jpgMarthe Cohn speaks about her World War II experiences. (Photo by Raegan Labat, used by permission of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

By George Morris

For four years in France during World War II, Marthe Cohn tried to avoid German forces while helping fellow Jews do the same. Her sister, Stephanie, was unable to avoid the Nazis and died in Auschwitz.

Once Allied forces liberated Paris, however, Cohn was more than a survivor. She became a heroine.

Blonde, blue-eyed and fair-skinned, Cohn became a spy inside Germany and uncovered information credited for saving lives and speeding the war’s end.

Continue reading “An unlikely spy, Marthe Cohn risked life to help Allied cause”

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Ball turret gunner: ‘A ringside seat’ to air combat

peo ballturret pd 4.jpgCharles McGowan kept a B-17 wind indicator in his back yard. (Photo used by permission of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

By George Morris

From an exclusively visual perspective, Charles “Chub” McGowan had the best seat during the air war over Germany late in World War II.

Sightseeing, however, wasn’t on the agenda.

McGowan, a Pennsylvania native and Baton Rouge resident since 1969, was a ball turret gunner from late July 1944 to late February 1945, when the crew of the B-17 bomber called “Patty Jo” completed their 35th mission, earning them that rare blessing of being sent back to the United States for the rest of the war. With thousands of airmen killed or captured, those completing a full tour of duty earned membership in the “Lucky Bastard Club.”

None of them probably felt luckier than the ball turret gunner.

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