This coming Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the death of a first cousin twice removed, so it seems only fitting that I post this column ahead of that date, to honor his memory.
Edward Franklin Nelson, Jr. was born in
, circa 1917. My knowledge of him is fairly limited, but what I do know about him makes me wish I knew more. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th Army Air Force, and he was killed in action on West Orange, New Jersey September 27, 1943, fighting the Axis powers during World War II.
Here is a photograph of “Ned” Nelson Jr., all decked out in his officer’s uniform.
The back reads: “Ned Jr. Nelson, son of Ned Nelson, who was killed in battle second world war—he was a bomber.”
Little information is available online about his service, though he is on the
West Orange website’s “lest we forget” memorial page, which lists all of the servicemen from that township who died during the war.
Based on the date of his death, I suspect Ned Jr. may have participated in the bombing of
. The historic, first US radar-led bombing raid took place on Emden, Germany September 27, 1943, during which seven B-17’s and one P-47 were lost. It is possible my cousin was aboard one of those planes. Perhaps time will tell if that was the case.