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J. Frank Durham Endowment for the Buzz Bomb War Memorial

Year Founded
2010

Founder
J. Frank Durham

Purpose of Fund
The Endowment will provide financial support for the care and maintenance of the historic “Buzz Bomb,” the V-1 Flying Bomb FZG-76, located on the southwest corner of the Putnam County Courthouse lawn as a World War II Memorial in Greencastle, Indiana. This Memorial is dedicated to the seventy-three Putnam County WWII veterans who were killed in action during that War. They sacrificed their lives and must not be forgotten.

History of Fund
The Buzz Bomb is a German built, pilotless, flying bomb, commonly known in the U.S. as a “buzz bomb,” and in Britain as the “doodle bug.” It was officially designated the FZG-76. Adolf Hitler unleashed the V-1 buzz bomb against London in 1944. 

In the spring of 1947, WWII Navy Reservist and Greencastle native J. Frank Durham was spending two weeks receiving annual training in explosive ordnance demolition in Stumpneck, Maryland. It was announced that all obsolete captured enemy ordnance be disposed. Mr. Durham thought it was “a shame to deep six” the ordnance because there were so many people in the country who had never seen such technology. Mr. Durham made a list of some forty items and asked the officer in charge to set these aside so he could obtain proper authority to have them donated to the General Jesse M. Lee VFW Post 1550 in Greencastle, Indiana. His supervising officer made the comment that it would take an Act of Congress to get this done. Rather than be discouraged, Durham decided that was just what he would do. 

On December 12, 1947, Senator William Jenner wrote Mr. Durham a letter stating, “We have just been informed the bill for the ordnance which you desire for the VFW Post 1550 has been signed by the Secretary of Navy and is now in the committees of both the Senate and the House.”  Jenner continued to support the effort, and on February 12, 1948, Durham received the following telegram:  “Navy Department advised release OX Ordnance ordered for Greencastle VFW Post.” 

Money for the project was raised locally from Putnam County merchants and citizens.  Putnam County Commissioners, Clarence E. Goff, Fred Hunter, and Ross Torr gave their support and approval.  Art Perry of DePauw University designed the Memorial in the shape of the letter “V,” which was a symbol of victory in World War II.  The limestone came from Hoadley Limestone Quarries in Southern Indiana. State Senator William B. Hoadley’s only son was killed in WWII, so he and his brother agreed to furnish the limestone at no cost to the community. Mr. Durham understood later that the base for the Memorial was the largest single piece of limestone every quarried from Hoadley quarries. Stone masons Wilbur Grimes and his son, Jerry, were put in charge of building the Memorial. The Memorial was dedicated on Armistice Day, 1948, in the presence of an estimated crowd of 5,000 people.

Durham later wrote, “Never in the history of Putnam County has there been better cooperation between our citizens than during that time.” 

 

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