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Albemarle Tradewinds July 2016 Web Final Optimized

July 2016

Surviving the “Black

Surviving the “Black March” By: David Bennett, Curator at the Port o’ Plymouth Museum In early 1944, two Washington County men, Benjamin Jackson and Benjamin Robertson, members of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, were shot down over Germany. Despite coming from the same community, the two men were complete strangers, but a chance meeting in a German prisoner of war camp forever changed their lives. Both men found themselves imprisoned at Stalag Luft IV, a German POW camp that was overcrowded, lacked bathing facilities, and subjected its prisoners to physical abuse. It was in this environment that Jackson and Robertson first met. The two men were introduced by a mutual friend, Woodrow Collins, another aviator from Washington County. In February 1945, the Russians were closing in on the camp. The Germans responded by evacuating and forcing over 8,000 prisoners to march more than 500 miles in the dead of winter. Today, the journey is known as the “Black March.” During the march about a quarter of the men died of starvation, disease, exposure, and physical abuse. The ones who survived the ordeal made it due to the buddy system. Jackson and Robertson paired up during the march and helped one another find food during the day and stay warm at night. During the march Robertson became severely ill and his tonsils rotted out. Eventually he became so weak that he could no longer walk. In an effort to save Robertson, Jackson put him on a horse drawn wagon. At some point along the march, the group was split up and Jackson and Robertson became separated. By the time Robertson was liberated, he had lost 65 pounds. It was not until much later that the two men were reunited after the war. It is difficult to say what would have happened had the two never met, but it is safe to say that the bond they formed during captivity contributed to their survival. Benjamin Jackson Benjamin Robertson Special thanks to U.S. Cellular, and the Golden Skillet, for hosting this article by the Port o’ Plymouth Museum. Helping Northeastern NC Families since 1998 with Personal Loans Automobile Financing Retail Financing www.afsloans.com Convenient terms to fit your budget Apply online, or give us a call: 338-9008 145 Rich Blvd ~ Elizabeth City 441-4422 1300 S Croatan Hwy ~ Kill Devil Hills 232-3320 109 Currituck Commercial Dr ~ Moyock Mention this ad for a free gift! Comments? E-Mail br549@modernmedianow.com The Albemarle Tradewinds reaches 60k readers each month in printed and social media ...... call Ken and learn how. 252-333-7232 14 Albemarle Tradewinds July 2016 albemarletradewinds.com

LEGION BEACH ... A Summer Reflection By Jimmy Fleming mrflemz@embarqmail.com How anyone can grow up in Tyrrell County and not learn to swim and love the water is hard for me to comprehend. I first learned to swim on my own ( I heard that my dad just threw me off the pier at Legion Beach) when I was very young. I later took swimming lessons at a Red Cross swimming class held at Colonial Beach. During the summer, as soon as Dad got home from his job at the Post Office, my brothers and I would nag and torture him until he would give in and take us swimming. We always wanted to go to Legion Beach and most of the time he not only had to take the three of us but half the kids on Green Street. I always thought a lot of Mr. Frank Spitzig who was in charge of the beach in those days. He operated the beach house and lived in the little cottage right on the property. There was always a bunch of folks at the beach, especially on weekends. Sometimes Mr. Frank would set a mullet net or let the kids put out crab lines and catch fresh fish and crabs to cook in the evening. Some of the best fried fish and steamed crabs I ever ate were cooked at Legion Beach by Mr. Frank. I remember he liked to steam his crabs using the vinegar from empty jars of hot sausages, pickled eggs, or pickled pigs feet. There was always a diverse group of people at the beach. There would be kids, teenagers, young adults, and older folks who all came to enjoy the water, sun, and fun at Legion Beach. The old juke box was always playing songs while folks were swimming, sunning, or conversing. Mr. Frank gave me a puppy once and I named him after a song that was popular at the time ( Wooly Bully). As I got older and spent summers working in potatoes, Legion Beach was the first stop after work. Even though the beach house burned completely down in the mid 1960’s, the beach was still a very popular place. The 4th of July was also a huge day at Legion. There would be boat races, fireworks, live music, and large crowds of people who came early and stayed late. A new beach house has been built now and several folks have operated the beach since Mr. Frank, but no one has ever duplicated the atmosphere that I remember about Legion Beach as a youngster. Some of the fondest memories that I have of Tyrrell County are times spent at Legion Beach. The other day I attended a fish fry at the beach that reminded me a great deal of the good times I’ve had the pleasure to spend there. I hope that Legion Beach remains a place where many more generations of Tyrrell folks have the opportunity to create great memories just as I have. All of our clients get their own QR code for free when purchasing an ad. We’ve got this town covered with 4G LTE. We are located in downtown Elizabeth City. Our mission is to make using tobacco a thing of the past! With U.S. Cellular,® get high-speed 4G LTE data coverage where and when you need it. Visit Ace Paging Carolina Communications for more information. Plymouth 77 US Hwy 64 E., 252-791-0008 CALL FOR STORE HOURS. 4G LTE not available in all areas. See uscellular.com/4G for complete coverage details. 4G LTE service provided through King Street Wireless, a partner of U.S. Cellular. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. ©2016 U.S. Cellular New_No_Contract_4GLTE_Version1_Flyer_DI_8_5x11 2293849 Come by The Vapor Station every Saturday to receive 10% off Seduce Juice when you mention this ad. facebook.com/AlbemarleTradingPost Albemarle Tradewinds July 2016 15