Fam­i­lies touched by WWII ex­hibit

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Arts & Entertainment -

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The World War II ex­hibit at the Queen Anne’s Mu­seum of East­ern Shore Life has had an im­pact on lo­cal fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als who lived in Queen Anne’s County dur­ing the war and are still liv­ing in the area to­day. Many fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als in the area have pro­vided pho­tos of their rel­a­tives who served in the mil­i­tary dur­ing WWII. Some have pro­vided ar­ti­facts and items of mem­o­ra­bilia from that war. Many of these folks have vis­ited the mu­seum to see the ex­hibit and talk about their rel­a­tives who served dur­ing the war.

The mu­seum’s WWII ex­hibit in­cludes a fea­ture rec­og­niz­ing and hon­or­ing the three dozen county res­i­dents who died in com­bat dur­ing the war. Per­haps the most renowned in­ci­dent of a lo­cal per­son be­com­ing a ca­su­alty dur­ing the war in­volved Henry Lewis of Cen­tre­ville. Lewis was a lieu­tenant and a pi­lot in the U. S. Army Air Corps, fly­ing a B-24 Lib­er­a­tor bomber out of Eng­land. Lewis was killed when his plane went down in east­ern France while re­turn­ing from a bomb­ing mis­sion in Ger­many in De­cem­ber 1944.

The plane crashed in a forested area near the German bor­der but the lo­ca­tion of the crash site was un­known to Amer­i­can and English of­fi­cials so no res­cue or re­cov­ery ef­fort was pos­si­ble at that time.

The cause of the crash was never known.

In 1999, the crash site was dis­cov­ered by lo­cal cit­i­zens and re­ported to the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. Mi­nus­cule rem­nants of the re­mains of the crew were found, still with their dog tags and other pieces of per­sonal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Henry Lewis’ re­mains and dog tags were sub­se­quently re­turned to his fam­ily in Cen­tre­ville and Henry’s re­mains were in­terred in the Ch­ester­field Ceme­ter y in Cen­tre­ville.

Henry and his wife, Kitty, had a daugh­ter, Nancy, who was born in 1943. Henry and Nancy were able to spend a lit­tle time to­gether when Nancy was less than a year old. She was too young to be able to re­mem­ber be­ing with him but there are sev­eral pho­to­graphs of them to­gether. Kitty was preg­nant with their se­cond child when Henry left for his duty in Europe in late 1943. Their se­cond daugh­ter, Sandy, was born in 1944 af­ter Henry had de­parted, so Henr y and Sandy never met.

Nancy and Sandy made a visit to the mu­seum last month to see the ex­hibit and dis­cuss their dad’s story. They each have one of his dog tags. Sandy was wear­ing hers when she vis­ited the mu­seum.

The mu­seum will be open to vis­i­tors from 1 to 4 p.m. on Satur­day, Oct. 6. The mu­seum also will be open to vis­i­tors on Satur­day, Nov. 3, and Sun­day, Nov. 11, in spe­cial recog­ni­tion of the 100th an­niver­sary of Ar­mistice Day which ended World War I in 1918.

There is no ad­mis­sion charge though do­na­tions are al­ways sin­cerely ap­pre­ci­ated.

The mu­seum is lo­cated at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park (county fair­grounds) lo­cated on state Route 18 at Dulin Clark Road be­tween Cen­tre­ville and Queen­stown.

Sis­ters Nancy Lewis, left, and Sandy Lewis Metz vis­ited the Queen Anne’s Mu­seum of East­ern Shore Life on Sept. 1 to see the WWII ex­hibit, es­pe­cially the part fea­tur­ing their fa­ther Henry Lewis, who was a U. S. Army Air Corps pi­lot who was killed when his plane crashed dur­ing a re­turn flight from a bomb­ing mis­sion over Ger­many in De­cem­ber 1944. They are stand­ing in front of a photo of their dad taken in Cen­tre­ville in 1943. Sandy is wear­ing one of Henry’s dog tags. CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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