Every summer for the past fifteen years of my life, I’ve been fortunate to spend at least a week in the beautiful County Down seaside village of Killough. It remains one of our unspoilt treasures, with its picture perfect Castle Street, pier walk and bay views. Van Morrison and Terry George are amongst those who have captured the allure of Killough and Coney Island in song and on screen.
For years I have enjoyed the scenic walk along the coastal road out of the village and towards the landmark St John’s Point lighthouse.
In August, whilst out for an early morning stroll, I came across what I took to be an old World War 2 pill box (machine gun nest) overlooking the Irish Sea at Killough just above the old coast guard building.
There were American soldiers stationed throughout Northern Ireland during World War 2 and I guess they would have manned these, as well as probably building them. This particular one had a number of bricks in which soldiers obviously tried to engrave their names for posterity. Alas, only a few have survived the harsh coastal weather conditions and the some 70 intervening years well enough to be legible today.
There is one brick in which these details have been inscribed so effectively to stand the test of time: Don Frederickson, Granite Falls, Minnesota.
I was intrigued by this.
The benefits of modern technology allowed me to google his name and before completing the return leg of the walk I was able to conclude that Don & his son had passed away, but his wife Carolyn was still alive.
I gathered from a quick internet search that Granite Falls was a small community so I contacted the Granite Falls American Legion (Facebook proving its worth at last.)
Long story short, the Commander of the Legion in Granite Falls, Dorian Gatchell, and his wife, Melanie Gabbert Gatchell (the Facebook page administrator) were delighted that I’d made contact and proceeded to frame a picture of the brick, presenting it formally to Don’s widow during the week with the local press in attendance.
Just a little good news story to lift the gloom….. 😉