Buzz Bomb Memorial

The Buzz Bomb MemorialThis war machine is a German built V-1, commonly known in the U.S. as a "buzz bomb" and in Britain as the "doodle-bug."  It was officially designated FZG-76.

Adolf Hitler unleashed the V-1, precursor of the cruise missile, against London in 1944.  It was the new German weapon - literally a flying bomb.  The pilotless anti-aircraft designation was a ruse to throw allied spies off track.

This is one of two “buzz bombs” in the United States. The other is housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. It is intended as a memorial to those from Putnam County who lost their lives while serving their country in World War II.

The memorial on the Greencastle court house lawn is one of two "buzz bombs" in the United States.  The other is housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  It is intended as a memorial to those from Putnam County who lost their lives while serving their country in World War II.

It all started in the spring of 1947 at Fort Stumpneck, Maryland, when reservist J. Frank Durham was on two weeks of annual training for explosive ordnance demolition with the Navy.  Lt. William R. Brooks, the Officer-in-Charge of EODU, U.S. Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, Maryland, announced he had orders to dispose of obsolete captured enemy ordnance taking up unnecessary room.  

J. Frank Durham remarked to Lt. Brooks it seemed a shame to "deep six" all that stuff when there were a lot of people in the country who had never seen such items.  He replied off-hand that it would take an Act of Congress to get anything. From there, Durham started the process.

His first thought was to start an ordnance museum back home with some of the more interesting pieces.  Durham made a list of some forty items and asked Lt. Brooks to set these aside until he could obtain proper authority to have them donated to the Gen. Jesse M. Lee VFW Post at Greencastle, Indiana.  Number one on that list was "One (1) German V1 Bomb-CEE 11378-2."

Money for the project was raised locally from the merchants and citizens of Putnam County.

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 VFW Post #1550 has been signed by the Secretary of Navy and is now in the committees of both Senate and House".  Jenner kept things moving, and on February 12, 1948, Durham received the following telegram from him: "Navy Department advised release OX Ordnance ordered for Greencastle VFW Post."

Wilbur Grimes, who supervised building the "Corn Palace" in Mitchell, South Dakota, and his son Jerry were the stonemasons in charge of building the Monument.  A target date of Armistice Day, 1948, was set for dedication.

The Putnam County board of Commissioners had to approve the project.  Clarence E. Goff, Fred Hunter and Ross Torr, members, gave their full support and approval.  Sam Rariden and Kenneth Bennett took care of publicity in "The Daily Banner" and the "Graphic" newspapers.  It seemed everyone in the community gave approval.

Rear Admiral A.G. Noble, U.S.N., Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, agreed to give the dedicatory address.  

One concern the committee had was to be sure the names of every local veteran killed in World War II were included on the bronze plaque Art Perry had provided at the front of the monument.  It would be terrible to omit anyone.  So, the Executive Committee and others spent a lot of time verifying the list.

Finally, after much work from all involved and completion and filing of all needed paperwork with the government, it was time to arrange for the ceremonies, parade, invitations to VIPs and work out the details of the dedication program. 

It took a lot of time by members of the Post. Lt. Hazel P. Welch, an aide to Admiral Noble, made the necessary arrangements for the Admiral and his staff to attend.  Reservations were duly made for various military personnel and prominent political figures to attend.

The local newspapers reported the largest crowd ever to assemble in Greencastle was present to view the unveiling of the Memorial.  The Bomb now belongs to the citizens of Putnam County; it is truly the only monument of its kind in the world.

"Lest we forget - they died that we may live."

The Post decided to erect a Memorial at the Southwest corner of the Court House lawn and dedicate it to the Veterans of World War II.

Art Perry of DePauw University designed the memorial in the shape of the letter "V", being a symbol of victory for World War II.  The V-1 bomb was mounted on top as a rare example of one of the first guided missiles.

State Senator William B. Hoadley and his brother owned the Hoadley Limestone Quarries in Southern Indiana.  Senator Hoadley's only son was killed in World War II.  Mr. Durham took a copy of Art Perry's drawing to Senator Hoadley.  Immediately, he volunteered to furnish at no cost, except for transportation, the necessary limestone pieces.

The limestone donated was of the best quality the quarry could produce.  Mr. Durham understood later that the base for the letter "V" was the largest single piece of limestone ever quarried from the Hoadley quarries.