PFC ANDREW J. RELOSKY
KIA on D- Day
June 6, 1944
PFC Andrew J. Relosky was a member of B Battery, 29th Field Artillery Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, and was killed in action
during the June 6, 1944 Invasion of Normandy, when LCT 458 hit a mine and sank during the landing at Utah Beach.
He was among those 39 men which died in that sinking. A total of 50 men from the 29th FA were killed during World War II, mostly from
B Battery, 29th Field Artillery, many of whom were never recovered.
The American Cemetery in Normandy France
Webmaster's scan of a "xerox copy" of original photo, which sadly does not scan with "sharp quality". My apologies to all.
Original Photo taken by Dr. Albert D. Menno, of Buffalo, New York, who provided the "xerox copy" of original photo.
The Story Behind This Photo
Photo defies odds, brings word of hero across time, miles
Kin learn of fallen soldier's grave in picture of Normandy cemetery
By Charles Anzalone
The weight of the coincidence comes from doing the math. The spiritual impact is just as clear. A glance at the picture or a few words from those involved makes it clear someting exceptional is at work. There are 10,000 white marble grave markers at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, each with a fallen World War II soldier's name.
Albert D. Menno, a Buffalo surgeon, picked one of those 10,000 at random during his vacation in France two years ago. When he returned to Buffalo, he sorted through the almost 600 pictures he took on his vacation and picked three for a physician's photo show at Sisters Hospital. By chance, a nurse at Sisters glanced at Menno's picture among the 75 at the show, reading the only grave marker name visible in the picture. Andrew J. Relosky, P.F.C. Pennsyvania. June 6, 1944. He was killed on the bloodiest beach during the Allies assault that started the fall of Nazi Germany.
The nurse knew a part-time nurse at Sisters - Julie Relosky - and suggested she take a look. When she did, Mrs. Relosky called her husbands aunt, and then it hit - an extraordinary set of circumstances that stands logic and the usual perception of how people understand their lives on its head.
Andrew Relosky was the youngest of five brothers to fight in World War II. For almost 50 years, all his family knew was he had died somewhere in Europe during the end of the war. No one knew where, when, how, or why. Because Albert Menno happened to be drawn to the grave marker, picking that plot among all the others in a cemetery bigger than Forest Lawn, the Relosky family has discovered their 25-year-old uncle and brother died a hero. The uncertainty over his death was put to rest in a most haunting and humbling way.
"The odds against this are immense," said Menno, 62, of Williamsville. "I happened to be there. I happened to take a picture of that grave site. That picture happened to be chosen for the show. That happened to be the most readable marker. "It happened that someone recognized the name and that woman happened to be at our hospital," Menno said. "I didn't even know there was such a person at Sisters. That name meant nothing to me. If it would've been at any other hospital, it wouldn't have mattered."
On the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the Relosky's represent the final step in an extraordinary sequence of chance events that ended with them finally discovering the fate of the late Andrew Relosky. What the numbers fail to convey is the reverence, the solemnity, the supernatural feeling provoked by the sequence of events.
The best way to understand that is to look at the picture. The blue sky. The white color of the Carrara marble. The rows of graves in crisp angles. The scene radiates a symmetry and order that Menno recognized when he sat on the grass and composed the picture. There was a serenity to that scene, an otherworld quality that grows with the details of the story. A year later, the people caught up in the drama still are awed by it.
"It's scary, the coincidence of it all," said Frank Relosky, 39, who works for the Buffalo Police Department, and is Andrew Relosky's nephew. "Why now, almost 50 years later? It's kind of weird. After all these years, no one had any information. Now, this one picture ties everything together. "It puts to rest any question of what finally happened to him," Relosky said. "We know he is buried over there with the rest of his buddies. It closed the chapter on it."
Menno, who gave the Relosky family a copy of the picture, said he will never fully understand how his picture led to ending another family's uncertainty. "It's humbling," Menno said. "It's one of those devinely-guided experiences. I'm impressed it happened this way. Something was moving the events in the manner that created all this to come together. "I don't explain it. But to be a vehicle of someone finding out about a relative like this, I couldn't be more proud."
Menno's photograph was displayed in the hospital show again this May. He brought it back to his Williamsville home and replaced it on the wall in his den. Each look leaves him dumbfounded, he said, in awe again over the chain of events that unfolded from the moment he sat facing the symmetrical crosses on the bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Even his children can't pass the picture without sharing those chills. "Dad, how did you ever come across this kind of situation?" they asked. "I had no control over it," he told them. "Something made me do it."
Note: This article was originally published in The Buffalo News.
His Family Mourns His Loss
His Comrades Honor Him
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