Readers with fine memories will recall that Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler and Young David Evans are looking into the dark history surrounding Colenal James Kilian, and his cruelty and subsequent disgrace following the mistreatment of soldiers at the U.S. Army base stationed at Whittington, near Lichfield, during the war.
This was quite a scandal at the time or the American forces, but is barely recorded in our collective history at all. Both Peter and David (and myself of course) are eager to document this before the history is lost.
While the chaps work on this, Peter noted in the Lichfield Mercury of 25th January, 1952, Walsall Councillors and officers were less bothered about the Colenel’s crimes than they were about offloading a £200 soup tureen.
It was later sent on to the disgraced Kilian by post!
Walsall has always had odd priorities. Plus ça change, etc.
Thanks to Peter for the spot. Only in Walsall…
Silver Tureen Problem Solved
COMMANDANT TO RECEIVE GIFT
The presentation of the tureen to Col. Kilian, then commandant of the U.S. Army camp at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, was to have been one of the highlights 0f Walsall’s Anglo-American Friendship Week In February, 1945.
For three years Col. Kilian was “fairy godmother” to Walsall. He “gave” the band of his unit the 1oth Replacement Depot, toplay for the town’s dances and socials and he raised two baseball teams to play before the Duchess of Kent in aid of the Red Cross.
When the Friendship Week was celebrated, however, inquiries were being made into allegations of cruelty to prisoners under the colonel’s commend.
Then, Col. Kilian was court martial led at Bad Nauheim, Germany, fined £125, and reprimanded for authorising the cruelty- and the tureen, with its inscription, “…token of goodwill and esteem and in appreciation of his ever ready helpfulness and co-operation…” was locked in the strong-room of Walsall Town Hall.
On December 16th. 1944, Col. Kilian received on behalf of the 10th Replacement Depot, U.S. Forces, the honorary Freedom of Lichfield, which was the first city in the country to give civic honour to American Allies in the Second World War.
The same year, in recognition of his achievement in making the Lichfield Depot one of the smoothest functioning U.S. Army installations n the United Kingdom, Col. Kilian was awarded the Legion of Merit, a high American honour.