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Mission For Mary

 

Mary Dopp grew up in Wolverhampton in the West-Midlands of England.  During World War Two, as the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils were preparing to invade France and enter the war, they were stationed for a time in Cannock, England.  Due to the shortage of barracks space, the tankers were billeted in many private homes.  They developed a bond with the families they stayed with, and many romances bloomed between GI’s & English girls.  One such English girl was Mary.  Mary met Merl Dopp about this time, and they fell in love.  After the war, Merl Dopp returned to England and made Mary his bride.  Mary came to the U.S. on a ship full of “War Brides”.  Mary became an American, but she never forgot her English roots, and went back as often as she could.  When researching my book “Patton’s Troubleshooters”, I wrote to the town fathers of Cannock to ask for anyone who remembered the Red Devils to step forward and tell their story.  They were kind enough to place an article in the local newspaper publicizing my quest for information.  

 

Later, on my own, I met Merl and Mary Dopp and was thrilled to learn that she was from the area near Cannock.  Her English accent and charm melted my heart.  Merl, Mary and I got to be good friends, and I grew to love her like family.  On one of her return visits to England, I asked Mary to do me a favor.  I asked her to carry a special copy of “Patton’s Troubleshooters” to donate to the area library as a gesture of gratitude to the people of Cannock for being helpful in my research, but more importantly, for the hospitality they showed to those young American boys so far from home.  Boy, was I surprised when Mary returned to the U.S.  She had made the presentation of the book to none other than the Chairman of the District Council of Cannock-Chase.  This event was also written up in the local English papers.  The Chairman very kindly sent me a fine English bone-china plate with the Cannock-Chase coat of arms, along with a print of the coat of arms with its description, and a very nice letter of thanks for the donation of the book.

 

Mary Dopp (center) presents “Patton’s Troubleshooters” to the good people of Cannock-Chase through the Chairman of the District Council.

 

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