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Classic War Dispatch Turns Up in Basement

Bruce Campbell says 'it made my hair stand up'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2019 5:00 PM CDT
In this file photo from June 6, 1944, American soldiers land on the French coast in Normandy during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Most people find spiders and old boxes—but a Florida researcher stumbled on a classic D-Day radio broadcast in his basement, the Smithsonian reports. Bruce Campbell, 63, discovered what's likely the original recording of US war correspondent George Hicks coming under fire from Nazi planes on the USS Ancon in 1944. "Here we go again; another plane’s come over!" Hicks hollers as he reports for the Blue Network, an ABC predecessor. "Right over our port side. Tracers are making an arc right over our bow now. … Looks like we're going to have a night tonight. Give it to them, boys!" Campbell made the discovery in 1994 in an old New York state cabin he'd bought along with its contents, per the Washington Post.

A former owner of the cabin was the late Albert Stern, who'd been vice president of the company that created the Recordgraph—a sound recording and reproducing system that could play the Amertape recording of Hicks' report. Campbell also found Hicks' other reports, including those after D-Day, along with recordings by other iconic WWII reporters like Edward R. Murrow. Unable to sell them, Campbell donated the tapes Monday to the National D-Day Memorial. "I'm listening to this, and I feel like I'm standing on the battleship with this guy," he said of the first time hearing the tape. "It made my hair stand up. ... This is the original media and masters it was actually recorded on." Hear it here. (Or read about an unsung D-Day hero.)

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