I have tried desperately to research my father in my own way, without results. I'm going to try to synthesize the point of my research.
In 1943, an American soldier named Richard Gray was based at Oran in Algeria. He was between 20 and 23 years old. In this town, he met a young woman, my mother : Lucienne Martin 17 years old. They were very fond of each other and wanted to be married. He would receive wedding dress pictures from his sister, living in USA. Richard Gray had been transferred at the end of 1943 or at the beginning on 1944 to an unknown place to continue the war. He should have been informed by mail of my birth (31 August 1944). This story may be banal if some troubling events didn't thwart this love story. Richard wrote a lot to my mother during the war, and when he returned in USA in 1944. He wanted to marry her and he had expressed it in his mail. Unfortunately, all his letters were intercepted and destroyed by my grandmother who didn't want this marriage to take place, with her daughter and her child moving to USA.
I learned in March 1998, by my mother, the origin of my birth.
My mother, during this 54 year period, thought she had been deserted in a cowardly manner by her lover. To be deserted pregnant at her age has been very difficult for her to bear. I made inquiries in my family and I learned a few things about this story by an aunt.
My grandmother, before her death, confided to her she destroyed all of their correspondence and a few papers belonging to my mother. The account of my aunt was better, although she never knew Richard Gray, all her explanations can be tested. Two months ago I could learned the truth from my mother. This weight of being a deserted woman and unmarried mother was out and at that time she told me my father's name.
The effort of forgetting this bad time of her life, years passing by, has a resulted in fading memories. The only factual information I have is:
1: He was in Oran (Algeria) in October-November 1943
2: His provisional military base wasn't near the harbor or the airport, which could mean that he was in the Army
3: He came back alive to the USA - it seems before the end of the war.
4: His military base was situed in southeast of Oran, between Choupot area and Cuvelier area. A road separed the base of a big market-hall.
5: His dress uniform was a khaki jacket in a silky cloth. He had a cap. He wore high shoes and gaiters.
6: His military friends called him "Dick". He had got a friend called "Mike".
I have created a web site to try to research him. In this site, I have place a picture of my mother at that time. I have written more than 1,000 emails to Gray families in USA. I used all the opportunities of internet for this research that is fruitless. Unfortunately, the name Gray is very widespread in USA. If Richard Gray can be found, if he wants, he will be able to contact me. I just want to know if he is still alive and in this case, if he has been informed about my search.
It's VERY IMPORTANT to know the name of his Army. Is there a veteran who was in Oran during the WWW II and would answer me ?
Excuse me for my impertinence, I would very much like to find him still living, and if so, I would like to hold him tight in my arms.
Mister Paez Claude Richard
Allee du Vent d'Est - Les Vautes NÂ° 7
83320 - Carqueiranne France
phone : 33 04 94 58 75 09http://aa-ienet.com/RICHA1.htm