→ REMEMBER OUR HEROES                              → 401st BOMB GROUP

Welcome, let me tell you a little more about me and my website...

My name is Andy Swinnen and I am 53, I live together with the most wonderful woman of the world, Angela.
Together we have 4 kids, 3 boys, Aaron 29, Marlon 26, Kelvin 24 and a daughter Noelle 24.

My sons and I adopted 3 graves at our WW2 American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands and 4 names on the wall of missing at Henri Chapelle, Belgium.
We have been taking care of these graves for the past 20 years with lots of love and gratitude !

The cemetery of Margraten Netherlands has 8301 WW2 graves and they are all adopted, there is a waiting list of 1000 people who want to adopt !!
We take care of the graves of the fallen men by putting flowers at their graves several times a year !
But my real journey started after we had our graves for almost a year. I wasn't completely satisfied, I wanted to know who is behind that name on the grave. A photo, a story, anything to make the name come alive.
So I started to dig the Internet, writing lots of letters to libraries, military, newspapers etc etc. Then answers came in, and from there I could go further, finding relatives ! But that was not easy, a lot of people didn't believe what I was doing or what my intension's were, so I never heard from them. But when I found a relative, that was so wonderful, especially getting the first picture .... Finally a face behind a grave, now it all came alive for me, I now knew who I am visiting !!
But I wanted to share that information and I started making my own website, that has grown immensely after 12 years of research, and almost 20.000 photos !

I love to do everything that is possible for families, I have so many wonderful stories to tell !! Just take a look at my guest book, the responses are so beautiful. I make photos on request, I help people with questions, information and I put flowers on a lot of graves etc.
On memorial day 2013, I had a visit from David and Carol from Pennsylvania, they came to visit me because my youngest son had adopted the grave of David's uncle. We were together for 3 days and I showed David the grave, that was so emotional and so wonderful He never saw the grave before, no one of the whole family or next of kins have ever seen the grave.... He was the very first relative to see it. This wasn't the first time I had visitors from the States. I email with a lot of relatives on a regular basis, some send me postcards on holidays. And we keep each other updated if we find any new information and we share that.

- I ADOPT 6 GRAVES OF THE 401st BOMB GROUP I have 2 graves at Margraten of men of the 401st BG and 4 at Henri Chapelle. So now I not only wanted to know about the men, but also about the entire group, the 401st BG
They flew their B-17 from England. And thats why I wrote all the stories about every men who didn't make it back home from the 401st 157 stories of the 356 are ready and online, so I have a lot of work to do yet, but I love it.

Then a big surprise came, I was invited to join the reunion of the 401st Bomb Group Association in August 2013 at Dayton Ohio !! It was the best time of my live, meeting all these wonderful people and veterans !! Then a second surprise this year 2014, again I was invited to join the reunion in San Diego but this time we were invited as a family, my boys, my wife AND my mother joined me, it's was wonderful !! I also got an award that made me very very proud.

I have stories with very little information and one or no photo, and there are stories that are huge and have plenty of photos. What I do know is that I had several emails of people who told me that I knew more then they ever know about their relatives, so thats a strange feeling, me telling them about their next of kin...
Also people who didn't even know where he was buried, so reading my website gave them the opportunity to see his grave, maybe even visit it. The emails I got over all these years are so overwhelming ,so heart warming, so many blessings received... As an example, Sgt Marvin Harold Benz, I got an email from an uncle of him asking me if I could make a photo of his grave in France, after a few days investigating, I found out that his body was returned to the States in 1948, and that he was buried just 25 miles from where the uncle lived, he never knew that !!
I made a lot of people happy with just a photo of his grave and providing flowers and telling them I visit the graves often, especially on important days, like birthday, Christmas, Memorial Day etc.