TIFTON -- A family in England is searching for the family of an American serviceman from Tifton whose dog tags were found in England.
Deborah Cornall of England said that her children found a set of dog tags in Staughton Moor, England. The tags read:
ESTELLE L TWILLEY
She wished to return the tags to Jessie Twilley, the presumed owner, or to any surviving relatives if he was deceased. She said that the area of Staughton Moor was once an area of American activity during World War II.
According to the local Office of Veteran's Affairs, Jessie R. Twilley of Tifton served during World War II although the exact nature of his service was unavailable. He was born June 9, 1922, in Brookfield, and died July 9, 1978, at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Dublin.
According to the obituary information that was available, Twilley was the son of Evans L. Twilley and was survived by two sons, Buster and Danny Ray Twilley and one daughter Linda Twilley, all of Tifton. He was also survived by two sisters, Minnie Richardson of Valdosta and Beth McCloud of Tifton. His funeral was held at the Tiftarea Funeral Home. He was also a member of the Chula Baptist Church.
However, a search of Tifton phone directories revealed no Twilleys in the Tifton area today.
"The area of Staughton Moor is on the Cambridgeshire/Bedfordshire border and there are three areas," said Cornall in an e-mail. "Firstly there is an airfield which is still operational but only for private planes. On a country road in Little Staughton there is a small memorial to the men from this site who perished in the war. Secondly, there is an industrial estate, still known as 'Little America' where the wartime buildings have been renovated for use as small units."
There was also a third area which is now known as Beacon Farm that was owned by Cornall's family at one time. She said that after the servicemen left after the war, the area was turned into a turkey farm and later a pig farm. It was there that her sons found Twilley's dog tags.
Cornall said that her two sons, both born in the early 1990s, found the tag there when they were very young. She said they also found wash basins and bathtubs in the area.
She said her sons were not very interested in the tags when they were found, but recently they searched the Internet and were able to find some information on the tags.
They discovered that it was an American E-type tag and that Twilley had possibly served with a unit known as the 109 Pathfinder Squadron. He was not listed as a casualty of war.
Cornall said she lived at Beacon Farm until 2001 and that American veterans would visit the site through the years and ask to look around the old buildings. She said they were never refused.
Anyone with any information on Twilley or his family members should contact Dusty Vassey at 382-4321 to assist in Cornall's efforts to reunite the tags with the Twilley family.
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