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John Judefind


Date and Place of Birth: January 20, 1923 Chester, PA
Date and Place of Death:    June 8 or 9, 1944 Normandy, France
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Infield
Rank: Sergeant
Military Unit: H Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

A baseball talent on the sandlots of Media, Pennsylvania, John Judefind hoped to play with the Philadelphia Athletics when he got back from Europe.

John J. Judefind was born in Chester, Pennsylvania on January 20, 1923. He attended St. James Catholic High School in Chester and was one of 22 who made up the school's first graduating class in 1941.

St. James didn't have a baseball team at that time but Judefind did participate in all other available sports including football and softball, and in June 1941 he was awarded a silver statuette for all-round excellence in athletics. Following graduation he played the infield with Parkside BC of the Delco Valley League and attracted enough attention to get a tryout with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Judefind enrolled at LaSalle College (now LaSalle University) after high school and entered military service on November 27, 1942. Serving with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Sergeant John Judefind was posted overseas in March 1944. Based in Nottingham, England, Judefind had the chance to play one last ball game before going into combat. On Sunday, May 28, 1944, an enthusiastic crowd of 7,000 fans gathered at Meadow Lane soccer ground to see the 508th Red Devils play an exhibition game against the locally based 505th PIR Panthers. The Panthers were no match for the Red Devils, losing 18-0.

Eight days later, as night fell on June 5th, Judefind and the men of the 508th - faces blackened and hearts racing - boarded transport planes for the flight across the English Channel. That night over France, 24,000 Allied paratroopers ascended through the darkness into chaos and confusion. Inexperienced pilots failed to locate designated drop zones and whole regiments landed miles from intended locations. Sergeant Judefind was killed in action on June 8 or 9, 1944, but it was not until August 8 that his remains were formally identified.

John Judefind was inducted in St. James Catholic High School Wall of Honor in 2006. His two sisters and many family members were in attendance. He is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Thanks to Jim Hegarty of Aston, PA for help with this biography.

Date Added February 7, 2013 Updated July 15, 2013

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