NH resident supports museum, reflects on father’s service in WWII

From the first time Sandown, NH resident Dan Marrone visited the Wright Museum, he was “hooked.”

“This place is a treasure,” he said. 

Marrone was so moved, in fact, he made a $15,000 investment, which enabled the museum to complete a walkway from its entrance to a Remembrance Garden, framed by flags, shrubbery and memorial bricks. 

One of these bricks will soon honor Marrone’s father with the inscription, “Dedicated to PFC Daniel Marrone, 3rd Army, WWII, and to all those who comprise ‘the Greatest Generation.’” Daniel Marrone served in General Patton’s Third Army March.

“My dad said only two things really brought fear into his bones — the German 88mm gun and the V-1/V-2 rockets,” explained Marrone, whose father shared several related stories about each.

“Being part of Patton’s 3rd Army, there was a skirmish or two with the German equivalent of Patton, General Irwin Rommel,” he said. “Rommel would throw a rock at you to get you to pursue him until you came to a rise in a hill or a bend in the road, and then they would be waiting for you.”

Regarding the German V-1 and V-2, they pummeled England, especially London, almost until the war’s end. 

Marrone recounted, “I remember my dad saying, ‘You would always hear it before you saw it. Then it went by overhead. Then you said a prayer that you would continue to hear it once out of sight. When the noise stopped, that was when it began dive-bombing to its target. It could be miles away from you, but if it exploded, no foxhole was deep enough.’”

He said his father was always proud of the fact that his unit spent “343 consecutive days of mud, snow and blood in the field without relief but got the job done.”

“He was part of a crew that fired the Army’s largest cannon — the 155mm ‘Long Tom,’” he added.

This cannon, explained Marrone, had an 18-mile range and had 90 pound shells. Having worked on the old New Haven Railroad before the war, he said his father was ready to handle loading of the shells by himself.

“For the rest of the crew, it was a two-man job,” he laughed.

Ironically, Marrone said one of his father’s worst moments came after the war on the trip home from Europe across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary.

“A massive storm hit the ship, but its tank-like construction saved all on-board,” he said. “My dad always remembered thinking while riding out the storm, ‘I got through WWII only to die in peacetime?’”

Expressing enthusiasm for the time when the museum can hold a ceremony to commemorate the completion of the Remembrance Garden, Marrone said he will simply “do the next best thing” in the meantime.

“I’ll visit and go see my favorite item, the museum’s Pershing tank, which was the only tank the German army feared during the war,” he laughed. 

The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, The Wright features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the home front and battle field.