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The impact of war

Victor Croasdale shares mementos, knowledge with Spring Valley

Published: Friday, May 30, 2014 2:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014 3:00 p.m. CDT
(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
Victor Croasdale shows just one of his many military models, which he builds and displays. Croasdale has arranged a full display on all things World War II at the Richard A. Mautino Library in Spring Valley, along with a countdown to D-Day on June 6. Croasdale will be at the library on D-Day to help commemorate its 70th anniversary and tell about the events leading up to the heroic day.
(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
Croasdale holds his model of a Schnell boot, which is German for "fast boat."
(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
Croasdale shows a diagram of an airplane model from World War II, which his father drew.

SPRING VALLEY — Victor Croasdale of Spring Valley is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the history of World War II.

He can tell you all about the ships, tanks and boats used during the war, the tactics solders exercised to win battles, and the reasons behind the failure of Nazi Germany.

Along with his knowledge, he has developed a unique hobby of building model military tanks, jeeps, airplanes, ships and more, which to his belief better illustrates equipment used during wartime.

Croasdale can remember building and displaying model kits when he was just 7 years old.

He was born in England in the 1950s. His father was a soldier in the Royal Air Force, and his uncle was in the 8th Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy during World War II, so the doings of war often was a topic of discussion.

Growing up in England and witnessing the areas where battles had actually taken place seemed to touch many on a more deeper level than those in America, according to Croasdale.

“The town I grew up in was bombed, and as a kid, there would be a couple houses missing here or there; you’d know that’s where a bomb had landed,” he said. “It was just something that was a reality.”

Many might have noticed Croasdale’s display of various war models this month at the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library. In honor of the Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day holidays, the library invited him to arrange his personal displays as a reflection of various wars — World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and more.

The models were most recently rearranged to display a full exhibit dedicated to World War II, along with a countdown to D-Day as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the renowned day — June 6, 1944.

Croasdale will be giving a lecture at the library where he will discuss the famous landing on the shores of Normandy and the events leading up to the heroic day.

“If you think of anybody that was there, they would have been at least 18 years old, which means they are now at least 88 years old,” said Croasdale. “The number of people that were there are getting less by the year, so 70 is a good year to commemorate it.”

The countdown kicked off Thursday and will be changed each day as time leads up to June 6.

For Croasdale, D-Day is an important point of World War II to look back on and commemorate.

“It marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. It was certainly another nail in the coffin of Nazi Germany,” he said.

The battle also determined much of the European development post war, according to Croasdale.

To hear more about Croasdale’s lecture on D-Day, attend his talk at the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. June 6.

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