Jordan Uttal: US airman and founder member of the 2nd Air Division Association

In 1947 six former 2nd Air Division USAAF officers who had been stationed at Headquarters in Norfolk during the Second World War, and who lived in the Chicago area in the US, decided to meet at the apartment of one of them for a few drinks on a Friday evening to remember old times.

When their gathering broke up on the Sunday afternoon they agreed that it had been such a success that they should repeat the event the following year. The wife of the officer in whose apartment the get-together took place indicated that it would be a splendid idea for them to meet again, but that under no circumstances was this to take place in her apartment.

From these small and inauspicious beginnings there started the 2nd Air Division Association, an organisation which, at its peak, had a membership of nearly 9,000 Americans, all of whom had been stationed in Norfolk or northeast Suffolk during the War.

Jordan Uttal, who has died in Dallas, Texas at the age of 94, was one of those six officers. He played a central role in the Association’s affairs over the ensuing 62 years, serving, since 1989, as its honorary president. One of the primary purposes of the Association was to support the Memorial Trust of the 2nd Air Division and the Memorial Library in Norwich.

The Memorial Trust had been established as a UK Charity in 1945 in memory of the nearly 7,000 American airmen of that Division who had been killed in action. It received a significant endowment at the start from the departing Americans. Whilst it took some years for the Memorial Library to be constructed, in due course it opened in 1963 but was destroyed by fire on 1 August 1994 along with the remainder of the Norwich City Library. It was recreated, however, in an enlarged form, in a building called The Forum which was opened in November 2001. The Forum, a Millennium Commission funded landmark building, was one of three built in the last decade in the centre of Norwich, designed by the renowned architect Sir Michael Hopkins.

From the late 1940s to the present day, the Association has continued to send funds to the Memorial Trust in Norwich to support this unique war memorial which houses contemporary books about American life and culture, the 2nd Air Division’s Roll of Honour, archive film and other material.

Jordan Uttal was born in New York in 1915. He attended New York University and subsequently Harvard Business School. He enlisted in the US military three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and arrived in Norfolk in May 1943. He concluded his war service with the rank of Major and with overall responsibility for statistical data, especially bombing accuracy analysis.

During the War he met and married an English lady, Joyce. After the termination of hostilities he and his GI bride returned to the US and he resumed his career in the American food industry. For a number of years he was a senior executive with the Kraft Corporation.

The 2nd Air Division Association held annual Conventions throughout the States and, on several occasions, in Norwich. The arrangements for all these conventions were made by Evelyn Cohen, the Association’s membership secretary, who was one of a limited number of American women sent over to assist the military in the War. Uttal liked to refer to Cohen as the Association’s Mother Superior, which, given both their Jewish origins, caused a certain amount of mirth.

Uttal’s larger-than-life character, combined with his oratorical skills and liking for risqué jokes in venerable company, gave these reunions an extra edge. They culminated in a convention in Norwich in November 2001 when the Forum and the Memorial Library were opened with much fanfare, with many hundreds of veterans and family members attending from the States. At this convention the Association was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Norwich, the only time in the City’s long history that this honour was given to a foreign organisation.

Uttal, as at all previous Conventions, played centre stage. Given the events of 11 September 2001 in the United States, this last Convention on this side of the Atlantic held extra poignancy.

Matthew Martin

Jordan R. Uttal, philanthropist: born New York City 30 July 1915; enlisted in the American Air Corps December 1941; founder member of the 2nd Air Division Association USAAF 1947, Honorary Life President 1989 to 2009; married 1942 Joyce Christie King; died Dallas, Texas 15 November 2009.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
filmCritic Kaleem Aftab picks his favourites for Halloween
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes