On Memorial Day, May 30 at 9:30 p.m. (following the National Memorial Day Concert from Washington, DC at 8 p.m.), Rhode Island PBS presents the television premiere of War Journal: The Incredible World War II Escape of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause. The film, by World War II Foundation and Tim Gray Media, tells the true story of one of the most impossible escapes in World War II. American airman Damon "Rocky" Gause escaped a prison camp on the Bataan Peninsula in 1942, swam to nearby Corregidor Island, and then sailed with U.S. serviceman William Lloyd Osborne in a leaky 20-foot fishing boat from the Philippines to Australia. Fifty-two days and 3,200 miles later, the two Americans reached freedom. Despite facing typhoons, constant threats from Japanese ships, submarines and airplanes, a lack of water and food, and even a visit to the world’s largest leper colony, both Gause and Osborne survived to recount their harrowing ordeal.
Also in May, Rhode Island PBS is pleased to encore two World War II Foundation and Tim Gray Media documentaries recently nominated for Boston / New England Emmy Awards. These two films will share 10 p.m. Thursdays in May with two more documentaries from the same award-winning filmmakers Tim Gray and Jim Karpeichik.
The first Emmy-nominated work airs Thursday, May 5. Omaha Beach: Honor and Sacrifice recalls the devastating events surrounding the landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as well as the touching reunion 70 years later. Read the story here.
On Thursday, May 12, Eagles of Mercy tells the story of two American 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles) medics caught in a church in Normandy, France during the opening hours of D-Day. Outside a savage battle raged all around them. The church changed hands several times with American and German forces over-running the village of Angoville-au-Plain.
Inside the small church the wounded wore both Allied and Axis uniforms and civilian clothing. The American medics, Robert Wright and Kenneth Moore of the 2nd battalion, 501st PIR, treated all who were brought into the 12th century Norman church, no matter whether they were friend or foe.
On Thursday, May 19, Escape in the Pacific recalls the events of April 4, 1943, when ten American prisoners of war and two Filipino convicts executed a daring escape from one of Japan’s most notorious prison camps. The prisoners were survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March and the Fall of Corregidor, and the prison from which they escaped was surrounded by an impenetrable swamp and reputedly escape-proof. Theirs was the only successful group escape from a Japanese POW camp during the Pacific war. Escape from Davao is the story of one of the most remarkable incidents in the Second World War and of what happened when the Americans returned home to tell the world what they had witnessed.
The second 2015 Emmy-nominated film from the World War II Foundation and Tim Gray Media airs Thursday, May 26 at 10 p.m. America St. Nick describes the special 1944 Christmas party organized by American soldiers in the small town of Wiltz in Luxembourg for the children - for all the townsfolk - who had not been able to celebrate their traditional St. Nicholas Day in nearly 5 years because of the war.
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences - New England Chapter will announce this year's Emmy winners during its award ceremony on June 4.