John Adams -- Prepared:
December 1999Clink to access to David
Adams’ 2014 video Interview with his Grandpa
was born on the 12th of October 1917 in the city
of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
My parents were living on Broad Street
at the time near Seaside Park. The
house was owned by Philip Cotmil,
cousins of my parents.
* Note: John Adams' Birth certificate lists his last name as
"Adamis" and list his parents origin as "Koretsa, Greece".
We have always been led to believe our family organ is Albania and am uncertain
if this is a mistake on the birth certificate. Also of note is the understanding
that when our grandparents entered Ellis Island John Adams' Father changed his
name from Nikola Adam Madulka to Nikola Adams to "Americanize" the
name. This information was provided by Nick Adams children, Patty & Jerri,
and Charlie Adams wife – Nora. This information was handed down from their
grandmother Tessie who lived in Nick Adams home, with Patty & Gerri, till
her death in 1964.
father, Nikola, had arrived in America
sometime before 1915 and settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Many Albanians had settled here and with their help he was able to open
a grocery store business near the railroad station in the center of
town. My mother, Anastasia (Tessie), had remained in Albania
with my older brother, Nicholas. They, the two, probably arrived in the
states in 1916—Ellis Island.
Soon after, in 1917, I was born.
the year of 1918, a Flu epidemic persisted—world wide—many people died,
among them, my father. He died on the 4th of
December 1918. He was 36 years old. At that time my mother was pregnant
with my younger brother to be, Charles (Chuck). He was born in August
continued to live on Broad Street.
My cousins, the Cotmils,
lived next door. A few years later we moved to a home at the corner of Seaview and Stratford
Avenue in the east end of Bridgeport.
I-95 now goes through the very home we lived in.
home was three floors high. A grocery store located on the ground level
and owned by Peter Atanas,
cousins of my parents. He and his wife had five daughters. It was here
that I grew up in my early years. I remember having a paper route at
ten years of age (1927). I was thrilled by the exploits of Charles
Lindberg as he crossed at Atlantic
in his single-engine plane.
attended and graduated from Lincoln grammar
school in 1931. Had to attend Lincoln Junior High School—one
year—1932. The following year attended Warren Harding High School—sophomore
and junior years. During this time my mother cared for and brought us
up as best she could with a great deal of love included. She worked
nearby at the Lowe’s Laundry. My brother, Nick, worked as a grocery
clerk in the BPT area, in stores owned by Albanians.
to R: Nicholas, Unknown Uncle, Charles, and John
1933, Nick was able, with help from Albanian cousins, to open his own
grocery store business. He became a part of a number of Albanians owned
grocery stores known as the Crown Food Stores. His business was located
Street across from the YMCA (Park Ave.
was nearby). It was at this time that we moved to Hanover Street,
off Park Avenue. I
had to transfer to Central High School—(junior
and senior years). I graduated in 1935.
wanted to go to college, not having enough money, I worked for a year
as a grocery clerk. I was also able to take some more courses at
Central High. In 1937 I entered and attended Connecticut Agricultural College, which later became
Connecticut State College and finally the University of Connecticut—all
during my four years. During my freshman year I was taking Agriculture
courses—planning to become a Forest Ranger (wrong decision—advisors
were not in vogue). Anyway, by the end of my second year I realized I
was in the wrong field; science, chemistry and math appeared to be my
strengths. In my junior year I changed my major to chemistry. During
this time I was a member of the R.O.T.C. It was a time that Europe was at war. Franklin D.
Roosevelt was our president. When 1941 arrived I did not have quite
enough credits to graduate with my class. However, because of the war
brewing, in June 1941, I had to go on active duty in the army. I was
sent to Fort
My schooling was put on hold. At Fort Devens,
I was assigned to the 18th Infantry Regiment—1st
Division—as a second Lt. In December 1941, the army was looking for
officers to enter the Army Air Corps. I jumped at the chance.
eventually ended up in Monroe, LA.
In the summer of 1942—Navigation School. After graduating from Navigation School that same year I
became a member of a B-17 bomber Crew—a navigator of a B-17 called the Texas
longhorn. We trained at Blythe,
eventually ended at Dyersburg, Tennesse. In September of 1943
my crew and I were sent to England,
we went by ship (boat)—crossing the Atlantic.
After more training in England
we began flying over Europe
on aerial missions.
13, 1943 our flight took us over Hamburg, Germany.
It was here we met severe flack and countless fighter planes. It was
the flack that hit our plane. Engines on fire and 50 caliber shells
exploding in the plane. Our pilot (Parker) ordered the crew to bail
out. The bombardier, navigator co-pilot and pilot jump from the
escape-hatch door in the nose of the ship. The enlisted men departed
through the Bombay
doors. Navigator (me) opens the escape-hatch door—then drops—rest of
officers to follow. I landed in the backyard of a German home in Hamburg.
I had been wounded in several places from the flack—fortunately, they
were surface wounds. My landing was hard and I as out for a while. When
I came to German Police; people and dogs were around me. I was taken
captive and escorted to a German Airforce
Base. Next day, with other P.O.W. we were put on a train and taken to
Here, interrogation took place. After a number of days P.O.W’s were
gathered and by train we went to Stalog-Luft
ONE, near the Baltic Sea.
I spent 18 months at this camp (located outside of Rostock,
Photo // Identification Tag
May of 1945, I was liberated and sent to camp via plane outside Paris,
The camp was named "Camp Lucky Strike." Why? I never learned. After a
couple of leave time in Paris
— and paperwork was completed flew back to the states (air base in Mass.)
Reunited with my family—happy to be back.
Photo John & Regina Adams
12 April 1989, Regina
died of a stroke in Milford Connecticut
at the age of 65. On 1 August 1990, John remarried to the former Breta
and Breta Adams
Link to additional photos
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