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Whatever Happened To "george Lott, Casualty"?

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#1 JsmakBkr



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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:40 PM

Veterans' Day is appropriate time to pose a question that has stumped me: what was the ultimate fate of George Lott, a randomly-chosen wounded GI, whose courage, pain, medical treatment and rehabilitation became a LIFE magazine cover story, and for at least a while caused him to become the face of the wounded WWII veteran? Now that Google Books has added easily-browsed and searched editions of LIFE magazine to its collection, a portion of Lott's story - starting on a French battlefield in November 1944, until the eve of a partial amputation in 1947 - is instantly identifiable. It's the rest of the story that I'd love to discover.

To demonstrate the tremendous advances in the treatment of battlefield injuries, LIFE sent photojournalist Ralph Morse to the western front in late 1944 with this task: follow a single wounded soldier, from the outset of his treatment, through every stage, through rehabilitation. George Lott, an orphaned private from upstate New York, became that soldier. He walked into a command post in Lorraine on November 22, 1944, soon after an exploding mortar shell ripped into his arms. The result - 55 photographs and an accompanying text, published in the January 29, 1945 edition - was a model of effective photojournalism. And as later editions of LIFE in 1945 demonstrated, the story caused Lott to receive a deluge of cards, gifts, and even offers of adoption, from parents whose own sons were lost in combat. When LIFE published its final story on Mr. Lott in its June 16, 1947 (entitled "George Lott, 30 Months Later"), he remained in rehabilitation hospitals. One arm had become functional, but amputation of his more severely damaged arm was planned. Thereafter, the trail goes cold. Despite his relatively uncommon name and few years of national notoriety, I've been unable to find later newspaper coverage, including any obituary. While I think I've succeeded in finding his draft registration information and prewar census records, that doesn't help me to find his most recent story.

Any suggestions or tips would certainly be appreciated.

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