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Grandparent's Tales of the War

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Piron, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. malinta

    malinta recruit

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    hi everyone..im new here..and this thread urged me to sign up..i so much enjoyed the stories posted here..very powerful stories..in relation to the thread there's a short animation based on the recollections of a WWII US soldier that was part of the Battle of Bulge..it's as powerful and moving as the stories posted here..here's the link check it out

    Germans in the Woods by Tim Rauch | Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation
     
  2. Guaporense

    Guaporense Dishonorably Discharged

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    I am Brazilian and had one Brazilian grandfather that almost fought in Italy, however, the war ended before he was sent there.
     
  3. Guaporense

    Guaporense Dishonorably Discharged

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    This story is worth of a movie.
     
  4. JohnStryker

    JohnStryker Member

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    I only wish I could tell stories, as both of my grandfathers did not talk about their experiences. Both were involved in the invasion of Normandy. My paternal grandad as a paratrooper dropped behind enemy lines from a glider. He passed away in 2000, and efforts made over the years by my dad and uncle to get his experiences were in vain. My maternal grandad was on Utah Beach and survived. He too was tight lipped about his experiences. The only thing I ever heard my grandmom say to me was "He told me once that he never knew men were capable of doing the things they did during that invasion". He passed away in 1984.
     
  5. 36thva2

    36thva2 Member

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    John, I also have no idea of what my grandfather did during the war. He died in 64, so I never got the chance to ask him anything and my grandmother never asked he what he did either.......
     
  6. coloradocowboy

    coloradocowboy Member

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  7. Anderan

    Anderan Member

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    None of my grandparents were in the military during WWII, hell, my mom's parents were not even born till the war was over, though my dad's parents are about 20 years older than my moms so I'm sure they would have a tale to tell about the life of a farmer during the war. The only family member I know of that served in WWII was my great grandfather who was in the US Navy, though sadly he's been gone for about ten years now.

    Still, interesting stories.
     
  8. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    For my family, the stories from WW2 are from New Guinea.

    Great Uncle Jim used to be a 'white pella' controlling something called PNGI, (Papua New Guinea Infantry). His areas of responsibility included Finschaven, the Sepek River, Wewak and many more. Jim called these guys 'simply the best jungle soldiers he'd ever run across'. They had a sixth sense for combat, but one occasion it got them a new shirt. These shirts were on issue to members of the unit who had shown themselves to be 'sound'. Other units soon got wind of this, and all demanded a shirt as well. Jim said this happened virtually overnight, and his particular unit, he does not know how, were demanding shirts before Jim even knew they existed!

    The Japanese that Jim saw were mostly the poor beggars that had been 'thrown out' of their units, and left behind to sink or swim as they might. "They were starving", Jim said of them, "but we gave them food and medical attention, which was always recieved with much gratitude."

    Jim tells of one particular time when his unit reached a clearing, "miles from any Allied position", to be confronted by a Red Cross Chaplain, standing next to a tea trolley, with not only powdered milk, but biscuits and days old scones to boot! Jim reckoned that this bloke had taken many days to drag this trolley into this particular point, "the terrain was fairly rugged to say the least, and how he got it there at the height of the wet season was a complete mystery." But, nevertheless, there he was. "The PNG fellas didn't know what to make of him, and there was much scratching of heads and pointing of fingers with laughter."

    Another incident that stuck in Jim's mind was the time he had to visit a neighbouring American unit for liason, "To make sure my "black-fellas" didn't run across these guys at night." "These Yanks," he said, "used to come along with their equipment in boats and other water craft. They would land on a beach or stretch of coast, walk 100 yards into the bush, and there they would sit, relying on us to go further into the jungle for patrolling or recce." He made contact with this particular unit, talking to the 'honcho' in command, but before he left he had to point out something that had not escaped his notice. "Look mate," said Jim, "Far be it for me to tell you how to run your unit, but those grenades we saw on your wire, WHY are they still there in daylight?" The American officer just looked at Jim and his mate, blankly staring. "Well," he replied, "if we take them down off the wire for daylight, we'd have to put them back up at night!" Jim explained to me ( not the American), that if their were aggressive Japanese in their area, they would creep onto the perimeter wire and disable these devices prepatory to mounting an attack. "We just shook our heads at that one and left this joker to row his own boat!" he laughed. "Lucky for them my "Black fellows" knew there wasn't a 'Jap" within a country mile! So we left, saying to him "No worries, mate! You've obviously got it all worked out!"


    Poor Jimmy died of cancer a few years back. He wasted away from the disease. My cousin Peter could literally pick him up with one arm to move him in bed. The old boy proved the adage that 'old soldiers never die, they simply fade away'.

    Rest in Peace Jimmy.
     
  9. cobblejohn

    cobblejohn Member

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    This is great information that is being posted about our grandparent's tales of the war.

    My grandfather passed away in 1996, and he did speak very rarely of the war. On occasion he would also tell me and my brother about the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich that he buried in desert (come to find out years later in researching he was at Camp Young California at the California/Arizona Manuever Area) which completely correlates with his story.

    As I said he never spoke much about what he did, but through pictures and research I found out that his unit was suppose to hook up with the 101st 2 days after the D-Day Invasion. I also know he was with them as they were in Carentan.

    His unit liberated two towns that I know of Signy-L'Abbye on Sept 7th and Spa, Belgium on Sept 10th.

    The most interesting thing about him was through a website my brother and I created about our grandfather and soldier's son whose father's name was Harvey Hastings contacted us and mentioned that he and my grandfather were assigned to the same jeep (my grandfather was the driver) he was able to supply a pic of him, but the most interesting part was he was able to tell us how are grandfather got shot in the foot. He wrote this about that day"

    "The Germans attacked us the next morning (Oct 11) and during the excitement my Sgt. took his job back. We moved to another location and while he was directing the armored car, he was killed with a direct hit. Most of us were across the road, I fell in a ditch, my head landed between my drivers feet and he was hit in the foot. The other person who rode with me was hit. we loaded about 12 people on a jeep & went to the rear to find medics"

    On the other side of the fence, through talking with my grandmother (who is still alive) I found out that she was a Rosie the Rivoter here in NY (She worked for Curtiss-Wright and Bell-Air).

    Here is a pic of my grandfather:

    View attachment 13248


    Now that I know so much about him and his unit I wish he was still here so I can ask him so many questions
     

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  10. Krystal80

    Krystal80 Member

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    This has been one of favorite threads on this site. I only wish my grandpa would open up before he is gone. He is one of my favorite people and 85 yrs old. He only mentions the little things, but they are still neat stories.

    He said when he left the states to the Philippines it took 30 days and he spent most of that peeling spuds so he wouldn't be around all the sea sick people. He said you could peel hundreds of spuds and they always need more. When he left Korea (went there after the war ended) there was nothing to do and it was another 30 days. I don't think you could pay him a million dollars to get on another boat.

    My grandma said both he and his brother (who fought within a mile of him and neither knew it) had nightmares for months when they came home, but neither talked about it.
     
  11. robtheworker

    robtheworker Member

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    Volga Boatman,
    that was a great read, thanks for sharing. The PNGI and PNGVR never got the recognition they deserved
     
  12. oletimer

    oletimer recruit

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    could i post your story on my website? The Ole Timer Weekly |  I can post under heroes or stories my grandpa told me.

    Thanks
    Oletimer
     
  13. cobblejohn

    cobblejohn Member

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    Who's story woud you like??
     
  14. nailo

    nailo recruit

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    Amazing thread. With all the information out there sometimes I can forget about the actual people who were there making history.
    My grandfather unfortunately passed away several months before I was born so I had to find out from my parents and still many pieces are missing.
    Anyway, my grandfather lived in the Ukraine and being Jewish I can assume his life was not simple in those years. When the Germans invaded he was captured and sent to a labor camp. After several months he escaped and somehow survived the journey back to the Russian lines. He later joined the Red army and went on to fight in the battle of Berlin. For his actions in Berlin he received 2 medals which I still keep.
    I know that many details are missing and I wish I was able to ask him personally but sadly that is all I know.
    It was this story that sparked my interest in WWII :)
     
  15. SgtArends

    SgtArends Member

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    I'm recording my Great Grandfathers stories, so i can make copies for Museums, family and other people who are interested.
    i'll make sure that it is not coming in the wrong hands, (like black markets and stuff)
     
  16. Wikzardo

    Wikzardo Member

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    Hello
    I recently found out a lot about my family past in the war. I saw this thread and well...

    My Family back in Poland has two main "parts"...
    one in Debica and one in the city of Cracow.

    My grand Grandfather, Maj. Mazurek, was a soldier in the 1st INdependent Polish Parachute Brigade. After Poland was occupied by Germany he flew over Romania to France. There he joined a Polish Brigade (I dont really know which one). He was stationed at the borders to Germany. He was bored by the "sitting Front". He and his mates wanted war with Germany to end this quickly and win back Poland. Though they were not allowed to attack teh Germans, at night they crawled under the wire on to German soil and killed German Guards. After some "night ambushes", the french command pulled the out of Border Patrol Activity. He was involved into fighting in France, but was ordered to flee to Britain. As in Cracow he was teaching PE at a sport university, he was training british Paras in Schotland. LAer he was involved in Market Garden. He was pissed when the british didn't flew them up to Warsaw, during the Uprising. They were waiting in their uniforms during the whole time of the uprising, wiht last hope to be dropped over Warsaw.
    I heard about a grand-uncle who was murdered in Katyn. He was a high ranked field medician as far as I know.
    One related family part was taken by the russians to Syberia into labour camps. The wife and children were rescued by Anders and taken to Poland. The husband escaped from the camp alone and managed to get into Poland with a false name. When he returned he couldn't find his family. Years later they got reunited by accident in Silesia.
    My Grandfather was telling me stories how the Germans drove through Debica. At first he remebers them marching in disciplined lined always heading east. Then, after Stalingrad, they came back, all wounded, frozen.
    The fire in their eyes, he was telling, vanished. They were tired and scared of what has happened and will happen. He remembers also when they started building there a launch facility for their "Wunderwaffe" after Peenemünde was bombed.
    ... well this is one part hope you have fun reading this :)
     
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  17. SgtArends

    SgtArends Member

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    Great Story Wikzardo,

    Salute.
     
  18. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

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    Nailo;
    A pity your grandfather never related his story for posterity. Have you seen the "Defiance" movie? It is heavily fictionalized but well done (well except for the final scene which was pure Rambo). For all the peoples of Eastern Europe the NAZI occupation was horrendous beyond all comprehension. For the Jewish peoples of the occupied territories it was much worse than that. Some reviews on books by Jewish Partisans; http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-books-publications/31872-books-jewish-partisans.html
    JeffinMNUSA
    PS. I am reading another account and it does seem that sometimes Partisan command would allow groups of Jewish Partisans to attack their former tormentors; http://books.google.com/books?id=Ps...m=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
     
  19. Wikzardo

    Wikzardo Member

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    Yes, I saw pictures and read stories of Soviet POWs who were allowed to "revenge" on their tormentors. It wasn't that common, because the guards always fled before the Soviets could get them in the Camps. But when they recognized them later, it always turned very bad.
     
  20. JeffinMNUSA

    JeffinMNUSA Member

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    Wik;
    This account I am reading one of the Partizani attacking forces on the Axis forces of a certain village in Poland/Belarus was composed of escapees from that very village. The author describes everyone as burning for revenge.
    JeffinMNUSA
     

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