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Grandparent's Tales of the War

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

  1. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    This is an incredible thread. Thx to all for posting.
    I just spent 3 weeks overseas with a colleague who I found out was born during the war in the Philipines. His parents were missionaries in the southern islands when the Japonese came. They went into the hills and hid for quite some time and then one day they got caught. He and his whole family were interned at a camp for the rest of the war. Amazingly they all survived, and although young, remembers quite a bit from his time in the POW camp. He didn't share a lot, and I didn't push for stories, but I thought it was really cool that here was a friend and coworker who lived through some of the scariest times the Philipino people have had to endure. His parents continued to serve their after the war for quite some time.
    I will ask him if he would be interested in documenting his stories and those of his family here.
     
  2. l891969

    l891969 recruit

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    This is my first post here, what a great site and thread! My grandfather along with his three brothers all signed up in March of 41. My grandfather was a CPL in the Air Corp and deployed first in Nov 42 to Africa, then on to Sicily, Italy, Rome. During the EAME theater he received 4 bronze stars. From there he was deployed to the India-Burma campain in which he received another bronze star. He finally arrived back in the US in Jan 45.
    I wish I had more details, but my grandfather, and his brothers all passed when I was young and didn't yet have the interest in history, particularly 2nd world war that I do today. Filling in the blanks has been a work in progress for me. I wish I had just a few hours to sit and talk to him about his days "overseas". I'm sure a lot of others are in the same situation. I know this is said a lot, but not enough, and that is that we have fewer and fewer heroes from the greatest generation around, they should be honored and cherished.
     
  3. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    Thanks for sharing these stories!
     
  4. robtheworker

    robtheworker Member

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    What a great thread, reading peoples personal histories of the war is such a rewarding and revealing insight into the past.

    My grandfather joined the Australia Imperial Force in 1940, and was shipped to reinforce the 7th AIF division, fighting the Vichy french in Syria and Lebanon. I was quite young when he passed away, i unfortunately dont remember any details of his service in the middle east. With the Japanese coming into the war at the end of '41, his division was sent home to help defend Australia.

    At this time my Grandfather was serving as a light anti aircraft gunner. His Brigade ended up defending Milne Bay, on the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea, and they successfully defended the airstrip there and forced a Japanese withdrawal, the first such Japanese defeat on land. I was very young at the time, but he told the story of how Japanese tanks were advancing towards the airstrip, and for some reason the AA guns they were manning wouldn't depress low enough to fire on the tanks. They were preparing to withdraw the guns when a monsoonal downpoor started, bogging the Japanese tanks in the mud, which halted their advance, and allowed the infantry to destroy them.

    He added that Milne Bay was a misrable place, they were contantly wet, and battling the conditions and weather as much as the japanese. He said that it wasnt uncommon to wake up and have spiders the size of dinner plates crawling around on their gear.

    After Milne Bay his war continued up the coast of Papua New Guinea, including places such as Gona and Lae, but the details are too hazy. I just wish i was old enough to have a good conversation with him about his service, and that he knew how much i appreicated his service for our country. Unfortunately this generation is fading all too fast, but forums such as this ensure their legacy will never be forgotten.

    Cheers
    Rob
     
  5. davidchatman

    davidchatman Member

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    Great story. Thank you for sharing
     
  6. Spitfire_XIV

    Spitfire_XIV Member

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    I had three great uncles who served in Bomber Command during 1943-1945 - W/Cdr Don Smith, DSO, DFC; F/Lt Frank Prebble, DFC and P/O Douglas Marks, DFM.

    Great uncle Douglas died on July 30 1943, sometime after take off for a raid against Hamburg with 97 Squadron PFF and flew 31 missions; fifteen with 467 (RAAF) Squadron during February-April 1943 and sixteen with 97 during May-July 1943. He was promoted to Pilot Officer around two days before he was KIA and was awarded the DFM on the same day. His Lancaster III, ED862/P a.k.a. "Spurius" was lost without trace after take off at 10:28pm from RAF Bourn; I have been researching him and his crew for several years now and have been at a dead end with the claim being given to Luftwaffe ace Helmut Lent.

    Uncle Frank survived 50 missions (one tour of 30 and a second tour of 20) with 635 Squadron, also with the Pathfinder Force, as bomb aimer/navigator. He just missed out on flying on D-Day, but served during the breakout from Normandy and up to the raid on Dresden, which he missed out on. I've met him once and he talked about his antics while not flying, but slowly opened up about flying on missions over Germany at night and how scary it was, since you couldn't see the bombers on either side, which might lead to an accidental collision between two fully loaded aircraft. But he survived the war and came home in mid-1945.

    Uncle Don served with 214 and 620 Squadrons, flying on (I think) three tours of operations from 1942 to 1945. An interesting fact was that while with 620, he was involved in towing gliders with his Short Stirling on D-Day and also dropping agents and supplies over France, in the period leading up to, during and also after the Normandy invasion. He said his worst memory of the war was when he was training in glider-towing operations, and saw a Halifax bomber plus its glider, loaded with British paratroopers, enter a straight dive and vanish into the clouds below. He said that his crew reported no parachutes or a crash after the aircraft and glider went into the thick cloud cover. He said that he still thinks about that day all the time and hoped that it was quick, since they were flying around in a mountainous area in his native Scotland that was as remote as you could possibly get.

    ~ James
     
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  7. Robbie55

    Robbie55 New Member

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    I'd like to 2nd that, thank you all for sharing.
     

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