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So you want to interview a “Veteran”?

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Ron Goldstein, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Dear “X”

    I would start by admitting that I have lost count of the number of requests I have had in the past from young people who asked me to fill in a questionnaire and I have no doubt at all that my fellow ex-servicemen have been faced with the same request.

    The request, always put most politely, is usually prefaced by a little flattery addressed to "Vets" in general and an announcement that the writer has this important exam coming up that needs my input to assure good grades.

    The trouble with reaching a certain age group is that we, the “veterans” on this site, have heard it all before and much as we appreciate the fact that the young are interested in what happened in WW2 we really have reached a time when constant repetition is something that we could do without.

    May I make a suggestion that will satisfy all our needs?

    Read the “stuff” we have already written on this site, using the links that we and other site members have provided and see whether or not your particular interests are covered by what we may have written in the past.

    Then, if you have any questions regarding a particular episode, event or even era that we have discussed in any of our articles, ask away to your hearts content and we will try to be as truthful as our memories will allow.

    One final point

    Despite the, perhaps, rather acidic tone of my comments, I really do thank you for taking the trouble to write to me/us on this site and I am encouraged to know that there are still young people around who are interested in the events of the past.

    With all good wishes

    Ron
     
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  2. Owen

    Owen O Patron  

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  3. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Great post Ron! This thread will be pinned and all members who join for the sole purpose of talking to a veteran will be directed here.
     
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Thankyou for the link WW I have never seen this before, it is very interesting, and thankyou Ron for taking the time to 'album' the war and thankyou for putting it where all of us can see.

    I shall now spend the next few days\weeks going through it all.:) thankyou.
     
  5. Feed

    Feed Member

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    Hello, I am glad I stumbled upon this site. I just registered a second ago.

    When I was growing up I was always told, "Don't talk to Grandpa about the War." It was something he didn't want to think about. And now that I have really come to read about the War and what he and all the other people like him had gone through for the current generation I regret not talking to him.
    Sometimes I wonder if he just needed someone to talk to him and take an interest. If you don't know much about your grandpa's, uncle's, or whomever else's service ask yourself why? Is it because they don't want to talk about it, or because no one has taken the time and interest in what they did? Whether it was WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm or the other wars they might have been involved in their story needs to be heard, remembered and retold. Don't let their memories die with them. This is why I really want to appreciate this forum, and talk about a few things with those who are still alive.

    I did go through part of Mr. Goldstein's Album. A remarkable blog, I must say, and I'll definitely go through it in detail over the weekend. :)

    I have a couple of sincere questions for anyone who wishes to answer them.
    Now since you mentioned you posted answers to a couple of the repetitive questions, if anyone could provide a link to those, I'd like to go through them first before I post my questions.

    Thank you for your time!
     
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  6. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Great idea Ron!!
    Try the search feature here as well!!
     
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Hi Feed

    You say:
    Most of the questionaires that I completed were subsequently done through e-mails (a practice that I am not over keen on since it takes further discussion away from this site).

    The other point that I would mention, is that questions asked were those that were pertinent to the person who was asking the questions and therefore, in your case, would be those that were of particular interest to you.

    So "Feed", I'm afraid there's no easy ride for you......

    You have to read a lot of vet's stories including the irrepressible Sapper's heart-rending tales of life at the sharp end and then you can ask for clarification of details.

    Come back here any time

    Ron
     
  8. krieg

    krieg Ace

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    a double thanks from another ozzie..... best krieg
     
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  9. Feed

    Feed Member

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    Greetings!
    I understand completely how irksome it must be for you to answer the same questions over and over again!

    The interest I have in WWII has just recently been sparked because we started studying about WWII only about two weeks ago in History Class. Before that, all I had was a misty perception of this big disastrous event during the course of history.
    Our teacher has encouraged us to explore the War on our own, and read, listen, and watch as much information about it as we can.
    I have always wanted to interview a Veteran, and that's why I was thinking I should ask a couple of questions from a WWII Veteran and share it with my whole class.

    I assure you that I will most certainly go through Sapper's Story and your own album in some time. You see, those are long posts, and I don't want to just scan through them or look over them. I want to experience them both in detail. At the moment, I am trying to find a WWII Veteran because we are studying WWII in class, and I think it'd be appropriate to share a Veteran's experience. I am sorry because you must get my kind of requests numerous times a day, but will you please answer a few of my questions if I post them here?
    I could make a new topic about it, and hence we would not have to move away from the discussions, as you do not like doing that as mentioned earlier in your post.

    Other than that, thank you for the warm welcome and for taking out time to view (and reply to) my post!
    Feed
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sloniksp likes this.
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Feed

    You argue your case well so I think it would be churlish to make you wait until you have ploughed through all the vet's stories :)

    Stay on this thread and ask your questions

    Ron
     
  12. Feed

    Feed Member

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    I truly appreciate this a lot, good sir. :salute:

    I tried to come up with some of my own questions paired with a few of the conventional ones. Here are the (I hope not too repetitive) questions:

    1. Where did you live during the war?
    2. How old were you when the war started?
    3. In which branch of the armed forces did you serve?
    4. Where were you stationed during the war?
    5. What were your duties? (Or what was your title?)
    6. How was the morale in your unit(s)?
    7. How was the food? :) (I know this is sort of an innocent question, but I'm curious)
    8. How were your living quarters?
    9. Were any aspects of your war experience "boring" or "monotonous"? In other words, did you ever feel like an automaton?
    10. When were you most afraid during the war?
    11. When did you start feeling sure about the end of the war (as in who will win the war)?
    12. What did you think, at the time, about: FDR, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, the Japanese, the Germans, the Italians, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    13. Have any of those opinions in 12. changed now?
    14. Where were you when you heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, D Day, VE Day, VJ Day, and the death of FDR? (I know some of these events may not be that important considering you are not American, so I'd appreciate it if you could answer just as many as you could).
    15. When you came home from the war did you have trouble finding a job?
    16. Do you remember any other problems returning soldiers faced?
    17. Do you still see any of the men in your former unit(s)?

    I also understand if you do not wish to answer some of the above questions.

    Thank you for your precious time!
    God bless you,
    Feed
     
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm interested in this one from all of you veterans. My grandfather said he felt we would win by about 1944, but just hoped he would live to see the end.
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Feed

    1. Where did you live during the war?
    I was living in London until the day before war broke out (Sept 2nd 1939) when my my father sent my mother, two sisters and I to Hove on the Sussez Coast. By 1942 I was living in a small village called Houghton Regis, near Dunstable from where I was called up.
    2. How old were you when the war started?
    I had just turned 16
    3. In which branch of the armed forces did you serve?
    Royal Artillery (49th LAA) & Royal Armoured Corps (4th Queen's Own Hussars)
    4. Where were you stationed during the war?
    England, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt, Austria & Germany
    5. What were your duties? (Or what was your title?)
    Always a wireless operator, with the rank of Gunner in the RA & Trooper in the RAC. By the time I was de-mobbed I had worked my way up to the giddy rank of Corporal
    6. How was the morale in your unit(s)?
    Always good (or so it seemed to me)
    7. How was the food? (I know this is sort of an innocent question, but I'm curious)
    I am tempted to answer "Don't ask" but with the odd exception I never went hungry
    8. How were your living quarters?
    Varying between holes in the ground and a mansion in the Florence area.
    9. Were any aspects of your war experience "boring" or "monotonous"? In other words, did you ever feel like an automaton?
    In percentage terms I would estimate that my life in the Army was 50% routine verging on boredom, 30 % hard work leading at times to exhaustion, 15 % excitement & 5% actual fear. The longest my unit ever stayed at one time was at Monte Cassino
    10. When were you most afraid during the war?
    Only when I was being shelled, bombed or mortared.
    11. When did you start feeling sure about the end of the war (as in who will win the war)?
    From D-Day onward (6th June 1944)
    12. What did you think, at the time, about: FDR, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, the Japanese, the Germans, the Italians, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    Have a heart ! Too much to answer in one go :)
    13. Have any of those opinions in 12. changed now?
    I think not, in fact they have solidified
    14. Where were you when you heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, D Day, VE Day, VJ Day, and the death of FDR? (I know some of these events may not be that important considering you are not American, so I'd appreciate it if you could answer just as many as you could).
    I suggest you look at my diaries for that, check the chronology here:
    BBC - h2g2 - Ron Goldstein's War - U520216

    15. When you came home from the war did you have trouble finding a job?

    No, I chickened out and went to work in my father's clothing factory

    16. Do you remember any other problems returning soldiers faced?
    This will have to keep for another time
    17. Do you still see any of the men in your former unit(s)?
    Almost every week I go to teach the computer to my friend Lew (Larry Fox) with whom I served from March 1943 until September 1944
     
  15. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I noticed that you 'dodged' a few questions Mr Ron, hard ones to answer, or to personal?:)
     
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Tomcat

    Who's this Mr.Ron you refer to ?

    Is he related to this other Mr.Goldstein that you and others keep on referring to ?

    And just in case you're addressing me, if I duck a question, it's only because the questions too long winded or I need time to think about my answer.

    Cheers

    Ron
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Is he a good learner? Will we ever see him here?

    Tomcat, Ron beat me over the head with that word "Mr." that I also used to hang in front of his name. He's persistent about it, old veterans get like that.:D But I guess we'll love him anyway.
     
  18. Gerard

    Gerard Member

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    Of course we love him!!! :D
     
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    First Jeff said:
    Then Gotthard said:
    All I ever asked for was equity in style of address but here I finish up with blokes saying they love me !

    I only hope my dear wife of 56 years doesn't spot this !

    Ron
     
  20. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ah the charms of the English language, where love is love is love. Tell your dear wife not to worry, as there will be no competition in the realm of the erotic, romantic and agape love she obviously has for you. Mine is of the familial type.:cool:
     

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