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WWII Photos (and Stories) of Our Loved Ones

Fletch

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,865
Location
Iowa - The Land That Stuff Forgot
Message LizzieMaine - she has quite a bit of experience with audio restoration and could probably use the gig.

I don't have relatives any longer who were in WW2. My great uncle was a Navy comms officer in Alaska, my uncle with the Army on Iwo Jima, but they never told their stories and are now gone.

I have, however, heard some great war yarns from the men my mom and dad worked alongside in the Navy, a few of whom are still alive and spinning them. One was an F6F Hellcat pilot with at least 2 confirmed kills, the other a fresh Annapolis ensign aboard a cruiser on D-Day. Both were career men, and retired with distinction in the 60s.
 

Creeping Past

One Too Many
Messages
1,567
Location
England
Good to remember...

My grandad's cousin - somewhat distant in family terms, but close to us - won a British Military Medal for his part in the landings at Normandy on 6 June 1944. He was in charge of a self-propelled gun unit and subdued a machine-gun post single-handed, allowing his unit to make further progress on the first day.

As is often the case, he rarely spoke about it, and then only briefly. However, although he didn't talk much, at least to civilians, he attended every MM awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace he was invited to (and there were quite a few).

The BBC managed to persuade him to be interviewed on the 60th anniversary of D-Day, probably because he felt it was his duty, but - and this still makes me laugh - his contribution was characteristically brief, and I quote verbatim: "It was terrible. There were bullets flying everywhere."

I guess some things aren't meant to be shared.
 

Burnsie

Registered User
Messages
267
Location
Virginia
Our Uncle Allen was with the Mighty Eighth, 305th Bomb Group, 365th Bomb Squadron. He was the ball turret gunner in B-17 #43-38166 ("Hogie's Heroes") which was shot down at Irlich on Sept. 11, 1944. He was a POW until the end of the war. The Turner Publishing book on the 305th has a great story related by George Hogaboam ("Hogie"):
"ANother time while flying in large formation with heavy contrails the pilot whose wing we were flying on got vertigo and turned his plane into us. Lee and I both pulled on our controls to get above him before he crashed into us. Our ball turret gunner Allen told us we missed a mid air collision by less than a foot."
That's my wife's Uncle Allen!
 

Naphtali

Practically Family
Messages
762
Location
Seeley Lake, Montana
My father was a captain (mustered out as major)in the Army Air Corps (medical corps). Interestingly, he commanded (I think in Texas) Lew Ayres and Melvyn Douglas, when and for how long I do not know. He had fantastical adventures on his way to Leyte with the invasion fleet and on the island. Maybe some of them were true.

My uncle Harry was a Marine on Guadalcanal. He caught a bazillion diseases there and periodically suffered relapses of malaria, dengue fever, and perhaps other things, for the remainder of his life.

My uncle Mike was in the Merchant Marine, on the Murmansk run. It was he who traded for a Wehrmacht Peltzmütze that I, for 50 years, mistakenly thought was a Russian Army winter hat. That was one interesting winter hat for a boy in elementary school.
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,236
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Both of my parents were in the service during WWII, although neither saw action.

My dad grew up in Manhattan (where his parents had a candy store in the East 60s) and enlisted in the Army several months before Pearl Harbor. He came out of basic training shortly before, and having his choice of specialty in the peacetime army, he picked the Air Corps. He began as a mechanic, but ended up gravitating to photography, which he had already been studying before the war. He was among the first sent to Pearl Harbor for clean-up duty after the attack, and was in Hawaii for a year or so. But the bulk of his service was in Gulfport, Miss., where he rose to sergeant and ran a darkroom primarily staffed by civilian women. On leaves, he made friends among the artist community in New Orleans, and even had a gallery show of his photography there in 1944! After the war, he and a buddy opend a photo studio in Yonkers, NY, which remained a going concern until earlier this decade...
SIDPORTR.JPG

Self-portrait of a newly pro photographer in the late 40s

My mom was a tough-broad only child who grew up in Brooklyn and Elmsford, NY (which was then still a country hamlet). A liberated woman long before it was fashionable - she had her own motorcycle and played lead trumpet in a female swing combo called The Melodears - she wasn't going to be left out, so she joined the Marine Corps. She spent most of her time at El Toro in San Diego and rose to the rank of sergeant - though she was eventually busted to corporal for making "her own" fighting knife in the machine shop. We still have it, a big nasty thing with a blood groove ("Guys going overseas offered me fifty bucks for it, but I always said, 'I lost a stripe for this knife and I'm keeping it!'") Her stories include perilous drives up the coast to Oregon while on leave, the female Marines at El Toro striking in sympathy with the black kitchen staff, and the usual all-types-thrown-together experiences ("One of my bunkmates from the deep south who had never met a Jew kept asking me over and over, 'If you're really a Jew, Teddy, where are your horns?'") She met my dad in 1946 in Yonkers, and married him in 1948. She then became a full-time partner in the photo biz when his original partner left to open a photofinishing business in Albany in 1950.

TED1942.JPG

Lady Marine early in the war

I am happy to say that both of these folks are still with us, though their facilities have declined significantly in the last couple of years and they now have a live-in attendant. I realize that I am very blessed to have both my parents still here in their late 80s, and my kids (now in their late teens) have been lucky to have access to them and their fascinating tales of the old days...
 

mikepara

Practically Family
Messages
565
Location
Scottish Borders
Both Grandfathers where WW1 veterans, My Father is a Malaya Vet but my Father in Law was a Royal Ulster Rifleman in the 2nd War and got wounded somewhere in Holland. I've tried getting his story out of him but he doesn't want to share. Not even to a fellow Airborne man. Shame.
 

aswatland

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,338
Location
Kent, England
My great uncle was a trooper in the Royal Bucks Hussars, serving on the Egyptian front. I have his diary and letters home from 1915-16. My grandfather was in the Royal Flying Corps as a radio operator on HP bombers and in WW2 he was in the Royal Observer Corps and an officer in the Home Guard.

I am trying to find a picture of another relative General Donald Clinton Swatland, Chief of Technical Procurement Division, Air Technical Service Command from 1942-5. When as a Colonel he was ferried by a pilot whose log book and jacket I own. Indeed what is amazing is that when I bought an A2 from the States two summers ago it came with the pilot's two log books. There is an entry for early 1944 when the Major ferried Col Swatland across the States! I could not believe it when I found the entry. Now I am trying to find a picture of him in uniform-can you help?

This is the only logbook I have ever owned and I had no idea of a link with any relatives when I bought the jacket. Here's the entry.

Swat1.jpg


and the A2-a size 44 42-27753
A227753.jpg
 

aswatland

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,338
Location
Kent, England
Thanks, I am in regular contact with the Brigadier General's daughter, who is over 80. Sadly none of his uniforms have survived!
 

ADG

New in Town
Messages
9
Location
Pacific Northwest
My father's participation in WWII is quite interesting, at least to me. He weighed around 90 pounds at the time and was drafted four times and declared "4F," meaning he was physically not able to serve, even under the extraordinary conditions of the war. He was drafted a 5th time and reminded them of their previous determinations regarding his health. They told him: "This time, if you are breathing you are in." In addition, he had scored off the charts on the IQ tests, having skipped several grades in school and being somewhat of a prodigy, so they told him he would be used for his mental abilities, not physical. He was given the rank of Staff Sergeant and placed in a bunker somewhere in India, I believe New Delhi. His job was to brake both Japanese and German codes utilizing the "secret" technology the Americans had created for this purpose. I am sure you can guess which one he is in the below picture.

 

Teacher

Familiar Face
Messages
91
Location
Grand Forks, ND, USA
This is a great thread, one that I regret not seeing earlier.

My grandfather, who turned 90 on February 13th, was a tank operator/gunner (correct term?) in the European campaign. He and Grandma got married mere weeks before the war. All the family knew was that, first, he had been part of a top-secret project in Arizona where they were developing a type of light that tricked they eye into being unable to guess its distance. This was for Africa, but when Rommel was defeated, the project was scrapped because the light would be useless in Europe due the the hedgerows (their shadows would give the distances away). So, Grandpa was sent to Europe for the Battle of the Bulge.

That was about all I knew when I was young. When I turned 18, I started visiting him and Grandma on my own. I asked questions here and there, and Grandpa would answer. One night, he brought out an old shirt box. Inside were maps, letters, and all sorts of other memorabelia from the war. He told me about everything: the secret project, the battles, the weather, post-war peace time, etc. I thought it was cool, but what I didn't know what he had never told anybody except Grandma these stories. My dad and his brothers were a bit stunned when I told them about it.

In a couple of weeks, my younger cousin and I are going to interview Grandma and Grandpa. I'm sure it will be the first if several interviews. The product, we hope, will be a book about their entire married/separated life during World War II. If this thing gets published, I'll let you guys know.
 

Ms. McGraw

One of the Regulars
Messages
137
Location
Ohio
I consider myself fortunate to have TWO great men in my family who served their county in WWII, one in each theater.
My Papa Mac was 101st. My Papa Glen served with the Navy. I have a few of their personal belongings from that time in their lives, a few pictures and a few stories from each. I couldn't treasure these items more or be any more proud of of the men they belonged to.
 

sixsexsix

Practically Family
Messages
870
Location
toronto
my grandfather was in the IX Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. he lied about his age to enlist and was the youngest person in his squadron. here he is during training:
papa.jpg
 

DOUGLAS

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,777
Location
NYC
After basic training my father was deployed to England in February of 44".He landed early in the day at Omaha Beach on D-Day and despite the mayhem and casualties was able to reach safety.
In late June of 44" he was wounded by a land mine at Les mare Des Mares France. After recovery he was attached to the 285 Field Artillary Observation Battalion or the 200 Feild Artilary Battalion in the Ardennes and was wounded once again in hand to hand combat and was captured on the 16th of December and received medical attention from the Germans. A day later he was one of the few to escape from the "Malmedy Massacre".
He then went on to Germany with the 398 Infantry Regiment and once again was severely wounded and shipped back to the US. He was discharged from Fort Dix In January of 46".
All tolled he received 3 Purple Hearts, The Silver Star, The Bronze Star, The Victory Medal, The Good Conduct Medal and the ETO.
This past week he was honored by being appointed Chevalier in the Legion d'Honneur for his service in France.
 

blacklagoon

One of the Regulars
Messages
224
Location
united kingdom
My mothers uncle: Bodger the Butcher,escaped from a japanese death march.i think,3 tried to escape,one was shot,but the other two managed to escape.they were being transfered from camp to camp at the time.I will ask my mother for more info about it.
 

BeBopBaby

One Too Many
Messages
1,176
Location
The Rust Belt
My Uncle Witold. He was sent to a Siberian work camp where he had to chop wood from sunrise to sunset. He cut his own finger off, hoping to get a chance to escape. But they made him march 15 miles to a doctor, who sewed his finger back on, march 15 miles back and resume chopping wood. He escaped shortly thereafter, walked/hitched/smuggled himself across Europe to England and joined the Polish Division of th British Army. After that he fought at Monte Casino and was taken as a P.O.W. by the Germans. He escaped from the P.O.W. camp as well.

Toughest S.O.B. ever.
 

RudyN

One of the Regulars
Messages
296
Location
San Jose, California, USA
My father was in the US Navy from 1927 till 1956. I remember my mother helping him pack his sea bag when he left for active service during the Korean War. My father's brother was in the US Army during WWII and as far as I understand he served in CBI with Merrill's Marauders, can't verify it with him as he died a few years ago. In addition my mother worked for the US Navy in a civilian capacity. I have an uncle who was a B-17 pilot during WWII. My father-in-law was in the USMC during WWII and served on Okinawa. In the modern era my cousin was in the US Navy and before he retired he was a Captain and was in command of a Carrier. The USS Enterprise and the USS Theodore Roosevelt in that order.
 

Big Man

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,781
Location
Nebo, NC
My Dad served in WW II. He was in school at UNC (on the varsity basketball team) when he was drafted in 1943. He was in the Army Air Corps, 9th Air Force, 442nd/305th and was an aerial engineer on a C-47. He took his basic at Biloxi, Mississippi and Sedalia, Missouri, then shipped out overseas in December, 1943 on the Queen Mary.

Dad participated in D-Day, Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. His squadron, the 305th, flew Goering to the Nurnberg trials after the war. Dad said that he was on the same plane as was Goering, and described him as a "wretched man".

Dad was discharged in December, 1945 as a T/Sgt. and returned to the states on board the USS Washington. He said that he "went to war in style on a luxury liner and returned on a battleship, berthed over the screws.)

WFB_Jr_1943.jpg




My Dad's the tall one in this picture. He tells an interesting story about himself and his best buddy (the short guy in the picture). They were somewhere in France and heard there were "naked picture shows" somewhere in Paris. They managed to "commandeer" a bicycle, and started out riding double to Paris. After several miles they gave up the idea and returned to their base. I bet it was a sight to see these two on a bicycle. :)

DSC01542.jpg
 

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