Heroes of Might and Magic Community
visiting hero! Register | Today's Posts | Games | Search! | FAQ/Rules | AvatarList | MemberList | Profile

<a href="http://www.game-advertising-online.com/" target=_blank>Game Advertising Online</a><br> banner requires iframes

LOGIN:     Username:     Password:         [ Register ]
HOMM1: info forum | HOMM2: info forum | HOMM3: info forum | HOMM4: info forum | HOMM5: info forum | MMH6: wiki forum | MMH7: wiki forum
Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: WWII Family History
Thread: WWII Family History
privatehudson
privatehudson


Responsible
Legendary Hero
The Ultimate Badass
posted August 22, 2004 07:14 PM

WWII Family History

I was thinking, partly because of a BBC campaign, and partly because of a thread I saw elsewhere about this topic. The BBC are currently driving towards getting people to record their family's history of WWII, be it civilian or military. Annecdotes, service history, funny stories and so on. An invaluble record for the future of the men and women who fought and died during the war.

Now personally I think this is an excellent idea, a record of those sacrifices we should not forget, those people we should honour and remember. So what I was wondering was how interested others might be in doing something similar here. Just a post is all that's needed, nothing drastic or long. A record of what your family did in one of the most vital times of our history. This is not to glorify or dumb down the conflict, but rather to remember and praise those deserving of it. Though it may sound strange, even our German members have a right to remember their families actions during the war. Remember that most country's armies were conscript based, soldiers in most armies were alike, just trying to get through the conflict.

Anyway, perhaps people could give their thoughts as to if they would take part in this I think it's worthwile anyway...
____________
We're on an express elevator to Hell, goin' down!

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted August 22, 2004 07:51 PM

My Grandfather(On my mother's side)

He served as a naval avionics electrician in the Pacific theater under one of the three admirals that conducted that operation jointly. I do not currently know which one yet because he has never gotten around to telling me. He is 85 now is very close to passing on. We think he has early stages of Alzheimer's but the doctors don't know yet. His name is Waylan Martin and now lives outside of Dallas, Texas in a smaller city called, Arlington with his wife. Both are retired.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
privatehudson
privatehudson


Responsible
Legendary Hero
The Ultimate Badass
posted August 23, 2004 09:12 AM

My Paternal grandparents:

Arnold Holmes volunteered in early 1940 and was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps where he spent the war driving supply trucks. He served in North Africa from 1940 to 1943 and then returned to the UK in time for the preparations for D-Day. He landed on D+1 (ie June 7th) on one of the British beaches, the one famous for having just two houses standing on it! He served throughout the Normandy campaigns and in the drive across France and Belgium. After this he served as part of the 2nd Army, attached to XXX corps during the drive towards Arnhem. The formation he was attached to later was sent to assist the Americans in the battle of the bulge before being returned prior to the crossing of the Rhine. He finished the war serving in Northern Germany.

He mentioned two clear events that horrified him. Firstly at the end of the Normandy Campaign he was required to drive through what had been the Falaise Pocket, unfortunately the Wermacht was mainly horse-drawn, and the number of dead and decomposing horses turned his stomach terribly. Secondly he was sent into Bergen Belsen camp just after it's liberation to deliver supplies. Though not a "death" camp, what he saw there and what it did to him we can never imagine.

He also mentioned some other events, notably being strafed on "hells highway" (the road that XXX corps advanced down on the way to Arnhem) by an enemy fighter which narrowly missed destroying the 25pndr ammunition in the truck, which would have taken the truck with it. He mentioned that in the Bulge he and a number of other truck drivers were cut off and ambushed by a German company of infantry. Fortunately, being truck drivers they never worried about weight, so most carried MG42s or similar machine guns and piled into a nearby building and drove off a number of attacks, an action for which his unit was mentioned in dispatches for. He remembered being given a bottle of rum in the Bulge which he drank to keep warm, only he drank too much and drove off the road! There may be other stories, but he spoke more to my uncle, a boy at the time than anyone else. Which reminds me, he used to send back a lot of sweets from ration packs to my uncle during the war, making my uncle the envy of the village he lived in

Edith Mary Holmes volunteered to be evacuated to a small village called Melledin in North Wales (her family came from there) for the duration of the war where she lived with my Father's eldest brother, John who I mentioned above. An addition to this story is that both have since died, my Gran from alzhiemers and my Grandad from chest and lung problems. Both are buried in Melledin in the tiny graveyard there attached to the small church. A further addition I will mention below.

My Maternal Grandparents:

William Newnes served in Africa from around 1941 to 1943 before being sent to Italy where he spent the remainder of the war. He was a despatch rider, but in Italy caught Tuberculosis around the opening of the Cassino Campaign. He spent quite some time in hospital before returning to the front, only to catch it again and finally return to the front just prior to the end of the war. Ivy Newnes spent most of the war living in Liverpool, avoiding the German bombing raids on the city. Unfortunately I know very little of this side's stories. Both have since died, William from chest problems (he never truly recovered from those in WWII) and Ivy from cancer.

My Brother-in-law's father:

He served as a young soldier in WWII, being conscripted into the forces aged around 18 in 1944. His first action came as an infantryman in Normandy where he was injured by a booby trap whilst searching a building. This put him out of the remainder of the war, but he is still very much alive and well

A final twist to my tale comes from my paternal Grandmother's family. Her maiden name was Jones, and her father, John served during WWI as a vickers machine gunner with the Welsh Regiment on the western front. He volunteered in 1914 and was gassed at least once before being sent home in 1916 after being hit in the ankle by a bullet to train new recruits in the gun's use. Manpower shortages forced him to return to the front where he served another year and a half before being hit again, this time in the head which required a metal plate to be inserted into it to keep him alive. He spent the remainder of the war in hospital and died young at around his late 50s.


____________
We're on an express elevator to Hell, goin' down!

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Aquaman333
Aquaman333


Famous Hero
of the seven seas
posted August 23, 2004 06:00 PM

My paternal grandfather, Ryuji Momotarou Saitou, has an older brother, Kenji Koanosuke Saitou, who lost his left eye in the Phillipines in a battle against the great general Douglas MacArthur. My great uncle claims that he lost it when he was attacked by four U.S. marines and he was all alone in the Phillipines. Apparently he was caught by a bayonet in the eye. I'm sure that he's full of hot air, but it makes for good entertainment to see a 78 year old man with one eye dance around a living room pretending to shoot people and dodge bullets

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
terje_the_ma...
terje_the_mad_wizard


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Disciple of Herodotus
posted September 23, 2004 07:52 AM

I don't know much about what my grandparents did during WWII, since most of them were born prior to WWI, and hence have died or been suffering from reduced memory so I haven't been able to talk to them properly.

But I do know that my maternal grandfather was running this small dairy in a tiny village in the middle of German-occupied Norway, and that ther was this POW-camp there which held Russian prisoners.
My Grandfather would bring them food, and once in a while he got some Soviet Rubels in return. The Rubels were printed in 1936, and have pictures of brave, Soviet infanrty and air men printed on them. I have them in my room now, framed, and on a place where all who enters my room can see them, along with a 1935 German Fünf Reichsphennig coin, with swastika and eagle.

I used to think that he was some sort of memeber of the resistance, since we found a gun in his stuff once, but it turned out to be used to shoot pigs during slaughter...
____________
"Sometimes I think everyone's just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending to be brave is how you get brave, I don't know."
- Grenn, A Storm of Swords.

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
Binabik
Binabik


Responsible
Legendary Hero
posted November 24, 2004 06:02 AM

I was digging through the back pages and thought this thread was interesting.  For several years now I've felt this topic was important.

WWII was the most far reaching and devastating war in the history of the world.  And there are still people alive who lived through those times.  I'm from the US and don't know how it is in the rest of the world.  But in this country it seems like the people involved in that war don't talk much about it.

In the past I would ask people questions and I would almost always get short terse answers.  I remember asking my father once what he thought about Hitler. His reply was something like "I don't know, but Mussolini was a nut."  That's it, conversation over.  Obviously, "I don't know" wasn't what he really thought, he was avoiding the question.  What I really wanted to know was what did he REALLY think about Hitler.  What did he REALLY think about the war.  What was going though his head at the time?  What were his emotions and feelings?  How did it affect him?

I've noticed this same avoidance with a number of WWII vets. And not just the ones who actually fought in the war, but also the ones who did their job back home.

The point I'm trying to get at, is that the war should not be forgotten.  History books are too impersonal.....a bunch of dates and facts and figures.

The people who lived through that war are now old and they won't be around much longer.  I really beleive that when the last of those people die, we will have lost something, something that somehow seems very important.  When that last person dies, WWII will truely be history in every sense of the word.  For now, there are people who "remember" the war.  When they are all gone and WWII is nothing but words in a history book, it is well on it's way to being forgotten.

Having not lived though it, my perspective is that WWI and WWII were wars revealing the capacity of mankind.  Even without the advent of atomic weapons, it showed the capacity of massive destruction....the capacity to move millions of troops anywhere in the world....the capacity of mankind to ignite the world in flames.  And, most importantly, the inability of mankind to recognize his own capacity for destruction.  And those who witnessed that destruction will not be with us much longer.

Over the last 4-5 years I've made an effort to get these people to talk about it.  Not on a large scale, but with relatives and neighbors.  I don't come right out and ask them questions.  I simply make a comment about how I think the WWII vets should talk more about the war.  I tell them that by keeping it to themselves, the war will be forgotten.  I've found that, not long after that, they are talking more about it.

It may sound wierd, but what I really want, is to see the tear falling down their cheek.  Because when the living memory of that war is relegated to the history books, I'll remember.  I can tell my grandchildren about that tear.  I can tell them about something that's not in the history books.  I can tell them about a real person who was there, a real person who still shed a tear 60 years after the war.  In that way, maybe it will be remembered.

Probably just about everyone at HC has relatives or friends who participated in that war.  We might be too old to sit on Grandpa's lap and listen to his stories.  But we aren't too old to talk to them and remember.  We might get "glory stories".  We might get something seemingly unrelated.  We might get nothing more than a story about our parents or grandparents younger days.  But we will get something.  And it will be something not written in the history books.
____________

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted November 24, 2004 05:22 PM
Edited By: Consis on 24 Nov 2004

Binabik,

I could not agree more. My Grandfather does exactly as you say. When you ask him, his response has always been "I didn't think anyone cared about that so I don't talk about it". I would press the issue further and his face would change completely. You see his father died when he was 12. That was when he obtained a driver's liscense to help his mother run their farm. He was the only male beside his sister and mother.

On top of that, the depression had changed people's thinking. That's what struck me the most from his reaction and account. You have to understand that when I asked him about the World WarII time and experiences, I wanted to hear something about the war. But all he would say about it was that he was in the navy in the Pacific theatre. He would then continue to describe the details of how hard it was to grow up in west Texas during those times.

During those times, oil was still being discovered in the area and large monopolistic companies had come and subsidized large majorities of entires towns and cities to work for their drilling. But to say 'subsidize' is probably too kind of a word. Thousands of people were out of work and couldn't pay to feed their own families. This was also a time before any unions had been created within the oil drilling business. So the large companies were able to hire people for much less than say....a union coal miner. The jobs were similar, the risks were also high, and the people needed work. His family was in farming while my father's side was in the drilling. You can imagine what kind of place it is where most people either drilled for oil or farmed. The two lifestyles would often clash. Oil fires would devastate crop fields and kill workers while farmers would behave as secularists.

That's the thing I've found most common among all the people who I've spoken to who lived through those times. Rarely do they talk of the actual war. I'd usually hear about how much more difficult life was here in the states.

I personally think that's why they are called "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw. These people were liberators in every sense of the word. It wasn't because of some political message projected around the world from american newspapers, or radio, Roosevelt, or for any other reason than one simple thing. I think it was because when you saw an american batallion marching your way, you could look right into their faces and know they were there to help. I think you could see it in their face as they walked toward you. They were simply there doing their part in the effort to free the world of the Nazi fascism and jewish extermination.

I think they did a good job too. It hadn't occurred to me(after having read history books) how much more important the events at home were considered(by the people of those times) over the events abroad. It was a special kind of man and woman who lived through those times. But you don't need to read a book when you look into their faces. Sometimes a person can say more than a book ever could. I would say it's the expression of economic hardship matched with enduring human hope. It's people that count, not the wars they fight in.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
Binabik
Binabik


Responsible
Legendary Hero
posted November 24, 2004 07:56 PM

You made some good points Consis.  I was looking at it strictly from the perspective of the war.  But that generation definitely went through some hardships.  And not only hardships, but they were witness to a rapidly changing society.

They lived through a severe worldwide depression.  They went through Prohibition and all the things that went along with it.  Some may have been old enough to witness the suffrage movement.  Airplanes were just coming into being.  And cars were just becoming something a person with a reasonable job could afford.  The country was changing from a farm based society to an industrial society.

Today we have it easy compared to that generation.  Society has changed dramatically over the last 100-150 years.  The basic structure of society has arguably changed more in that time than in the 5000 years preceding it.  The WWII generation who witnessed much of that is rapidly dying off.

I'm older than you, but when I was a kid it used to totally amaze me that people were still alive who lived during the American Civil War.....although none who were old enough to have actually fought in it.  The lady across the street from me was born near the end of the Civil War.  She was probably fully in her adulthood when she saw a car for the first time, or heard a radio, or talked on a phone, or even saw an electric light bulb.  Just think of how much things have changed in little more than a generation.

I don't feel that all this stuff is off topic.  I think it sets the mood of the generation who fought that war.  They had their own lives to live, their own struggles.  The war came along and changed everything.  They did what needed to be done.  And when it was over, they wanted to leave it behind.

As I'm sure you're aware, there are groups in this country doing the same thing as the BBC and collecting stories about the war.  And I'm sure there are similar collections in the other WWII countries.

I assume these stories can be submitted on the Internet.  I think everyone who has family or friends who lived through the war, should encourage them to tell their stories.  Maybe I was mistaken in trying to draw out stories of the war itself.  I guess it should be left up to the person telling their tale what was important to them, what is foremost in their memory.  Kind of a "life and times" of the era.
____________

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Osti
Osti

Tavern Dweller
posted November 25, 2004 11:45 AM

My grandpa didn´t talk much about this dark period, but I knew that he fought in Rommels Africa Korps, where he got ill, because they had to drink coolant water. He was sent abck to Germany, but later to the Eastern Front, where he was captured and was for years in a soviet pow camp. I know just one story, were he steal a potatoe in this camp and was thrown into a dark hole in the ground, were he wasn´t allowed to move. It should be clear, why he didn´t talked about this things.
____________
Wer das hier versteht, kriegt nen Keks^^

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | Quote Reply | Link
Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted December 17, 2004 11:22 AM

Common Mindsets During/Continuing of that Time

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/16/battle.bulge/index.html
Quote:
After he was liberated, Lyle Bouck was too weak physically to file a combat report, and not of the mind to do it. The 21-year-old hero simply didn't think he'd done anything extraordinary.

"We were in those foxholes and ... what we did was to defend ourselves and try to live through it," says Bouck.

Bouck says he still has no idea why those German paratroopers didn't kill him and his men after their capture.

Sixty years later, an old lion can laugh about it.

____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

 Send Instant Message | Send E-Mail | View Profile | PP | Quote Reply | Link
< Prev Thread . . . Next Thread >
Post New Poll    Post New Topic    Post New Reply

Page compiled in 0.1118 seconds