View Full Version : Personal and Family Stories of WWII

02-10-2004, 05:41 PM
I'm sure not many will have personal stories but here's one about my Grandfather.

Basically he missed Dunkirk. He was in the RAF and arrived after the last boat left. So there they are looking at the last loads disappearing into the distance and with the German army on the other side. So they decide to turn the truck and leg it as fast as possible to Le Havre. I don't know much more than that but they must have arrived as he certainly got back to England and survived the war intact.

Now over to you you must have some good stories.

02-10-2004, 05:41 PM
I'm sure not many will have personal stories but here's one about my Grandfather.

Basically he missed Dunkirk. He was in the RAF and arrived after the last boat left. So there they are looking at the last loads disappearing into the distance and with the German army on the other side. So they decide to turn the truck and leg it as fast as possible to Le Havre. I don't know much more than that but they must have arrived as he certainly got back to England and survived the war intact.

Now over to you you must have some good stories.

02-10-2004, 06:18 PM
My great uncle was a tail gunner on a B-25 in Italy and Burma. He flew 52 mission's in these two theater's. He told me how when he returned from some mission's he'd find machine gun bullet's and bullet holes in his flight suit. Talked like this was just a part of the job. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

02-10-2004, 06:33 PM
My grandfather was on Guam after it had been taken, working with the Sea Bees running powerlines across the island. It was fairly common for Japanese diehards to hide in the jungles, waging one man guerilla wars for years after hostilities ceased. So one night while my grandfather and some of the other guys were showering, one of these Japanese guerillas opened fire on the facilities. The only guy unfortunate enough to be shot got it in the butt. He ran squealing, soapy, and naked all the way back to camp. I think it's a funny if you were there and only after the fact story, but it was my grandfather's and I'll always remember it.

02-10-2004, 06:42 PM
I know an old guy who was a rigger (I think, with 222 Squadron throughout the war from the Battle of Britain onwards.

Later in the war they got Tempests, one of his mates was test flying a machine they had been fixing. The pilots family had come to the airbase to visit, so he decided to do a roll to excite the kids. Unfortunately they had just changed from Spits and the guy wasn't used to the aircraft. He ended up rolling into the deck infront of his family...

My best mates Grandad was a mechanic in the RAF, he told me a story about a Polish test pilot they had. This guy wasn't allowed in a combat unit because he was almost suicidal trying to kill Germans. His whole family had been killed when Poland was invaded.

I'm not sure what they were testing, it was something twin engined though. He said he knew something was up with the pilot when he lit up a cigarette as soon as they were on the runway, then proceeded to take off only using the trim. The flight ended up with them flying down Princess Street in Edinburgh. he reckoned they were so low at times he was looking up at the rooftops!

His comment was "He was as mad as a fish, but the best pilot he had ever flown with..."


02-10-2004, 06:46 PM
My grandad was with the US Army 24th infantry division in the Pacific. He was one of only a handful in his company to survive.

One of the funny stories he tells is of being strafed by a Japanese Zero fighter. I asked him if he was afraid and he said no, because he could always out turn the Zero http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Alot of the other stuff I could tell would probably be pretty offensive to some members of this forum.


02-10-2004, 06:49 PM
I've thought about posting a topic like this in the past but wasn't sure how it would be received, but since you've done it for me, here goes.

I'm an American, but my Mom and Dad are German from the old country, and they both went through the war. My Dad a young teenage draftee in the German army, and my Mom not quite a teenage girl at the time. My aunt's husband was in the U-Boots. My Dad's younger brother was in an anti-aircraft unit. His two older brothers in the army both died on the Eastern Front. One somewhere in East Prussia, the other was MIA in Poland. I'd like to find out what happened to them. From what I understand, and I'm not sure which one was where, they served in the Stalingrad and Leningrad sectors for a time. Lost a lot of other relatives too http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-sad.gif but that's irrelevant.

My parents didn't talk too much about the war, except to tell us how horrible it was, but I do remember a few of the stories they told, so here goes. My Mom's most memorable story usually involves the bombings. She lived in the small village of Hagsfeld on the outskirts of Karlsruhe. One night the bombs strayed over the village and set my Grandma's barn on fire. They rushed into the burning barn and tried to save as many animals as they could. Grandma was also reported to have disposed of a small incendiary device (I believe it was actually burning at the time) that had landed in my Mom's bedroom during the raid, and threw it out the window without thinking of the consequences.

Dad was stationed in France in Normandy. On occasion he had to observe and report on the V-1's flying toward England, to make sure they were safely on their way to their target. He also talks about there being a great deal of confusion during the landings. One of the stories he tells is about one of the guys in his platoon grabbing three or four Panzerfausts, and going after some allied tanks, where he single handedly knocked out several of them. My favorite story of his is about the time his platoon was on patrol or a scouting mission somewhere in the forest. It goes something like this. They were in the woods when a jeep with a couple of GI's came along the road and stopped near them. I don't know if they were lost or not. Anyway, all of a sudden the Americans noticed them. However both sides were so frightened of each other and in shock that they just starred at each other for a few tense moments. The Americans seeing they were outnumbered decided to make a run for it and left the jeep. The Germans simply relieved that nothing had happened didn't pursue the Americans but did take their jeep http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Hope you enjoyed some of what I've told you. I know war isn't fun or pretty, but sometimes it can have some amusing aspects to it.

02-10-2004, 06:49 PM
my grandfather (mothers side) lost an arm, a leg, his nose and one ear at monte casino. he survived just to die soon after of cancer. ironic, isnt it.

02-10-2004, 07:03 PM

My grand-dad was an air raid warden. My Dad recalls seeing a glow to the east on the shore of Cape Cod at night(I live in Massachusetts, US), and finding out later that it was a burning oil tanker, adrift after being torpedoed. I have an uncle by marriage who was a US submariner, made several war patrols but he never talks about it.

the sergeant will for, his sergeant's pay, obey the captain 'till his dying day~ Clash

02-10-2004, 07:34 PM
Oddly enough, my grandfather was an airman, a radio operator in a B-17 and he served in both New Guinea and in Europe. He had a combined total of 55 or so missions to his credit. 25 in New Guinea, and the others out in Europe.

He wasn't much of an achievement in the air. He did his job fine, but he couldn't hit jack squat with his gun in the air. He was wounded three times, twice in the stomach, and another right in the chest, leaving him with 3 purple hearts. Also, when the Japanese invaded his island airbase, he was one of the the first on the scene and was shooting and snapping necks left and right. He ended up snapping 7 Japanese necks and wounding many others with his pistol before a Jap soldier finally decided that my Grandad was causing a bit too much trouble for them. It was at this time when he recieved one of his stomach wounds. Luckily it didn't go too deep, but it was sufficient enough to keep him out of combat for a few weeks.

Another thing he did when in Europe was when he and his crew were shot down on the Front lines, he used his pistol to kill the officers in the German Patrol which was sent to get them. This action sent the German regular combat troops confused, and also enabled him to get his crew to safety. I remember meeting his pilot a few years before he died, and the pilot said, "Your grandaddy saved my arse in WW2!" He recieved either the DFC or the Silver Star for this, I think. I have one of his Purple hearts.

02-10-2004, 07:46 PM
My father was in an artillery unit in France, Belgium and Germany. He was part of the 95th Division. They landed in France around D+90.

I never talked to him about his war-time experience, but my older brother did. He said they would get orders to shell a town to drive the Germans out. They always aimed for the church steeples as it was the tallest building in town and you could easily adjust fire when shelling it. They would sometimes find dead civilians in or near the churches if they passed through the towns later. They felt bad about that, but they suspected the Germans forced them to go to the church to prevent the Allies from shelling it.

My best friend's dad liberated some of the concentration camps. I don't think he talked about that very much either.


02-10-2004, 08:06 PM
My Dad was in the US 1st Infantry Division(thus my handle). He was in the first wave at Sicily and Normandy(Omaha beach, easy red). Since I was a little boy he's been telling me stories. In my family I seem to be the only one of his kids interested in his WWII experiences. Here's one little story...

During the battle of Aachen his unit was pinned down inside a stone house. The Germans threw a concussion grenade into the basement they holed up in. The explosion knocked a big stone loose from a wall and tagged his Captain on the head, probably giving him a severe concussion. With the Captain knocked loopy my Dad was next in charge(he was a 1st Lt.) and decided to call for artillery directly on their own positions. As the barrage passed he got ready to lead his guys into a counterattack. He would be the first person out the door of the basement. He was convinced that a German was waiting next to the door with a "burp-gun". He said it was the most afraid he has ever been in his life. Nevertheless he rushed out the door, fortunately there was no Landser waiting for him. Encouraged by him his company came out after him and they conducted a night counter-attack. It won him the Silver Star.

Here's a blurb I have from a letter he wrote his mom about Omaha beach.

"There were thirty of us in the landing boat...(later) the six of us who made it off the beach..."


02-10-2004, 08:34 PM
I am from Ukraine, lived in a town next to Lvov. My grandmother recalled that German soldiers were realy nice people, when she was young, she recalls one German soldiers always would bring her and her family some candies food, etc.

She also said by the time the War was over there were no grownup male left in town... just imagine it was so nice to be a male after the war, all those women and no competition http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

02-10-2004, 09:18 PM
My Granddad was in a artillery unit and was I believe one of the first wave on Omaha Beach. He died before I ever got to meet him but there is a story he told once where he and his friend were running on the beach and he lookes to his friend and he was right beside him. Then a shell came in close and almost hit my granddad. He said he looked back to his friend and his body was running with his head completely taken off. The shell had completely torn it off. But his momentum kept his body running for another 50 yards. After that he decided that he never wanted to lead men to death like that again. So when he got promoted to Sargent, he did something really bad the next night and made sure he got demoted to corporal. But soon he got promoted again. So then that night he got demoted again! His entire record just has a pattern of promotions and demotions all over it!

02-10-2004, 10:09 PM
Interesting thread. I'm struck by the casual heroism recorded in many of these posts -- from the German mother who grabbed an incendiary to save her family, to a young American officer in the Ardennes risking his life to get his people out of danger. It would be understandable if you were proud and grateful for these people and their courage.

The other thing that is interesting, I think, is the age profile in this forum. If many postrs are sons or daughters of WWII vets, a war finished sixty years ago, then we are 'maturing' as a group. That's not bad (or good); it only that this particular flight sim seems to appeal to an unusual demographic for a computer game.

I feel right at home. My family has my father's purple heart and battle ribbons. He was a crewman (radio operator) in a B-24 with the 461st BG, 15th Air Force out of northern Italy in 1943-44, and north Africa before that. On his 24th mission, an attack on a munitions factory in Munich, his plane was hit with a head on attack by a schwarme of 109s. Two 20mm shells came through the nose, killing the pilot and the flight engineer and wounding the co-pilot and my father. He would never talk about the incident, except to praise the 20-year-old co-pilot who somehow nursed the plane back across the Alps and put it down back at their base. Seven crewmen survived because of this young man's skill and courage, and my father never forgot him.

Like many families, we had several members overseas at the same time. One of my wife's uncles, a B-17 navigator with the 8th AF out of England, was shot down and bailed out east of Berlin in late '44. He spent the rest of the war as a POW. I wrote this story on another thread a while back. To this day, he hates rutabaga, the Stalags main food. He came back, became a fairly successful architect and raised a great family.

When I think about these things, and read the posts here, I understand why Tom Brokaw called these people "The Greatest Generation."

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!

02-10-2004, 10:43 PM
My Grandpa flew the Burma-India-China mountian range. Called it "The Hump". Very dangerous. Iceing, winds, clouds, all coupled with mountians that prolly extend to 20,000 ft. Don't pay attention and you'll run into a mountian.

After that he was back in the US flying all sorts of a/c. He was certified to fly everything. One GI on leave asked for a ride, so gramps said "well, if you hid in the luggage area I'd never know..." He's got plenty more stories and such, but he had a stroke around '96 and just isn't doing so well. For Christmas he got a warbirds calendar and knew every plane on it. I guesse he's flown a P-40. And when he heard I'm going for my pilots license he lit up and was great.

Got his Commanders Wings (20 or 25 years service) and Chinese Wings. Names George Kuzma if you have Hump Pilots Association book. I'll lift some stories from it later.

02-10-2004, 11:06 PM
I whole-heartedly agree,Don. I have several veteran friends with interesting stories,but I'll stick with family stories for now. My grandfather was inducted into the U.S. Army on Dec.2 1941(5 days before Pearl Harbor)at Fort Oglethorpe,Georgia. He was part of Company M,4th Infantry. On April 30,he left New York bound for Scotland. He and his company were stationed in an castle(?!) for several weeks and then strangely in May they were shipped to North Africa,despite the fact that Operation Torch(American invasion of N.Africa) didn't happen until September(I think). As I understand it,he was involved in some sort of clandestine,Expeditionary force that was sent to test the German defenses. Once that landed in a port city in Tunisia,a battle broke out(obviously). My grandfather described seeing a mortar shell whiz over his head and impact behind him. The force of the blow launched him forward and knocked his helmet off. He then realized his ear drums had been burst by the blast. Well,after a period of months, he recovered he was involved in the first "official" American action against the Afrika Corps. at Fondouk Pass in Algeria. Anybody,who follows N.African combat in WWII knows this attack failed miserably. My grandfather and several of his friends were captured,and were kept in an open chicken-wire pen. He said they weren't treated particularly badly by the Germans,but they had no protection against the desert sun,and their food consisted of stagnant water in a trough and stale bread tossed over the side of the pen. By this stage of the war the Germans were in retreat,and eventually they escaped from the camp. At some point(not sure when),my Grandfather was shot once in the right arm and left leg,and was left dying on the desert with other comrades(possibly after the Fondouk action). Anyway,he remembered laying there at night and there was a mortally injured guy next to him that would just not stop screaming. Finally,my grandfather couldn't take it anymore and punched the guy as hard as he could with his good arm. It knocked the guy unconscious,which was probably the most humane thing that he could do for the poor guy. To make a long story(slightly)shorter,he was honorably discharged in Oct.1944. My grandfather died in 1999. I heard this story several years ago,so I'm sure I've fudged some details and left some out. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

"Not all who wander are lost."

02-10-2004, 11:16 PM
My great uncle on my dad's side of the family was a German paratrooper(Fallschmjager),based in Norway . He was a medic .
My great uncle on my mom's side of the family was a U.S. Marine who took part in the invasion at Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands .
Beleive it or not , my great, great half-uncle(?) was General Henry "Hap" Arnold U.S.A.A.F. Chief of Staff .
All three lived through the war .
Uncle Chris finished up his medical school in post-war Germany and moved to the U.S. He became a Proctologist .
Uncle Eddie finished his tour , came home and became a successful plumber .
Uncle Hap retired from the U.S.A.F.
I knew all of them except Hap Arnold .


02-10-2004, 11:50 PM
Both of my grandfathers were in WWII, one was a pilot flew mostly the P-47 but spent time in the 51 as well in the ETO 8th AF. Before being shipped off for home to train new pilots. He was 2 weeks short of taking a unit to the PTO. He always told me that his closest call was when he was flying low on the deck over France trying to find his wingman who had joined in chasing a flight FW's when he noticed a flight of what he thought were P-47's about 2,000 ft above him. He decided he would join up with them for the comfort of numbers for the trip across the channel. As he picked up speed and zoomed up to join the flight, he all to late noticed that these were in fact the FW's he and his wingman(who BTW had given up my grandad for dead and headed back to England) had chased down to the deck and shared a kill. As soon as he had caught on to just how bad his situation was, it got worse as the Germans flying the FW's noticed their new wingman was one of the pilots who had chased them down. This is where it get's pretty funny, my Grandad said "To hell with it. if they are going to get me I might as well make them work for it!". He firewalled the throttle and did a barrell roll through their flight waving as he passed. He said that the Germans were so stunned by this they just watched him gaping and the flight leader actually waved back at him. He just kept on going watching his six at full emergency power and they never followed him. He always said "I was in no position to fight 3 FW's with little ammo and hardly any fuel and they must have thought I had pretty big b@lls, so they just let me go" That's all he could explain it as, I loved the story I had him tell me all the time. Sadly the last time he would tell me that story would be 2 years before he passed away, when I left for Bosnia. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif I never saw him again until is funeral, he was, is and will always be my hero.

My other Grandfather was a Army Engineer, his main responsibility was mine detecting. He says that he spent more time drinking and whoring in France than he did doing "his job". He's a character for sure, they both were. He considers himself lucky as he was never in a front line unit, by sheer luck. His brother and his cousin both fell on Omaha beach in the first wave. He really doesn't talk about that, so I don't press. I can tell even after all these years it still hurts.

All of these stories are great to read, and it is amazing how most of these "boys" 60 years ago were much the same. Most of them not wanting to fight, but all having to fight for one reason or another. We are all very lucky to have them, and we should thank every veteran we see and appreciate them as they are a rare breed anymore.

Commanding Officer 361st vFG
www.361stvfg.com (http://www.361stvfg.com)

02-10-2004, 11:53 PM
my grandfather was a flight enginer on a B-24 Liberator in the CBI theater.
{Glass nose} B-24G-c-109
(C-109 was a tanker model)
(C-87 was Passenger & Cargo Models)
Tail numbers were: 43-621
[the numbers BT-13 are in here some where but i forgot to write down for what the were for.]

He depolyed with this plane from the factory in florida. the flew down & picked it up. Stpoed off in Alabama foe a few daws the off to the PTO they went. where there for a few days & then on to the CBI.

After he was finnished with his tour in the cbi he was asighndd as an instructor & bounced frorm goup to group & squadron to squadron throught the 20th & 5th AF's untill he was able to get rotated back home. On his way back to the us.(one of them being the 310th FS, 58th FG)

After WWII he contenuied his by serving in the Korean War once again with the 310th FS. this time in stead of B-24's/25's & P-47's he was working on F-86 Sabre Jets.
Like this one flown by Major "Mac" McCurdy. Major McCurdy Here on a combat mission over North Korea in his aircraft, FS-305. http://webpages.charter.net/310thcommand/380thBG/310th%20Pics/Pic%205.jpg This particular mission called for 2 x 1000 lb. bombs.
I have some nice pictures.....i need to get scaned.

310th FS & 380th BG website (http://www.members.tripod.com/tophatssquadron)

02-10-2004, 11:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
I have some nice pictures.....i need to get scaned.


You're lucky. My grandfather only took like 2 or 3 pictures,when he was in N.Africa. To me, pictures are like a time capsule and I wish he had taken more.

"Not all who wander are lost."

02-11-2004, 03:55 AM
I just found my grandfathers Soldbuch. 4 days ago, with all the Units he served in and all this stuff inside. So I could reconstruct where he was by putting the things my dad told me about my grandfathers war stories and his records together.

The whole thing is a bit confusing before 1942. In the first 2 years he served in different units which have been changed or combined with others to form new ones all the time so it's not easy.

in 1942 he served in the 543 Inf Reg. in Voronesh and the Don area. His chest was insured by a russian granate around the 29th of August 1942. He spent 3 weeks in a hospital in Germany. He was insured again by a shot into his leg and came to a hospital called Lazaret Moskau in Jan. 43 That was the time his unit was destroyed. So he was transferred back to a Reserve Unit. The he was part of the 356 Inf Div for some months until he was transferred to the Gren R 915 of the 352 Inf Div 7. Army in Normandy. He recieved the K.V.K IInd class with swords in April 44 and the E.K 2 in October 44. The weapons he got during the war were K98, KG42 for some time and then a K43. He was captured by some Americans and handed over to the French. He was a POW until his return in 1946. My dad said that was a hard time for my grandmother because he was reported MIA for half a year. During the war my grandmother was constantly threatened by the local government because she refused to give stuff to the Nazis. She managed to hide my grandfathers motorbike and such things till the war was over. I'll never forget the thing my dad told me once: One day the mayor and police ame to my grandmothers house and told her to give them the bike and my grandfathers gun. My grandmother told them that she doesn't have those things anymore. The mayor told her that he knows she's hiding it and that they will get her one day! but things turned out to be the other way around. When the mayor tried to escape from the approaching French troops my granny grabbed my grandfathers gun and started to shoot at him when he came down the road. She didn't hit but he was captured by the French and put to jail.

02-11-2004, 04:56 AM
I had one great uncle who was a radio operator on a U-boat he survived the war (very lucky for a U-boat crew member)but that's all I know.

Then I had another relative from my British side who died in the Changi POW camp in Singapore, and another was an Air Marshall???? (or something quite high up I can't remember)in the RAF.

My mum's best friend's father was in JG 2 Richthofen but was shot down by a Spitfire in his Bf 109 in '41 apparently a 'head shot' coincidentaly her neighbour is a relative of Manfred Von Richthofen (The Red Baron)

Oh and my Great Aunt and Uncle both worked for Heinkel, I think I remember them telling me about the first ejection seat tests and that some test pilots where killed.


02-11-2004, 07:08 AM
to the germans:
is it just my family or did your grandfathers/fathers never talk much about the war either ?
like posted before all i know about my mothers father is that he was severely wounded at monte casino and for all i know he never talked about the war though from my granny i know that he must have been all over europe (france, russia, italy)

my fathers father whom i fortunately got to know was first in russia and later became the driver of some high ranking officer. unfortunately i dont know the name as it would have made it easier to sort of track is whereabouts.
i remember that as a kid i always tried to get him to talk but he never did. he mentioned an airraid once and how he had to refuel the car while bombs where dropping all over the place but that was that. he would always find a way to get around the topic.
i know he must have seen some bad ****. after his death (of cancer as well) i talked to my grandmother but apart from telling me that he was spiked with shrapnel from 4 different grenades (that was all he ever told her. not how, not where, not when) that was all the info i could get.
i know for a fact though that he 'rescued' my grandmother from the advancing russian troops in the dying days of the war and they flet in a stolen car from danzig to kiel.
at a family gathering one day, i must have been what 15 or 16, he got extremely smashed and god knows how it came up but he took me aside and said he had is old gun burried on the property, watertight and safe, with ammo. you d never know what could happen, and that this was a crazy world.

TgD Thunderbolt56
02-11-2004, 07:33 AM
My Grandfather started the war working for Georgia power Company in south Georgia. He soon joined the 8th Air Force and applied for pilot training. He jumped through all the hoops and passed all the tests and was soon training in multi-engined aircraft. He flew a full campaign in Europe in B-17's and saw air to air action on only about 1/3 of his missions losing one crew member towards the end. After rotating out in 1944 he was transfered to the 20th Air Force 509th Composite group flying B-29's in the Pacific. He flew many missions, but says he never felt prouder than when the "bomb" was dropped. They all just wanted the war to end. He said had he known then the level of destruction and suffering imparted to the civilian population he likely would have felt differently.

One of his best friends was Col. Paul Tibbets and he told me many stories of driving around the "closed" compound with the Col. drinking and generally raising hell as it was one of the only ways they could blow off steam.

My Grandfather died in 1996 after being debilitated for 8 years by alzheimers.


02-11-2004, 09:10 AM
My grand Oncle died in a Yak-3 in Oriental prussia, flying for Normandie Niemen. I remember visiting his old mother in Paris, her appartment filled with soviet medails, pictures, models of sputniks, spacecrafts, planes and dedication plaques; Every time a Russian air attache, general or cosmonaut would come to Paris they would drop by her place with flowers and some "aviation" related presents. It was wierd in the middle of the cold war to enter a communist shrine like that in such an old blue bloded lady's home.

02-11-2004, 09:56 AM
My father was in the RAF during the North Africa campaign, he was a lorry driver and anti-aircraft gunner. I once asked him whether he ever got scared, and he said that being dive-bombed by Stukas was none too pleasant, however the thing that really worried him was being run over by a tank.
I got him to elaborate and it turns out that he thought he was likely to get run over by a tank at night whilst asleep. It was British tanks he was afraid of, for if the German tanks were about he'd have no chance of being asleep! When I asked him why he didn't pitch his tent somewhere safe he smiled and said
'We didn't have tents - we were just lying on the ground in the middle of nowhere.' Sometimes he slept on the roof of his lorry, but only when they weren't transporting bombs!


www.nightbomber.com (http://www.nightbomber.com)

02-11-2004, 11:33 AM
My grandfather served in the PTO on the destroyer USS Anthony DD-515. He served as a "pom pom" gunner. Thats a 20mm aaa gun on the ship. His first action was the landings at bougenville (sp). In that battle their ship was credited with 13 air kills (mostly low flying zeros and a few archivals). After alot of night fighting they went back to the states to be equipped with radar in late 43. They went back to join Admiral Halseys task force for the battle of Iwo Jima and scored more air kills. They were staioned on "picket duty" prior to the Battle of Okinawa and were losing about 3 destroyers a day due to kamakazi attacks on the edge of the task force. He mentioned one attack sunk both destroyers on either side of them and they were the last ship left in there area that had radar. After fending off a few more kamakazis they got out of there unscathed. They were credited with more air kills and the ship was promoted to flag ship destroyer. In the battle of Okinawa it was one of two destroyers that went along the coast line to pepper the machine gun nests on shore and provide escort to the landing crafts. By the end of the war the USS Anthony had the most plane kills credited to a destroyer. 26. I know he had to have gotten one of those although he never admitted it. He died 5 yrs ago and requested the US navy to bury his body in the south pacific. The navy did that and gave him a 21 gun salute and an honorary ceremony with proper flag burial into the sea.

Did anyone see that or was it just me?

02-11-2004, 12:55 PM
I am impressed by the number of forum members who had relatives serving on both sides during the war. It's a small world.

My father served in the PTO as well, spending three years on the USS LARDNER (DD487). He missed the night battles around Guadalcanal, but was aboard for the night attack into the middle of Rabaul harbor by his DD division. He served as a loader for both 40-mm AAA and 5-inch guns and suffered a lot of hearing loss - common among a lot of war veterans. His ship spent most of its time after that escorting fast carrier task forces, so he was present for most of the big amphibious landings - Peleliu, Eniwetok, Philippines, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa. LARDNER ultimately was one of the DD's which escorted USS MISSOURI into Tokyo Bay for the surrender. My dad has a few "unofficial photos" (amateur photography was officially frowned upon in the war zone) of his ship in Tokyo Bay. After the surrender his ship transported allied PoW's out of Japan.

His funniest story involved the voyage home from Japan back to the States. His ship had stopped in Capetown, South Africa for re-fuelling and a bit of shore leave and was about two hundred miles out of Capetown headed home when it was discovered that some female companionship had been smuggled aboard for the long trip. Back to Capetown they went, with a very irritated captain on the bridge.

My uncle served in the US/Canadian First Special Service Force commandos at Anzio and on the Italian Front. He never spoke a word about his experiences. In fact, I never knew anything about his service in the war until his funeral, when I noticed and recognized the red 1SSF arrowhead patch on his Ike jacket, which was on display.

Another relative of mine, John Evans, served in the RAF as a PB4Y transport pilot flying British VIP's around the world. He was at the controls of the aircraft which was returning the British delegation from the founding meeting of the UN in San Francisco in 1947 (IIRC) and was lost without trace over the Atlantic.


02-11-2004, 01:05 PM
Great stories everyone. Fortunately for my family my grandparents didn't see combat. One grandad was in the Army, but he taught mechanics the ins and outs of the Jeep at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. My other grandad was a farmer and exempt from duty for being in an occupation vital to the war effort. His brother was in the 82nd Airborne though. I never new him and don't have any stories although I know he saw action in Europe and came back ok.

02-11-2004, 01:11 PM
My great-grand uncle whom I am named after was a medic with the RKKA. He died near vistula in western Ukraine 1943 after an artillrey hit the truck he was unloading. Grandmother tried to find his grave - never did.

02-11-2004, 01:12 PM
My father was in RAF 307 Squadron from 1941-46, mainly based at Exeter where he still lives 90 now (this as u will have guessed also makes me a wrinkly, still enjoy FB though). Many of his fellow squadron members are buried in the war graves cemetry at Exeter, togeher with some German aircrew shot down by the squadron.

Again as with many does not talk a great deal about his experiences but I have some to tell.In Polish Air Force at start of war, his airfield was overun and he saw combat as a soldier one instance he mentioned was a German soldier shooting two beside him before turning his gun on my father only for it to jam and be shot by my father. Made his way to Romania where he was slightly wounded while evading capture by swimming a river. eventually reaching France via Greece & Yugoslavia. Then joined the French Air Force, he swears to this day he was never paid, and as a young boy travelling through France, I remember hin suggesting he should go to there Ministry of Defense to claim this, but he never did. Evacuated to UK shortly before Dunkirk on the Andorra Star, re-trained to join the RAF at Blackpool, allocated to 307 as a Radar Technician, as 307 were a Night Fighter squadron as I understand it using an early version of air to air radar in Mosquitos.

He does have a journal which covers the period 1939-41, however it is in Polish which unfortunately I cannot read, I have asked him many times to translate it, but he is not keen, saying that he would not like my Mother to read some of the Sstoies!(French girls involved I suspect) My mother also is still alive 80 this year, they were married in 1942, and celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2002, recieving a letter of congratulation from The Queen. Since the fall of communism in Poland the Free Polish forces were finally recognised by the Polish Government and my father was awrded a Polish service medal I think about ten years ago. He has been subsequently also been allocated the rank of Leiutenant.

He has told me of the circumstances of the deaths of some of the squadron members, as with all servicemen they dont open up to much, rightly I think they have their own memories, which would be difficult fot the likes of us to fully comprehend and understand fully.

I salute them all.


RAF 307 Free Polish Night Fighter Squadron


02-11-2004, 01:32 PM
Very nice thread.

My dad was a navy corpsman. He was pretty young and did not hit the Pacific until after the major fighting was over. His storys were about occupied Japan-and all of the Japanese orphans. He died in 1972.

My uncle Sutt was a artillery officer in Europe. He loved the artillery and remained in the reserves until he retired as a colonel. He died in 1998.

My father in law was with the army. He was a college professor before the war. He spoke French and his unit's job was to go into recently retaken French and German towns to set up local goverments and get things running again. When in England waiting to go to France, his barracks was hit by a buzz bomb. He retold over and over the story of sitting with his best friend and holding his hand while he slowly died. I don't think that ever left him. My father in law died thyree years ago.

His brother, My wife's Uncle Chandler, was a mortar man in the Pacific. He was severly wounded during the invasion of Okinawa. He was the only member of his mortar team to leave the island alive. Currently, Chan is in the last stages of Alhzimers (sp).

My step-father was a navy seaman. He was on a DD in the Pacific. His DD was hit by a Japanese suicide plane and he was severely wounded. They wanted to amputate his arm but he fought them and refused to let it happen. As I recall, the arm was still working fine when he passed away two years ago.

I'm 49 years old. Writing this reminds makes me a bit sad. They are all leaving us now.

02-11-2004, 01:41 PM
my GF, in march 1945... he said he was with a group of 10 M4s... they came across a few german tanks.. they took 2 out which turned out to be panzer mkIIINs and there was another shooting at them, it kept picking tanks off 1 by 1, they got close, damn near point blank, i had gotten 4 of the M4s.. they proceded to pound this thing at point black for 10min, expending over 100 rounds all together... the tank had stopped fireing after a 5th m4 was lost, and just sat there... so they stopped, when they stopped a few german soldiers came out surrending, young boys he said... turns out it was a jagdtiger, with only 5 rounds of ammon and only gas enough to move it left and right to shoot... they ran out of gas and ammo and just sat in there tank waiting for a time to give up... the inspected the tank and found not 1 round penetrated this thing anywhere.. my GF said the M4 parked next to it looked like a beetle next to a Dodge RAM.. lol.. unfourtunately 5 tanks where lost to this thing and a few of my GF friends, he said this was the last armor battle he had in his M4, and until this day he said he is thankful and amazed he is alive considering how weak the m4 was...

02-11-2004, 01:48 PM
My uncle was in the British 6th Airborne Division,South Staffordshire Regiment.He was carried into combat onboard the Horsa gliders.He went into Europe on D-Day+1 and fought in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.It was here that he was eventually captured and made POW by the Waffen SS.He describes them as the most professional soldiers he ever saw during the war.Surprisingly he also says they were also very courteous!?!

He was captured following a fire fight across fields.The SS kept them occupied to the front whilst another SS unit performed a classic outflanking manouver and caught them from the rear.He seriously insists that the SS Officer pointed his Walther P38 at him and said "For you the war is over!"

His abiding memories besides this are of Fw190's flying at low level over his position being aggressively pursued by RAF Spitfires.And,perhaps more personal to him,the sound of the MG42.

He states that near the end of the war they were nearly starving in the POW camps.He speaks highly of his treatment by the personel guarding them but his camp was then turned over to the SS and Gestapo and they thought they would all be executed before liberation.Thankfully events moved too swiftly for the Germans and they all deserted the camp rather than be caught by the Allies.I think he was liberated by the Russians but I may be wrong on this part.

A lighter memory of his was on the boat back to the UK.A tannoy message came over telling all aboard that they would be in big trouble if caught trying to smuggle captured weapons into Britain as trophies.There then followed a rain of assorted weaponry over the side of the boat.So somewhere at the bottom of the English Channel is a trail of guns!!

A couple of years ago he gave me the Pegasus patch from his uniform.It sits proudly in the display case in my living room amongst my military figure collection.


"You've got to treat your kite like you treat your woman.Get inside her five times a day and take her to Heaven and back"
Lord Flashheart RFC 1917

02-11-2004, 01:51 PM
My grandfather was in RAF intelligence due to the fact he was fluent in german cos of his heritage. Toward the end of the war he and his colleague were in the area of a Luftwaffe airfied somewhere in the low countries to observe it. On the Airfield sat 2 ME262s. the germans were in contact with the RAF and thus surrendered the airfied to my grandad and his m8. My grandad was given the commanding officers cap badge and luger as tokens of the surrender. He also pocketed the Kriegsflag which have still have. It is red and white with a swastika in the middle.


one i found one the web. Mine has some battle damage lol (moth holes)

The 262s were (i think) the first intact ones captured by the allies. I will get hold of my grandads' war records from the MOD and get all the exact times and dates someday. All this was passed on to me by my dad as my grandad died b4 I had the chance to talk to him about it.

also. just like Bo Nidle's grandad he to threw his luger over the side of the boat lol.


"Wer auf die preussische Fahne schwort, hat nichts mehr, was ihm selber gehort"

02-11-2004, 02:19 PM
one of my grandads was in a french submarine during the war, i dunno if he did much. he talks about prewar stuff.
my grandad who died recently was a real character, very cheeky and quick http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif. he had bad eyesight so he was a medic in burma, told me a few bits and bobs, like they would eat sugarcane or something(s) that grew localy, and he was very skinny when he came back. told me japs would rip their bandages and stuff off and try and kill themselves, they hadto tie them up and stuff http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif
but he was a real great guy, if he was a smiley he would be http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif and http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif and http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif.


02-11-2004, 02:23 PM
the SS where good soldiers, had a sence of honour and stuff (bought up/trainned like that) but could awful things too. so a SS person isnt always gonna be bad/done bad things


02-11-2004, 02:29 PM
My father spent his time in the war
on a Martin "Mariner" naval airbase in
Bermuda. His photo album consists mainly
of pictures of him and his buddies on the
beach with navy nurses........"WAR IS HELL".


02-11-2004, 02:39 PM
My grandfather served in the Soviet army. (Something to do with communications - setting up communication lines etc... I'm not really sure.)

Once he told me about an air attack on their base. (Or wherever he was at the time.) He said they noticed the AA gunner crouched beneath his AA gun - he stuck his leg out and was using it to operate the pedal (which presumably fired the gun) while hiding beneath the gun. He told me they all tried reproducing this feat after the attack was over, but none of them was able to bend his leg to reach the pedal from that position.

He added that, after that, none of them ever hid.

02-11-2004, 02:50 PM
My dad enlisted in the Navy when he was 17 and was a radarman on the USS Tollberg (DE) in the Pacific during 1945. He once told me that a Japanese sub sank the ship in front and behind them but that's all, he never talked much about his experiences other than that.

His dad served in the US Army in WWI in the trenches in France and Germany. He survived a mustard gas attack but that's all he would ever say about it all.

My mother's older brother was a bombardier on a B17 (the Mission Belle) of the 8th AAF, 93rd BW, 385thBG 551stBS (we think but can't confirm BS) out of Great Ashfield UK. His 17 was hit by flak over a German target and he was hit by schrapnel in his left leg. He was sent back stateside to the VA Hospital in Albany, NY and ended up with a piece of steel replacing his thigh bone. Mission Belle was later lost on a mission to Germany and crashed at Kristianopel, Sweden on 4/11/44. Another uncle served in the Army in Belgum. Neither talked much about the war.

"GT182" / "vonSpinmeister"
www.bombs-away.net (http://www.bombs-away.net)
"Fly to Survive, Survive to Fly"

[This message was edited by GT182 on Sat February 14 2004 at 06:04 PM.]

02-11-2004, 03:06 PM
My grandfather's cousin, was a RAF Spitfire pilot in the 332. Norwegian squadron. Unfortunately, he was shot down by flak on a recon mission over France, and there are very little information to find about his service(victories, sorties etc.)

Good thread btw!

02-11-2004, 04:12 PM
My grandfather was the captain of the USS Grant in the Pacific fleet. The flag that was raised on Iwo Jiima came from the top of my grandfather's ship.

Der Oberleutnant

02-11-2004, 05:23 PM
I almost for got about my too great uncles.
Sam Luster (dad's mothers brother) died at Nomandy on D-Day.

Barnett Henderson
(Dad's dad's brother-whom i'm named after)
Died in somewhere in France shortly there after.

Nither body was returned home to the family. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Both were Purple Heart recipeants. & i think uncle Barnett had won some other medals as well. Altho i'm not sure what they were. My ant has the only know picture of Great Uncle Barnet.
i should try & get that.

310th FS & 380th BG website (http://www.members.tripod.com/tophatssquadron)

02-11-2004, 08:58 PM
My Grandfather on my mother's side is german. My mon knows that he served in the army but only toward the end when young men became a scarsity in the country, he was around 40 at that time. I never met him as he died in the sixties, but my mom says that he never spoke of the war. It is really a shame that we don't know much of the particulars of where or what he saw during his time of sevice but it is very understandable about his silence. I recently took part in a oral history project at my college where we conducted interviews with WW2 veterens, even though they volunteered for it, there were some memories that these gentleman just did not want to stir up. It was really an amazing experience hearing some of those stories but at the same time I sometimes felt that I was going into a place in their memories that I or anyone had no right to see. There were emotions shown that made it seem like these events happened yesterday. But I'll tell you, the whole experience dispelled the John Wayne hollywood myth that is associated with this war and made me see first hand that these men were just ordidnary people with the same frailties that all people have who were put into an extraordinary situation and if they don't wanna talk about it as my grandpa didn't, then I guess they certainly earned that right and my respect for it. Sorry to get off topic.

By the way, my mom think grandpa may have been in Czechoslovakia toward the end of the war. Anyone know anything about this area during that time?

So what if its slow and it can't climb for crap... http://server5.uploadit.org/files2/050104-new1.JPG

02-11-2004, 09:16 PM
Excellent thread....MANY posts in such a short time...some bring a tear to the eye, I'm not embarrassed to admit..

It's the sort of thread that shows a LOT about the nature of the folks who are members of this FB community,or at least a segment of it.

It IS more than just a game... I'll be sending a link to this thread to some close friends/relatives of mine to demonstrate the Depth of the folks hereabouts...

My story is a bit different...dull on the surface, I'll admit...but maybe there is much in the Non-Informative nature of the story....

My two uncles, one a brother of my Mother, the other the brother of my Father... both went down to U.S. Army recruiting office on Monday morning December 8th, 1941...Oddly, Both were nicknamed "Buddy" by their respective sides of the family...
They were each 18 years old. William and Bernhard. My Two Uncle Buddy's....

One was sent off to Puerto Rico, to stand guard against enemy attacks, etc.... Four years of Boredom (outside of social activity, I am sure)...

The other went off elsewhere...I have NO details...
My Uncle who did the Rear-guard in the Army later went on, after the war, with a gap in service, to serve in the US Navy for 4-5 years; then after another gap, served in the US Air Force for the remainder of a Career, until he retired.

He was my Role Model from the time I was in Kindergarten...I chose my life's direction because of him...and he still is, as I look back upon him, my role model and 'hero'...a 'hero' because he went down to that recruitment office on December 8th, whether or not he Ever saw Combat.

I am now retired myself, from a USAF career.

I cried at his funeral many years ago.

http://imagehost.auctionwatch.com/preview/wi/wileycoyote2/IwoJimatiny2.gif (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Movies/SandsOne.WMV)
<A HREF="http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Frameset/" TARGET=_blank>Click on Flag-Raising to view full length 4Mb version
...Or, click HERE to Visit Wiley's WWII GunCam World</A>

02-12-2004, 03:17 AM
My Grandfather on my dads side was a pom pom gunner (I belive someone else on this thread also had a grandfather doing this). He started out on HMS Manchester doing convoys and operations in the mediteranean, he said that the scariest moment of his life was being dive bombed by Stukas. The sound and the bombs going of was horrific but I guess he was well equipt for the job. The Manchester was sunk in 1941 by a Italian Torpedo boat. The Captain was reprimanded for not saving his ship but the crew saw him as a hero. Thats military justice for you. He then went to the pacific and served with the Royal Navy task force along side the USN all the way till the end of the war. He has some neat photo's of him with half naked hawain girls in grass skirtshttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. I can't remember every ship he served on as he talked about it rarely but he served at one point on the Ark Royal but mainly remained pom pom gunner on Destroyers and Cruisers.
He died in 1992, his wife was a plotter in the auxiliary airforce ferrying planes to and from factories to RAF bases during the war. She said it was the best time of her life.

The nice thing about it is my Father family all share the same first middle and last names (me, my grandfather, his father and so one) so I have WW1 and WW2 medals with my name inscibed on them.

My other Grandfather was a triage nurse in the RAF. He first served in Bomber Command and would be one of the medics on the scene when planes landed from coming in after night missions. he worked at first with Halifax and stirling squadron and then Lancaster Squadrons in 1943. He was the guy who basically went into the bombers and pulled the crew out and saw to the wounded. He doesn't talk much about it but has described to me amoungst other things a shot up halifax 'pancake' on the runway when trying return to base. He says these are sights he never wants me to see, nor any man. he then served in forward airstrips after DDay when the RAF and USAAF set them up for Typhoon/Tempest and Thunderbolt squardons. He was chosen because he had years of experiance treating gunshot wounds and retrieving men out of planes that had made very unfortunate landings and were badly shot up. He then travelled through France and Germany supporting the pilots, treating the wounded. At this point he said he saw the very worst accident when a ground crewman walked into a prop of a plane taxiing. He didn't say how or why but said it made him sick.

When Germany Surrendered he went to the Ruhr (sp?) valley where there was serious water contamination (because of the Dam busters raid, he said the devstation was terrible from the flood water) and spent his time purifying the water for both the engineers trying to get Germany back up and running and the locals who needed fresh clean water. He also worked in Hamburg treating people there for Burns and other injuries. He spent his spare time making models of planes out of the perspex armoured glass from planes that were to badly damaged to be rebuilt.

he doesn't talk much about it but he wants to be interviewed before he passes away because he doesn't think the younger people understand that what happened in 1939-45 was apocalyptical in scale and should never be repeated.

Wolfgaming.net. Where the Gameplay is teamplay (http://www.wolfgaming.net)

[This message was edited by WOLFMondo on Thu February 12 2004 at 02:28 AM.]

02-12-2004, 07:12 AM


he used to tell me numerous stories when i was little, im sure he left out all the gory stuff cuz i was a kid.

im so sorry he died too early for me to even understand how much experience he had.
i still talk to my grandma who also fought in ww2 and she also shared lots of stories with me.

02-12-2004, 10:03 AM
Hi All,
I can't really add any compat stories but I have a little war story. Opa(my grandfather)served in the military band. His hoem was Cologne

02-12-2004, 10:21 AM
Hi All,

Sorry, got dc. Anyways, my grandfather was a musician in the German military. His home was Cologne. He never saw combat but he suffered a lot. Just before he passed away he started telling me about the war. He told me that while on leave he returned home to find that his apartment was a bomb crater and his wife and three sons, ages 1, 3, and 7in 1941, were nowhere to be found. It took him days to find them. If that wasn't bad enough, it happened seven times. I can't imagine the anguish.
He also told me that near the end of the war he traded his only shoes for a flat of eggs. On his way home he was stopped by an SS officer. The officer demand that my grandfather handover the eggs, at gunpoint. By this time, my grandfather didn't care so he threw the eggs on the ground and stomped on them. He also told me there wasn't any food so they had to eat cats.
I've been told that my great uncle was a 190 pilot but was shot down. I don't know much more than that.
My family is small today due to the war. When ever we talk about the war we think of soldiers. Everyone suffers but no more than the civilians. I think that for every soldier killed in action, at least ten civilians suffer personally, even if not bombed in their home.

Just a thought,

02-12-2004, 11:15 AM
My Uncle was the first lieutenent in the first Tank entering in Paris for General Leclerc ( from North Africa.( i wish to have pictures of this moment )ww2
My Grand father was on the cavalery ( horses )from the french fighters in north Africa ww1.
He rescaped Verdun.

This is just 2 phrases but i couldn't write the stories..

http://www.french.themotorhead.com/themotorhead_fighters/images/pix/il2fbtmhlogosmall.jpg &lt;--Uncensored version IL2fb here (http://www.french.themotorhead.com/themotorhead_fighters/)

02-12-2004, 03:17 PM
My Dad had just graduated from airforce advanced training (AT6) in upstate NY in 1942
Went out to celebrate with 4 of his friends,also cadets.. lots of drinking-driving from bar to bar. The car rolled a few times at around 3am.. Pops was ejected - he was the only survivor. Never served - never flew again. These boys were his best friends before he joined, they all went in together. He never got over it . When Nader made seatbelts in new cars mandatory in '66?67? in Calif. me and pops went to buy a new car.. the salesman hands my dad the keys and my pops hands him the seatbelts - freshly sliced off at the nubs. I'll never forget the look on that guys face. No seatbelts for my dad.

02-12-2004, 09:47 PM
i think czech was mainly full % wise anyways of defectors to germany, russians etc. thats why they fought so hard, scared to death..


02-12-2004, 11:07 PM
My father served in China, India and Burma as my Sig indicates below.
He has some stories about his experiances but nothing spectacular.
The best story I know is from one of his friends who served in the Navy on an island in the pacific. This fellow, I'll call him Mr. R., was tired of the constant diet of Spam he was getting and so were his companions. So one night they decided they were going to raid the shack that the officers food was stored in and get themselves some food fit for officers (which they of course were not). Anyhow, Mr. R was chosen to slip into the pryed open window to toss out something fit to eat. He had to feel his way around the dark shack as to avoid detection by the guards, they couldn't use flashlights. He found a crate on a shelf and heaved it out the window. They carried it back to their barracks and pried it open. It was a case of Spam...

Burma Banshees! 10th AF 88th, 89th & 90th FG
Dad was a Crew Chief in the 88th.

02-12-2004, 11:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sabla:
My father served in China, India and Burma as my Sig indicates below.
He has some stories about his experiances but nothing spectacular.
The best story I know is from one of his friends who served in the Navy on an island in the pacific. This fellow, I'll call him Mr. R., was tired of the constant diet of Spam he was getting and so were his companions. So one night they decided they were going to raid the shack that the officers food was stored in and get themselves some food fit for officers (which they of course were not). Anyhow, Mr. R was chosen to slip into the pryed open window to toss out something fit to eat. He had to feel his way around the dark shack as to avoid detection by the guards, they couldn't use flashlights. He found a crate on a shelf and heaved it out the window. They carried it back to their barracks and pried it open. It was a case of Spam...



"Not all who wander are lost."

02-12-2004, 11:51 PM
My mom's dad worked on Project Silver-platter--the supply and site construction side of the Manhattan Project. He didn't talk about it much--it wasn't very interesting. Build this square building, build that square storage house... He did mention that having stuff like backhoes and forklifts that they'd ordered that day show up overnight was pretty impressive. He passed away in 1999.

My grandpa on my dad's side is still around. I think he's too full of piss and vinegar to die.
He flew P-38 recon (12th Airforce, 3rd Photorecon group, 12th Squadron) over Italy--Salerno, Anzio, Cassiano, the whole peninsula.

He got shot down twice. The first time some US tanks found him.

The second time he had to ditch over the coast, and was stuck for 6 days behind German lines. The only reason he got out alive was because of the Italian partisans in the town of Guardistillano.

He went back in 1970 and found out the Germans--probably the Waffen SS--went through and machine-gunned 61 men, women and children in retaliation for them helping Grandpa.

So everyday, I think to myself that my dad--and myself--cost 61 other lives.

It's sobering to me. I try not to imagine what it's like for Grandpa.

Lasst das Hollentor offen,

02-13-2004, 04:55 PM
my grandmother my uncle and my aunt were strafed by russian planes when they fled from east prussia in the winter of 1944

√ľberzeugte luftwaffle

02-15-2004, 08:39 AM
Some great stories, thank you very much. I particularly liked the story about the German lady shooting at the mayor.

The stories don't have to be directly military. For instance my Grandfather's cousin was asleep in her bedroom at the back of their house in Hampstead Garden Suburb when a bomb blew the back of the house off completely. This caused the floor she was on to collapse at the back allowing her bed to roll slowly out into the garden where she woke up. I don't know whether she woke up straight away or whether she snoozed on for a while.

02-16-2004, 08:16 AM
Are world war one stories ok?
My great grandfather managed to survive in the trenches for a while before being wounded in a gas attack. He was sent back to new zealand but after surviving the whole journey he died within walking distance of his farm. Luckily he was with family members so he was able to say goodbye. My other great-grandfather was at gallipoli. I dont know if this story is true (its not discussed often) but i heard that he was so shocked by the numbers of casualties he saw as he disembarked that he held up his hand at the front line and after a few seconds it was shattered by a bullet. He was evacuted soon after. I was suprised when i heard this story but after reading about the fiasco that was the Gallipoli campaign i can understand his actions.

My next door neighbor served in the second world war. He completed basic flight training in NZ (many pilots received flight training in NZ) but was transfered to infantry due to a surplus of pilots. He fought in italy but he doesnt talk about his combat experience except to say what a great officer Major-General Bernard Freyberg was. He did tell me one funny story about his experiences in Italy. A few hours before he and the other soldiers in his unit were going to board a ship their packs and kit were stolen. They were all pissed off as NZ soldier had to pay for any of their equipment that they lost. They were standing around fuming when a group of German POWs approached and asked them what the problem was. They told the POWs that their kit had been stolen and the POWs told them to wait were they were for a few minutes. The German POWs then picked up some bits of wood and walked towards a large group of Italian POWs and then rushed them and gave them a serious thrashing with the bits of wood. The Italians bolted and the Germans rummaged though there stuff, found the missing bags and returned them to the suprised New Zealanders. They said thanks and went and boarded the boat.


02-16-2004, 09:13 AM
Well, I don't have much to tell, but I have some.

My step mothers dad was a sergeant I think in the British R.E.M.E. during WWII, but I don't know if he was ever in combat. I asked, and he just said he was in the R.E.M.E., no details, so I didn't probe.

My mother's family again I know little of, but some. My maternal great grandfather was possibly a resistance fighter in Denmark in WWII, and he spent time in a concentration camp. My mother is a bit sketchy, but she knows he was in a camp, and that he was awarded by the government after the germans left.

His sister married one of the occupation troops, and had a child with him (my cousin). When the germans left, so did he, leaving her and her young son. She was harshly treated by those in her community and she moved to Copenhagen (as far away as she could have gotten without leaving Denmark! Except for Boernholm) and raised her son by herself. My cousin's father never returned as far as I know. He was probably killed.

I think I may even have had a relation who served in the danish SS division which fought with distinction in the Demyansk pocket, but I am not sure.

Another of that generation, my great grandfather's brother, moved to Iowa in the 1920's, and I believe his children served, but again I am not sure.

The people who know these things have departed, or are soon to depart, and I feel saddened that I do not know more of what my people did.

History is a wonderful and a terrible thing. We must never forget, and we must always ask.


whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

Za Rodinu!

02-16-2004, 01:46 PM
None of my 4 uncles on both sides of the families will speak about their WWII service in the Navy in WWII, although my Dad's oldest brother was pretty well decorated. I was once warned never to show any of them some photos of a Japanese sub making a visit to Pearl Harbor, where I was stationed in the late 1970s.

However, the family's favorite wartime story involves my paternal grandmother, a formidible woman five feet tall and five feet wide, of the sort who wore a fox stole to church and formal occasions and believed herself to be an arbiter of propriety.

She blamed the Russians for the shortage of beets (she was convinced that FDR had personally guaranteed to Stalin that his people would never run out of borscht), and complained about the quality of the rationed vegetables available in the area as a form of personal entertainment.

Her attempts at a Victory garden, with my Dad, as the youngest son still in school, as her chief farmhand, were singularly unsuccessful, so the family was dependant on the grocers in the area.

As the war wound down, more fresh vegetables became available, and my Dad often recalls the great day in 1945 when the local shopkeeper informed her that fresh produce was in stock.

"Well, it's about time!" she responded. "Do you know that I haven't had a good pea since Pearl Harbor?"

To her dying day she never admitted that she knew why the grocer and her youngest son "started acting so strangely that afternoon."



"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

02-16-2004, 02:29 PM
Being 27 years old i obviously didn't fight in WWII, but i almost got killed by a german mortar round. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

I was 12 years old visiting my grandparants in the small village near Odessa. We were playing on the just cultivated field for crops. Suddenly my little brother picks something resambling a bomb from the ground and throws it towards me. I looked at the rusted bomb and remambered all the stories of people getting hirt from exploiding leftover ammo. I called my uncle and after examining the place he put four sticks with red tape around the place and called the military. The demo experts found seven more. These were German mortar rounds. They were in the ground for more than 40 years. Tractor's blades picked one up and pulled out on the serface where my little brother found it. The detonators were long gone, but the charge inside was pretty much intact. Soldiers decided not to transport them and just detonate right there on the field. the dug a hole put all 7 of them in the hole. Then they put us on their truck and we took off. One soldier put a detonation devise on top and took off. The explosion was enormous. After they checked the place to make sure everything detonated, we got to the hole. It was my hight deep and ground was hot 20 minutes after explosion.

02-16-2004, 02:45 PM
Both my Grandfathers served in the Pacific for the U.S.

One was a Ship Fitter in the Navy. He served as a welder on damage control detail on several cruisers and destroyers.

My other Grandfather was in the US Army. He spent most of the war on Guadalcanal at Hederson Field. He was tasked with maintaining the airfield and keeping it in operating condition. He said it felt like a never ending task. The Japanese would bomb and strafe the airfield, and they would go out and repair everything. As soon as you repaired the damage, there would be another attack and you had to fix everything again.

They have both lived into thier seventies but have passed away now. I am greatful that they both left their scrapbooks from the war to me since I was the only grandchild to show instrest in the war. These have lots of pictures they took and letters they received during the war in them. Most of the pictures are of the topless native women on the islands of the south pacific, but what can you expect from a couple of 20 year old guys!!! Also, there are many photos of the aircraft at Henderson Field. There is also a picture of a young native man from New Guinea with a machetti in one hand and a Japanese soldier's decapated head in his other. This photo made me realize the allied forces were not the only dangers that the Japanese faced. The locals were obviosly not too happy with their islands being attacked either!

I keep both of these scrapbooks in a fire proof safe. Lots of irreplacable pictures and letters from my grandmothers to grandfathers in these books. I'm just lucky to have them.

02-16-2004, 03:12 PM
Both of my grandfathers and two of my great uncles saw combat.
One grandfather was only occupation in France and was never on the front lines.
The other saw combat in Fiji, Solomons, Phillipines, and some other assorted islands. I think he got some ribbons for courage under fire.
My great uncle on my dads side (he passed away 3 years ago) was a tank driver (T4) in Italy I don't know much more than that.
The second greatuncle on my moms side saw combat for the first time in North Africa. His discharge from the Army is like a grocery list. Says he saw combat in NA, Italy, Alps, Rhine, and Central Germany. He lost a few teeth and was shot. Theres no medical record of either because he was never listed as wounded, he just stayed in combat. I was only 4 when he died in 1987, he took most of his war experience with him to the grave. I only wish I could be half the man he was. I only have a few memories of him, when he used to babysit me, when he bought me my first tricycle, and when he was on his deathbed.
To this day we have a box full of medals for what valor could have earned them I can only imagine....

02-16-2004, 03:30 PM
My favorite uncle was a P-47 pilot and adjutant of the 406th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, from the time the unit was formed all across Europe until VE-Day. The 406th is credited with saving Bastogne. There is a monument in Bastogne to the 406th (the only monument in the town to a USAAF unit) and in 1994, on the 50th anniversary of the Bastogne battle, the Belgian government issued a medal to each of the members of the 406th.

The 9th AF didn't have many air-to-air kills (Eagleston, the 9th AF top ace, got all of his while his fighter group was on loan to the 8th AF). They were mud movers and flew close air support for Patton. One of my Uncle's pals, a fellow named Parks who flew "Big A$$ Bird," is credited with being the first US pilot to kill a Tiger Tank (HVARs).

My uncle and his comrads (I've been to several of their reunions) have some amazing stories and one of their wing gun shots blowing up a German train was on the cover of Life Magazine. On that same mission, one of the pilots became so fixated on the train that he flew into a water tower at the train station and was killed (it doesn't happen only in sims).

The most harrowing tale I heard from a pilot who had hot oil blown in his eyes (it doesn't just hit the windshield as in FB; one of the reasons pilots were supposed to wear their goggles) and couldn't see. He was going to try and bail out blind. Instead, his wingman "talked him down," guided him to their field where he made a near perfect landing without even being able to see his instruments. He was back flying three days later. The cool part is that his wingman was sitting there as he told me the story. Obviously, they remained lifelong friends. This stuff didn't just happen in the movies.

Finally, my favorite of my uncle's personal stories. Because Patton moved very fast, the 9th Air Force was constantly gathering up its steel runway mats and moving right behind the tanks.

One day, my uncle and his driver were out in a Jeep, scouting for a site for a new landing strip. As it happened, they were too far out, well in front of the US lines. In fact, they were lost.

Thinking they still were in friendly territory and hoping to get directions, they pulled into a German town. Turned out, my uncle (then a major) and his driver were the first GIs anyone in the town had seen. Patton hadn't been there yet.

The mayor rushed out and surrendered the town to my uncle. Literally gave him the keys to the city. My uncle tried to give the keys (and the town) back. They wouldn't take it. My uncle and his driver found themselves babysitting about 50,000 Germans for three days until Patton's tanks finally showed up.

He laughed about it later, but at the time he was quite chagrined. There was no way he could explain how he captured 50,000 enemy civilians without admitting he was hopelessly turned around and hadn't a clue where he was.

My uncle, who died about five years ago, had a very simple expression he often used to describe his fellow members of the 406th FG: "They know what they did." That was enough said.

Aloha & S!


"I want the one that kills the best with the least amount of risk to me"

-- Chuck Yeager describing "The Best Airplane."

[This message was edited by tttiger on Mon February 16 2004 at 03:04 PM.]

[This message was edited by tttiger on Fri February 20 2004 at 10:53 AM.]

02-16-2004, 07:03 PM
I am a Ukrainian, just like Cossack_UA, but I moved to Washington, DC this last September.

On my father's side my grandfather served from the first days of Great patriotic War until May 1945. He was in artillery. While he was out there fighting, Nazis stayed in his house in occupied Ukraine for several years, and his wife, my grandmother had to prepare meals for them.

On my mother's side, my grandfather was in the infantry and after the Red Army crossed the Dniper river he went back home to build railroads because that was what he had to do be fore the war.

My stepgrandmother was taken in a boxcar to Germany for forced labor. She was lucky because she stayed with a farm family and she told me that those people were nice to her, the even ate together at the same table.

02-16-2004, 07:51 PM
My Grandfather on my mothers side was a Chindit serving with the 14th army in Burma. He was a Vickers machine gunner, and had a mule to carry it with, and a pet mongoose that he raised from a pup.

One evening during a monsoon his unit was ascending a hill along a dangerous path. His ladened mule slipped off of the path, taking my Grandfather with it. He ended up at the bottom of the hill with the mule and gun on top of him. Seriously injured he was eventually Casvaced by US former child actor Jackie Coogan.

My Grandfather on my fathers side was an Irish Jew and a neutral. He volunteered for the British Army, and because of his status could not join a combat unit. He served as a bulldozer driver with the Royal Army Service Corp, and was with the troops who liberated Belsen concentration camp. He spent his time there bulldozing emaciated corpses into mass graves.


02-16-2004, 10:27 PM
My grandfather on my father's side was a intelligence officer on okinawa-but he won't tell any stories.

My grandfather on my mother's side (he's been gone for 6 years now) was a GI in occupied france (I've not been able to find him in the records yet but I've not looked very hard, will do it this summer for sure). The only story he ever told me was that of his unit taking a french town and while he was walking down a street a BF109 (he said he could identify it) straffed him (and the patrols behind him) and that the only reason he wasn't killed was because he dropped and pulled a piece of concrete over his head and torso.



"Those who long for exaltation look upwards, but I look downwards for I am the exalted."
Thus Spake Zarathustra.

02-17-2004, 01:12 AM
My step grandad (Eric Raab) was a German infantryman in WWI stationed on the Russian front. They ate so many turnips then that he never ate another one until he died of cancer in California in the late '50s. He had his nose shot off one day in the Russian trenches and got a new one re-constructed which was quite impressive for that time period. During WWII he was out of the fighting and worked as an engineer for PGE in California. I have two large paintings he created from memory after a postwar trip to his home city of Wittenberg. Both paintings have tall "ghost buildings" which are very faint and white. I believe they may have been buildings which were destroyed by Allied bombs. He was a gentle man and my grandmother cried inconsolably for a long time after he died.


"You don't stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing."

02-17-2004, 07:12 AM
Ghost Buildings in Wittemberg - perhaps it was the castle towers there? I seem to recall that they were white. Any Sachsen-Anhaltian please correct me.

02-17-2004, 08:06 AM
Being a Norwegian, few of my relatives saw actual combat. Norway was occupied in a flurry of confusion in the spring of 1940, and was liberated with the general surrender of the German army in 1945. The Norwegians over in England always hoped for a "Norwegian front" to open, but luckily it never came.

My Grandmothers (mother's side) younger brother was among the many who tried to fight during the invasion. He banded up with his class at officers school and tried to get to the front. Unfortunately, some of the rather disorganised Norwegian soldiers took the lorry for German, and everyone aboard was killed by a grenade. This are just such things that happened in war I guess, but my grandmother really never got over it.

My granfather (still mother's side) was in the Norwegian Railroad Company. The National Socialists (the Nazi party) was effectively the union there in the '30ies, so he joined in well before the war. He had no political aspirations, but was arrested and finned after the war for being a member.

My Mother, being the daughter of a "traitor" eventually married a man whose father had been arrested by the Germans for not cooperating (he was head of the only copper mining in Norway), tortured and would have been sent to a KZ-camp had not the war ended when it did. When my Father (the only son) went of and married her, my Grandfathers, bout having suffered the realities of occupation, bout agreed that bygones be bygones. My fathers mother on the other side, her self never having had the chance to be brave, hated the traitors daughter for taking her son away. She mellowed a bit with age, but I remember visithing her as a bit complicated socially.

No gun-totting heroism in other words, but being a civilian and trying to make it through occupation day by day was no walk in the park either.

Fly friendly!

Petter B√¬łckman

02-18-2004, 06:52 PM
bump because everyone should read these and know at least something of what happened. And know that even 60 years afterward, we are still affected.

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

Za Rodinu!

02-18-2004, 11:54 PM
I'm Finnish and my both grandfathers served in both the Winter War and Continuation War in 1939-40 and 1941-44. Other was sergeant in artillery and mortar troops while the other was a reservist leautenant and priest.

One of the main battles in Winter War was in Kollaa wich is located in north of Laatokka (Lake Ladoga) in the lost Karelia belonging nowadays to Russian Federation. The front in north of Laatokka was really important because if Russians got trough there, the troops in Karelian Isthmus would have to retrieve from their positions and it would have ment really troubled times for Finns. After some initial confusion and staggering of Finnish troops caused by panzer fear (most of the men were reservists that had never been in war before) the lines seized at Kollaa River which was more like small brook. The finnish troops there whose size never exceeded about two regiments stopped the Red Army there and hold the lines until the 13th of March 1940 when the war ended. The number of russian attackers they faced in Kollaa was about 4-5 divisions in total with tanks and lots of artillery. The result was total mayhem for both sides.

My father's father who was a farmer and sergeant in the artillery was located there leading a group and one cannon. Although I didn't ask too much about those things (the usual story) he mentioned that once there was a Russian regiment (about 3000 men) packed in a small area near the river. A major called hastily them, "lets shoot now!" and they shot and shot, cannons becoming hot. Grandfather said to me that "you guess how it ends". At another time they were bombarded by Russian artillery. One of their cannon got straight hit and all of the men were out of the game. After a while another cannon was hit, but out of sheer luck nobody was even wounded. The gun loader woke sitting on the edge of crater still holding a grenade to be loaded in his hands. My grandfather whose cannon it was, was luckily behind a tree and got just a "bump" on his helmet.

One of the most famous characters in Kollaa was infantry captain Antti Juutilainen who was brother of the later top ace Ilmari Juutilainen. He had been in the French Foreign Legion (I don't know the correct word) and thus got the nick name "the Horror of Morocco" for that. My grandfather's childhood friend was his combat messenger for awhile and he told that they were once sitting in a tent when an artillery bombardment begunn. The messenger tried to persuade his chief to go to a shelter. He ansvered dryly while reading a newspaper that "Well I got this newspaper to protect me".

Before continuation war started in 1941 my grandfather was ordered into mortar troops which was a quite new thing. As the Finns conquered back the lost areas they advanced into USSR part of Karelia as well and my grand father went all the way until Syv√¬§ri which connects the lakes Laatokka and ”ě√¬§ninen. He showed once a photo of him standing in front of some big power plant at Stalin's Canal. Once as they were eating he was told by his instincts to put his helmet on and so he did. Shortly after a grenade hit a tree near them and one of his friends was killed while my grandpa got bump on his helmet for another time. Sort of lucky guy I think. While Finnish troops where retrieving he was wounded by a machine gun bullet into his thigh in summer 1944. My father was born in 1941.

My mother's father got some action also but I was too young while he was still alive to remember much about his tales. In both wars he served in Karelian Isthmus and I think in Winter War he was around Summa area where Red Army got partially through "Mannerheim's Line" which was a just narrow defence line with few bunkers. Soviet propaganda compared it to be like French Maginot line to explain the bad progress. While he was a priest he had to give last salvation to dying soldiers which haven't been a pretty sight I think. He was also around Tali-Ihantala in 1944 where Russians were eventually stopped and he saw Stukas diving to bomb Russian positions. Once he said bitterly that "Russians were as cruel as the Germans were". My mother was born in 1938 and still remembers while she and her mother together watched bombers going to bomb a nearby town in central Finland.

[This message was edited by AndyHigh on Wed February 18 2004 at 11:09 PM.]

[This message was edited by AndyHigh on Wed February 18 2004 at 11:19 PM.]

02-19-2004, 04:46 AM
AndyHigh, check private topic please.

02-19-2004, 07:38 AM
Finn here also...
My father's father (Y. Ahokas) Flew Bristol Blenheim (atleas BL-161) in Lentorykmentti 4 (Flying Regiment 4) - Lentolaivue 42 (Flying Squadron 42) - 2. Lentue (2nd Flight) and was the Flight Leader of it from 1943-07-14 -&gt;

Lentolaivue 42 (Flying Squadron 42) was later (1944-02-14 -&gt; ???) called Pommituslentolaivue 42 (Bomber Squadron 42) and he was the flight leader of the 2nd Flight until 1944-06-02.

Not sure how accurate the dates are, found all this out last saturday http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I might get back here when I figure out more http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


02-19-2004, 04:47 PM
Keep them coming. These stories about Finland are fascinating as I don't know much about the subject. Some very moving stories, thank you again.

02-19-2004, 05:42 PM
My Father was with the Pathfinder Force of the Royal Airforce. They where selected from Bomber crews who showed above average ability and where tasked to drop markers on the targets at night for the main bomber stream. They flew Lancasters and Mosquitos. They never let my Dad get his hands on a Mosquito!!

The story which I find most interesting is the one he tells of before he went into the Royal Airforce during the battle of Britain.

One Sunday Lunch time my Father was having lunch with his family in Edmonton North London when the sound of very low aircraft where heard they all rushed into the rear garden as did all their neighbours. Just in time to see at roof top height an ME 110 go past with a Hurricane in hot pursuit firing short bursts at the ME 110, pieces where flying off the German and black smoke pouring from both engines. My Dad said the German rear gunner was giving as good as he got!

The German then crash landed in a park about a mile away. The next day a Policeman walked down the street and put a leaflet through every door. The leaflet asked people not to go outside to watch dogfights as they where at risk from stray bullets and it put the pilots off! I wish he had kept that leaflet

Seriousy my Father thinks the Hurricane Pilot saw the spectators and was worried his shots might hit them and reported the fact later. Hence his very short bursts of fire.

It is also interesting that whilst everyone was cheering the Hurricne on one Lady who was a neighbour watching the Germa aircraft said " Poor lads, their some Mothers sons" Her on was a Spitfire pilot and was killed the following week.

02-19-2004, 06:02 PM
My Grandfather was a German tank commander on the eastern front. We have some pictures of his tank taking out some Russian t34's, I am still trying to liberate them from my fathers clutches. He received the Iron Cross Second Class. He did tell one story about him and his mates taking out a Russian tank column. And he was a POW of the British after the war; he was one of the lucky ones to escape the Russian onslaught.

My Step Grandfather fought as a tank buster in WW1 and garrison officer in France in WW2. He had nightmares about WW1 every Christmas Eve, his friend died during a gas attack. He later was run over by a car while walking his German Shepard, the irony it was a VW Bug.

My Grand Uncle fought and was captured in Italy. His friend died during that battle. He was later sent to Idaho to farm as a POW. While at the POW camp an American girl fell in love with him, so did he but couldn't do anything about it since he was already married and had children.

My grandmother taught German officers children in WW2; she was also courted by the US secret service after the war. She is a mystery and the only thing she ever talked about was a German soldier killing him self and the air raids.

My Grandmothers brother jumped into Crete later fought in Africa and then was sent to Russia.

My other Grandfather was infantry officer at the eastern front. Not much is known about him and I never meet him. We just have pictures of him.

Of course as any family during that time we also lost many members to combat and bombings.