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Surreyman  (Level: 274.5 - Posts: 2775)
Thu, 25th Sep '08 6:24 AM


I've just returned from a discussion with a Sploofer re my father's days in the RAF during WWII.
It suddenly hit me that this was 67 years ago! Yet I still remember much of WWII, and certainly in later years discussed a lot with my father.
But then my thinking rambled, and I realised that when I was a kid, "67 years ago" took us back past the Boer War and almost to Gordon of Khartoum, the Zulu Wars etc.!!
(Churchill, who was well within my time, at least, fought at Omdurman, in 'revenge' of Khartoum, for instance).
No wonder our kids regard us as dinosaurs!
I also remembered a conversation I had as a youth - I was on the site of the Battle of Waterloo, and this ancient lady assured me that, as a child, she had had an eye-witness account of the battle! When you work back the maths, it was at least possible, whether she was having me on or not!
Time is so short really.
This fascinates me. Does anyone else here recall having a chat with Shakespeare - or whatever! In the US, second-hand accounts of the ACW could be possible, presumably, for instance?

Asdibbens  (Level: 159.4 - Posts: 423)
Wed, 8th Oct '08 12:32 AM

Generationally, I am actually not far removed from the ACW - just 3 generations. My great-grandfather was a courier in the Union army when he was 16. He had immigrated from Germany just two years earlier, supposedly running away from his foster parents - not sure if anyone knows how he came up with the fare. The earliest story that he told about himself was disembarking in New York. He was hungry and bought the biggest, reddest apple he had ever seen. He took one bite and the juice and seeds of the tomato - not an apple as he was expecting - gushed down his chin and onto his clothes.

The only other story I know about him was when he was wounded at the battle of Antietam, the surgeon wanted to take off his leg, but supposedly my great-grandfather pulled his gun on the surgeon and forced him just to bandage it instead. The bullet stayed in his leg the rest of his life.

My grandfather was quite a bit older than my grandmother when they married - second marriage for him. I am the youngest of 7, and often figure that I must be near the tail end of the children of WWII veterans, born in 1964 when my mother and father were both over 40. My parents did know my great-grandfather, so they actually did hear the information first hand. Very strange - the span of 140+ years and a world away, yet not so far.

Judymar  (Level: 73.6 - Posts: 15)
Wed, 8th Oct '08 7:31 PM

My paternal grandparents raised me, he was 69 when I was born, my grandmother was 46. When I was little he would tell me about the Spanish American War he was in in 1898. A four month war with almost all inlisted men never leaving the country. He was sent to New York from Memphis, maybe for training?, where he met his first wife. He was the most interesting person I've ever met. Not only war history, but history of what he actually lived. He was a bootlegger, gambler, casino owner in the oil boom town of Eldorado, Ark. Many such 'careers' throughout his life, the last being a bar owner in Chicago, in 1938. It was in Eldorado he was a partner of H.L. Hunt, who had won some more property in Texas in my grandfathers casino. They had a shady deal going with another co-hort, got caught, and drew straws who was going to serve the 6 month sentence. My grandfather lost, and H.L. left town for Texas to see exactly what he won and already owned, which was vast, and sitting on that black gold. The rest is history. I wish I could remember all the stories he told me, and until the age of twelve, I thought he and Sir Winston had won WWII single handed. I do digress.

Then there was my Uncle who was a survivor of Pearl Harbor. He was interviewed for a newspaper article on the 50th anniversary of the Attack. It changed his life! In the article, he tells the story of exactly what happened to him, a 21 year old sailor at the time. After training he was assigned to the USS Arizonia...two men were needed for as he said "the clunker", USS Detroit, he was one. At the time of the Attack, he was on duty, saw the air craft zooming in. It was Sunday morning, and he was wondering why aircraft was practicing. The next he saw was one coming right at him, again wondering why the pilot had a red spotted scarf on his head. Then he says "all hell broke loose". He saw the USS Utah go down in seconds, bodies floating in the water, men running everywhere. His ship, the USS Detroit was one of the few still floating after it was over. Then it was 'clean-up' duty, pulling bodies of fellow servicemen out of the water. As a child, I remember spending the night at his and his wife's for overnight. He could never go to sleep with the lights completely off after Pearl Harbor. I summited a condenced version of the interview, which covered two pages in the newspaper, to a history magazing topic called My Hero, sorry to say it was never chosen.

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