WWI Vets And History

Discussion in 'History' started by tinbucket, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. tinbucket

    tinbucket Well-Known Member

    When I was a child, when in town, in early fifties there were many Veterans of WWI.
    I remember some of them. They had little to do with small children.
    They were mostly in mid fifties to early sixties.
    Mom's Dad wasn't Drafted because he had a broken foot. Seems strange they want him at over40 years old when the War started.
    There were several around from the Spanish American War.
    Dad's Grand Pa was not drafted because he was a Farmer or some such.
    What got me to thinking about it was Dad would have been 100 this September and yet he was way too young, only an Infant in 1917.
    The War has been over for near 100 years.
    Most all or all of those who fought in it have crossed over.
    It was covered lightly, to best of memory, in School.
    In the nineties I talked with a couple of Vets of WWI already near 100 or over.Probably older. I don't remember their ages.
    Not long conversations. Perhaps I could have been able to get together with them for their memories.
    This is probably a rhetorical question: are there any WWI Vets alive, possibly Relative or Family Friend?
    Anyone have anything any memories of their Grand Fathers and Great Grand Fathers in the Great War.
    There is only one, that I have found with any input from WWI Vets and they were from the British Empire.
    So everything from here on will be second or third hand. If you have the memories the words the deeds, write them down.
    Even WWII Vets are crossing over way to fast.
    I ate at Arbys, year before last with a WWII Vet and talked quite a while.
    There is still one Vet at the VA or was three years ago, that served with the Navy in the Gulf and had much fascinating info on German Subs and ships sunk etc off Florida and the East Coast.
    He is slim and fit as a fiddle. He gets around better than most 35 year olds even if he smokes like a tar kill.
    If I chance to run into him again I'm going to get some of his memories on tape. He should be 95 now, I think.
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  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Tomorrow will be the 100th anniversary of the US entry into WW 1. Was Dad's birthday. His uncle served in France- remember the B&W photos of him in uniform as a young man.

    Long time friend of the family (possible distant cousin) was a US Marine who fought in Central America during the Banana Republic dust-ups. He delighted in talking with youngsters, and tell me stories about the OLD Corp and Nicaragua.

    Dad's brother jumped into Normandy the morning of D-Day. When you are a teen, listening to jump stories can be damned near fatal. But hw drove down to Benning when I got my wings.

  3. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

    My family had one WWI vet, a U.S. Army " doughboy " hero who won the Silver Star and Bronze Star in the Battle of the Argonne Forest . He was my grandfather .
    Story #1 : He watched as an observation balloon observer directed artillery fire on the Germans . Eventually, a German fighter plane flew over and shot down the balloon .

    Story #2 : He told the story of a hillbilly from West Virginia who couldn't learn simple drill such as " Right Face " or " Left Face " . The guy was regarded as stupid and useless . One day, the squad was pinned down by three German machine-gun nests situated on high ground . The men huddled in a covered position and wondered what to do . Eventually they realized that the hillbilly has disappeared but soon he reappeared high up behind the machine-gun nests . The man had slipped away to slowly creep around and behind the Germans . He threw hand grenades into all three machine-gun nests and knocked them all out .
    The men marveled that this simple hillbilly who couldn't master easy stuff was the only one to think of a solution and actually implement it .

    Story #3 : A captured German soldier was brought in. One of the men asked permission to bayonet the prisoner but my grandfather, a Sergeant, ordered him not to murder the German . Instead, he told the man he could join the team escorting the prisoner to the rear area . The group escorting the prisoner departed and had gotten about 150 yards away when a scream was heard. The man had bayoneted the German to death . The man was never punished as " Such things happen in time of war " .

    Story #4 : Grandpa was alone in a section of trench as night , Nearby was a desk and chair for the officer in charge . He woke to see something move along a sort of rain gutter dug at the rim of the large trench . Another quick movement followed and he realized what he was seeing were rats . Over the course of the night, he used his issue .45 Model 1911 to kill three rats which he deposited on the desk along with a casualty report explaining how the rats died in action on that night . He never told me whether the officer who found the rats on his desk got a laugh out of it .

    Story #5 : A man standing right next to him had his face shot off with an artillery shell .

    Story #6 : At war's end, he tried to smuggle a captured German Luger pistol home by building a false bottom into a footlocker . The ruse was discovered and the Luger was gone when Grandpa's luggage arrived home .

    Story #7 : About 20 years after the war, he was walking down a city street when a man across the street began yelling, " Sergeant ! Sergeant ! " . Grandpa looked around to see who the man was calling out for and found it was he ; The man had served under him, recognized him on the street but couldn't remember his name so he called him by rank .

    Story#8 : This one was related by my mother by way of explaining my grandfather's good cooking skills . He and some fellow soldiers took turns preparing dinner . One time, when it was his night to cook, he cooked some chickens but was unaware that chickens in those days had a bag of foul stuff in them that you had to remove before cooking . As a result, the chickens he cooked were inedible and the other men were none too pleased to miss dinner .
    Determined to do better, Grandpa applied for the army's " Cooks and Bakers' School " and completed it . Afterwards, the army was angry when it learned he didn't want to be a cook and took the whole course just to know the culinary arts .

    Story #9 : Grandpa never told me this one, probably out of modesty . My mother relayed it . It is the best story and it is why he got the Silver Star . He and his men were ordered by a superior to dig foxholes or trenches in a certain spot . He protested that the chosen spot was where incoming mortar shells would land and argued for a different spot on the other side of a nearby hill .
    The superior officer replied, " I give the orders " , so everyone began digging and soon men were wounded by mortar fire.
    One of his men yelled, " Sergeant, do something ! ", and my grandfather responded by calling out, " Follow me ! " . He then led his men to the safer spot he had argued for earlier . The original officer who had ordered them to
    dig in the dangerous spot didn't try to stop him and my grandfather said he'd have shot the officer if he had , noting that, " Rank didn't mean anything to me then . My gun shoots just as fast as his gun . "
    A few days later, he received notice to appear at General Pershing's headquarters . Expecting to be court-martialed for disobeying orders under fire and maybe to face execution , Grandpa reported as ordered . He was surprised to receive a personal commendation from Gen. Pershing for saving the lives of his men .
    I have seen the commendation document ( a framed legal-sized paper ) and the medals but after he died the commendation document was lost and the family can't find it .
    Grandpa thought he was fighting " the war to end all wars " and was disheartened when later history proved him wrong .
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  4. AZdave

    AZdave Well-Known Member

    My dad was in the "Great War". He never talked much about it.

    He was in the Italian army stationed in the Alps. He said it was very cold there, and food was scarce. They ended up killing and butchering some of the horses.

    He got some kind of "I was there" medal made of copper. I was a kid when I saw it.

    I would watch Combat on TV as a kid. He would allways make a comment that war was never liked they showed on TV. He past in 1982.

    He became a naturalize citizen of the US.
    tinbucket likes this.
  5. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

    My Mom's Dad served in "The Great War". He died when she was ten, in a VA hospital in AZ, from TB as a result (probably) of damage to his lungs from gas during WW-I.

    Needless to say, I never met him. Looking at a picture of him was like looking in a mirror (except or ear size). God rest his soul: he has his beloved wife, his son, and my Mother with him now: probably playing Canasta and Whist, and waiting patiently for us follow-on generations to join them, teach them the rules of the game, and to share in God's love.

    God rest in peace, Harry B. Schneider. Your wife raised two patriotic children who served their country well in the war following "The War To End All Wars".
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