(Login berman4) HyperScale Forums from IP address 184.108.40.206
Do not miss the opportunity to have a conversation with a World War II soldier or pilot before they all eventually pass away. I cherish the discussion that I had with Max Holtzem,German WWI fighter pilot, in 1972 at Rubidoux Airport, California. I also met Frank Courtney, WWI Sopwith test pilot in Escondido,CA. My late father told me stories about US Civil War vets that he had met. My maternal grandfather(born in Russia) related tales of an elderly soldier who faced Napoleon's armies in the 1812-1815 war.
Sailed on a destroyer, on North Atlantic convoy duty and was on the third minesweeper off Omaha Beach on D-Day, before the troop transports arrived. I remember a lot of his stories. I have his little diary, that he had, even though it was against orders to have one.
I'm not a plastic kit builder. I'm a styrene butcher.
Barry (Login berman4) HyperScale Forums 220.127.116.11
Max Holtzem story
July 21 2012, 11:28 PM
One incident told to me by Mr. Holtzem is when a Taube pilot tried to start his aircraft by himself. A Taube was a two seater huge bird-like plane with a forty six foot wingspan powered only by a 120hp Mercedes engine. The wood wing ribs and horizontal stablizer terminated with flexible bamboo connected to steel cables and pulleys so the control surfaces could be warped.
The pilot must have advanced the throttle too much, for when he yanked the propeller to start the engine, the aircraft got away from him. It took off pilotless like a big freeflight model airplane as Taubes were quite stable. Max Holtzem,the pilot, and a field mechanic jumped into a car to give chase. The Taube flew around till it ran out of fuel and crashed into a tree.
Many years ago when I lived in Dallas Texas we had a great hobby shop called Crown Hobies. They had a few display cases for their customers to show off their models in the store. One of the customers had brought in a 1/72 Salmson in American markings.
One day a older gentleman was seen standing at the display cabinet really studying the Salmson. An employee asked if he needed help with anything? The older gentleman said " thats my plane!" Huh? Unknown to the modeler the veteran that actually flew the one he depicted was still living and in Dallas! The manager helped get the two of them together for coffee.
My Grandfather fought in WW1 and my Father fought in Korea
July 22 2012, 12:23 AM
My Grandfather immigrated to Canada from the UK just before WWI started. He volunteered into the Royal Canadian Army in 1914 and went back across the ocean, and survived all four years. I was too young to talk to him about it, he died in 1973.
My Dad fought in Korea in the Royal Canadian Army as an army engineer. I have pics of him and the halftrack he cruised around in. There are pics of some bridges he helped erect with Canadian and American Sherman Easy Eights crossing over. I think there is also a pic of a M26 crossing over as well. He also has pics of a Korean lad his unit befriended and had him help with odd jobs in the camp. He had written on the backs of the pics.
Sadly my dad left us around the same time my grandfather died so I didn't talk to him either.
Years ago worked at Alva (around Fort Myers, Florida) at Corps Engineers Franklin lock and Dam. This little old man
would walk around lock and they called him Hungarian Steve. Never knew his last name. I'm into history so one day asked him if he served. Wow, what a story!
He enlisted in Army before 1939 because as he stated " I heard they feed you well,even meat". This was the depression era and three square meals was a great deal. So, they send him to Philippines and war starts. He tells me about being cut off from US Navy, crappy WW1 equipment and ammo that didn't work.
He didn't go into detail about death march and being in the ship holds which if you were present you would want to forget.
He then told me he was sent to Manchuria, China to work in a war plant. While there a JAPANESE civilian worker befriended him and kept him alive by hiding food for him in lath equipment storage draws in the plant. They probably would have done bad things to that Japanese guy
if they knew. An example of humanity even in war.
My Grandfather on my moms side was in the Wehrmacht Gro▀deutschland died in 1947 in Russian camp
my mother and my aunts and uncles were Hitler Youth no action seen aunts pack parachutes uncles work as sea help.
My mother has pictures of her with the Scharnhorst and E boats in the background.
Allot of history on my moms side my Oma was born in 1895 a lived thru 2 world wars
My Father was born in Canada but fought in the US army and guess what found my mom in Germany
This message has been edited by Makulit from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Jul 22, 2012 12:57 AM
My Grandfather was a Civil Worker at Pearl Harbor before WWI and during. He told me some stories about the attack, and after the war started, but did not get too deep. I know he got a Black Badge (It pissed him off being Black Badged) and had to work off base during the war. My Other Grandfather was injured in Italy with the 100th and formed up with the 442nd. My Grandmothers Brothers went into the Army with the 100th and 442nd and pass away before I really knew them. One of them was in the MIS and went island hopping, and said the worst was in Okinawa, and told the stories about talking the Japanese out of the caves and interogating POWs. He, later would not talk about it. One of my Uncles was Delivering Milk to Schofiled Barracks with his Dad during the attack. On the other side of the battle, on my Mom side I had a Great Uncle that was a pilot in the IJN and went missing during the Battle of the Philppine Sea. I think I narrowed it down, to him flying a A6M5. I got good stories for who I could, and wish I could hear more. A lot of History is being lost to time. Darren
My grandfather served in the 34 Div, 168th Inf. in Italy
July 22 2012, 11:00 AM
Aside from having been through Kasserine, Anzio, and Monte Casino, my grandfather had lots of stories and memories about the war. Among the many photos he sent back from the war was a of a smiling Nisei GI in the process of giving a haircut to one of his buddies in the field. The note on the back of the card says, "Andy Takahashi, 100th Hawaiian, A swell guy."
Merchant mariner during WWII (considered to be national service also at that time). Joined at 16. Later an artillery officer in the US Army in Korea. He's never talked easily about it, Korea in particular, but he's told us enough.
My dad was in the Pacific, in the USAAF, staff sergeant, medical corps, spent as a dental assistant, mostly at New Caledonia and Saipan. Closest he came to combat was being in the open air movie crowds occasionally being sniped at by leftover Japanese troops on Saipan. His stories were more about the mundane side of military life because that's what he saw.
"Don't take your life too seriously, son. At the end of it, you won't be alive anyway."
Steven Flowers (Login steven9) HyperScale Forums 22.214.171.124
Barry, if you were at Rubberducks in 72, .....................
July 22 2012, 2:35 AM
did you have a chance to meet Jim Applyby? (I think I spelled his name, well, close) He had the hanger at the West end of the field, and restored , and built WWI aircraft. He had a Folker tri plane he built from scratch. And it flew well.
My Great Uncle, Reg Cullum, was with 487 Squadron flying Mossies
July 22 2012, 3:29 AM
but sadly not that well these days, he did 2 tours, and gained a DFC and Bar. I hope to get him to Auckland on the 29th Sept to see a Mosquito fly again, hopefully in his markings
My Father served with the RNZAF for 2 tours during the Malaysian Emergency, we were at a dinner, and he met a local who was his flight seargent for both tours, they had not seen each other in many years, it was a great moment to see two old friends re aquainting themselves and swapping stories
...from the spring to fall of 1944 with the 96th BG, 413th BS based at Snetterton. His was a not atypical story of a boy who had never even been in an airplane until he was trained to be a B-17 commander, and never flew as a pilot after the war. He didn't talk much about his experiences until just before he passed way, but the stories when they finally came out were fascinating. I built this model of his aircraft in his memory.
This message has been edited by Yankymodeler from IP address 126.96.36.199 on Jul 22, 2012 7:50 AM This message has been edited by Yankymodeler from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Jul 22, 2012 7:42 AM
September 9 - 16, 1939, as sergeant of Polish army until his division was destroyed by Luftwaffe and Panzerwaffe attacks. He spent rest of the war in Stalag near Hannover. In 1942 he worked in rail yard, and during night RAF attack, in the shelter, he met my Grandmother, ex- prisoner of the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. When she was 17, in December 1939, in occupied Poland, she was sentenced by Gestapo court for 3 years of heavy prison for listening BBC. After release from prison my Grandmother was forced by Gestapo to work in German industry.
Both returned to Poland in 1946 and married. Grandfather died in 1981, Grandmother in 1995. But for today I remember their tales of horrors of war, especially Luftwaffe and RAF air attacks.
Ryan Dropek (Login poznanmid) HyperScale Forums 184.108.40.206
talk to a veteran
July 22 2012, 10:24 AM
My grandfather served in the 44th BG with the 8th AF in England. He passed away when I was 12 and rarely spoke about his wartime experiences. As the only grandson that went into the military, I took it upon myself to document his military service as best as I could for the family. I located some letters he sent in to the 44th veterans association and called up the last surviving member of his crew to interview him. I also inherited some of his 8th AF related possesions including his A-2 jacket, a piece of flak pulled from the aircraft, and documentation on all of his missions (mostly just date, aircraft S/N, time in the air, and if mission credit was awarded). It was enlightening to say the least. He reported to the 44th right as the 8th AF bombing campaign ramped up. His 4th combat mission was the first daylight raid on Berlin. His plane was shot up on his seventh mission and they had to crash land at RAF Friston. The very next mission to Friedrichshaven proved particularly tough as the 44th lost 8 of 24 planes. A B-17 group drifted under the 44th over the target so they aborted, returned to the same IP point and the same altitude and got shot up pretty good by flak. Pic of his first plane and the crash below:
Letter from my grandfather documenting the crash:
Our crew trained at Davis Monthan in Arizona in B-24-Ds; and at Blythe, CA in B-24-Hs. While at Blythe we made several flights to Norton AFB to get the planes modified. We left Forbes AAF Base in Topeka, KS in a B-17-G, and arrived in ETO on 30 November 1943. Our destination was to be Prestwick, Scotland. We then went to Cheddington, which was the 2nd CCRD (replacement depot) and flew some training missions in the B-24-D. They were blue and white jobs on Sub Patrol, Coastal Command. We arrived at the 44th on January 29, 1944. Four planes had been shot down in the Pas de Calais area the previous week (21 January) and the 44th needed replacements. We flew several missions with Sam Bowman being our 1st pilot. On 12 March, the day we went down near Beachy Head, we had #2 engine out. It was a mission to the Pas-de-Calais area, with only three 8th AF Groups sent up that day. They were the 44th , the 93rd, and the 392nd BGs all B-24s. When we took off, the ceiling was almost zero. We climbed through solid overcast to 18,000 feet. We finally made a formation and went to our target, bombed okay. We had to feather #2 engine, flew back to England okay, but still solid clouds at all bases. After formation flying around for several hours, we were notified we were again over France and to put the machine guns back in place. After milling around for awhile, we were back over England, and by then were told to land wherever we could, and suggested Ford Field. After following the formation around on only three engines, we were low on gas, so we left the
formation and, as the fickle finger of fate would have it, we found a small hole in the clouds. With our engines cutting out, set down as soon as land appeared. We barely cleared some high voltage power lines by lowering the flaps about 10 degrees. The crash caused the plane to burn up, but we were the able to get out with only minor injuries. We made one more mission as a complete crew, to Frederickshafen on 18 March 1944, but that is a complete story unto itself. A few substitute crewmembers flew with us on the rest of our missions but five of the original crew finished our 30 missions together on the 30th day of May, 1944. They were: Rossman, Young, Dropek, Creedon, and Gurry. Bowman was reduced to co-pilot and flew with Lt. Rose and different crews. The rest of our crew made it, too, and I have been in contact with a few of them.
The bombardier, Charles Shep Gordon, wrote:
While in the target area, we were hit by flak in the #2 engine and it was shut down and feathered. As we came back over the channel, we could not maintain altitude, so it was decided to land as soon as possible. We had either lost hydraulic pressure, or because of the short strip at Friston, we came in wheels up. We landed with a sharp impact which caused the batteries under the flight deck to tear loose and short out. Almost immediately a fire started, forcing us to scramble out the top hatch or side windows, and congregate about 100 feet from the burning ship to watch it go up in smoke and flames. However, shortly thereafter, the ammunition started firing off, so everybody started running away for safer ground. The next day I went back to look at the wreckage, found my parachute ring with my G.I. shoes tied to it! Why the shoes did not burn is a mystery to me. I also remember a crew landing there to pick us up and take us back to Shipdham.
Before My Great Aunt was too rattled by dimentia to talk too.
She was a Navy Nurse at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 and retired from the Navy as a Captain.
I did get to talk to her a little years before about it though.
I really wish I could have known her Husband too. He was a Marine Aviator in Nicaragua in the 1920s. He had joined the army but the war ended before he went over seas so he transferred to the Marines and learned to fly.He was out of the Marines way before WW-II
My uncle, father in law, and wife's uncle were ETO/MTO infantry vets. Another uncle was a
July 22 2012, 12:19 PM
LCVP coxswain who's transport was hit by a Kamikaze at Okinawa. I interviewed them years ago because their experiences would have lost to family history. They were at some of the most important battles of the war. One of my wife's uncles was at Utah beach with the engineers but died before I had a chance to talk to him.
Amazing suggestion. I have made it a point to talk to anyone with one of those vet caps. Just sit down with them and strikeup a conversation. Never had one clam up. I've talked to 8th AF nurses, gunners on a mine sweeper in the Pacific, Navy bomber pilots in the Pacific, 20mm gunner on an APA at Saipan, P51 radio repairman on Saipan and Iwo, ....ther list goes on. You really learn a lot. Most I offer a military salute before or after meeting. My cousin, since deceased was a guest of the Japanese, captured in thee P.I. shortly after the start of the war. Boy did he have stories to tell.
My maternal grandfather (whom I never knew) fought in the Boer War (1899-1902)and there is a photograph of him in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
My paternal grandfather fought in WW1 in France and then in WW2 in the Midle East. As a young boy of eight years in the early 60's, I made sure he told me 'everything' about it!
My father (who turns 90 in September 2012)served in the Pacific on a naval ship in WW2.
Barry (Login berman4) HyperScale Forums 220.127.116.11
My father and uncle
July 22 2012, 9:48 PM
My father worked in Long Island, New York constructing some Curtiss Commando parts and mainly working on CG-4 Waco assault gliders. The shop foreman was always upset because many of the woodworkers building the wings were from the Steinway Piano Company and they were taking too long in striving for perfection. I can just imagine the foreman saying, "You're building an airplane not a piano". The Waco was quite similar in construction to a WWI Fokker D.VII as it had a welded tubular steel fuselage and tail with a wood framed wing all covered with doped fabric. The steering wheel was something like a 1913 Deperdussin with a sprocket gear on the shaft. A bicycle type chain went over this sprocket and the chain terminated at each end to steel control cables.
My uncle was in the Merchant Marines as a radio operator and whatever else was necessary. His old cargo ship was attacked at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. No injuries but a chunk of an overhanging cliff came crashing through the wood superstructure and smashed the head to smithereens.
Ed Cooper, who was third pilot on a Coronado. Gone now, but he loved my job on the Anigrand kit of his plane.
Bill Mathay, who was a B-29 navigator on "the last mission", served in Korea, and finally Vietnam. I've done his B-29, A-26, KC-135, and I'm working on his "round the world" VC-118. Yeah, there's a story there too.
And there's Price Downey, who was copilot on "Frenisi" out of Guadalcanal in 42-44.
The last two live within a mile of me. I am blessed.
Not everything has changed - only the important stuff. - Charles Stross
Also don't forget the others who were there but not as service men or women.
I think of my dad who was in the air training corps and as such had better access to the local bases than the public.
My dad remembers the crash of a b24 up northland somewhere, and the panic it caused.
of a b17 the blew up on take off from whenuapai possibly due to a drunk crew
The most potentially flamer story was that they (RNZAF) ground crews used to use empty food cans to patch bullet holes and flak damage as the proper material was not availiable.
These are the main stories I remeber from him.
I also had a great aunt, missionary in China, who seems to have to have left due to the arrival of "the not very nice Japanese."
Unfortunately although I met Boer, first, second and vietnam wars I never really thought of talking to them.
Oh, I once met a German chap, he wasn't happy to talk, he was in a electrical generation plant, and "he lost a lot of friends"
Where I worked once they sent off to Germany for parts or information on our nail machines, the rresponse was "There was a war, we got bombed...."
So, all in all dont only look at the vets themselves
I did. My dad was an Army infantry officer with the 317th Regiment. Landed on the continent on 6 Aug 1944 and got home 11 December, 1945. I was almost 1 year old when he returned to the farm in West Texas. He told war stories all of my life, so when I retired 3 years ago, I joined a writing class and wrote a book chronicling his stories plus those of a number of his surviving fellow soldiers that I was able to interview. It was quite an experience. Going to the publisher this week. Sadly, he passed away on 24 April, 2012, so we will not get to do book signings together.
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