Wednesday, January 21, 2009

154 Old Pictures Part 4

My grandfather was in the 58th Field Artillery Armored Battalion during World War II. I would love to be able to tell you stories of his time in the military, but I heard very few growing up. I think like most, he made a conscious effort to put his time at war behind him. He died when I was in Fourth Grade, so I will never be able to ask him about these pictures. I do have a chronology of the 58th movements during the war that my brother found.
a summary from that chronology: "The 58th traveled in 12 countries with four armies, seven corps, 19 divisions and had 417 days of combat at close of hostilities in ETO and EMA. The 58th participated in eight campaigns, Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Siciliy with 2 Arrowheads, Normandy with Arrowhead, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. The Battalion lost 56 men killed in action, 143 wounded in action, 24 men missing in action and POW's 30 M-7's, the 105's (priests) and 6 forward observer tanks (Sherman's) were lost."
This also lists their landing at 0630 on Omaha "Red" Beach on June 6, 1944. If I remember what I have been told correctly, they were the 3rd wave on Normandy that day. My grandfather kept a one dollar bill and a two dollar bill on which he wrote down the dates and times of all landings. He also kept a small notebook in which he wrote to my grandmother most nights. I am a little scared to read his words. I am afraid that I will somehow ruin the book. I am afraid the papers will crumble in my hands. But, the next time I am home that is going to be one of my priorities. I want to hold tight to the pieces that are left.
I do remember one story. My grandfather was in charge of the radio. He was the one who had to climb trees and buildings in order to get a signal. One time, he had shimmied up a tree, and was braced there with his equipment by his leather strap, when "zing" he was under fire. Lucky for him, the shooter wasn't very good. His strap was shot, and he dropped to the ground. Lucky for him, and lucky for me!! I am sure there are all kind of parts I am missing to that story. Like what happened to the shooter??
And, like I said, he passed away when I was very young. I may have the story totally wrong. Mom, you need to write these things down for us!!!
That is one of the reasons I am keeping this blog, so that no one can ever say they did not know me. They may be bored senseless, but this is me. Hopefully my grandchildren, and great grandchildren will be able to find these words one day, and they will not only know more about me but more about the generations before me. That is one thing that has been impressed upon me so deeply by my grandfather's pictures, time passes too swiftly. Already there are names and dates lost to me, even though they are captured in a photo. As much as I love photography, I realize that more is required than an image. There needs to be facts and feelings associated with the pictures I take. I want the images I capture to be truly timeless!


Lo said...

Love the slide shows!
We will have to get the men together soon! Thanks for the blog love and I'll do the same!

avionicsman said...

Great story!! Love the pictures. They add meaning..

JSMorrison said...

My grandfather was with the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion during World War II until being wounded on Omaha Beach. I can't get your slide show to work, but would love to see the photos.


JSMorrison said...

My grandfather was with the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion during WWII until being wounded on Omaha Beach. I would love to see your pictures, but the slideshow isn't working for me.