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WWII Family Histories

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Doc Raider, May 9, 2002.

  1. Doc Raider

    Doc Raider Member

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    Although I don't necessarily post too much, I do quite a bit of reading on this sight. One thing that I've noticed are a couple very interesting family histories. How many of you first became interested in WWII because of your families' involvement? I'd love to hear about it, especially non-american. I guess I can give it a start - I'll keep it as short as I can.

    My Gramps and his two brothers were all in. He was a surgical tech at the 204th Fld. Hsp. on Saipan and later a feild medic on Guam. I grew up with lots of great stories about the islands as he was very open. His brother Ted was on New Guinea - he died when I was young and none of us can figure out much more than the fact that he came home with malaria. Now, the really great part is my Gramp's other brother Ed. He was an infantryman in the 47th Rgt, 9th Inf Div. Landed in Safi, North Africa, and made it all the way through Dachau, although he did have to spend a little time afterwards at a hospital for his nerves. Was wounded 3 times, and was in just about every western front battle in Europe (not including Italy except Sicily). You can imagine the stories I heard (and still hear) from him!! He was even captured and MIA for a couple of weeks. Best part is I"m going to visit these guys in 5 days!!!!

    On my other side of the family I had a soldier and sailor in the Italian service, and the same in the American. Again though, can't find out much more than that. Anybody else got any?
     
  2. Doc Raider

    Doc Raider Member

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    Oh, I forgot to add that my Grams was an air raid warden for civil defense. Pretty cool to see pictures of her in a helmet and gas mask, even though it was Cleveland, OH, USA as opposed to Europe.
     
  3. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thanks for the reminder--I had totally forgotten that my 3rd Grandfather (not related by blood or marrage, but was one who took in and helped raise my dad during the late 1920s and till he joined the military) anyway--he too was an air raid warden in Kingsville Texas. He had an off-white WW1 Doughboy helmet with the Civil DEfense and Wardens logos painted on it. I havent seen that helmet for many many years.

    PS, there is a huge thread of these stories here on the forums somewhere--ill see if I can find them later and "bump" them back here so you can see them.

    PSS, I havent forgotten to give your questions to the Sarge. He works night shift and hasnt finished writing his answers yet--but should be finished sometime this week--or within a week. At any rate--ill let you know by posting them here on the forums where you originally asked. [​IMG]
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I use to listen to my grandfather's stories about his invovlement. It seemed that I was the only one interested so he shared his experiences. He passed away in 1983.

    He was a Spanish volunteer in the Waffen SS. He was attending school in Germany. The family was already part of the facist movement in Spain so he easily got caught up with the Nazi movement. He signed up after the invasion of Poland. He was wounded three times, lost three fingers and surrendered to the Americans at war's end. He emigrated to the Bolivia after he was released from prison in 1952 and then to the US. He was unable to go back to Spain due to his service in the Waffen SS.

    The reason he gave for joining was the mutual hatred of Bolshevism. The Germans assisted Spain against the communists so he knew Germany was going to fight them again so he signed up.

    I am currently researching all of the battles he was part of and trying to gain an understanding of what he went through.
     
  5. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I became interested back about 7 - 9 years ago when i was 9 or 10, due to some games i was playing as i had no idea what really happened in the North African campaign. Unfortuneately, my grandpa passed away when i was 8.

    My grandpa was a Bombadier and a Navigator from 1943 - 1945 on the RAF (maybe Canadien RAF too). He moved around lots of times, different squadrons etc. He mostly bombed Industrial and Oil targets in Europe, and helped strategicaly bomb the Rhine during the crossings.

    His future wife (my grandma) had three cousins in the Canadien Army. I am not sure what branch, but three weeks after she last saw them all together, they were all KIA.

    I have had no oppurtunity to speak to any Vet about the war, and have no knowledge of what happened to the men who served with my grandpa. When i get home, i will look at his pictures and log book to get details on where he served. Maybe someone here has information on them?
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Member

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    My grandfather served with the 103rd Inf Rgt \ 43rd Div from 40-45. He was on Guadalcanal, Luzon, N. Solomons and New Guinea. He was a Sgt with HQ Co. 1st Bat. but due to the high casualty rate saw more combat than one might expect. Although he considered those 5 years to be the best he ever had and later regretted turning down a commission to remain in the regular army he never quite got over some of the things he witnessed and would never talk about combat. Up until he died last F allhe never knowingly had anything in his home that said "made in Japan". I have been in contact with some of his buddies and attend reunions when I can.
     
  7. Doc Raider

    Doc Raider Member

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    This is great everyone - thanks for sharing! I thought that this might turn out interesting. We've already gotten a diverse group of stories!

    Just a funny little side note - my mom was, uh, created on a troop train headed for my Grandpa's port of embarkation in California. Now THAT'S a funny story to hear my Grandma tell. She said he was as emberassed around all those other people back then as he still is when she tells the story now adays!
     
  8. Miro

    Miro Member

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    My grandparents fought with Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia. One of my grandfathers and his entire male family were members of the 6th Montenegrin Assault Brigade from July '41 until the end of the war. My other grandfather was first a reservist in the Royal Yugoslav army in April '41. After the Yugoslav surrender he went home but was injured by a strafing German or Italian aircraft. He didn't recover until that winter when he joined the 9th Montenegrin Brigade. He was injured two more times in Northern Montenegro and on the Kosovo and fell ill with Typhus before his unit was disbanded at wars end. neither of them were members of any communist organizations, they, like most people fought with Tito because he was the only no-compromise resistance to German and Italian occupation. The Royalist Chetniks were reliable and tough against the Germans but often cut deals with the Italians.
     
  9. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I think its great to read stories from people who had relatives that served in the militarys of both sides and what you can also consider the middle too. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ether

    Ether Member

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    My Grandfather's first language was German (he was born in Canada but didn't learn english until he was older, same with my grandmother) so he was put into intelligence pretty quickly. He'd tell you that he spent most of the war marching in lines in England somewhere. He did train for awhile in the praires of Canada and then to Victoria for officer's training before embarking to England. Years later my sister attended UVic which is on the same site of the old military base he lived in. Eventually he landed on D-Day+30 and was part of the liberation of the lowlands with the Canadian army, and went right into Germany.

    I dont know much about his time, he doesn't speak of specific events much. I do know he was the translator for a German General after he was captured who commanded most of their troops in the lowlands. I'll have to find out his name.
     
  11. Oddball

    Oddball Member

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    When did I become interested in WWII...I can't really say. I was a history buff for as long as I can remember.
    My father was an Ensign on the USS Donner, which, to my knowledge, was the first Landing Ship Dock in the US Navy. Maybe one of the first. Anyway, the only action he ever saw was when he was commanding a 5 inch gun and almost shot down a target plane! He then transfered into submarines after the war, but was discharged as they didn't need a lot of submarines in Korea.
    Well, that's my story! Thanks for reading!
     
  12. Greenjacket

    Greenjacket Member

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    My Grandfather was an Engineer sent to North-West Europe about 2 weeks after D-Day. He was involved in the investigations following the capture of the V3 "London Gun" site. Later he was commissioned in the Royal Green Howards - an infantry regiment, and spent a few months training recruits.

    After the war, he served in Kenya, Tanganyika and British Somaliland. He was District Officer, Head of Police and Magistrate for an area of Africa larger than England and Wales, and was the only white man for 250miles. He commanded a company of indigenous askari soldiers, a fort, and also had a pet cheetah.

    He told me a number of marvellous anecdotes that are far too long-winded for me to relate here, but he is still alive and well and talks with great enthusiasm.
     
  13. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Hallo, Reiteren!

    Well, as many of you know I was interested in war because my father's father, who has lived with us many time is a veteran with a lot of stories and interestings WWII stuff collection. So, since I was born all the house was full of guns, uniforms and books... What should I have done? Beside, my grandfather is the closest old person to me. He has thaught me a lot of things. Well, he joined the Wehrmacht in 1938 when he graduated from Dresden's military academy. He saw a little action in Spanish Civil War but later he was personal secretary to Generaloberst (by then) Fedor von Bock.
    When the war started he was serving in:

    84. Infanterieregiment (8. Infanteriedivision): Sep 1939-Jan 1940
    33. Panzerregiment (9. Panzerdivision): Jan 1940 - Jun 1941
    5. Panzerregiment (5. Leichtedivision -21. Panzerdivision): Jun-Ag 1941
    280. Infanterieregiment (95. Infanteriedivision): Ag 1941 - jun 1944
    767. Infanterieregiment (376. Infanteriedivision): Ag-Sept 1944
    9. Panzergranedierdivision (26. Panzerdivision): Sep 44- mar 45
    Wachregiment (Infanteriedivision "Berlin"): mar- may 45

    As you can see Oberstleutnant Gottfried von Hammerstein und Hartmann (Dresden 1916-) kind of travelled and fight all around Europe. RK 1944.
    He lost the left eye and a bullet pierced his throath during the battle of Berlin. He has not been able to speak since then.

    Another family veteran: my grandmother was a Hauptgruppenführerin (Chief of group) in the Luftwaffenhelferinenschaft (Auxiliary Female Corps of the Luftwaffe) in 1944. She had studied engineering at Bonn and volunteered in 1943. She was such an intelligent woman. She married my grandfather, Oberstleutnant Gottfried von Hammerstein und Hartmann in 1935 at 18. Unfortunately she passed away in 1995.

    And captain William A. Jolly (Glasgow 1894-Strasbourg 1968), my mother's father served in British Army 1914-1918. Most outstanding in West Yorkshire 10th batallion (One of the most affected during the battle of Somme).

    Actually, I have posted many things on them all over the forum... Check it out.

    [ 01 July 2002, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: General der Infanterie Friedrich H ]
     
  14. Ron

    Ron Member

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    My grandfather was a veteran although he never saw combat and that really wasn't what got me interested in ww2. He was stationed in Hawaii from 42 or 43-45 training for the invasion of Japan. He was part of a military police battalion...forget the name of the unit but i have it somewhere...he passed away in march. :(
    I belive what got me interested in ww2 was my father's general interest in the war. Also back when i was in 7th grade i met a friend who was into the war...i guess that is what started me reading about it. And i've been reading and watching ever since!
     
  15. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    My grandfather was a member of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) from 1941 until his discharge in 1946.
    He was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and held until the end of the war.
    When he ddie, my grandmother was looked after by another man, who's medals i know have. He served in all theatres in the British Merchant Marine and was commended fro bravery by the premiers of Malta and Greece.
    However, it was none of this that got me interested-i simply saw SAVING PRIVATE RYAN-and my interest has grown from there...
     
  16. Oxbowcowboy

    Oxbowcowboy Member

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    Howdy Doc,

    My Grandfather on my Mothers side was an Infantryman in WWI, he was with a Unit that became the 2ND (Indianhead) Infantry Div. which was appropriate because he was Cherokee/Choctaw mix.
    I know his unit was ask to submit design patterns for the Unit Insignia and the Indianhead was used as part of the final design.

    My Father joined the US Army in 41 and was at Ft. Knox Kentucky for the inception of the 1ST Armored Div., he became a Tank Commander and fought with "Old Ironsides" from Oran to Tunisia.
    He won the Silver Star during the battles at Kasserine Pass and lost his left eye when his Tank was strafed by German Aircraft.
    He then went on to Sicily and mainland Italy where he won the Bronze Star at Anzio for inventing a "Dike Cutter" to lead the breakout at Anzio and onto the rode to Rome.
    He got his 2nd and 3rd Purple hearts between Anzio and the Po Valley.
    He then went onto the invasion of S. France, this part I'm still researching but I know he met up with my Uncle Frank in a village in France in 45 (they joined up togeather but got separated), and shared a bottle of wine.
    He lost 11 Tank Crews during his Tour Of Duty.
    He killed himself when I was 8 yrs. old, the battle scars never healed.

    My Uncle Richard was part of the Battan Death March but survived the PTO and passed away in 1994.

    My older Brother joined the US Army in 1966 and became a Tank Commander with the 2ND Armored Div. and served his TOD on the DMZ in Korea in 67 & 68, he then was assigned to Ft. Hood Texas where he trained Armored Units for service in Vietnam until his discharge in 70.

    I was drafted in 68 and sent to Ft. Polk La. for basic and then to "Tigerland" for Infantry training.
    My abililty as a Sharpshooter got me assigned to Ft. Bragg N.C. for special weapons and Sniper Training.
    I was assigned to the 4TH 9th Manchu Infantry at Chu Chi South Vietnam. I served as a Sniper on Recon Patrols for 4 months.
    I was then reassigned to the 2ND 9TH Manchu Infantry as a Sniper on Recon Patrols in the DMZ of Korea for 13 months, I ended my service in 1970.

    My little Brother (the reason for my reassignment to the 2ND 9TH) arrived In Country and was assigned to a Signal Battlion in Saigon.
    He drove an airconditioned radar van 3 days a week tracking incoming missles and spent the rest of his time with his girl in his hooch.
    The Army told us no two brothers in the same Combat Zone at the same time so one of us had to go, the Army decided I was at "Most Risk" being a Grunt and intended to send me home.
    I disagreed and wound up keeping my Combat Pay and being assigned to the Korean Dmz.

    We all made it back to the world safe and sound and now reside in Oklahoma, Montana and N. Dakota.

    I'm presently documenting my families Military History, it goes back to the "Indian Wars" where I had Native American relatives fighting against the US Calvary.

    KRs,
    Will T.
     
  17. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Hallo, Will!

    First of all, Wilkommen to the forum!

    And second, I found all your family's tales very interesting. I hope to see you around here so you can share more of those. ;)
     
  18. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I don't quite know how to describe this one. Before everyone gets excited, the gentleman in question died of a heartattack several years ago, and I never met him.

    However, my mother-in-law's second husband was named Georg Greiner, was a tank driver in the LSSAH, his first battle was Kursk, and he knew Wittmann in Normandy. He endured a difficult time in US captivity post-war.

    This is a sensitive topic with my mother-in-law, so I will try to found out some more in due course.....
     

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