It would be interesting to hear some stories of your grandparents in the war, do you guys have any to share? My great grandfather thought with the RAF in the second world war in the Battle of Singapore and here is his story, I never met him so I was never told it from his perspective but here it is how I have heard it:
My Great-grandfather fought in the second World War as a pilot with the Royal Air Force (No. 232 Squadron). He was in the Battle of Singapore in 1942 and unfortunately captured and held captive in a POW Camp by the Japanese among with around 80,000 over allied troops. Luckily though, at the end of war he and 6,000 troops were liberated by US and Australian troops and returned home. Ironically though he suffered no serious injury in WW2 but after the war he was flying a plane recreationally and the engine malfunctioned and crashed, he didn't die but had severe burns on his face and was among one of the first people in Great Britain to have facial reconstruction performed.
Excellent story! My grandfather, and three of my great uncles volunteered after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My grandmother crewed an aircraft watch tower as well. My grandfather passed away long before I was born, but we have an amazing picture of him in front of a train depot in France. I inherited much of my facial structure from him, and he smiled the same way I do, so it almost looks like me standing there. There was one particularly amusing conversation, passed down by word from my grandmother. He and another GI were standing on a hillside, looking out at the French countryside. His pal was enamoured with the view, my grandfather, not so much.
Friend: "Wow, this is beautiful. I'd like to have a painting of this to take home and show my wife,"
Grandpa S.: "I could paint it,"
Friend: "Wow Bud, really? What would you need?"
Grandpa S. : "Bucket of shit and a mop..."
I always loved that one.
I'll second that.
My wife's great grandfather fought in the war between the states.
It fell between generations in my family. My grandparents were all in school or younger, and their parents were either reserved occupations (farmers so not conscripted) or were too old for service and served in WW1.
I did have a great uncle who served in the far East.
It's strange that I have more information about the great x4 uncle who died in the Crimean war than I do about him, both sides of the family are not equally interested in family history
My father skippered a B24 liberator, among other airframes, during WWII in the Pacific. He was involved in the Marshall Island campaign and was almost shot down several times. He once took damage on his starboard side and in his Starboard wing to the extent that he lost his inboard engine. Apparently a hole big enough "to drive a car through his wing" per my mother. He limped his plane back to base and apart from some injuries, all crew survived. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three times. A fellow that he served with told me many years ago, that my father didn't show any emotion during that flight, he would just fly the plane and get us home. He would land, light his pipe, fill out his logs and move on to the next. I only learned of some of the stories from others, as he never talked about it.
I once heard someone at his work ask him for a "few war stories". He contemplated his pipe, looked at the man and said, "I saw a lot of good friends die". Enough said.
Great stories everybody!
From a not too recent family tree research I know that my grandfathers cousins were executed by the Nazi's on account of being in the resistance. Later he married a woman who's father (my great grandfather) was in the NSB (sort of Dutch Nazi Party), but it's generally considered a fact that he was in it to communicate on behalf of the Dutch citizens. One of the reasons that's considered fact is that it's known he sheltered quite a few Jews in his house during the war.
Same grandfather served in Indonesia during the police actions; something we are not in the least bit proud of (Holland that is). Quite a strange idea that at that time my grandfather was on the 'bad side'.
Father's father was Corp of Engineers, but I do not know much about what he did and where. He died just before I was born.
Mother's father was killed in Europe, he had just gotten his citizenship a few years before, and joined the air corps as a translator/interpreter (we had many family members being hunted/killed by the Germans). He died in an airplane crash on duty, and we have his purple heart.
Her adopted father also served in the Pacific - he just died a few weeks ago, but we were able to talk with him many times about his experiences. He still has the smell in his nose, he said, of showing up on the beaches of some of the islands, with dead soldiers piled up in the heat.
My Grandfather is the one with the eye-patch. He served in the Navy during WWII, I'm not sure about which boat. According to my Grandmother, he drove the U-Boats onto the Normandy Beach during D-Day, then he had to clear the bodies off the beach after.
The only story he personally told me was one during Pearl Harbor. He was firing a gun on one of the boats, when suddenly an explosion happens next to him sending shrapnel into his eye (thus the eyepatch). He flew off the gun, over the railing of the ship. His wedding ring got caught on a hook on the side of the ship. He said it nearly took his finger off, but it saved his life in the process. After the war, he became a railroad worker in Mobile, AL.
Even though he died when I was 8 years old (2005), he has still had a profound effect on my life as far as knowing what a true man is.
(Left, pre-Pearl Harbor)
That's right. I don't know a lot about Navy boats. I don't know where I got U-Boat...
My great grandfather served in WWII. I am not sure what you would call his job. A warden maybe? Basically during blackouts he was to go around and get people to turn off lights and other such stuff. I still have his helmet. Some nights if a U-boat was spotted my grandmother wouldn't see him for the night. My hometown is the furthermost easterly port in North America therefore it was a U-boat target (since it was a British colony and could supply convoys heading between England and Halifax). The only way in and out of the harbour is by a narrow channel called the narrows. The narrows had gun batteries on either side and a torpedo net in between. My great grandfather told me of them finding torpedoes caught unexploded sometimes when they raised it during the day. Basically U-boats familiar with our coast would fire potshots into the harbour (hence the need for the blackout).
OP, neither but:
My dad served in the 8th Air Force in England as a RADAR operator on a B-17 base; my Mom's brother served as a tank commander in the 3rd Army under Patton; and my Dad's brother-in-law was a Colonel in the Pacific theater under MacArthur. All 3 did not wait to be drafted; they volunteered.
Some of my fondest and proudest memories are of the war stories they were willing to share with me (which, like Shane said, was not that much). As a kid growing up in the 60's, I never feared an invasion of the USA because my dad's generation could still kick anyone elses' ass that would dare try. What a generation!
What made them special was not that they were any kind of "super-humans" but that they were regular guys who rose to the occasion to do the right thing instead of look after their own selfish interests.
We sure could use a bit of that kind of attitude these days, huh?