157th Infantry Regiment Crest, 45th Infantry Division, Second Worldwar

William Shaw
Part Three

157th Infantry Regiment Crest, 45th Infantry Division, Second Worldwar

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Part Three of the Interview with Bill and Lillian Shaw


By Bill Crane
Edited by Eric Rieth


Well, then after we had eh took Munich, they came down this morning, they said, well, Shaw, you're the oldest one with this outfit - huh - see they were all replacements, and when I come back it made me the oldest one with the 45th. You mean, length of service, you mean? Yeah. Not age? See, the others was captured - age and service - well it wasn't the age. It was the ones with the 45th. Well there were none older than you there. So, they said eh, we're going to give you a week in Paris. Well I said, I can't go. I don't have no money. When was this? This was - after the eh - this was eh - after the end of the war? After the end, yeah. Right after the 9th. Un huh. This must have been around the 10th. Un huh. I said, well I can't go. I have no money. I haven't been paid. So the 1st sergeant, he's standing there, and he said to the captain, he said, oh, he'll go. So he come over and handed me $50 - un huh - he said when you get your pay, give it to me. Un huh. So I went in to Paris, they took me to Paris. Oh, geez. How did you get there? In a deuce and a half? They took me in a jeep. A jeep!? Yeah. Just you by yourself? Or other guys too - eh, I was the only one from our outfit - but there were others? There were other ones from other outfits. Un huh.


So I, took us to this here, was the biggest hotel in Paris. I forget the name of it. I remember the room they gave us. Holy geez! It had a window in it, oh it was bigger than this room. Just the room? Great big window, and you could look out all over! I'll bet it was beautiful! Oh, it was. Did you have to pay for the room? No - and you don't remember the name of the hotel? No. See, because Jerry was in Paris, you know, I could ask him. Oh geez, I guess if I heard it, I'd know it. And eh, I remembered the, the toilet. All this is, is a hole in the floor. It's all eh, marble. And have two foot stirrups for your feet, and that's how you went to the toilet, ha, ha. Really? Yeah, you couldn't sit on nothing, you - you just kind of stood over it. Yeah. An, oh geez, everything was so plush in there, the bed and all. You didn't, you didn't have a john? That, that's, that was it, ha, ha.


Bill, do you know what they did in France? Well - like they had - it's all over - they had like eh doors outside - that was in eh, your public places in Paris. Yeah. Doors, you could see the feet. You could tip your hat and you would be peeing in the thing. Well, no, that, the first one I saw this, this man, was standing up against a tree, going. And he's like this, and these women and couple of kids come walking, he's saying hello, and their saying hello back, and he's still going. Ha, ha, ha. Now see, they don't think anything at all of that. No, not a thing. Now the same way, eh, in the pub, well, like a bar. I asked a, a bartender and the way he talked. I told him I had to go. And he pointed. So I go over there, and there's a girl in there. And I come out. I thought he told me the wrong place. No, they both go - so I told him and he kept going that way. So this other guy says no, you can go in. The women go right along side of you! They don't think anything of it. Ha. Ha. And there I am going, and there she is crapping! Ha, ha.


So what did you do in eh, in France, in eh Paris? Well, I went to eh Bastogne, saw a lot of that stuff in Bastogne - un huh. Did you go to the Eiffel Tower? Yeah, I was up in the Tower, and I had got eh - did it cost you anything? No. Un un. I guess there wasn't any business going on. Eh, because see like a GI then could eh, get away with eh out, paying. You, you were in uniform. Yeah. Then eh, but there's, we couldn't go all the way up the top though. You were stopped at a certain level. That was for everybody. Why? I think they were afraid of any eh - sabotage? Yeah. Yeah. Because they had radio transmission up there. Yeah, I think they may have, it may have been weakened in the, the bombing that they did have. Un huh. And I could have went to the Follies Bergeraire, Bergeraire - Bergaire - eh I had tickets and all, and I didn't want, I didn't make that. Oh no? Oh no? Un huh. Missed it all!


And oh geez, eh, them girls there, they, every oh I'd say, every half block, they'd be after you. Is that right? Oh. Well, that was, um, geez. I was, I was out drinking this here night, so coming back - personal impressions of war! - I'm telling you, we were stopped by so many! So, oh I was only about two blocks from the hotel. So this here babe, oh she was only about 19, oh she's over and she's coaxing me. So I'm playing with her. You didn't have to coax too much! So she started I think with, what was it, $20? And I had her down to about $5, and oh geez, ha, ha, ha, ha, so then I walked away from her. Yeah. Yeah, you believe that and he'll tell you another one! I believe it! Yeah, oh. Ha, ha. Five buck's sounds good. It wasn't even worth a handshake probably. You better believe it! And eh, your leave was over there, and you had to go back to the - yeah - unit? Yeah, I just stayed there for the week. And then - one whole week? Boy, that must have been a, a relief, huh? Oh I had eh - boy, bath every day, or a shower or whatever. Oh geez, yeah. Yeah. They probably didn't have showers. I had a good time there. Was the city pretty normal then?


So then when I went back, I had eh, $2.53 - left over? From his $50. Oh gosh! From the, you know, in the French money. Un huh. So, they said to me, come on, want to get into a card game? I said, no, all I got is $2.53 in French money. So this one guy says, ah he says here, I'll cash it for you. So he wanted to, so he give me in German money. What was it? How much was it? $2.53. Oh. German money. Oh. So I got in the card game, and I think I won oh, about $10 or $11. Un huh. The next morning I was going around, I got in a crap game, and I broke the crap game. Oh yeah? And I won eh - how much - what the heck was that? $60, $70. Hum. And then I start playing poker. We would play oh, pretty near everyday. Well, I run that up to, what the heck, pretty near $1500! Yeah, I remember you telling me that. $1500? And what did you do with that? Well, I sent her $500 home I think. Is that all? Yeah, that's all I could send home. Ha. Why? Was there a limit? Yeah, you couldn't send money home - no - from over there. You were only allowed a certain eh - certain amount - certain amount, sure. I wonder why? And people - but he could have sent it twice! No it couldn't, ha, ha. Could have sent it to somebody else. But I had - send $500 twice - I'd lend an awful lot, lot out. And he just never got it back. That's right. Cripe, then I was gone there - never saw the guys again after that.


You know, coming back you have short arm inspection, every outfit that ya, like these here repple depples. So, this here one, I'm up there and holy geez, they pulled me aside. I said, what the hell's the matter here? Huh. And it was, we only had one more to go before we come home. Un huh. So, I had to wait. I think they had something like 140 slides that they had to go through, you know like - see, if you had behaved yourself! - what they call flexible - that wouldn't have happened! I said, what the heck could that be? You can get that from a toilet seat. Oh sure! So, I waited I think - they don't have toilet seats - two and a half hours - un huh - and holy cripe, I was on pins and needles. I was - you sure were guilty, see - pic, picturing all these fellows going home - ha, ha - and there I am, staying there. That was like me and my weasel bite. So eh, afterwards, he come out after he gets to mine, eh, he was a captain. He was a doctor. He come out and called me over. He says, that's all right. Apparently it was just a tear. And I went to the toilet, and I, and I took a sigh, and I said well I am, you're a, no what'd I say? I said well you son of a bitch, I says, you pretty near worried me! He gave him a heart attack! And you're not allowed to call him - oh no - but he, he just laughed. Hay, they know.


These different pounds, crap, I was paying $20 for a bottle - cognac - a bottle of eh - cognac - maybe champagne. Un huh. The drinks, they were getting us on the drinks. Were they? But we were getting them with cigarettes, so, $20 for a carton of cigarettes. Was this in June, May or June? After it was over? This was after it was over. Cause we gave one guy in eh, where the heck was that - in France. Took the cigarettes out of the carton and put a block of wood in that. That's bad. Huh. Wasn't that awful? I know, yeah. Ha, but he got me though. I got drunk, and he got the blanket from under my head in the truck. Oh yeah? He took the blanket right from under my head. Geez.


And how long eh, did you have to stay over there after it was over? Till eh, September. And this was in, in Germany, you had the balance of your duty in Germany? Well, we were in Germany, then we went to France. You'd be so long in these different camps. That's when they were named - un huh - after the cigarettes. Oh. All your camps was named after cigarettes. Oh yeah? Yeah. They didn't have that many brands then, did they? Yeah, you had Lucky Strike and - Piedmont, and - no, it wasn't Piedmont. It wasn't Piedmont? No. Pall Mall was out then. Eh - I know Phillip Morris was - Camel, Phillip Morris, yeah. Chesterfield. Yeah, Chesterfields - yeah.


I know there was one place there in England. That's where he was ah, a major, that had this here ah, what we called a repple depple. He's the one the Americans ah, they sent him up for his eh, behavior with American soldiers. Like if you were late reporting, but oh he used to beat them and everything else - oh yeah? He was an American too? Yeah. He was American eh, major. Huh. That was the eh, the outfit I had to report back to, when I come out of the hospital. Huh. And eh, I was only a day and a half late. So he didn't beat you. No, and eh, there was a fellow in front of me was an hour late. Oh, did they pull him out of line, and this fellow that was with me, he grabbed me by the coat. He wanted to pull me out of the line. He says, we're a day and a half late. I said that's all right. I took my card. I says eh, I'm to report back here tonight at 12 o'clock. It was five after twelve. Hum. Well he, he didn't say nothing. He just stamped it. Ha, ha. But you gave him the wrong information. Well, I didn't - yeah - he didn't even look - he didn't look at it - on there for the date - yeah. Right. He just says ok.

So September you eh, finished the duty. That's eh, that's where I met your near mother-in-la, ah, yeah, step mother. Where? Where is that? It was in England. In England? You mean when you were processed out? That's why I was a day and a half late. Oh. Who was my, who was my near step mother? Ha, ha, I don't know. Some English girl. Was that that Dorothy? I don't know her name now. Where was that? She was in Ger, she lives in Germany? England. In England? No, England. England! Are there any girls over there that look like me? I don't know. I don't know. You just found out. In England, and Anna Louise was Germany. Where, where in England was that? Where you were processing out? I don't know. Did you go out from London? I know I went to Chester. I know I went to - do I remember Chester! - I - never in London though? Un eh. Well, when did you find out you - see when I came out of the hospital, they gave me, what the heck was it, four or five days to spend in England. Un huh. And I had my pass made to London, and never hit London. Huh.


When did you find out you were to get, you were getting discharged? Well, when we had left Munich, we knew we were going to be coming back to the states. Did everybody know that? Then when I came back, I went to New Cumberland, then they gave me, they, oh I had 30 days leave then, when we came back. How did you come back? Yeah. Then I went to - how did you come back? Queen Mary again? No. I came back on a little liberty ship. Madam Waska. On a what? A little Liberty ship. Oh, geez. Madam Waska. That's the name of it? Yeah. Madam Waska.

United States Army Transport AP-29 was named
USS U.S. Grant in 1922. Previously it was named
USS Madawaska
And - and how was that trip - did that thing toss around! Cripe! Yeah. Did you get sick this time? No, I didn't get sick, but all the other fellows were sick, and I had duty. Yeah? But he dumped the whole crate of eggs! No, I was, I had the duty in the kitchen. See we all had different duties. Un huh. I had, I took the, the last shift. I'd be on like oh, midnight till maybe four or five o'clock in the morning. So we would get everything ready. Oh geez, we had this here storm, eh, he was frying bacon, this here, he was from the ship, you know. He said, here, take it up and throw it overboard. And ha, ha, the wind blew it. I throwed it, but you have to know how to throw it. Um. It all blowed back on the deck. Ha, ha. Oil? Yeah. Grease? And what did you have to do? Clean it up? I didn't do nothing. But I heard them the next morning. The guys that's on the ship, the crew. Oh, they were cursing, who put this on the deck? Ha, ha. Hum.

Then I had eh, crate of eggs. I brought them up to get them ready to soft boil. Put them in the pan, you know, put, boil them. Oh that ship - water - is really tossing. So I had the crate, and then the ship pitched, and I started going with the whole crate, my head's down, and I knew that I was going to hit the wall. Ha, ha. So I dropped the eggs - he dropped the eggs overboard - ha, ha - and put my hands up. Ha. So I throw the eggs in. Oh cripe, you ought a saw the next morning. The next day they had - they had, ha, ha, you know how the broken eggs come up the top - shells on the top? In the water, you mean? The whole crate. Yeah, you know, oh they had them great big pots you know, that they broil them in? Un huh. Ha, ha. Then I used to get the, I'd take ice cream, you know and then I'd put it down my shirt. Then on, about five o'clock in the morning, I'd go up to this guy, he would be up in the bunk. I'd take this bar of ice cream, and I'd lay it on his belly - yeah, on his belly. Huh. And then oh he would scream. You wanted ice cream. There it is! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ha.


What were, what was your rank when you were getting out? I still come out eh - a five? - first, private first class. Oh, is that right. I didn't eh - you were saying you almost got it that one time - yeah. I was supposed to be up for it. Un huh. My name was still in. They said, well if you could stay in. I said well, I ain't staying in. I mean you said like eh, when you were going back to the line or something, you almost got eh - well, that's when I was supposed to have gotten my - staff sergeant - staff sergeant. And you didn't get it, but then you said he, he gave you a lot of privileges, or something? Oh yeah, he, he said that they, see you only have so many ranks you can - yeah - give out. Yeah. See, that's what you call battle field promotion. Oh, I see. See and they were all given out. Un huh. And that's what he said. But, oh geez, I didn't do nothing! I had all the privileges. Is that right? And when was this? That was right after May. Oh right after May. That'd be after May the 9th - May the 9th.



That's when they - well didn't you think you started drilling them then. Didn't you think you may have gotten eh, eh shipped to Ja, eh, Japan, or - well, eh, that was the rumor. Well Bill, the whole crew was going to eh - the rumor was that - un huh - we were to come back to the states - un huh - stay, stay 30 days and then go - and then go Korea - Burma. Korea? No, to Burma. Burma, yeah. Burma? Well, over there - Burma, China. Un huh. So you got back, and where did you go right away? And then eh, then that's when they decided to discharge us. Un huh. Then you came back, and you went to where again, your first stop, back in the states? Eh, New Cumberland. And, what'd you do? Land in New York? We landed in Boston. In Boston? Un huh. And you got the train down there? They put us on a train and we came down. New Cumberland. And then what happened there? You, you stayed there for a month? I stayed there for eh, well, they checked us out, to make sure we didn't have any diseases, and eh, what the heck? What about your feet? I - oh, oh that's when I turned it in, out there. Un huh. Turned what in? About my feet, and - un huh, oh when you were being processed out there? Yeah. Even though the Japanese eh, part of it was still going on? Well, that was eh, well they figured it was pretty near over, and we had, they figured we did our share here. Un huh, I see. But then afterwards they formed the 45th division again - un huh - and sent them over. Sent them over, yeah. Is that right? The 45th went over.


Well, when did you come home? When was that? I came home on eh let's see, I got in here September - 1945? Yeah. Well that discharge thing said November. It was the latter part of September - November you were - and I had a 30 day leave, then they gave us an extended leave. That's when they were deciding whether we were to go over - whether to put them, yeah. I think it was a three weeks. And then, the twenty, twenty-second of November - November - I had to go back, and that's when they discharged me. That's the truth. Yeah, well, that thing's eh, post marked the 19th. Un huh. What's that? Your draft card. Your draft card. The da, draft discharge. I guess maybe it was the 19th. Nineteenth. Yeah.

And they just, you mean you thought at that, before that time when you went back there, you might be going - absolutely - somewhere else? And, yes, yes. Oh yeah, we were to go to - yeah but you, while you were in, and, and you were over in Germany, is when you heard about the atomic bomb being dropped. Right? Yeah, we had heard about it. In August. And eh - that's when we were on our way, coming back to the states. That's what we call on our way, going to these here different eh, cigarette - oh, un huh - repple depples. I see, and then you heard about atomic bomb - and the trick was eh - the second one eh, you know, they surrendered. Then, where, where did you hear about that, when, when the Japanese surrendered? Oh well, I was home then. You were already home then? Yeah. Was that in like, eh what, September maybe, that was? No, that was eh - the end of August. No, it was later than that, wasn't it? Was it really? Yeah. Yeah. Sure, it was later. It was after I was home. And that was October. When the Japanese surrendered? Yeah, I think it was. V- because I was home - VJ Day? And that's eh, that is why we had that three extra weeks, extended furlough. Right. It occurred though before you got discharged.


I was, see when I hit the states - un huh - we got a 30 day furlough. You weren't discharged right then. No. 30 Day. And then eh, we had gotten a letter - and so that, you went home? Yeah, that 's when I was home. And that's the first time you saw them since you left from that time, the scene of the living room and all? Where did you meet him? Just right - I came right to the door. He wouldn't, yeah. Is that right? You didn't tell her ahead of time? Oh, she didn't - so you didn't know he was coming? Oh. What did you do, go from the train station in a cab? I got the, from the train sta, station - which one did you come in, North Philly or 30th Street. North Philadelphia? Was it 30th Street station? It was 30th - yeah - because eh there was a couple of us got in the cab. Un huh.

And then you surprised her. And they dropped - she was home? - and I think I was. Sure. You heard a knock at the door? And where were you, Joyce Ann? I don't remember. Oh, you weren't impressed! No, she was right there. Yeah, that was eh - wasn't she right there? She was right there. I don't remember. I don't remember. It was eh, near supper time - she screamed! Yeah! It was around supper time. Screamed! Was it around supper time? She screamed! You don't remember the day? No. No, I don't know. That's when it was - I don't remember the day, but she screamed! How about Katherine? Well now Katherine was always so, like timid - like she was - huh - she screamed! She screamed, huh? Oh, my dad!

And you were home for 30 days. Yeah. And, just took it easy. And then she, her daddy won't go back no more. Daddy, oh this here 30 days. When you come back, what did you go back to? New Cumberland? New Cumberland. New Cumberland. Yeah. And, then discharged in November. Yeah. And that was it. Well, was it the 18th of eh - she said that's the 19th. So you went April, 1944 and you got out in November, '45. It's about 19 months. 19 months. Yeah, well, I figured, I figured pretty near a year and a half. Yeah. And, what did you do when you got out, following discharge? Well, after I knew I was discharged, I went back to work. I went right back to work the next week. Where was that? Apex. Apex. Were they at 5th and Luzerne then? Un huh. Huh.


Then, from - was your foot bothering you then, or did it? Well it would always bother him, in the winter. I mean, did it affect your walk? Eh, well it hurts. You don't limp that much, but eh - un huh - you just feel it. Well, wha, what is, is it, the wrong, dad? The frost bite? Well, it's between the frost bite and a rot - rot. What it is - it turns green and then they take it off - I have the circulation from my knee to my toe, is eh, what is it, 20, 20 degrees, I think. They put 32 needles - they tried to take the money off of us - in the, when I went down. I laid on the table, naked, for four hours. He did. Down where? To the Vets on Broad Street there, the VA. See, that's when they were trying take these here - the benefits off of us - South Philadelphia you mean? South Philadelphia? Yeah. Yeah. Trying to take your money? They were trying to - they were trying to take your pension - pension away - away from you. Why? Well, they were - they thought a lot of them were faking - figuring a lot of the fellows were faking, lot of them was fake, faking. Un huh. Well, I was getting something - when was this, right in 1946, right after the war? This was eh, no - after you were discharged? He didn't go down right away. I'd say nineteen forty, 1948 I'd say. Oh.


So they called me down - un huh - when I went down, I don't know jeez, I don't know what month it was. It was around September, something like that. But I know I went in. I laid on the table, and they left me lay there for about an hour. To see if there was circulation. And they couldn't get, this, even to this nurse come in. She says, holy geez, your feet are just like ice. She said, don't they ever get warm? I said, no - no, they don't. That's why they left me lay there. Then they gave me thirty-two needles, and they put needles all the way down here, up here - acupuncture - even in my head - oh yeah? - and the pain. Needles up here. The pain - did you sit through that? - the pain was bad. Well, what could you do? So then, the last needle, he says eh, I'm going to give you one that might a, affect you. You won't be able to walk when you go out. He says but it will wear off. So, he gave me the needle, right in here, oh and that's a tender spot! And I was on the table with a chair on top of the table, and that's how I sat there.

Then when he gave me the needle. He had this here eh, sort of a microscope, and then he had to wait, after he gave me the needle, he waited so long, and then he looked in that, and holy crap, he started calling doctors from the second, the third, and the fourth floors, to come see what, I don't know what he found! He never told me. Ha, ha. They don't tell you that. They, they were all looking at it! Wondering what it is - see, it will never be normal. So, instead of cutting my eh - pension - pension, they raised it - they raised it! Cripe, it will never be better. Never. So, I don't know what they found - no - what it was. Huh. But, oh geez, that one, ah, I, I couldn't put my foot down on it. Oh, that was the one that hurt! And he was so long, I thought, where is he?

So the pension they gave you, did that remain the same, all the time? Oh yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. See they can't touch it - and they didn't adjust it over the years? - they can't touch it now. I mean - I'm still - they didn't raise it because of inflation, or anything? No, well, yeah, you get your raise. See, I just got another raise. Oh, so they've been - yeah, see I started out with eh, first I was getting $15 - $15 ri, right - then, then it went up - he thought it would take the - when they raised it - $15, a month? Yeah. $15 a month. Then when eh, he raised the, the pension - I know, it's not much, we got a lawyer - I was getting something like $30 something, now I'm up to a hundred and - sixteen - a hundred and - sixteen - yeah $116 a month - yeah - I get. That's what they call 30% disability - disability, yeah. I see.


Well, what do you say? Yeah, yeah, work tomorrow. He has to work tomorrow. Do you have anything you want to add to it, Joyce Ann? Do I have anything to add? Huh huh. No. Un un. Do you want me to tell a joke, to put on there? No, no. What did you want me to ask? I don't know. Anything you wanted to ask that I didn't ask. Un un. No, I told, eh, I told somebody at work what we were going to do this weekend, and eh, I told them how proud I was of daddy. Un huh. Yeah. Proud. Of what? Just you. That's nice. And I am. Hum, is there nothing else you want to say? Any more questions? Un un. Yeah, that I'm still the, the only one that came back true blue. Ha, ha - yeah, that's right, that's right - he says that all the time. That's a good one. Yes, that's a good one. Goes over pretty good. Hum. Well, you ready? It was almost three hours? Oh my heavens! Uh, I didn't know it was that late! See all that talking. If he wasn't talking, he'd a been saying, come on, come on! Like he does to the couch. Now, I'll go home and reminisce, oh geez. Yeah, you'll have nightmares, dad. Yeah. Not nightmares, reminiscing. Oh. Why I came back. That's right. Well you, when we come down there, you'll have to show us some of the stuff you still have. Yeah, I don't have too much. I have some of the stuff.


Oh. I, didn't, didn't you get together with those men? No, they still write to him, cards - well, I - Christmas cards. You, you exchange Christmas cards? Kowalski, was it? There's, there's a couple of them that does that. Yeah? Yeah. From where? From the 45th? Yeah. Yeah. Wouldn't that be nice to see them? Oh they all live in so many - too far - different places. Right. When they - well, it would be nice to - I haven't sent any Christmas cards in the last two years. Un huh. When's the last time you, eh, saw any of them? Hum. When we got out. Is that right? Yeah. I haven't seen any - and you kept Christmas cards all these years? Well, we up till eh, about two years ago - two years ago. Why did you stop? I don't know. Because eh, maybe I'd send one and he didn't send it back, then I'd just stop. He won't, yeah, then he'd stop. Yeah. Un huh. Wouldn't that have - well, see - been nice to, ah, - like where did they live? - like maybe if they lived in places you - well, see ah - could all get together, like Virginia or whatever - some are from eh, - wouldn't it be nice - like Ohio, ah, New York, New Hampshire, ah the other one - it's not all that far, Bill - was from California. No. Wouldn't it be nice if they all came to the house and said now this is the kid you carried on your back. Un huh. Oh, well that guy. Carried her. I don't even know what happened to him. Oh. We got separated. Yeah, but they used to carry her - were most of these guys what, these are the guys you were in Germany with, and, and France? Yeah. Is that right?


Well, it's a shame you didn't keep contact with those guys you eh - yeah - you could invite them over. Invite some of them over like for a small reunion. Well they do have their reunion. Do they? Yeah. You never went to them? No, I never went to them. Some time, there was one time they had it in New York. Get out! Really? That was a good one. Yeah. Daddy - well, I - if, if there's ever another one, I'd like to go with you. But, see now that would - you didn't know them guys - I would just like to go - that would be eh, that's liable to been the ones from, the ones was over in Korea. But so what, you'd go anyway. That the 45th when they went to Korea? Yeah. Just to go would be nice. See, they reorganized. Un huh. Yeah. I see. Well, you could just go.


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