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We would have to tell them at the nurses station every 30 minutes, where we were at all times The first night we were there we went down for supper and it took over an hour to get though the line. When we cane back to the nurse station the head nurse really gave us hell for not reporting to her every 30 minutes. We told her that it took that long to get through the line. She said well you could come up on the 30 minutes. I said we would lose our place in line. Oh my gosh I never thought of that. I don't know who she talked to but she told us to be sure to tell the nurse when you are going to eat your meals.
was nothing to do up on the ward so we would talk with the nurses. The Head Nurse
was a Frenchman but she was all American as she said she wouldn't live in France
if that was the only place to live. The second afternoon we were coming back from
dinner when we saw two girls cleaning windows so we stop to talk with them. All
four of us men had casts on our arms and the girls really thought that was something.
The windows were three feet from the floor and the ceilings were 10 feet high.
There was a ledge one each window 1 1/2 feet wide and both girls were standing
on the ledge. I was standing close to the ledge when the girl turned around and
put one hand on my arm with the cast and the other on my right shoulder to get
down off the ledge then she hugged and kissed me. I put my hand on her butt and
she rubbed her crotch on my leg.
was too much traffic in the hallway so we went up to the ward. We were talking
with the nurses when Head Nurse said why don't you go to your room and quit pestering
us. We don't have anything else to do. I saw the two girls come in the hall and
into the first room so I took off casual, like I was going to my room but went
to the first room where the girls were. Then here came another man.
was running my hand up the girl's leg and she spread her legs for better access.
The girls finished the windows so I helped my girl down and went into the next
room and helped her up on the window shelf. Here came the other two men and they
were standing by the door, soon they said here comes the nurse. Both of us stepped
up to the front wall so when the nurse saw us in the same room with the girls
she really gave us thunder saying what are you messing around with these girls
for, while the girls in the States are waiting for you boys. I said but these
girls got it here, she made us go to her desk.
saw the girls go into the room right next to the nurses station, so I went in
and the girl I was with was having trouble getting up on the window ledge so I
stepped up and helped her. I don't know how I done but I tripped her trigger as
when she stood up she place her hand between her legs and went to trembling the
other girl saw what she was doing, then she put her hand between her legs but
she went to moaning and getting louder all the time. Boy I beat it out of the
room and up the hall to the third room and heard the nurse saying where is Vere?
She jumps up ran into the first room then she said something in French and I heard
the girls saying no no here.
She came looking for me and I was lying on my bunk. She said what are doing lying there. I said I'm giving my hips and shoulder a rest from carrying this heavy cast, and she believed me. She ask if I heard the girls. I said no, Why? She said never mind. I got up and followed her and went into the room with the girls and by that time it was time for them to quit for the evening. Both girls kissed me before leaving. The nurse said she would have let us go to the Rec. Room if it wasn't so far to it.
Early the third morning we were woke up and went down for breakfast and back up to the ward. They put us in ambulances to the train for Cherbourg France on the North Coast. The train pulled through a big Marshaling yard. I saw 12 Engines that were hooked to cars ready to head north, as we moved north we met freight trains going to Paris Loaded on open cars, winter vegetables and several kinds of green leaf vegetables, pumpkins and squash, I think four kinds, etc, and several kinds of cabbage.
The train pulled
into the Dock of Cherbourg France and we were carried on a large Ferry as the
litters were put on the lower deck. As soon as the ship left the dock the Doctor
said we could get up from the litter, so several of us got up so we could see
the channel. Heck I would have rather walked as be carried on the litter as it
was so hard for me to get up and down from the litter.
the ship pulled into Dover England we had to get back on the litters. There was
a string of ambulances waiting for the ship. I was lucky
I was put up on the level of the ambulance so I could look out the front window.
So when the driver got out on the street I could see vehicles coming on the right
side and said you are on the wrong side of the street. He said man you are in
England now. They took us close to Bristol on the west side of England about 17
KM to the east, about 11 miles. I can not remember the name of the number of the
General Hospital or the name of the Village it was by.
Hospital has two streets with the Hospital ward, each street has two Hospital
blocks. Each block has ten plywood buildings for wards. Behind each ward was a
Hospital tent so there were 20 wards and tents. In the middle was the nurses offices
and supply and behind that was the latrine. (wash and rest rooms) In the wooden
wards were the most serious wounded, and in the tents were men that were getting
ready to go back up to the front lines again. I was put in the tent next to the
nurses station. There were twenty beds in each tent. There were eight of us that
had cast on our arms, most of the time there would be twenty men in the ward.
only way you could tell, you were on the walk was the cement was one inch above
the ground. As I was walking, I walked into the corner of the plywood ward and
at the same time there was a loud boom off in the distant. It may have been a
V 2 Rocket the Germans were sending over the Channel but I went to cussing and
told the men in the tent I almost knocked the ward over.
next morning a man in the tent had a Buddy in the ward. The man said did you feel
that bomb go off last night at 2200 hours it shock the building, he went to laughing
saying a man with a cast on his arm hit the corner of the building. He had to
get me to show the men in the ward, then I had to tell them how I got the cast.
Told them I was wounded six times. Man where were you fighting at. I said Sicily,
Italy, and France. Two men said I didn't know there was a war anywhere but here
in France. I said the US was even in North Africa.
third night there was a poker game in the tent and seven men were playing seven
card stud. One Kid was eighteen years old and asked how they played so I was telling
him. After a while a man dropped out and the Kid asked me if I would play for
him he would give me money to play. I told him I could loose it all, but he said
that's all right. I was holding my own 'till the last hand. The first down card
was an ace of hearts, I think the next two cards face up were small numbers, one
was a heart. Then a Queen of hearts, then ten of hearts, so I had four hearts,
the next down was the King of hearts, and the last was the Jack of hearts. I was
covering all the raises. All the men stayed in. I bet all the money I had. The
Kid went to get a pound note, four US dollars and the bet to me was up two dollars
so I raised two dollars. Then the men stayed, showing their hands. First man has
two pairs, two aces and two eights. Two men had full houses I can't remember what
kind though. Two had low straights. They were saying how will we divide up the
pot, when I said I don't believe you have to, as I have a Royal Flush. A man with
a straight said I was cheating. The man that had the two pairs was dealing and
said how did he cheat he never shuffled any time and we done the dealing for him.
The Kid said You Won, You Won. I said I could have lost just as easy. He said
here's your money. I said I was playing with your money, then he said take half
of it. So I divided it up and he took most all the small change. When I exchange
the English money for the US money I got $20.00. There must have been about $50.00
in the pot.
men that didn't have cast on could get an over night pass twice a week. Christmas
Eve after we went to bed, about 2300 hours two nurses came in with a box and were
putting a bag at each bed. When the nurse came beside my bed I asked if she was
Santa and she jumped like she was shot, then said you are suppose to be asleep.
Everybody that was
in the tents had to go to the Mess Hall which was about 175 to 200 yards from
C block. There was always Chow Hounds as I had saw men going to the Mess Hall
before noon and supper meals. The Breakfast meal was not so bad, as not as many
men ate the Breakfast meal. One day at noon there was the Englishman at the Kitchen
with a big black Horse and a white cart picking up the garbage. He had a pretty
big dog, it would really liked to be petted and would go up to anybody that was
close to the horse. The horse was standing with his hind hoof rocked over relaxed.
We were about six feet to the left of the horse and the dog was trying to get
the man in front of me to pet him. He would put his nose under the man's hand,
but he was not paying any attention to the dog as he was talking he would raise
and lower his hands. I could tell he was full of bull shit. So when the dog tried
to lift his hand with his nose, I reach down pinched his leg and let out a Yap,
that man jumped and fell against three other men. The dog jumped back against
the horse knocking his knee forward and the horse was trying to get its balance
and was moving the cart. The Englishman hollered Whoa Prince Whoa Prince. "Whoa"
is the command given to a horse to stop. If you want someone to stop, you say
Whoa. You get that from being on a farm. He came up to see what was the matter.
I said this man scared your dog and he hit Prince's front knee and Prince had
to catch his balance. The man said your dog bit me. The men in my tent group said
Vere grabbed your leg and you jumped. That tickled the Englishman
afternoon when the boys came in from being on passes, this one man Don was 5'8"or
9" and weighted about 160 to 165 pounds. Most of us were lying on our beds,
when Don said, now is when I can get the best of a man bigger than I am. Then
he jumped on top of me with both hands on my arm with the cast saying Now what
in the Hell are you going to do about this. I put my right leg over his left leg
so he couldn't jump off me. I rolled to the left. The Hospital beds were three
feet high. He hung on to my arm as he was over the edge of the bed. With him holding
on to my cast I rolled over the side of the bed. Don hit the floor, and I landed
in top of him. My arm landed on his chest and knocked the wind out of him. As
soon as he could get his breath, he went to hollering get this Big Bastard off
me. While I laid on him I said just because somebody has a big body cast on, he's
no weakling. When I let him up and he got up saying boy I thought I could hold
you down but I sure as Hell was fooled.
A short time after we were at the Hospital at noon when all the men were on pass there were only ten of us going to dinner, eight of us in body casts, and as always there were all the chow hounds. The line seemed extra long. So before we got up to the line, I told the men lets walk though the line, so the men on my right had his right arm in a cast, then three men one right behind the other with their arm up against each ones backs. As we were coming up to the line I said We are coming though. They hollered, Oh No Your Not and about 30 men jumped behind the three men to stop us. The men were standing close to the man in back of him. The three men put their arms out to stop us. We kept walking, and the three men were forced back but the men were behind them and they started falling backwards. It was a chain reaction. It looked like a wave was pushing them over. Why we didn't stumble, I don't know as I guess we were stepping up high enough as all ten of us walked right over the top of the men. All but the last two men fell. After we walked over the men, I turned around saying Let this be a lesson to you, you can not stop a Sherman tank. One man got a bloody nose and another must have gotten an elbow in his crouch. After that every time we came to the Mess Hall the men would say here comes those crazy men from "C" Block, let us the through.
One day we stopped at the open line and nobody said get to the end of the line. We must have stayed there for fifteen minutes so when the line started moving we went to the end of the line. You got the attitude the first time you got on the Front Lines to shoot or be shot. Kill or be Killed. Another thing up on the front lines especially at night to be trigger happy. Right after we land on Salerno, Italy, one night about 2400 hours the moon was shining bright when out in front of me about 30 feet the grass was about four inches tall and there were six different movements in the grass. The lines in the grass didn't move in a straight line as I was getting ready to start firing the machine gun so I kept waiting and soon here came six small animals eating in the grass. Now if it had been dark so I could not see I would have opened up on the Varmints. When we were in the mountains in France there were trees all around us, and the second gunner just took over the watch when all of a sudden he started firing the gun fast as he could. I jumped up and went to the gun. I had to put my hand on him before he stopped firing. He said see those Germans coming. I told him those were trees. The next morning you could see the tree, he peeled the bark off of them.
Colonel in charge of the Hospital would come around to each tent about once a
week to see how everything was and talk with us. He also wanted to know what it
was like on the front lines so I would tell him. Then the other men would tell
their experiences. The Colonel told us we were the only men that would say anything
about the war. Sometimes he would stay and talk for an hour at a time. The nurse
that was a Major in charge of all the nurses came looking for the Colonel right
after he came in one day. We jumped to attention when the Major came into the
tent. The Colonel told her these boys really have interesting stories to tell.
She was full of all kinds of questions and we told her everything she wanted to
know. When they left the Major said She really enjoyed talking with us.
The first part of January 1945 the Colonel came in the tent on a Monday or Tuesday afternoon to see how we were doing. The next afternoon the eight of us man were setting on three beds have a BS session as the other men were on passes. Here came in the Colonel, two Majors, two Captains, and five nurses from "C" block. We jumped to attention so when all got into the tent the Colonel said as you were, so we all sat down again. The Colonel started talking saying that he has some real nice news. That the Hospital never got to present an award, especially an award as high as this. He talked for five minutes saying what a great honor it was to give a man this Great Medal then reached in his jacket for a slip of paper. Then he started reading; Sergeant Vere L Williams Serial # 20839325 Company K 157th Infantry Regiment 45th Division 7th Army, on the Afternoon of 31 October 1944 on hill so and so near Jeamenil France. There was a German Counterattack (there was two paragraphs and I don't remember what they were but went in) above and beyond the Line of Duty, I was awarded the Silver Star.
Boy you could have
knocked me over with a feather. The Colonel handed me the paper then shook my
hand, then stepped back ***and Saluted me, I returned the Salute then the one
Major and the two Captains congratulated me. The nurses, even one Major hugged
and kissed me. Than one of the nurses took me to all ten of the wards on "C"
block telling all the Patients that I got the Silver Star. She said it really
made her proud to take me around to all the wards to tell the men you got the
Silver Star. The Hospital put out a news letter every day about what each theater
was doing then what the Hospital was doing, etc. The next day my name is the first
article about how the Colonel presented me with the Silver Star. All the Nurses
in the hospital came to "C" block to see Sergeant Vere Williams, the
man that got the Silver Star and had to give me hugs and kisses. I even had to
go to the Administration Building and the Colonel showed me around. With all the
nurses hugging and kissing me I wished I didn't have that body cast on my chest.
Boy I really was somebody around the Hospital after that.
never knew how many men went though the Company being wounded or killed but when
got to being a machine gun Sergeant for the 14 months I was on the line, I started
keeping account of the men that did not come back to my section. I'm not counting
the men that got wounded and came back, there were supposed to be fourteen men
in my section. From the first part of September 1943 to October 31 1944. I was
in the Hospital four months, in that time 57 men were wounded, that didn't come
back and 7 men killed. So that was 64 men not counting myself. As for me I went
to the Hospital the 28th of October 1943 back to the front lines the 4th of January
1944, Anzio for 12 days, 15th of February. Then August 15th wounded at the Southern
France and got on the front line in France October 4th, then wounded again 31st
of October 1944.
On Friday the 21st of January when the Captains came around they told me I had the cast on long enough, that they would cut it off me so after dinner they cane to get me and took me to the operating room to cut off the cast. They had a long handle cast cutter and it was all one man could so to cut though the cast. It took them two hours to get the cast cut off as they had to cut the cast on two sides as the cast would not spring any like the first cast I had on. I had to lift my arm up out of the cast and I couldn't bend my elbow. I could reach around my arm anyplace, like I could reach around my waist. The Doctor put my arm in a sling because I couldn't straighten my elbow or raise my arm. So when the boys came back from passes to Bristol they said you can go on pass with us Monday.
Monday morning when the Captains came around I ask if I could go on pass. They
said I don't see why not as long as you don't hurt your arm. I said I would watch
that I won't get hurt. I went to the Supply Building. They gave me a uniform so
I went on pass that afternoon. The first thing we done when we got there, was
get a bed at a big warehouse building that didn't cost anything. Then I think
there were eight of us from the Hospital and they went to the first Pub (a beer
tavern). They said here is a good place to meet girls.
The Pub was full of GIs and there was ten GIs for every girl. I counted 20 girls in the Pub. The Boys chug down their Ale and it's too crowded in here, let's go to the next pub. The other Pub was not as crowded but there weren't as many girl either. Six of the men just wanted to drink ale. The other Kid and I wanted to see girls so he said I know other Pubs so we took off. He knew where six Pubs were and we went to all of them, at the last one we were at a table.
came two girls and they walked up to the bar and got drinks then came to sit with
us. I had to listen twice to hear what the girls were saying. The girls got chummy
with us but said they had boy friends, GIs that were stationed in England. Soon
here came 3 GIs and the girls said here's our boy friends. One solder ask where
his girl friend was. They said she would be home when you men came, so they left
for her place. I told Jeff I think that was his name. Lets walk around some so
we came to a long Bridge, that crossed a river and two railroad tracks and people
were walking north over the bridge so Jeff and I walked across and was standing
beside the street when two girls 23 and 24 years old stopped to talk with us.
This was 2100 hours. There
was a church a half a block from us so we sat down on the church steps. At 2130
hours the one girl said we need to get home before curfew. The girl I was talking
to didn't get up 'till 2155 hours and the girls had to take off running and soon
here the siren sounded. I hoped they got home before the Bobbies got to them (Police).
The next morning I told
Jeff let's look around and we found more Pubs, then found where the Fishing Fleet
came in. Then at 1245 hours we saw girls walking fast to the south so we follow
them for three blocks and turned to the right, here was a factory the girls were
going in. The girls surrounded us and told us to be there at 1700 hours. I said
we got to be at the Hospital at 1700 hours but we could be here Thursday evening
and they would show us a good time.
After dinner the orders came down anybody wanting passes for the evening, sign up, so we put our names on the list.. An hour later all passes canceled the Doctors want to check all the patients. The Doctors saw us the next morning. That afternoon same orders, but I can't remember why the passes were canceled for the 28th, to exchange English money for American Money. The morning of the 29th we changed the money, then at 1500 hours we got ready to get on the ambulances again to go into Bristol to where the trains were. There were three passenger trains as there was more then one Hospital shipping out patients. There were two trains taking on the litter patient and the other train was ambulatory patients and more on the train.
didn't get to make the Big Push from Southern France to Rambervillers North of
Switzerland where the 7th Army met up with Patton's 3rd Army, General Patches
was in charge of the 7th Army. I don't know when the Major and two Officers got
killed and three Officers got wounded in the Third Battalion. Felix Sparks was
put in charge of the Third Battalion, he got to be a Lieutenant Colonel. The Division
went into Germany, the Third Battalion captured the Dachau Concentration Camp.
What a horrible sight that Camp was, with bodies stacked up like cords of wood
and the prisoners dying. Felix said it is something he will never forget. The
Regiment went on to Munich, when the city fell, the 157th Regimental Headquarters
took over the Famous Beer Hall of Hitlers, until the 3rd Army came and General
Patton took over the Building. The 157th had to move someplace else.
trains finally got loaded and pulled out after dark between 1800 and 1900 hours.
Once again we were stopped as much as we were moving. Most of the way we were
along the west coast line. Next morning seem like we had "K" Ration
for breakfast. One of the nurses said we should be getting close to Glasgow Scotland.
I was setting on the left side where I could see the water and when the train
made a bend to the right I could see Glasgow. In the distance, I could see a ship
out in the Bay. The nearer we got to the ship the bigger it got. Just before we
got to the out skirts of Glasgow the train stopped.
The ship was out in the Bay about 300 yards and there was large Landing Craft up to the Beach. We got off the train, of course had to get on the litters. There were GIs carrying the litters when here came six men. Two of the men, Don Reynolds, and Conrad Bath were in the National Guard with me in the States, in "L Company". . I spoke to them, so they carried me to the Landing Craft. They said they were going home either for a month or were being rotated home. Then I had to get up from the Litter when I got on the Landing Craft. (In September of 1993 eight years ago when the 157th Infantry had their reunion at Devens Massachusetts, close to Boston, Don Reynolds was living close by as he had married a girl from there when we were at Fort Devens Massachusetts. His daughter brought him to the reunion. Eight of us were talking and Don said do you remember when Conrad and I carried you to the landing Craft, it seemed like you weighed a ton. I said I only weighed 169 pounds. He had a stoke one and a half years before, then he passed away some time the next year.) When the landing Craft was full Don and Conrad went on to the ship with us. The closer we got to the Ship the bigger it was. We asked what ship it was and the men in charge of the Landing Craft said it was the Queen Elizabeth, second largest ship.
the USA declared war on Germany, the US took both the Queen Mary and Elizabeth
to transport troops to England. Put racks of bunks in the ships. The Landing Craft
headed into a double doors about 5 to 6 feet above the water line and lowered
the ramp lever to the floor so the Litter Bearers could raise us up to the door
of the ship. Four men would take us from the men on the Landing Craft to an open
spot on the deck of the ship, but they put me on an elevator and up to the top
floor or deck.
It was the Promenade Deck. It was three or four decks above the main deck. Just the sun deck was above, a large deck that the Officers and Nurse could get on. The Promenade Deck must have be the Captain Dinner and Dance. Any way there was a large open space and there were row after row of racks of wooden bunks.
typical enlisted bunks
Bunk for patients (Pvt. Fred L. Hawthorne)
The bunks were one and a half times
as wide as the steel canvas bunks the enlisted men had, and had a mattress.. The
bottom bunk was one and a half foot off the deck. The second bunk was folded up
so just two men would be on a rack (Hospital Patient) the racks for the enlisted
men would be four or five high and the bottom bunk was about four inches off the
deck. Every ship I was on only had four bunks high. To be like a big chested man
that weigh 220 pounds and get the top bunk, he had to squeeze to get in his bunk.
One night he was asleep and something scared him and he raised up hitting his
head on the ceiling and liked to knock himself out.
never got to see the bowels of the ship but my Brother in law, Leon rode the Queen
both ways. When he went over he was three or four deck below the main deck. I
think there were six decks below the main deck to the water line. There were three
areas of the ship, Red, White, and Blue. I think he said he was in the white area
in a big open area with rows of bunks. He said the ship had two meals a day and
one area at a time would get to eat at a time. They had to go to the mess hall
one way and back another way as there were so many men on the ship. Leon said
the first day he ate breakfast and by the time he found his bunk it was about
time to go eat supper.
We were lucky
I guess as the meals were brought to us. Early afternoon the ship raised anchor
and set sail south southwest then before Sundown I guess 4 or 5 p.m. there was
a US Air Craft Carrier setting in the water, so when the Queen came along side
of the Carrier the two ships had a rendezvous for about 15 to 30 minutes then
both ships headed west together about 150 to 200 yards apart on a zig zag course
at 52 knots per hour. A knot is 6111 feet and is 60 miles an hour.
Doctor and Nurses would let us go out on Deck most of the time when they were
not giving out medicine or shots. At times the Nurses would be up on the sun deck
along with the Officers. There was several Nurses standing at the rail. The rail
on the sun deck was 6 foot inside the sides of the ship and were about 6 foot
above us. There was one nurse that would have her skirt so high on her legs and
when asked she would say she was trying to get her legs tanned. What, in the first
part of February when the sun is so far to the South! She would put the her foot
on the lower rail, well it was a wire cable about half a inch in size. She would
put her left foot on the cable then spread her legs then put her right foot up
and spread her legs, the whole time she would be standing up there, she didn't
have any panties on. No body would say anything but boy they couldn't stop us
from looking. She was on the 1600 to 2400 hour shift.
man in the bunk above me had trench feet, so when this same nurse came to look
at his feet he was on the floor standing beside the bunks. He sat on my bunk beside
me while she worked with his feet. I asked her if she was getting a tan on her
legs. She said sure and stood up in front of me raising her skirt clear to her
waist and I saw her panties. Her panties weren't Government issue but the kind
you can see though.
The third day the ships ran though a big storm. With the ship being so long I was in the middle part of the ship and I could feel the bow of the ship raise up and down very little. The Air Craft Carrier was not moving up and down very much either. Don and Conrad got to come up to visit with me for 30 minutes one day.
third morning they told us the Hospitals we were being sent to. I think all the
men that were from Colorado were sent to Vancouver Washington across the river
from Portland Oregon We said we were just about as close to Colorado from here
1800 miles as we would be in Vancouver Washington.
we left the Hospital for the train they put on the Litter patients first then
the ambulatory men. There were 12 passenger coaches, and three Hospital coaches,
there was one Hospital car for every four coaches. I was put on the second to
the last coach. When I started to walk down the aisle to a top bunk farther in
the car, here was Rex Richer on the first bed. I hadn't seen him since we made
the landing on Southern France.
man wanted to show me where my bunk was so I went to the middle of the car. There
was a young kid assigned to the bunk above Rex, so when all the men were assigned
bunks, I went to Rex's bunk and asked the kid if he would trade bunks with me.
He said he was assigned to this bunk and couldn't make a change. I ask him how
long he has been in the Army, as he looked to being 18 years old. He said five
months. How long were you on the front lines. He said four days (I think) so I
pulled rank on him, and I told him I was on the front lines three times longer
then you have been in the Army and I have been wounded six times so get up to
that other bunk. Rex and I was together for the seven days it took to go to Washington.
There were two nurses on
the Hospital car for the four cars. One nurse acted like she was too good to talk
with us but the other nurse really loved to hear about our War Stories and we
told her how we got wounded. We were put on the New York Central Rail Road. Went
to Albany, New York and on to Chicago. When we went by Lake Erie it was frozen
over and there were fishing shanties all along the lake.
was on the Railroad two other times. When I got furloughs, well I got three furloughs
altogether, the first at Camp Barkeley Texas. So the first Sergeant Ted rented
the car from Bob and six of us men got two week furlough and gave Ted money to
help pay for the gas and the rent. We left Friday afternoon and the first thing
Ted and two other Sergeants did was get six bottles of beer at the little town
of Sweetwater, then stop again at Lubbock to get beer. Next at Amarillo for Beer
and gas. Than had to make a pit stop at Dalhart Texas, so by that time they were
pretty drunk. Each time they stopped it would take so long for the three men to
get back in the car again so I told them to let me drive. We left at 2:00p.m.and
it was midnight at Dalhart. So the three piled in the back seat and in no time
they were a sleep.
New Mexico a car went around me doing 80 when I was driving at 65mph. The car
got 3/4 miles ahead of us and was on a slight turn to the left when Jim and I
saw a dull flash of light, then the cars tail light came on. I said something
has happened up there and slowed down. Then here came the man running with a flash
light giving us the washout to stop. As I came up to him I saw a horse lying in
my lane, it was the same color as the highway. Jim woke up the three men and the
seven pulled the horse off the oil. All that happened to the man's car was the
front bumper bent in two places. Behind the wind shield on top was a dent and
in the trunk were two hoof prints. We stopped at Pueblo for John, at Denver for
Jim and on to Fort Morgan.
we left Ted was late and he drove to Denver. Another Sergeant drove to Pueblo
to get John, the other Sergeant drove to Raton New Mexico and I drove to camp
Barkeley and just got there before Reveille.At Fort Devens Sergeant Columbia was
acting as First Sergeant, he didn't like the weapons Platoon, and I put in for
two weeks furlough but he just gave in ten days and gave me some lame excuse.
Started on Tuesday and I had to be back on Camp on Friday. It took me two days
to get home so I would only have one week at home so I sent for a five day extenuation
but Columbia sent me a telegram saying to be in Camp on Friday morning. I got
the telegram, on Friday so, Monday I went to Fort Logan, south of Denver Colorado
and showed them I had the telegram and the round trip train ticket to get back
to Fort Devens.
too late to get to the train station that afternoon so the next day they gave
me a slip of paper saying I reported in and was on my way. I got on the CB&Q
Burlington Railroad to Chicago, then New York Central. I went into the Company
CP Thursday morning. Columbia was on my ass saying I was supposed to be here last
Thursday. The Captain came over to see what all the fuss was about and the Sergeant
said I was to be here last Thursday, and now he is AWOL. Captain wanted to see
my furlough papers and it was only for 10 days and didn't start or finish on the
weekend, he asked for the other papers. The Sergeant had them in his hand but
the Sergeant didn't want to give them to him.
The Captain said I will have you escorted to the guard house. I am not saying what I will do. The Company Clerk said that Vere asked for a five day extension so I typed it up for the Sergeant. The Captain said how come he got a telegram saying to be in camp last Friday. Sergeant said he sent me the telegram for a five day extension. The clerk looked on the Sergeant's desk and the telegram was not even stamped. The Captain asked Columbia if he liked his stripes. He said yes I like them very much. Captain said you will be a Buck Ass Private if anything else like this happens. Boy Columbia acted like he was walking on raw eggs after that. On the train either going or coming the wind was blowing off the water on Lake Erie and when the water hit the shore the water would fly up across the road and hit the train.
December 22 1942 my Grandfather passed away on my Birthday. I got the telegram
Saturday evening. I had to take the telegram to the Red Cross there on the camp
as too many men got emergency furloughs saying their Grandmother passed away.
(Like one man in my Company got four emergency furloughs. On his last furlough
he extended his furlough so he was AWOL. So when someone went to his Grandma's
and she came to the door. They told her that he got four telegrams that said she
passed away, she said no one here sent any and wonder how he got so many furloughs
right close together. They asked where he was, and she said he is next door. Grandma
went with the men and there were four young men there and Grandma ask how her
Grandson got so many furloughs so close together. The Boy next door said Oh I
sent out the telegrams to five of his buddies. The Police were called, and the
three men were sent back to their camp, so I don't know what happened to them.
The men in my Company spent 30 days in the Brig.)
were 2 MPs about two car lengths behind me and they hollered to me to came to
them, so I told them I had to get up on the top level to catch that train. They
said come here or you won't be going anywhere, so I went up to them. Where are
you going? I said Colorado. They said nobody goes to Colorado the day before Christmas.
Let's see your pass. I said I have an Emergency Furlough. Let's see it, so I showed
it to them. Then I could tell they
were just killing time and I was getting mad. I said I need to catch that train,
they said we are not through with you yet. As when they first saw my furlough
papers, they should have let me go. I said let's go see your Supervisors now.
Boy they couldn't give me my papers fast enough.
I got up to the train the Conductor had picked up the steps and got on the step
and just as I got a hold of the bar to step up the train started moving. I had
to stand up for the next 30 miles as there was so many passengers on the coaches
from New York City. Half way to Chicago, the train was a local and stopped at
every station. People with all kinds of packages got on and off the train 'till
it got halfway, then it was the Express into Chicago I got into Chicago Christmas
morning. There are six Railroad Stations in Chicago and Railroad Buses take the
Passengers from one Station to the other. I had to go to the Burlington Station
and was the only one in the bus. When the train pulled out of Chicago there were
five people on the coach, the woman and two children got off somewhere in Iowa,
the other girl at Omaha, Nebraska.
I got on the train at Denver Colorado going back there was a blizzard all the
way to Watertown New York. At Chicago the Bus got stuck and I almost missed the
train as I had to catch the last car and walk to the front part of the train.
It was a Storm all the way to Watertown New York.
the Hospital Train it seemed like we went into most of the side tracks to let
Fright trains go by us. I guess we were not priority Freight, even Fright trains
going the same direction we were going went around us. At Chicago, Ill they unhooked
the last five cars. The ten car train went south to, I think Arkansas and Mississippi.
Then with us, we set for 20 minutes then moved to a side track and several trains
went both ways past us then a switch engine started moving us. I think we went
all around Chicago area, then to the Northern Pacific Freight yard where they
were making up Freight trains. Here came a passenger train with seven box cars
and 12 coaches and we were put on the end of the train.
train left Chicago going to Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho
and Washington. We were stopped at Tacoma, than another train took us to Vancouver
Washington. In North Dakota there was a long Railroad grade that the engine couldn't
pull the train up the grade. There was a freight train going east that was on
the side track waiting for us to pass so they unhooked their engine and hooked
on the front of our engine and both engines pulled us about 18 miles to where
the Fright engine could unhook and we went on. In Montana, Idaho and Washington
several times there were two engines on the train to pull thought the mountains.
At Vancouver I can't remember the name or number of the General Hospital. Rex Richer was put in a different ward then I was in so when I found out where he was I would go see him two to three times a week. The nurse and the two men said they were going to San Francisco to meet a ship and take the Hospital Patients to someplace in Virginia then go back up to New York City again. We were in the Hospital about a month when they let us have weekend passes so I would go to
when I got a pass.
During the War years from 1943 to 46 there was a German Prison Camp at Brush Colorado and all the Farmers could get the prisoners to work on the farms. Uncle Carl, Dad's youngest Brother was on a farm and he said at beet thinning time and beet harvest the company would allot so many men for the amount of acres a beet Farmer had. As all the Farmers would have beets and I think Uncle Carl said he got eight men to thin and harvest the beets. Throughout the summer He would try to get two of the same men all the time as they could do anything on the farm. When he picked corn the two man could pick as fast as he could.
10th of June 1945 we were put on the Union Pacific train and sent to Denver Colorado
to Fort Logan and was Discharged 14th of June 1945.
The Army asked if anyone wanted Compensation for their wounds, so I signed up for my left arm and ears, as my ears ring all the time.Two months later I was called to Denver and the Doctors gave me 20% compensation on my left arm but the Doctor that checked my ears said nobody's ears ring all the time. He had a tuning fork and I told him my ears ring just like the tuning fork. I couldn't tell him when the tuning fork stopped ringing. I said there were too many bombs, Artillery, and Mortar Shells going off around me, and I was in charge off two machine guns and when they were firing there was a lot of noise. I said when a gun is fired a big Balloon breaks do your ears ring? He said a little but not much. He put the tuning fork against my head and I could feel the vibration but couldn't hear the fork The Doctor got mad and gave me a cussing , saying I was pulling his leg. A year later I was called back to the VA and different Doctors still gave me20% on my left arm but the same Doctor that had seen me a year earlier saw me this time and still gave me Hell about having ringing in my ear. I should have keep contesting about my ears but I stopped then.
A man that Dad worked with
at Camp Hale asked Dad to join the A.L. so in July 1945 after I was discharged,
Dad asked if I wanted to join and I said yes. We went to Leadville and when Elmer
introduced me, I said I was in five camps in the States. Sailed to Oran North
Africa, and started fighting in Sicily. Italy, and France. That I was wounded
six times and was in six battle zones and got the Silver Star and that I was south
of where Dad was in France. Two men setting in front of me said we don't need
a young punk telling a bunch of lies about himself. Elmer said he knew that I
did everything I said I did. After the meeting eight men came around me saying
we don't need a young punk telling a bunch of lies so I said if you don't want
me in your Post I will get out and they said that's a good idea. I didn't know
Dad was standing behind me and he said if my son can't be in the Post I won't
be in the Post either. They said Oh we don't mean you Claude. Dad said well that's
the way it stands with me also. So we came back to Minturn and formed the V.F.W.
at Minturn. I have been in the VFW for 56 years and never held an Elected chair
'till three years ago when I was Surgeon for two years, the Jr. Vice Commander
this last year and will be Sr. Vice this coming year.
first of July 1945 I got a job as a Fireman on the big double unit Steam Engines
the ones with the two sets of Driving wheels. I went to work for the Denver and
Rio Grand Western Railroad. It took three Engines to take a freight train up to
Tennessee Pass about 30 miles. The Road Engine, the Engine at the head of the
train, they would put an Engine in the Swing, the middle of the train, then an
Engine on the back of the train Pushing Engine. The Passenger Trains they would
put another Engine in the lead. It took a minimum of 2 3/4 hours for the Passenger
Engine helper to make the trip up to Tennessee Pass and back to Minturn. The Freight
Train helper took four hours to make that trip. I have seen the times when I would
make the trip up the Pass and come back to Minturn and would go into the Engineer
room and my name would be up for the next train coming into Minturn. I worked
13 1/2 months, but when 18 men came home all at once, I got bumped clear off the
Railroad. I should have went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as a man went
to work for them and was an Engineer eight years later.
Both my Brothers were in the Service also. Lovern two years younger then I. In April 1943 Lovern was afraid he would be drafted in to the Army and he didn't want to dig foxholes so he told Mom he would join the Navy. In May he was sent to Boot Camp in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Then was put into Armed Guard on a gun crew on the Merchant Ship, Lumber Lady. Then he was on three more ships. Later in1945, he was transferred to Guam in the Navy Air Force where the planes would fly out on search of Enemy Submarines. Lovern said every time the planes came in for the landing they would have to watch for Gooney Birds. The Albatross a big footed Sea Bird would fly across the runway and if the propeller would hit the bird it would break the Propeller. My bother Paul is Seven years younger then I am. His Birthday is March 28th and The Japs surrendered in August.
joined the Army the 18th of March before his 18th Birthday, the 11th of May, he
went to Camp Fanning Texas about 90 miles South of Dallas for Basic Training.
The October 17 1945. He went to Yokohama Japan with the Provost Marshall Department,
and worked around shipping and warehouses. Paul said he had seen his share of
Japs stealing different stuff, especially candy. Paul came back to the States
October 30th, 1946 and was discharged on the 11th of December 1946. Lovern Joined
the Navy just before I went overseas and was back in the States November 1945
Mom never cussed, so years later, Arlene asked Grandma. What was it like to have
three boys in the war at the same time? "Mom said it was pure hell, especially
with Vere being in the infantry, and being wounded so many times, in danger of
being killed at any time. When he came home, I didn't know whether to put him
across my checkered apron, or hug and kiss him. Well, I hugged and kissed him.
About two months after I got home, Mom went to the Post Office, and Elmer Owens, the Postmaster, told Mom the Army sent Vere a package. So when Mom saw it, she said I bet that's Vere's Silver Star. Elmer wanted to see it, so she asked if he could open the package. He got a knife and when he saw it, he really praised Mom for having a son with such an Honor. Ten people came in the Post Office while Elmer was looking at the medal, and he was telling them to see the medal that Mrs. Williams' son received. When Dad and I got home, Ardith came running our and hugging me, saying it's here! it's here. What's here? Your Silver Star Medal. Boy! Dad, Mom & Ardith were really proud of it, and I said, Aw, it's just another medal. Mom swatted me across my rump, saying you are really proud of this medal, aren't you? I had to admit that I was.
bought a used truck and went to delivering coal and gravel for seven years 'till
Minturn got Natural Gas. I married Bea and she had two sons, Larry three years
old and Howard 1 1/2 years old.Then we had four boys
and two girls. Vere Loyd Jr., L. Wade, Arlene E, Richard M, Roy A and Carrie Paulette.
I moved to Denver. When Loyd graduated from High School, Loyd and Wade and several
other boys from school went to the Job Corporal Then Loyd joined the Army in 1967
and went to Vietnam. The first of March 1968 Loyd was killed in Vietnam and the
second of March my Cousin Virgil Williams was killed. When Richard finished school
he joined the Navy, I think in 1970 and went to Boot Camp at San Diego California,
then went to Norfolk Virginia to get on a ship that was being built. I told Richard
to go to every school the Navy wanted him to go to. When the ship was finished
it went out for a Shake down Cruise then had to came back to the Ship Yard for
more work. Richard went to more schools so when the ship was ready to sail Richard
got several ratings. Another man went to Virginia with Richard but he didn't go
to any schools so when the ship left the ship yard the man just got the rating
above Seaman. Richard went to Vietnam several times and was at Vietnam at the
end of the War. Larry Joined the Army I think in 1964.
I started working for Safeway Stores hauling groceries from the warehouse to the stores from April 1955 to September 56. Then hauling baled hay for Denver Milk Producers. Hauling hay to dairies during the winter of 56. In April 57 'till June of 61 I went to work for Hallock and Howard Lumber Company. I was the newest Driver and had the oldest truck. In two months I got a new GMC truck with a roll off box as the older divers didn't want to haul the volume loads. Then one month later I got to be the Semi Trailer Driver. The Company had a Franchise on Rolled Roofing. They could get on dollar off from a roll of roofing from Rubberoid Roofing Company.
The last part of July 1958
or 59 there was a big hail storm in the Billings, Montana area. I just got off
a run Thursday afternoon and Friday I took out four loads of Lumber local. When
I came back to the yard about 3:00 p.m., the office told me to go the Ryder Truck
Rental, and get a tandem axle tractor. (a truck with two axles on the back of
the truck), and a 40 foot trailer then go to the Roofing Company to get a load
of rolled roofing for Billing Montana. Gave me a phone number to call when I got
there. I called about 4 p.m. Saturday and by the time I got to their yard here
were eight men were ready to unload me, and put all the rolls on six trucks, I
had 30 ton of roofing on the trailer. As I was leaving Billings I saw a bad looking
cloud far to the right, so when I pulled into the yard Monday Morning at 7:00
a.m., the Boss told me to get another load of roofing for Greybull Wyoming and
by the time I was loaded, here came a man from the Company with my orders and
expense money and told me to come back to the Roofing Company when I got unloaded
and they would have orders where for me to go. In a period of two weeks there
were three big hail storms. The first in the Billings area, the second on the
west side of the Little Big Horn Mountains and the third on the east side of Little
Big Horn Mountains from Sheridan to Cheyenne Wyoming. Then one month later Billings
got hit again. For two months and two weeks I hauled Rolled Roofing every Saturday.
When I went to Billings with a load, I was working from 14 to 22 hours a day.
June 1961 'till September
1973 I worked for Ringsby Trucking Line as a City Delivery Driver, heavy duty.
Bea left me in the spring of 67, went to Oklahoma, right after she got a new used
car that I had to pay for, along with other debts that she had charged in stores.
June 1974 I went to work for Don Ward and Company hauling bulk cement. I drove in most of Colorado, Western South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, Northern New Mexico, Eastern Utah, 7/8 of Wyoming, and Southeast center of Montana. In the four and an one half years that I drove, I worked 45 months and I drove over 500,000 miles. In December of 79 my Family Doctor saw me walking on the street and told Leona to get me in so he could X-ray my hips. My hips and knees ached all the time The 15th of December I wasn't working that day, and was at Rifle Colorado, 60 miles from Grand Junction. Leona came and got me because when the Doctor saw the X-ray of my right hip it was ready to lock up on me. He sent me to a bone Specialist, who operated on my hip, January 28, 1978. He was going to operate on my left hip in three months, but then said he wanted to wait for better glue. On February 25 1980 he operated on my left hip, and three months later my knees quit aching. Dr. Patterson would not release me to go back to driving semi tractor trailers as my back was fusing up just above by hip bones. He was afraid any bump or jolt in the cab of the truck would paralyze me from by waist on down. So I had to start with Social Security, it took six months for me to get any money, and eighteen months to get Medicare. I had an insurance that covered me for the two years while I had my hips replaced.
I found out about
the 157th Infantry Regiment Association in 1982. Felix Sparks, and two other Officers
formed the 157th Association in 1976, and I think there were only ten men there,
the next year there were thirty-five. Then after that the men know Buddies and
they joined up. When I found out about the Association and I joined up, but couldn't
go to the Reunion for three more years. In the late 80s and early 90s the 157th
Association has rosters, and there were over 2000 men on the rosters. I've seen
when there would be 900 to1000 men with their wives come to the Reunions. Every
third year the Reunion would be in Colorado. In 96 the roster only had over1300
men, as all of the men are getting older. The youngest men are 73 years old. Two
years ago one of my Buddies was 92 years old when he passed away as he was fourteen
years older then I was. When he came to my section I was 23 years old and he was
37 years old.
I have missed three Reunions the last one in 96 when I had to take care of Leona. Now my daughter Arlene and Bill go with me to the Reunions, in 97 at Denver CO, 98 Oklahoma City, OK, 99 Myrtle Beach, SC.,2000 Philadelphia, Penn. Several years ago they formed the Anzio Beachhead Veterans Association. I was sent a letter with information to join and put the letter right where I knew where it was, so I could send in the money for the dues, when the SS check came in. Leona had a bad habit of moving things so she know where they were. Well, she filed my letter in the trash can as we could never find it. Three years ago I got their address and joined up. Two years ago their Reunion was at Colorado Springs and we went to it. Last year it was in Charleston, SC and I couldn't go as I was taking treatments for bone cancer of my ribs. This year the Reunion was at Nashville, Tenn. We didn't go to the Grand Ole Opry all though the assoc. had a tour going to the Opry. With me, I have two hearing aides and I can't hear the people singing when the music is being played, and if the music is loud all I hear is the beat.
The people that went said the music was so loud they couldn't hear the singing. The next year the Reunion will be in Savanna, GA. God willing I will be there. The 157th will be in Denver this September. In September of '99 at Myrtle Beach, SC from September 98 to September of 99 there were 56 men that passed away that were on the Memorial List and I knew six men of the men. At Philly, PA there were 73 men on the list and I know five of the men. A few years back when there were only 20 men on the list. I didn't know any of them. When we were in the States I knew most all the men but when we got to fighting in Sicily, Italy, and France we got so many replacements and I can not remember the names of the men in my section. Be like when I got to be Sergeant I was on the line for 13 and a half months although I was in the Hospital for a period of four months, I had fourteen men in my section. I kept track of the men that didn't come back after being wound and 57 men didn't come back and seven got killed so 64, well 65 men with myself went through without coming back to the Front lines
hope you like my Story of my Army time.|
An Old Buddy Vere L Williams (Tarzan)