April 13, 2017. Dad died 18 years ago this month. He was one of 16,112,566 men and women who served in uniform in the Second World War. This year, less half a million of those vets are left to tell their story.
That’s one reason I’m glad Dad told his story years ago in this diary he kept during the war. Stories like his are of vital importance to those of us who weren’t around to share the experiences. Without such stories we would never know who we are we and where we came from – a point I tried to make this week in The Little Scroll, a blog I’ve been writing for more than 40 years. Read my comments here.
I suspect Dad kept this diary so he wouldn’t forget events that, in the end, turned out to be unforgettable. I’m sure he reflected often on his war experiences but he rarely talked about them. His natural reticence makes his written story all the more important to us. So, too, will our own stories be important to those who come after us.
Philip– A colleague just forwarded me a link to your site. After reading through, I’m PRETTY sure I never encountered this diary when I was writing and researching my book on the Red Arrow Division at Buna and afterwards. What you have posted from your dad crosses over well with info in the diary and other various papers that I do/did have access to. I know almost exactly where your dad was most of the time, relative to the action beginning Christmas Day ’42 and continuing through Jan. ’43.
Here is my similar Buna-plus blog, if you are interested in having a look. It supports the book, 32 ANSWERED: A SOUTH CAROLINA VETERANS’ STORY. [I really need to make an update soon.]
There may be some info that I have collected here, which will help you put some more pieces together regarding your father’s experiences at Buna. Let’s get in touch soon.
Joe H. Camp, Jr, PhD