Comments: 849 • Responses: 39 • Date: 2013-08-15 20:29:16 UTCsource
drecz275 karma2013-08-15 21:21:12 UTC
What are your thoughts on the Canadians in WW2?
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WW2Vet470 karma2013-08-15 21:23:04 UTC
Brilliant soldiers. Some of the best soldiers in the war.
BubbaLunker230 karma2013-08-15 20:44:51 UTC
What was the scariest moment during a battle?
WW2Vet630 karma2013-08-15 20:48:59 UTC
The moment where a bullet whistles past you and you realise you coul have just been gone in a flash.
Pryne229 karma2013-08-15 20:52:41 UTC
What was the largest battle you fought in?
WW2Vet524 karma2013-08-15 20:55:47 UTC
Probably Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.
Pryne241 karma2013-08-15 20:59:03 UTC
Oh my goodness. Did you land at Normandy?
WW2Vet601 karma2013-08-15 21:01:15 UTC
Yes. It's strange when you know you are part of history. It was humbling at the same time that it was bloody frightening.
TheBabyEatingStork205 karma2013-08-15 21:30:44 UTC
What was a typical meal like in WWII?
WW2Vet441 karma2013-08-15 21:32:20 UTC
Horrible... That's all I can say.
diekapteinvandiepoes203 karma2013-08-15 20:46:18 UTC
How close did you come to death? Do you feel proud whenever you meet a holocaust survivor ?(meaning do you think you fought the good fight and saved lives?)
WW2Vet487 karma2013-08-15 20:50:07 UTC
I came close to death many times. A grenade exploded 4 feet in front of me, and I was shot three times in the chest. I don't feel proud, but I feel assured that the war wasn't for nothing.
Niklasedg127 karma2013-08-15 21:57:04 UTC
I have to ask, how did you survive? And how in the world did you return to the battlefield after the first one?
WW2Vet672 karma2013-08-15 21:59:05 UTC
Luck, I suppose. People say, "It was clearly God!" and I say, "No, I was just very lucky!".
Pryne181 karma2013-08-15 21:05:27 UTC
What was your opinion of Winston Churchill? I am an American who thinks he is one of the greatest men to ever live.
WW2Vet361 karma2013-08-15 21:08:48 UTC
Winston Churchill was a wonderful leader, and his speeches inspired us all. He was, in my opinion, one of the greatest wartime leaders that has ever lived.
KingModest153 karma2013-08-15 21:02:31 UTC
Thanks for doing this.
What was it like readjusting to civilian life after the war?
WW2Vet310 karma2013-08-15 21:06:46 UTC
I suffered from nightmares and anxiety for a while. I also carried a lot of guilt for many years before I finally opened up about it. Civilian life seemed so peaceful..
lil_morbid_girl139 karma2013-08-15 20:59:15 UTC
My papa said the Japanese were worse that the Germans what are your thoughts? ( he fought in Burma and a few other places).
WW2Vet389 karma2013-08-15 21:02:12 UTC
I believe that both were people who had been brainwashed by tyrannical leaders and were capable of carrying out unimaginable cruelty.
lil_morbid_girl92 karma2013-08-15 21:11:55 UTC
This is true. My papa never spoke of it my dad tells me. He died when I was 5. Out of interest Sir I often had chats with a Mr Alexander Lees. He was a POW and during the Great Escape he was the chap who discarded the dirt from the tunnels. He loaned me is memoirs and was a fascinating read. He died only a few years ago. Thank you for answering.
WW2Vet201 karma2013-08-15 21:19:45 UTC
I'm sure your papa was a very brave and good man.
uberlad136 karma2013-08-15 20:32:49 UTC
WW2Vet623 karma2013-08-15 20:38:41 UTC
Don't waste time being worried about the future. Enjoy the now, because it'll be over tomorrow.
tangoewhisky122 karma2013-08-15 20:58:44 UTC
My great-grandfather served in the U.S. Army during WW2. He was a Pearl Harbor survivor, a member of the 82nd Airborne (rose to full-bird Colonel), and was involved in the D-Day invasion (either the day before to secure the roads, or during the invasion, but there's a story that his squad was dropped off-course and landed on a Nazi HQ, where they singlehandedly captured it). Were you involved in the invasion? Did you have any dealings with the U.S. military during that time, or were things kept separate between squads?
Thank you for your service, sir.
WW2Vet330 karma2013-08-15 21:04:38 UTC
I was involved in the D-Day invasion. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. There was limbs, blood, shrapnel and bullets spraying everywhere. I lost one of my best friends that day. One minute I was shouting at him, the next he was in pieces.
I did deal with some U.S soldiers. They were the same as anyone else. Brave men.
DiggerMT121 karma2013-08-15 22:01:12 UTC
What is your view on current wars, such as Afghanistan?
WW2Vet573 karma2013-08-15 22:02:04 UTC
The reasons always change, as does the technology. But war is the same. War never changes.
ksjayhawk121 karma2013-08-15 20:40:17 UTC
What were your thoughts on the Soviets during the war? did you have any interactions with them? Did you see them as true allies or just another Army fighting the Germans?
WW2Vet251 karma2013-08-15 20:43:53 UTC
Most people saw them as allies, but I was always worried about them. Something told me they weren't to be trusted. I met some Soviets during the war. They were alright people. I mean, I wasn't with them for long but, they didn't seem bad at all.
Snakeruler120 karma2013-08-15 22:09:20 UTC
Did you have any good luck charms? Also, where were you and what did you think when you first heard the war was over?
WW2Vet278 karma2013-08-15 22:13:19 UTC
No, I didn't. I believed if I was going to die, nothing would stop that.
I could hardly believe it. I mean, I was numb. We'd won the War. We'd achieved what we fought so hard for. It just left me feeling empty inside, after the initial jubilation.
Snakeruler104 karma2013-08-15 22:22:06 UTC
Thanks for answering!
If I can ask another question, what do you feel about Germans today? I know it's a different generation now, but some still feel resentment towards Germany. What are your thoughts on this?
WW2Vet220 karma2013-08-15 22:49:29 UTC
Not for the new generation, no.
Niklasedg111 karma2013-08-15 22:09:37 UTC
Thank you for this absolutely amazing AMA. I have to say, this is the most interesting thing i have read in a very, very long time, and going by your replies you seem like a very honorable man. I have one final question: how much information did the soldiers have about the battle ahead, and how much did they know about the tidings of the war? Once again, thank you so very much.
WW2Vet210 karma2013-08-15 22:14:47 UTC
We didn't know much other than what our missions were and what we were supposed to do. Towards the end, we knew we were going to win, but up until then, we really had no idea what the outcome would be. Some men thought it was the end of the world.
xeskind30102 karma2013-08-15 21:25:38 UTC
Former U.S. Army Infantryman here. First, let me say, thank you for your service. I have worked with British Army and I will say your armed forces are some of the best I have worked with.
Secondly, when your unit was advancing, did you ever take prisoners?
My paternal grandfather was a Merchant Marine in charge of transporting German prisoners to American POW camps. He used to tell me that the majority of the soldiers were kids no older than sixteen. He used to give some of them chocolate from his stash in his bunk.
WW2Vet200 karma2013-08-15 21:27:58 UTC
Yes, and, at one point, we had to kill a prisoner of only 17. I didn't look, and broke down after he was killed.
xeskind3083 karma2013-08-15 21:43:53 UTC
Why did you kill him, if I may ask?
WW2Vet191 karma2013-08-15 21:46:41 UTC
Because we would have had to leave him alone, and we weren't aloud to leave enemy troops alone, no exceptions.
LukeVTruth95 karma2013-08-15 20:57:12 UTC
Did you ever fight alongside americans? If so how were they?
WW2Vet554 karma2013-08-15 21:00:12 UTC
Oh, yes. I met some of the best Americans during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. These questions, however, assume people of different nationalities are completely different. They are not. They are merely people separated by a flag.
SirStones92 karma2013-08-15 22:23:01 UTC
This might be impossible to explain, but how did you remain sane during war?
Was there alot of people that couldn't go on and broke down.
What do you think about the state of the world now? What has gotten better/worse?
Thank you alot for this ama, I have a huge amount of respect for you and for those in service.
WW2Vet170 karma2013-08-15 22:50:09 UTC
Yes, many people completely went crazy. I was one of the lucky ones who could take it.
DiggerMT90 karma2013-08-15 21:32:57 UTC
What's your opinion on countries that stayed neutral, like Spain or Ireland?
WW2Vet249 karma2013-08-15 21:34:16 UTC
I don't blame them. Who wants a war to deal with? Especially when you don't need to.
OscarLQ85 karma2013-08-15 20:43:03 UTC
Did you kill someone and how did it feel? Might be a really stupid question but since killing was a thing during WW2 and it might hurt people alot, I would like to know if any feelings came up.
WW2Vet558 karma2013-08-15 20:45:20 UTC
Of course I killed people. That's what war is. I didn't feel very guilty considering I had no choice in the matter. Kill or be killed. War is brutal, and there are no real winners. Only people who survive longer.
rexman28380 karma2013-08-15 21:23:14 UTC
Do you keep in touch with some friends that you made during the war? Did you lose anyone in particular that you became friends with during the war?
WW2Vet214 karma2013-08-15 21:26:35 UTC
I kept in touch with a few, but, lost touch with them over time. I lost my best friend in the D-Day invasion.
Intelligenttrees72 karma2013-08-15 21:22:13 UTC
What was your opinion of FDR as a leader? My grandpa was in the Pacific during the war and thought that FDR was a great leader, but I'd love to get a non-American perspective
WW2Vet144 karma2013-08-15 21:24:46 UTC
He was a brilliant wartime leader. I believe he was a good man.
Smitty771252 karma2013-08-15 21:51:58 UTC
WW2Vet135 karma2013-08-15 21:54:21 UTC
He seemed a decent bloke. Good leader.
benboy5570 karma2013-08-15 21:10:40 UTC
We're you ever captured or help free concentration or pow camps? By the way thank you for doing this.
WW2Vet130 karma2013-08-15 21:18:33 UTC
No, I was never captured (luckily!) but it sounds like one of the worst experiences anyone could endure.
DiggerMT67 karma2013-08-15 21:44:32 UTC
How were you treated when you came home from the war, and how are you treated now? If badly to feel let down?
WW2Vet263 karma2013-08-15 21:47:27 UTC
I was treated as a hero, although I didn't feel like one. I'm treated like anyone else now, and I like that, because that's all I am.
TheBabyEatingStork66 karma2013-08-15 21:35:43 UTC
Did you get severely injured in the war?
WW2Vet150 karma2013-08-15 21:36:46 UTC
I was shot in the chest three times early on in the war.
Holy_Bear62 karma2013-08-15 21:13:51 UTC
Firstly can I thank you for the service you did for your country but can I ask how were you welcomed into the towns and villages you occupied? (were they welcoming you or bitter?)
WW2Vet101 karma2013-08-15 21:20:25 UTC
It depends where we were. Some places were glad to see us, others were passive aggressive.
Holy_Bear44 karma2013-08-15 21:23:49 UTC
Thank You for answering and which places were you least welcomed?
WW2Vet114 karma2013-08-15 21:25:49 UTC
Hard to remember, but I do remember not being allowed in a Cafe in France, and, a group of people come up to us shouting vulgarities in French.
gears54453 karma2013-08-15 22:02:01 UTC
First of all thank you for doing this AMA it means a lot. I am a student in high school and I studied the battle of Dunkirk. I would just like to ask you, when the troops were being evacuated, were soldiers "running around like headless chickens" or did they keep their head and evacuate in an orderly fashion? The reason I ask this is because I had to do an essay on the battle of Dunkirk POVs and German sergeants say that the allies being evacuated ran around like headless chicken, while Winston Churchill said that it was the soldiers ability to keep calm that allowed so many of them to be evacuated. Thank you sir!
WW2Vet89 karma2013-08-15 22:03:35 UTC
A bit of both really. Some panicked, as is expected, but most kept their cool, tried to hold off the Germans and evacuated in an orderly fashion.
_seuss51 karma2013-08-15 21:49:08 UTC
Did you ever visit the places you fought at? And another question considering your age, if you don't mind: Reflecting your lifetime, what were some changes in technology/society/... you personally really benefitted from? Thank You!
WW2Vet119 karma2013-08-15 21:52:58 UTC
I travel led to Dunkirk and Normandy. It was strange to see them so... peaceful. So different from when I had last seen them. In ruin.
Colour television, The Internet, mobile phones, GPS...
Kalbamater49 karma2013-08-15 21:28:21 UTC
Thanks for doing this. I'm interested of the Dunkirk evacuation.
Could you tell how it was?
Were you or the soldiers in general stunned by the rapid advances of the germans?
How about the famous Dunkirk spirit, can you tell anything about that?
Did you realise the significance it would have on the rest of the war?
WW2Vet115 karma2013-08-15 21:31:32 UTC
It was a bloody battle. We didn't expect the germans to advance so fast. We expected to win. I went in feeling very confidant, and came out feeling angry and disheartened. The public did pull together, though, to do anything and everything they could. At the time, I believed we would lose the war. In fact, that was the sentiment among many soldiers. The Germans just seemed so powerful.
PhantomFuck42 karma2013-08-15 21:11:42 UTC
Thank you very much for doing this, sir. Were you ever involved in any well-known battles/operations?
WW2Vet93 karma2013-08-15 21:19:14 UTC
I was involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) and in Dunkirk (The Fall of France)
PhantomFuck42 karma2013-08-15 21:25:08 UTC
During Dunkirk, were you evacuated by one of the civilian vessels that went to help the fleeing Allied soldiers?
WW2Vet86 karma2013-08-15 21:28:27 UTC
Yes, I was. Dunkirk was a battle I'll never forget...
smoakbomb14 karma2013-08-15 22:09:00 UTC
My grandfather told me that he could never forget the sounds of buzz bombs and the anxiety of not knowing where they would land. Are there specific sounds from the war that you've never forgotten?
WW2Vet14 karma2013-08-15 22:12:08 UTC
The buzz bombs are definitely a sound I wont forget. You never knew if you were the unlucky ones. I also can't forget the droning of the planes.
chicago_breed-15 karma2013-08-15 21:54:55 UTC
How many of those krauts did you kill
WW2Vet15 karma2013-08-15 21:59:30 UTC
Too many to remember, and too many to forget.
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