Comments: 67 • Responses: 26 • Date: 2014-09-01 14:21:28 UTCsource
AbandonChip7 karma2014-09-01 14:45:16 UTC
As a Mustang pilot, what German Luftwaffe planes did he most fear? BF109, ME190, or the ME262? I love WW2 era planes and am genuinely curious.
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23dayseu10 karma2014-09-01 14:50:02 UTC
He started flying late in the war about 1943. He started his training and he only went onto operations in about the middle of '44. So the flying he did was escort duties for the massive bombing groups that were raiding Germany at the time.
I don't believe he saw many German planes due to the fact we were winning the war.
yoy216 karma2014-09-01 14:34:11 UTC
How did he end up in the middle east?
23dayseu6 karma2014-09-01 14:42:04 UTC
He returned to Europe as a SOE agent and when the Nazis attacked Russia everyone headed East to avoid the invading Nazis. After a lot of moving about he ended up in the middle east to meet up with the Allies that were there.
two_off5 karma2014-09-01 14:34:39 UTC
How'd he escape prison?
23dayseu6 karma2014-09-01 14:40:10 UTC
He did not make it to the final prison he was being transported to. He was on one of the transport trains. A train pulling lots of cattle wagons with lots of prisoners in them. He and 10 other men formed an escape party and managed to remove the bolts holding the floor of the train down. At a stop close to the prison they lifted the floor and made their escape. He and two others were the only ones to survive the initial escape.
lukasz3453 karma2014-09-01 15:03:23 UTC
I have 2 questions, how were his relationships impacted by the war? Also did/ does he stay in touch with his war buddies. If at all possible tell him from a Polish family, dziękujemy za usługi.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:09:56 UTC
Well some of his uncles died during the war. His mum and dad survived.
Jibbajabbajosh3 karma2014-09-01 15:06:16 UTC
What was the most frieghtening part of the war for him? Also, did he loose any close family in the conflict?
23dayseu3 karma2014-09-01 15:13:39 UTC
The most frightening part of his war was spending 23 days in a condemned cell in the town of Orsha. Lots of other prisoners were brought in and taken out and shot but for some reason his death penalty was changed after 23 days to 25 years hard labour at a labour camp.
He was also tortured by being hung by his arms until the joints dislocated.
IanSomerhaldersBitch3 karma2014-09-01 14:51:57 UTC
How did he manage to make it through Siberia?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 14:57:22 UTC
With lots of helpful locals and being young and wanting to survive.
i_like_to_google3 karma2014-09-01 14:52:48 UTC
A few questions:
After escaping, and on the way to finland, how did he find food and survive his long trek?
Where in Poland was your grandad when he was captured?
What happened to the rest of your grandads family when he was captured?
Thank you so much for doing this!! My mom is a history teacher and loves to hear and learn about these types of stories.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:00:43 UTC
Well a copy of the book would make an amazing present for her :)
1: Local people were very helpful towards escapees. He was also a very good hunter.
2:He lived in a place called Baranovichi which is now in Belarus.
3: My grandads dad escaped to Lithuania after trying to make a stand against the Russians. His mum was put under house arrest and deported.
He met up with his mum and dad in the middle east.
Other parts of his family died during the war. One died during the Warsaw uprising.
MitchMcca3 karma2014-09-01 14:53:52 UTC
Were you close with your grandfather? And if so, what was he like?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:01:41 UTC
Yes all the grandkids were.
He was very nice. Very friendly and would talk to anyone. He was really loving towards all of his grandchildren.
10mike1233 karma2014-09-01 14:32:45 UTC
23dayseu3 karma2014-09-01 14:34:56 UTC
I don't honestly know. He never talked about the war to me. All I know about his war time experience I read after he died. He does not say he regrets anything in his memoirs.
LOTRf4nb0y3 karma2014-09-01 14:37:03 UTC
Hello, thanks for doing this.
My question - What was the general diet [dishes and such] of the people before, during and after the invasion?
23dayseu3 karma2014-09-01 14:47:31 UTC
Before the war he lived on a very large estate owned by his father. About 1000 hectares. They were a reasonably well off family. They had lots of land with fruit trees, bee hives, farmed land and all the normal wild life you find in a forest.
So before the war he would have had a normal diet. A mixture of what was grow and hunted.
When the Russians invaded it was a lot harder to get food as he was living with a partisan group fighting against the Russians. Bread was a big part of their diet which was often made by locals for them.
While he was in prison it was mainly dry bread and thin soup. Sometimes he would get some extras either from a kindly guard or from a guard or prisoner that he had helped. He had some medical training so he because the medic of wherever he was at the time.
The food that they wanted most was onions and garlic as most of the prisoners suffered from scurvy due to the lack of food.
LukewarmPotato3 karma2014-09-01 15:00:23 UTC
How did life change as soon as the war ended?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:06:48 UTC
He stayed in England after the war. He never returned to his how town as it was all communist after the war.
He built a life in England and tried his hand at lots of different businesses. He had a Jewellery shop for a lot of years before he retired.
Pirateshake3 karma2014-09-01 14:54:38 UTC
Did he get some kind of PTSD from the war? It feels like its such a common thing with veterans today but you rarely read anything about the ones from WW2.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:03:52 UTC
Yes he did. As a child we used to go and stay at his for the weekend and during school holidays. If I used to wake up during the night more often than not he was awake. I never thought anything of it as a child. But it the book he said that he used to get nightmares. So I guess he did not sleep much.
Also he said some objects, like rope, used to make he feel jittery and ill as he was tortured by the Russians by being hung by his arms.
LiirFlies3 karma2014-09-01 14:46:59 UTC
What publishers did you try to work with before you went the route you did? And what route did you go exactly? Self-published, correct?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 14:56:19 UTC
We did self publish the book.
I did not approach any publishers as I did a lot of research and we wanted to keep the story as it is. We did not want things removed or edited.
We also want to keep control of the story and not allow someone else to
have the rights to it.
The book was dictated on to tape and my grandads friend had his audio typist type the book out on a typewriter. So I read it as a double spaced 600+ page loose leaf document.
In the early 2000's I scanned every page and got it on to computer.
About a year ago I found out that digital book printing was not that expensive so I looked at getting some books done for the family. I used a website called people per hour to help with getting some of the heavy editing done.
My dad then did another edit rewriting bits to help it flow better.
We then got 200 printed. Got in the local paper and we have had some amazing reviews.
We did a kindle version and are trying hard to get some national interest in the book (UK)
We are just taking it one step at a time.
konrad-iturbe3 karma2014-09-01 15:07:24 UTC
What major injuries did he had through all these adventures?
You have a typo,
one to make it to Finald
one to make it to Finald
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:15:50 UTC
He was hung by his arms and his joints dislocated. A middle age Calvary doctor on a transport train reset his joints (without and anaesthetic.)
That doctor really looked after him and sadly he was killed by the Russians as Katyn.
He also had a mock execution here a gun was fired at the back of his neck but the bullet had been removed and a chewed up wad of paper had but put in. It still knocked him out for a while. Some people it killed by dislocation a vertebra.
Thanks for the heads up about the typo. Do so much typing right now my keyboard is on fire!
DownvoteIfuLuvHitler2 karma2014-09-01 15:58:05 UTC
How did your grandfather travel across Russia? Did he walk? Did he hop on trains? Did he steal a car?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 16:02:32 UTC
When he first escaped the train heading for the labour camp he and his two friends got on another train heading the other way. It was a transport train full of furniture.
They were on that train for a good long time. One of the three was killed by a Solider when he tried to swap some clothes for food. The local man he spoke to must have reported it to a guard and the guard shot him in the head. My grandad and he other friend hid in the train and were not found.
After that they moved on foot and found some friendly railway workers that helped them move onto another village with instructions of where to find some more friendly people.
The did use skis for a large part of the journey towards the Finnish boarder.
DownvoteIfuLuvHitler2 karma2014-09-01 16:09:56 UTC
That is incredible. Did they speak and understand Russian well? Any other languages?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 16:12:11 UTC
He spoke what he called White Russian and Polish. So he could communicate with other people without too much trouble.
Dustfinger882 karma2014-09-01 14:59:31 UTC
Did he ever meet and/or fly with any of the Tuskegee Airmen? If he did, what were his experiences with them like? Did he have any stories about them? To my knowledge they were also P-51 Mustang pilots. My grandfather had the chance to meet some of them at various airshows, but I've never had the privilege to do so.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:05:22 UTC
Not as far as I am aware.
-eons-2 karma2014-09-01 15:02:12 UTC
I've read that service members were allowed to take "souvenirs" home from the battlefield back then. Did your grandfather bring home anything interesting?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 15:08:48 UTC
Not really. Anything he had apart from his diaries were destroyed when he joined the SOE
vklaas2 karma2014-09-01 15:21:21 UTC
Did he take any pictures during any of his experiences?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:23:05 UTC
Not really. You have to remember that most of the time he was either in prison where nothing like this was allowed or he was escaping from the Red army. Also there was a shortage of everything. Food, water, clothing. The only thing that was in good supply was Vodka. The Red army made sure there was plenty of that about.
Bogbrushh2 karma2014-09-01 15:09:27 UTC
Hi, is the place he grew up in now in belarus or ukraine?
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:16:02 UTC
Belarus I believe.
Fearphilosophy2 karma2014-09-01 15:15:46 UTC
Is there anything he told you, that you just couldn't believe to be true just for the sheer tenacity of it?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 15:18:50 UTC
He never talked to me directly about the war. Its all what he dictated in his book.
He was not the sort of person to make up stories, so I have no reason to doubt what is in the book.
ShirtlessKirk462 karma2014-09-01 15:28:09 UTC
Where can we buy the memoirs in the US? Are they on Amazon.uk? BTW: Thanks for doing this AMA! My great-uncle (died July 4, 2010) landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and served as Gen. Bradley's translator. He too, never spoke much about the war, and one of my greatest regrets is not interviewing him about his experiences and capturing them on tape.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:29:38 UTC
It is on amazon.com as either a kindle or in paper back.
Or you can order from our site www.23days.eu the is an option for Rest of the World postage.
ShirtlessKirk462 karma2014-09-01 15:30:27 UTC
Was the P-51 the only type of aircraft your Grandad flew, or were there others? If others, which were his favorites? Thank you.
23dayseu2 karma2014-09-01 15:33:59 UTC
While training he did fly other aircraft. He did fly the Spitfire but he honestly preferred the Mustang over any other aircraft he flew.
cal_smith2 karma2014-09-01 15:29:20 UTC
Did he share any funny/memorable stories? Could we have a Storytime?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 15:33:06 UTC
There are a few pages on our website that you can read. They are good little snippets to read.
Along the top there is Learning to glide, Deadly encounter, Shoot-out, 9 days interrogation, invitation to travel back and Assassination.
Order_and_Regulation1 karma2014-09-01 14:54:41 UTC
Is there a reason why you wrote nazis instead of Germans and Russians instead of soviets?
23dayseu1 karma2014-09-01 15:04:30 UTC
Not really. It is just what I typed.
Col_Volkov-8 karma2014-09-01 14:58:48 UTC
Sooo... there were zero Ukrainians, Belorussians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen, Azerbaijani, Georgians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Moldavians or Armenians in the red army - only the scary Russians?
Come on, at least respect the memory of your Grandfather enough to remember who his enemies were.
23dayseu5 karma2014-09-01 15:07:28 UTC
But to be honest typing all that would be far to heavy handed for an AMA. Just using Russians to mean the Russian army.
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