November, what do you think of when you hear the word November? I would say the top three would be Hunting season, Thanksgiving with delicious food and Black Friday. Unfortunately, way down on the list would be the observation of Veterans Day. This year November 11th is a day we should all remember.
England Spring of 1944, 1.6 million Americans stationed on that little Island preparing for the largest military assault in history. Unknown at that time the target, the beaches of Normandy. Secrecy was of utmost importance and the Germans had spies that had obtained US Military uniforms and were trying to enter into the country and find military information.
This brings us to our story this month about one man out of the 1.6 million on this day. As a Military Policeman his job was to guide convoys, guard duty, and on this day to check passes at the railroad stations as passengers unloaded. He and another young soldier were assigned to this duty and usually this detail was uneventful, in public, a lot of people and close to their unit, so this MP didn’t take his sidearm which was a 45 caliber Browning pistol. His buddy had his and that should be all that was needed.
Now upon arriving on this day his partner needed to go to the bathroom, and sure enough as soon as his buddy left in pulled a train full of civilians and soldiers. As they started to unload everything was normal. As the passengers came through the gate, they held their passes up to show the MP, and he motioned them on through. Then suddenly things changed drastically.
An American soldier came thru the gate and uttered a nasty phase that cannot be written here. The MP ordered, “Halt! I need to see your pass!” as he grabbed him on the shoulder. Again, the same result, only this time the American soldier turned and took a swing at him. He was able to sidestep the punch, and in doing so he pulled his Billy club and whacked the assailant right above his left ear causing him to stagger away. But now his problems doubled, for that soldier had two buddies that now were coming to his defense. The second soldier made a lunge for the MP, and he drew back his Billy to give him the same treatment, but when he did a British soldier grabbed it from behind, and he had to let loose of it to defend himself from the two that was rushing him.
He now was in a fight for his life. He worked his way into a corner between a fence and a wall, so that they couldn’t get behind him and for nearly 15 minutes he defended himself while his partner was sitting in the bathroom reading a magazine.
Thankfully someone called his unit and help arrived to arrest his attackers. He was so worn out that when help arrived, he just collapsed onto the ground.
We now move forward in time to the hearing for the three men, and to the identification of the three assailants. Two he identified with no problem, but the one that he used the Billy on he wasn’t quite sure. When they asked if this was the person, he replied I’m not quite sure but if you check above his left ear, he should have a pretty good scar to help identify him. Well, this brought a round of laughter from the room and the prosecution confirmed that this was the man. When his hearing was over they led the man with the scar out, and as he passed the MP he looked at him directly and his words were chillin,
“Boy, if I ever see you again you are a dead man, for I’m going to kill you! Remember that.”
That remark was unsettling to the MP for Germans was the enemy, not Americans, but as he knew with over a million American GI’s in this conflict what would be the chances they would ever meet again.
We now move forward in time France Fall of 1944. The MP was along the roadside directing a convey when he looked up the road and low and behold who did he see? Could it be? Yes, the same soldier that threatened his life months before. The soldier had his weapon shouldered and when the MP saw him, he began to ready his weapon. As the thoughts raced thru his head, he made up his mind if that soldier realized who he was, and started to unshoulder his weapon the MP was going to shoot him. He would not hesitate, for there was a room full of witnesses that had heard the threat. As the soldier came closer, he glanced at the MP and with a slight jump and a shocked look on his face, he spoke these words, “Well I see you made it!”
“Yes, yes, so far,” the MP replied.
The soldier continued, “It’s been Hel* over here!”
“It sure has,” the MP replied.
The soldier as he walked past finished the short conversation with, “Good luck soldier, good luck!”
“You too,” the MP replied as he watched the soldier until he was out of sight.
It is no secret that war changes people, a lot of fellows left boys and came back men, but sadly some never came back. I know that God works in mysterious, but the MP relying on his partner left his handgun at his barracks, for he stated that if he would have had it with him, he would have most likely shot these guys at the train station. Obviously, we don’t know if the soldier made it, we could only hope.
This is a story of my daddy, a single US Army Veteran in WW2, but keep in mind there are millions of stories of millions of men and women of many wars and conflicts over the years. We thank these Veterans so much for THEIR sacrifices that they made to keep US safe and OUR nation free.
Believe it or not
Until next time