Wednesday, September 04, 2013

1943 ...the story continues



Writing about those days in 1943 (when our family entertained British sailors) has made me realize that I was too young to understand the loneliness that so many of those boys must have been experiencing. For me, at age 10, it was a time of great excitement and expectations.

We lived in Wellesley Hills, Mass., quite near the railroad station, and it was a treat to watch the incoming trains from Boston and to see "our boys" arrive. Many of them were based in Boston at the Fargo Naval Base and would come out every weekend or day that they had off. We often had 5 or 6 boys at the same time.

As I mentioned before the officers proved to be unacceptable...very Britishly (is that a word?) proper and no fun at all. We only deviated once away from the sailors. That was to invite two Australian belly gunners to our house. Their names were Happy & Jack and Happy became my special friend. 

                                                

When he finally left to go back to action I remember saying "Happy landing" and being very proud of my 10 year old's ability to make a pun of his name. Sadly he was the only one of the entire group that we entertained that was killed. As you can imagine I sorely regretted my parting remark. His friend Jack was shot down too and finally returned to his home, but in an almost vegetated state. Obviously, being on a ship was much safer than being in the air.

The war ended and so did our small contribution but the fond memories will be with me forever.


 

7 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Aw.

3:59 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I love these stories! I'm sure your family meant so much to these boys so far from home. What a nice thing for you to do.

6:07 AM  
Blogger possum said...

I am sure we will never know how much it meant to these boys to have your family while they were here.
What a fine example your family set for you all.
Great story.
And so cool you have pictures!

8:09 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

So sad that Happy didn't make it but you should feel comforted knowing that for a while, he had family and a sense of belonging so far from his home. What a wonderful thing your family did.

10:57 AM  
OpenID schmidleysscribblins.com said...

WWII was so awful and so many kids did not come home. Over time, I have realized there is no such thing as a good war. Unfortunately, they must sometimes be fought, but hopefully not over some stupid comment. Dianne

1:20 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The war losses of your Aussie friends is tragic and I am sure you have thought about it often over the years. During part of the war (it may have been prior to the American's joining in) airmen (all very young) in bomber could expect to survive on average only 6 missions. Thousands died. It is always worth noting that in those days men went off to war for the duration, unlike today where they go for a few months at a time. In WWII soldiers and sailors might have been away from home for as long as 6 years.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Sad that those two fellows were casualties of the war. It's a pretty terrible thing. But I'm glad that you got to know them. Very special.

7:05 AM  

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