This is the seventh in a series of (hopefully) 52 posts related to the book Every Monday Matters. I'd love it if some other people wanted to go through the book with me. Contact me if you're interested.
I kind of decided to go in a different direction today.
Instead of writing a letter to a US military hero, I thought it would be fun to actually talk to a US military hero.
I interviewed Staff Sgt. Robert Warner about getting drafted to serve in World War Ⅱ and some of his experiences
Hawks: So tell me a little about what went through your head when you found out you were getting drafted, and some of your early experiences in the service.
Warner: Mostly guys didn’t think they’d ever come back again, me included, but you had to go.
We had lots of accidents in there. You’ve got a lot of young guys in there that had never been around guns and bullets, and lots of them couldn’t drive. So now you’re turning all those guys loose with all these deadly things, so we had some close shaves.
One incident out at Lowery Field we had a fellow come in and we went into the B-24, that was our bomber. So we went in there and he was showing us everything and he said “Up in the ceiling, this is the flair gun, and you pull the trigger like this, and you send down the flairs.”
So this guy sets off the flair, but they had neglected to take the cover off of the flair and they set the plane on fire.
So that was one of the incidents.
Hawks: What happened when you got to your base in England?
Warner: We got off the train and they loaded us into trucks and took us over to Flixton, the base where we were going to be stationed. They marched us into the mess hall, a mess hall is where they eat.
So they marched us in there for a lecture.
The major in charge got up to give the lecture and he said “This is a very dangerous place, we have lots of troubles here. We’re just 20 miles from the channel, and the Germans were on the other side of the channel.”
So he was telling us how bad it was and how we had to be careful and then there was a big loud noise.
One of our planes came flying over the mess hall and crashed in the field outside. So we knew it was going to be a dangerous place.
Hawks: Did you experience any air raids?
Warner: Of course they were raiding London all the time. So Jim and I got down in our hotel in London. Some of the rooms had been blown off, but there were some that were still pretty good.
So we got in there and, sure enough, that night they had what they called a little blitz. They came over with a little plane and they raided again.
Everything was on fire, they were dropping the bombs, and Jim said “What do we do, Warner? What do we do?”
I said “Cover up with a blanket.”
So that’s what we did.
That wasn’t much protection, but we didn’t get hurt.