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"I've been gone from Belmont sparing a few quick visits since the early '60's so 'the Olive block' is still there in my imagination. You might say 'it was Belmont' to many of us. The tudor architecture drew a bit of awesome respect from the visitor while offering a feeling of 'ingroup' welcome. Olives was 'the drugstore', clean, marble soda fountain counter, newspapers on a 'sill' by the front window, which incidentally offered a good view of 'passersby'. Two memorable occasions in that drug store have remained in my 'memory drum'.
During WW2 many British servicemen were hosted on weekends by Belmont families. Olive's was their rendezvous point and more than once when I was in there, probably for a newspaper, some English soldiers joked about language and other 'anglo-american' differences."
"I had a picture of myself with some other 'school boys' on a truck collecting scrap paper from curbsides during World War 2. I have to admit that one time when we came down my street, after we had learned our pics would be taken later by the Belmont paper, I made an excuse to run in the house. I HAD to change my socks for white ones, no 'respectable' young man in those days would be 'caught' in a news photo not wearing white socks. I set up a 'work area' in the cellar to work on model airplanes. I started with solid kits of the P40 and I think the Grumman Hellcat. Looking at a P40 history site recently I recalled the marine green paint I put on the P40."
Being eleven years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, my memories are very vivid today. Rationing was wide spread, everything from meat, sugar, shoes and gasoline were rationed. Doctors had the highest gallonage allowed but some had to take public transportation when making house calls if their rationing was depleted.
But my most vivid memories was of my fathers important job for the war effort. He was the New Orleans agent for The Association of American Railroads. It was his job to see that both the local military and local war plants had the railroad cars to meet their needs. Camp Leroy Johnson may need a troop train to send soldiers to other places. But the need for transportation was heaviest for Higgins Industries. Andrew Higgins is well known for making Landing Craft, but his plants also made PT Boats. On June 4, 1944 my father told us that he had more railroad cars needed by Higgins months proceeding the invasion that it was evident that something big was in the making.
We also had shortages of things that were not rationed. Toilet paper was of short supply, as was produce and cigarettes. Paper because of needed cartons to ship certain war products. A plant on my newspaper route was making small cardboard cylinders which were for shipping handgranades. The best produce went to the military as did cigarettes.
But none of that was much different from pre-war experiences. The great depression caused us to not afford much of what the war shortages deprived us of. During the depression when soles on shoes wore out we used cardboard to replace the soles. During W.W.III we could afford to have the shoes repaired.
But no memory can compare with the Stars on flags in windows of homes of service men. The flags were blue and white with a red star which denotes a man or woman was in the service of his country. As an adolescent walking to a movie or other place we kids would count the stars. Then when a household was informed that the service man was killed the red star was replaced with a flag with a gold star. The expression a Gold Star Mother was coined to say that a woman lost her son.
Memories of boot camp San Diego Aug.1943
I don't know if this incident happened to some guys in each company in training or just to me. I was in company 344 43 when one day, while I was at sick bay, there was a barracks inspection and it seems that my sea bag was not tightly closed so when I returned I found the company standing at attention amid what looked like dirty, wet , white, clothes. It was my and one other fellows white uniforms. The company was made to march back and forth over them to set an example, I think, to show that the navy meant business. Well some of the fellows thought it was a cruel action and helped me scrub them out on the wash rack and it took some time. I think the example for me was how others came to help when they thought an injustice was committed by those in authority knowing that it could have been one of them. The rest of my career in the navy was fine and thinking back now, so many years ago, how it felt, I realise it wasn't the action that I remember, but the kind feelings and the help of my shipmates that really counted.
During WW2 a C-47 military plane crashed into a farm field not far from my house in august of 1944
I live in Northern Kentucky now as I did then, at the time I was 4 years old,but can remember this accident.
The pilot and co-pilot belly flopped this thing into an impossible place without harm to either of them, they stayed with the plane until the army came and dismantled it and hauled it away on trucks.
I always wondered if they stayed with the plane to protect precious cargo or did they think the local natives here in Kentucky might eat them.......god knows they came close to a couple of stills.....could have been horrible.....am just curious if anyone in the world could tell me what might have been on that plane.
The actual crash site is approximately 10 miles south of the present day Greater Cincinnati Airport.(as the crow flies)
I also have a picture of the plane sitting in the field where it came to rest.I still remember seeing both propellers there on the ground. I was a small child but the plane seemed to be pretty much intact.
Lowell L. Scott
I will never forget the day when, as a child, my mother took me into a back room of our home to show me something. She began to show me those military unit pictures on the wall that I had seen so many times, but did not know their significance. I was no more than five or six years of age at the time, maybe younger. She began to tell me about two brothers that I had that I never had heard about. It was confusing for me, but exciting in an odd way. There on those pictures were faces of someone I did not know, but were brothers to me. I had two brothers still alive at that time, so I knew what it was like to have brothers, but these felt different. What my mother told me that day, became a life-long quest of trying to get to know two brothers that I could never know in the true sense of the word.
I have forgotten much of what my mother told me that day, but I have never forgotten what my brothers did in their service to our country. I have always thought that if I could honour them in my heart, it would not matter very much if no one else honored them. But as time has passed, I have realised that what they did was important. They were no more, no less, than so many who went over there. But these were my brothers. What they did in the war mattered. For this, they, as well as all who served in World War II, should be remembered by all. PFC Clyde F. Cagle and PFC George M. (Melton) Cagle paid the ultimate price for the United States to remain free. This should never be taken lightly. They truly are fallen heroes
I have tried to ask questions down through the years to learn from family members as much as I could about my brothers, but I could never get my family to say very much. Until the day she died, my mother was the only one with whom I could talk about my brothers openly and comfortably. It must have been so painful for her, but she never told me to go away, or not to ask any more questions.
Being born after my brothers were killed, I could not in my youth, and still cannot imagine what my family had experienced just a few years before. I might add, they never recovered from their loss. How could a parent recover from this kind of loss? At one point in World War II, my mother had three sons and five brothers in service at the same time. How she must have worried. As far as I know, all of them saw action, or were in battlefield theatre of operations. One of my brothers who was in service in World War II survived. Another brother missed the draft.
My brother, Richard, according to his discharge papers, departed from the U S on March 15, 1944 and arrived in the Pacific Theatre of Operations (APTO) on March 21, 1944. He departed the APTO for the U S on January 19, 1946 and arrived in the U S on January 25, 1946. He was discharged at the separation centre at Camp Shelby, Mississippi on February 2, 1946. T-5 William R. (Richard) Cagle was in Battery B, 325th AAA Searchlight Battalion. He was responsible for the requisitioning, receiving, and distributing of all publications for the central Pacific Area.
Richard was my best friend. He was my big brother, my hero. He could do everything in my eyes. He had some hard years after the war. He could never talk to me about the other boys. He had some days of deep, dark depression that would, at times, almost overwhelm him. These hard years lasted until September 17, 1970. His heart gave out that day. I still mourn the loss of the best friend that I ever had, but I treasure the memories of the good times.
Clyde was in Co. L, 121st Regiment, of the 8th Division. They went in Normandy on July 4, 1944. I know very little about the battles that were fought, but the fighting must have been very intense. On July 12, 1944, Clyde was killed in action somewhere outside of St. Lo. He was killed instantly by an 88.
August 1, 1944
In reply refer to AG 201 Cagle, Clyde F. PC-N ETO139
Mrs. Maggie D. Cagle
Route Number 4
Dear Mrs. Cagle:
It is with regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class Clyde F. Cagle, 34,473,221, Infantry, who was killed in action on 12 July in France. I fully understand your desire to learn as much as possible regarding the circumstances leading to his death and I wish that there were more information available to give you. Unfortunately, reports of this nature contain only the briefest details as they are prepared under battle conditions and the means of transmission are limited. I know the sorrow this message has brought you and it is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic service to his country, even unto death, may be of sustaining comfort to you. I extend to you my deepest sympathy.
J.A. Ulio Major General The Adjutant General
This is the letter that informed my parents of Melton's death. How hard this letter must have been to read. I cant imagine.
23 March 1945
Mrs. Maggie L. Cagle
Rural Free Delivery #4
Dear Mrs. Cagle:
It is with deep regret that I confirm the telegram of recent date informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class George M. Cagle, 34,636,747, Infantry.
The official casualty report states that your son was killed on 3 March 1945 in Neurath, Germany. The report further states that he was killed accidentally by a machine gun of tank while cleaning the weapon.
I fully understand your desire to receive as much information as possible concerning his death. Recently provisions were made whereby there will be sent directly to the emergency addressee or the next of kin a letter containing further information about each person who dies overseas in the service of our country, and if this letter has not already been received, it may be expected soon. I sincerely regret that this message must carry so much sorrow into your home and I hope that in time you may find sustaining comfort in knowing that he served his country honourably.
My deepest sympathy is extended to you in your bereavement.
J. A. Ulio
The Adjutant General
There are many other things that I would like to know about my brothers, but my knowledge will never be complete in this life. I am thankful to know as much as I do about their lives and their sacrifices for their country. What they did ultimately bought my freedom. I thank God for them and I thank them for being willing to do what they could.
If you know someone who served in World War II, or in war in another time, honour them. If they are alive, tell them that you love them and appreciate them for their service for your freedom. They are worthy of the honour, even though they would humbly say that they didn`t do much of anything. May God bless their memories to our hearts and our very lives that we will not forget what they did over there.
I can say that the world will little note, nor long remember what I have said here, but it can never forget what they did. We must never forget. Our freedom depends on it.
Copyright 2000 by Gerald Cagle. All rights reserved.
If you have any more information regarding Gerald`s brothers please contact us and it will be passed to him.
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