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Monday, November 12, 2012

Our WWII Soldier's Chest Injury Leads To A Transfer To A Different British Hospital

Oct. 8, 1944

My Darling Mark
         Hello Sweetheart! !
I got your letter of the 28th yesterday, but didn’t answer – because I knew I was being transferred. I’m in a different hospital now – about a mile from the one I was in.
         They had me transferred here – to look into my chest injury. I don’t know what they’ll do about it yet.
         I got a letter from Babe yesterday. I’ll have to answer. I guess my mail will take a little longer to catch up with me now. I was to get paid Tues. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get paid now. I hope not to (sic) long.
         I suppose by the time my mail starts to get here & I’m about to get paid – I’ll be transferred again.
         Well honey, I’ll close for now & write tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have some thing to tell you then. I sure miss you honey & love you more every day. I wish I was with you now. But I guess that’s out till this is over. Bye for now honey. Write soon.
All My Love Ever         Johnny

Author's Note:  Johnny's chest and neck were riddled with shrapnel when his tank was blown up in France.  Some pieces couldn't be removed, including one that was lodged next to his heart, that remained there throughout his life.

Some pieces pierced his lungs.  When he was a prisoner of war in Paris, an infection set into his lungs and they started filling up with pus.  The German doctors used a syringe with a huge needle, inserted it between his ribs, and extracted the pus with the syringe.  Later that when he told the British doctors about it, they said they never would have thought of that, and he would have died (remember that antibiotics had just been discovered and weren't in common use yet).  So, although the Germans almost killed him initially, they ended up saving his life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Years Post-War, Johnny Suffers From PTSD

Some 30 years later, Johnny was stricken with PTSD due to memories from the mortar attack on his tank.

One evening in the mid-70's, he was driving home, and when he glanced in the rear-view mirror he saw the orange, glowing setting sun and flashed back to the fireball from the German A.T. gun that blew up his tank.  He panicked and had to pull over and spend a few minutes to regain his composure.

After that, the flashbacks of that attack kept recurring, as well as other memories from the war:  the shooting, the men falling dead, the days as a prisoner of war and the men next to him,  dying.

After suffering with the memories for several months, he went to the Veterans Administration and they provided counseling and support. He continued the counseling for several years to help him cope with the horrific memories from the war.  He eventually volunteered to take calls from a suicide support hotline.  He didn't find out until later, but one of the calls that he successfully encouraged to seek medical help was one of his relatives!

What an amazing man, that he turned his own crisis suffering PTSD to a life-saving _____.

Happy Veterans Day, to all who served!

We appreciate you!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Describes How He Was Wounded And Taken Prisoner Of War

Oct. 5, 1944

My Darling Mark
         Hello Sweetheart!
Hows my honey! I got 14 letters today – 7 from you. From July 4-5, Aug 14, Sept. 22-23-24-25. Nice going honey! I also got 2 of the snapshots you sent. I got some mail from June yet!
         I guess if I wait long enough – it’ll finally all catch up with me. Mom said she had 3 packages on the way – but I haven’t received any of those yet.
         How are you getting my mail now, honey? Oftener I hope. I’m writing pretty often. There isn’t much more to do. I sure have a mess to answer tonite – but I don’t think I’ll try & answer them all tonite!
         Honey – I wouldn’t want to say one way or the other whether or not there’s a chance I’ll be home by Xmas. I wouldn’t even want to say maybe! I know you would be disappointed if I didn’t come home – if I gave you any encouragement that I might. Honey – I honestly don’t know – when or where I’ll go from here. I have no reasons to believe I’ll go back to the states tho. But how I hope so. We’ll just have to wait & see honey – how things turn out.
         I’m feeling pretty good & I’m hardly a lump now. There’s still a couple of open wounds in my leg yet – but shouldn’t be much longer in healing. My chest gives me a little trouble – not much tho.
         I thought I told you how I was wounded honey.
         Well, it happened so quick – it was hard to realize. I remember seeing the flash from this Jerry A.T. gun & the next thing I knew our tank was on fire. I don’t remember how I got out but I came to beside it. I knew I had to get away – because it was burning & the ammo exploding. I couldn’t get up so I rolled about 15 ft. & passed out. My platoon Sargeant was blown out & he got as far as I did. Both his legs were pretty well beat up. I woke up 2 days later – a prisoner – what a hell of a shock. The driver & the other Sargeant must have been killed. The Jerries gave us they’re billfolds & a dog tag. There’s a lot of details that would take pages honey – so I hadn’t better go to sleep.
         I'll close for tonite and answer a few more & hit dreamland. Bye for now honey. I love you and miss you.
All My Love Always             Johnny

German A.T. (Anti-Tank) Gun

 (for more information about German anti-tank weapons, go to: