Lt. Lawson Reichard WWII Diary – July 4, 1943
Sunday, July 4, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 4, 1943 Diary Page
A diary is a pretty wonderful thing if you are honest in what you put down and read back over it once in a while to see how you change: if for its worse then correct it. Of course like any other guide, if it is not used correctly it is worthless. I like to read back over it and see how my attitude changes. Sometimes I do something about the changes, sometimes I just don’t give a damn. It’s going to take a tremendous change over when I go back to civilian life. I noticed that so much when I was home in April. I felt strange when I went out with the crowd and had to watch myself constantly. How much more I will have to watch myself after being away from any sort of society for probably a couple years. It’s something to think about. This morning I spent around the shop. We are doing very little today as its Sunday and the boys have worked pretty hard the past week and have done a darn good job of it. After dinner I took as many as wanted to Rady for a swim. It was pretty hot and the swim sure felt good even if the water was pretty dirty. The dirt came from all the ships in the harbor awaiting their final orders they present biggest headache that Hitler will have here. I don’t know when they will pull out but I sure wish it would start. I’m afraid of this waiting. The boys left for camp about five. I soon followed but met Janette on the way so turned around and came back to the beach with her. We had a nice little talk then went to her house for a while. I came on out to camp about nine. I got a new letter today.
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The Day That Was: July 4, 1943
|• A Liberator II aircraft carrying Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, Poland’s prime minister and chief army commander, crashed into the sea just 16 seconds after taking off from Gibraltar. In 2008 Poland began an investigation into the crash. (http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML)
General Sikorski with Winston Churchill inspecting coastal defences near St Andrews in 1940. www.st-andrews.ac.uk/crscees/history.html
1943 Diary Recaps
January 1943 Recap: We first met Lt. Reichard in January, stationed at McClellan Air Base in Sacramento, where he was in charge of a motor pool unit. Expecting to be sent overseas, their orders were changed and they became restless to see action. Lt. Reichard’s sweetheart, Ginnie, would write frequently, and he would go to dinner and movies with local girls – Dorothy, in Sacramento, and Marie, when the unit moved to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. The men have spent their days in lectures, and physical demonstrations to try to keep sharp mentally and physically. But they are getting increasingly restless.
February 1943 Recap: The unit continues to be restless as they still haven’t any orders for overseas. The days are kept busy with lectures, physical demonstrations, and frequent hikes in the mountains above Boise. Lt. Reichard receives a promotion to Lieutenant First Class and continues to write to Ginnie back home, though her letters are becoming more infrequent. February 1943 comes to an end with the unit still feeling bored and discouraged.
March 1943 Recap: March brings uncertainties in weather and daily life to Gowen Field. Still no word about overseas orders, the outfit must now share quarters with another unit. There is now time to begin a photo album, collecting pictures from times with the outfit. Letters from Ginnie are becoming more infrequent but there is no shortage of dates with the local girls in Boise. March comes to an end with everyone in the outfit anxiously awaiting word of upcoming furloughs.
April 1943 Recap: Last minute furloughs come through, and Lt. Reichard returns home to Maryland for some time with his family on the farm. He and Ginnie have a chance to talk things over and hopefully save the relationship. Just before leaving Boise, the unit gets orders that a move will come at the end of April. April comes to an end with the men spending a week in Stockton, California getting ready to ship out. But where they are going remains a mystery.
May 1943 Recap: The long journey begins by train as the outfit travels cross country to Camp Shanks, New York, where they will prepare to head overseas. Lt. Reichard now knows the destination: Casablanca, Morocco in North Africa. After ensuring that all the supplies are in order, the outfit boards the “West Point”, the newest in troop carriers and heads to sea. Lt. Reichard spends many peaceful evenings enjoying the time at sea before landing in Morocco. May ends with the outfit setting up camp and adjusting to the customs of Morocco.
Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary Project : On January 1, 2009, WorthPoint began a three year project following the life of a WWII soldier through the daily pages of his diary. To read about the inception of this project, or to add your own comments, click here.
Diary transcription: Sharri Seippel
Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
Video production: Alison Harder
Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department
Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Bryan Smith – voice of Lt. Reichard