Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 6, 1943
Tuesday, July 6, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 6, 1943 Diary Page
In the 26 years of my life I’ve never seen a day like this one turned out to be. It started out nice and cool and calm and we thought we were going to have a let-up from this hot spell that seems to have descended on us. By three this afternoon the temperature gauges in the shop trucks were registering 114 and they are in the dark. I took Sgt. Kaiser into the hospital, about ten, with a pretty bad case of dysentery. Then I went to the Finance office to get my pay and turn back the company payroll. I still can’t get used to this money. You need a suitcase to carry $30.00. A 5,000 Franc note is as big as this diary open. That is the equivalent of $100. A funny thing happened there. I had a check for $12.50 for the Comp fund from the Boise PX and wanted to cash it. I had forgotten my billfold so had no means of identification so they wouldn’t cash it yet they paid me for the month to the amount of $114.00. If you can figure that out you are better than I. I then went over to the Officers Training mess and had dinner. It was fair. I’ve only had one decent meal since I’ve been here and I don’t know when I get another. Of course that is contrary to what we write home but we get fed pretty horribly. It was much better in Casablana _____ _________. Coming out here was about unbearable after dinner. I had to put a handkerchief over my face to keep the wind from burning me. Every truck that went by had its windows up. I’ve never seen anything like it. I know now why these Arabs wear so many cloths. You can stand the heat but not this wind. I saw a show tonight.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: July 6, 1943
|• In the 2nd day of battle at Kursk some 25,000 Germans were killed.
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