Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – June 25, 1943
Friday, June 25, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
June 25, 1943 Diary Page
This morning the boys really went to work in a big way. There are a lot of trucks that must be gotten ____ the deadline and in a hurry as they area being made ready for this invasion. I noticed a bulletin this morning requesting the names of all men who speak or can act as an interpreter for the Balkan country. That to me means one thing. It is the route we will take from Italy into Germany. We can’t start too soon to suit me. Today verified an old statement of mine made in the States. The army divides its maintenance into echelons and we are considered a 3rd Echelon outfit. We are supposed to replace _________ already completed and not to overhaul them which is 4th & 5th Ech. Well I said that when we got over here we’d be doing them all and sure enough we are. Today we completely rebuilt a “G_______” motor. The boy that burned his up did a thorough job of it. This evening Sgt. Enright & I had a date with those 2 girls on the beach so we met them and talked for quite a while. Gradually I’m learning French. About seven I asked if I could meet her father and see some of his work. It was agreed and off we went. They have a lovely home with tiled floors and his paintings decorate the walls. He is an excellent artist and handles both oils & water colors equally well. He has some paintings done solely with the Palette knife. Some of his portraitures are really very good. We sat in the living room sipping wine and talking until nine thirty and I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time. We are invited back Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to it.
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The Day That Was: June 25, 1943
|• Newly built gas chamber/crematory III opened at Auschwitz. With its completion, the four new crematories at Auschwitz had a daily capacity of 4,756 bodies. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/the-holocaust/the-holocaust-index-1943.htm)
• Otto Ben, a German Foreign Ministry representative, reported that the 100,000th Jew had been removed from Dutch society. (http://www.neveragain.org/1943A.htm)
• The Germans began the final destruction of the people of the Czestochowa ghetto. Jews put up armed resistance in a series of bunkers. (http://www.neveragain.org/1943A.htm)
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: Kathleen Long
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