Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 27, 1943

Monday, July 27, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

The other day I was appointed investigation officer in a case where one of our soldiers is supposed to have stolen a British owned German BMW motor cycle. The kid really has some charges against him. The story goes that, well we will call him Smith, was driving around Tunis when he was stopped by an English Lt. The Lt. recognized the motor that had been stolen from his place last Tuesday. Smith was turned over to the American MP’s who in turn took him to the C.I.D. for questioning. He gave his rank as Tech Sgt. and was wearing the stripes, gave his false name, serial no., and organization. Our private he of course was impersonating a non-commissioned officer which is a serious charge. He stated that he had bought the motor off an English soldier for $15.00 and gave a description of said soldier. It was later determined that it was highly improbable that soldier wearing uniform of that description would be in this area. Also the motor was not taken until Tuesday, although Smith said he had bought it Sunday. Careless of him. Well it all adds up to say that it was stolen. Today I spent my time in Tunis tracking down witnesses and getting statements. Boy! Finding some of these outfits in town is just like hunting for a needle in a haystack. I got all but the Eng. Lt and have an appointment with him for 9 a.m. tomorrow. It was hot as hell in town so I did my share of sweating. Later I went out to Janettes and spent the evening. She certainly is a pretty swell kid and her parents are wonderful to me. I shall remember them a long time and be grateful to them always.

Good Night

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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. Production Credits: Diary transcription: Shari Seippel Diary photos: Claudia Forbes

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