Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 1, 1943

Thursday, July 1, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia,  North Africa

July 1, 1943 Diary Page
July 1, 1943 Diary Page

Today I felt much better, in fact almost human. The heat here doesn’t go out of its way to make you feel good but there is nothing you can do about that. Today even the breeze is like the breath of a furnace. If its like this the first of July what will it be like in August. The people say that it is the worst month of the year. Well I guess we will manage to live through it. This morning I had three days mail to censor and all the bags must have decided to unite at once because I had a slew of it. It took me a good two hours to get it done. What gets me is they spend two or three sheets of paper telling people that they are sorry the letters are so short but that the mail is censored, so there is nothing to say. This afternoon I went in town to see if I could get some good postcards. I have seen some the boys are sending home and they are excellent. I didn’t find those I wanted, but got a couple of good ones. About five I went to R___ Beach to see Jeannette. She was not there then I remembered I was to meet her at her house as I went back. She was there. They booked their tandem bicycle so now walk the two miles to the beach and I walked with them. I was still pretty weak from being sick as it was a long walk. The harbor is full of ships loaded with our troops. I couldn’t count the small landing barges etc. The troops had on back packs as it wouldn’t be long. The invasion should start by Saturday. I came in about nine and went to bed. I was tired. Good night.

Good night.

To view previous diary entries, click here.

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The Day That Was:  July 1, 1943

•    The submarine USS Gar (SS-206) lands personnel on the south coast of Timor in the Netherlands East Indies.  US Naval Operating Base at Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides is established.  The Japanese submarine RO-101 is sunk by the destroyer USS Radford (DD-446) in the Solomons.

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: 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

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