Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 25, 1943
Sunday, July 25, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 25, 1943 Diary Page
Today turned out to be old home week. I took the “Ginnie G.” and went up to Mateur about ten thirty this morning to see if I could locate Lew Waters. I went to A.B.8. Hqs (Headquarters) and dropped in on G-3 and found he was only 18 miles north of Mateur. It took me about 25 minutes to make it. On the way out cutting across country on an old dirt road I ran across about a 100 German prisoners hard at work repairing the road. It of course is slightly ironic they have to repair the same roads they destroyed a couple months ago. On the front of my Jeep sits a German helmet with a gaping hole in the side. I sure got some dirty looks as I slowly pushed through them. Well I found Lew and he looks just the same in a uniform as in civies. It sure was good to see a familiar face again and it wasn’t long before we were deep in a discussion of home. We had dinner there then Lew saw his C.O. and got a pass so we took off for Ferryville. Its not much of a town but it was a chance for him to get away from camp. He is part of a permanent cadre in a replacement center located back in the hills and only gets out about once every two weeks. It certainly was fun talking over old times. We went back out to his camp about four thirty and then took off. I had a date with Jenette so had to step on it. I made it to Tunis in (40 miles) 45 minutes which is something in a Jeep. Jenette and I went out to the beach for a while then came back to her home for dinner. It was delicious and they would (not) let me stop eating. And I thought the French were stunning. Whew!
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The Day That Was: July 25, 1943
|• At 8 a.m., German radio said Hamburg was still burning, leaving 100,000 homeless. The Allies blitzed Essen with 2,000 tons of bombs dropped. http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/european-air-war/european-air-war-index-1943.htm
• Benito Mussolini was arrested by order of the Italian king. Marshal Pietro Badoglio, a First World War hero, became prime minister, introduced martial law and incorporated the Fascist militia into the ordinary armed forces, thus ending the Fascist regime in Italy. Hitler ordered German divisions to rush south into Italy to disarm its former allies. Allied forces began to face stiff resistance as they approached Messina. http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/southern-europe/southern-europe-index-1943.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: Shari Seippel
Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
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