Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – May 24, 1943
Monday, May 24, 1943
Casablanca, North Africa
May 24, 1943 Diary Page
So far each day since we arrived has been lovely. It seems that we came in here just at the right time as the rainy season has just passed and the hot season has not arrived. This suits me very nicely although I wish there was something we could do about this dust. I went in town today and in the course of driving around wandered into the better residential section of Casablanca. This section retains all of the N. African atmosphere yet is modern in its conveniences and is as clean as any other city. This section seems to be inhabited by Europeans mostly although the wealthier class of Arabs also live there. Do (sic) to the fact that thievery is so previlant (sic) and open each house has a high wall with broken glass on top and this generally surrounds the yards. Through steel gates you can see many colors and varieties of flowers whose contrast with the pure white of the houses is very striking. One thing I noticed about nearly all the houses is that they have shutters in place of windows. This must be to keep out the heat although I can’t understand where they get their light. I would like the chance to go through one of the better class homes to see what they look like on the inside. I think I’ll go out there again and take some pictures. There are also several lovely parks here although the army has ruined most of them. We are still putting floors down and trying to get settled.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: May 24, 1943
|• Death of Edsel Ford; Henry Ford re-elected president; Henry Ford II released from Navy to help stabilize company. (http://www.thecarconnection.com/article/1004897_ford-timeline-1943-1982)
• The Red Army begins an offensive against the German forces isolated in the Kuban bridgehead between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/eastern-europe/eastern-europe-index-1943.htm)
• The submarine USS Trout (SS-202) lands personnel, currency and equipment on Basilan Island in the Philippines. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
• Jews rioted against Germans in Amsterdam. (http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML
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.
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