What value can be placed on veteran's stories ?

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    It's now gone up to two stars, so it must be an average read!
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    RemeDesertRat
    It's now gone up to two stars, so it must be an average read!

    Blimey !!!!

    It's now gone up to 3 :)

    Many thanks!

    Ron
     
  3. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    I suspect it will keep going up if others, like me, weren't aware of or had forgotten about the ratings thingy.
     
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    ... My own Grandfather for example was racist, homophobic and a pain in the arse at times...

    I'm surprised to learn that it's the homophobes who are a "pain in the arse" as I'd have expected it to be more connected with the practice of homosexuality...fnar fnar...but what do I know ? I've certainly never felt inclined to try it.:unsure:
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I was speaking to a WW2 vet the other day and the Regt he told me he was in for four years didn't exsist in WW2 and Sherman's never had 22 Pdr guns fitted in them.
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I was speaking to a WW2 vet the other day and the Regt he told me he was in for four years didn't exsist in WW2 and Sherman's never had 22 Pdr guns fitted in them.

    Was his name Walter?:lol:
     
  7. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    I was speaking to a WW2 vet the other day and the Regt he told me he was in for four years didn't exsist in WW2 and Sherman's never had 22 Pdr guns fitted in them.

    I knew a feller who told me he: flew in the BoB, was one of the three survivors of HMS Hood, fought Rommel in Africa, landed on D-Day, fought at Arnhem and liberated Belsen!
    Never knew wether to feel sorry for him or give him a crack!
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Oh he wasn't a Walt or such like, of that I'm sure - I believe he just couldn't remember what he did.
     
  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Twenty-two pounder guns?
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    My father couldn't state the calibre of the guns he had been playing with between 42-45, far before his death in 1988. Per the photos they were French 75mm (Le Soixantequinze) and later Brit 3.7in AA. And he always kept a sharp interest in WW2, I did inherit most of his books on the matter, but still he couldn't recognize his own guns.
     
  11. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    My father couldn't state the calibre of the guns he had been playing with between 42-45, far before his death in 1988. Per the photos they were French 75mm (Le Soixantequinze) and later Brit 3.7in AA. And he always kept a sharp interest in WW2, I did inherit most of his books on the matter, but still he couldn't recognize his own guns.

    That does not surprise me very much. Several authorities I read during my research (including Major General Sir Campbell Clarke, Royal Artillery) said that soldiers were not always the best judges of their own weapons, and that hasty wartime training often left them with little idea of what their equipment was really capable of. And of course German tanks often seem to have been identified as Tigers and German guns were often identifed as 88's whether they were or weren't...
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I knew a feller who told me he: flew in the BoB, was one of the three survivors of HMS Hood, fought Rommel in Africa, landed on D-Day, fought at Arnhem and liberated Belsen!
    Never knew wether to feel sorry for him or give him a crack!

    I vote for the crack.

    Oh he wasn't a Walt or such like, of that I'm sure - I believe he just couldn't remember what he did.
    That is very possible.

    One year at a Christmas party at my house, the husband of my supervisor at the time made the claim that he had been a Ranger in Vietnam. He did not strike me as being very "Ranger-ish," so ask him some questions. He answered one of queries about his assignments by sayng he had served in the "43rd Rangers." Well, in the Vietnam era (and I guess still today), the Rangers were in the 75th Infantry Regiment and divided into A and B Detachments. Upon giving me that bit of information, I retrieved my copy of Stanton's Vietnam OOB and let him look at it what it said about the Rangers. Long story shortened, he then admitted that he was never a Ranger and had never left the US, although he had served in the Army duing the Vietnam War.
     
  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Not that veteran memoirs are exempt from these defects, I recall for an instance Hans-Ulrich Rudel whose recollections astound us as how he didn't win the war by himself!

    An interesting point Miguel.
    The nationality of the veteran is often indicative of the style of recollection they put forward. Rudel is certainly not the first German vet who takes the approach that, "we were better and would have won if not for............".

    My son, himself a military history buff, made an interesting observation on this trait after attending a German university in 2008 to complete his MBA. He was quite surprised by the fact that among the German students was a complete lack of a 'self-deprecating sense of humour' which is, of course, quite common for English speaking people. In fact, it is often seen as an attribute and indicative of a lack of ego and arrogance. speaker.
    Not only did the Germans never engage in that type of humour but they openly questioned my son whenever he did so. Seemingly, they could not comprehend that anyone would deliberately make fun of one's self and chided him for it. It was beyond their comprehension that anyone would deliberately admit fallibility or make themselves the object of ridicule.

    It was one of the surprises he found with their culture.

    While in no way a scientific exercise, he made the connection that in post-war interviews, very few, if any, German officers were inclined to accept that they had made errors in the conduct of the war and most would never concede that the Allies outperformed German forces. In some way, he thought perhaps the German psyche is not inclined to accept blame or to admit failure.
     
  14. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Very interesting post Canuck. I've commented in other threads on how 'gung-ho' and rather vainglorious some German war diaries and histories sound, even after allowing for translation, time passing and the British ability to self-deprecate through a stiff upper lip! Reminds me of the story about the British Brigadier at the Imjin (was it Fred Carne?) who, when asked by the commander of a US Artillery unit about his situation, described it as, 'a bit sticky' and consequently received no fire support from the US unit who thought he was fine.
     
  15. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Very interesting post Canuck. I've commented in other threads on how 'gung-ho' and rather vainglorious some German war diaries and histories sound, even after allowing for translation, time passing and the British ability to self-deprecate through a stiff upper lip! Reminds me of the story about the British Brigadier at the Imjin (was it Fred Carne?) who, when asked by the commander of a US Artillery unit about his situation, described it as, 'a bit sticky' and consequently received no fire support from the US unit who thought he was fine.

    It has been my impression that American combat veterans, in general, are much more likely to speak about the men they have killed than Canadian or British vets. Even those who will speak extensively of their overall experience will often avoid that subject entirely or describe it in more generic terms.

    Cultural??
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Purely anecdotal - Most of the men from that era I have spoken with would not talk about killing others, except in purely abstract terms.

    Old Hickory would not speak of killing other soldiers at all and the few times during our book discussion that he even ventured near it, he cut himself off and moved on to other subjects.
     
  17. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    When asked the inevitable question by his Commando comic and Airfix model mad inquisitive kids - (there were 4 of us lads)- "Did you kill any Germans dad?" My dad would reply, "Never saw any son". It took until he was in his seventies and I happened to find an old crew mate of his that I gained any real notion of what he had been through.
     
  18. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    When asked the inevitable question by his Commando comic and Airfix model mad inquisitive kids - (there were 4 of us lads)- "Did you kill any Germans dad?" My dad would reply, "Never saw any son". It took until he was in his seventies and I happened to find an old crew mate of his that I gained any real notion of what he had been through.
    I had the same experience with my dad. My friend and I had been watching Errol Flynn in Objective Burma (?) or what my dad called "how the Yanks won the Burma Campaign". He added accidly "never saw a bloody Yank in three years". My friend asked him how many Japs did you kill Mr J? Dad just replied that it was something that you never talk about. Discussion over! I've since learned that dad probably killed several and had been involved with some desperate fighting when he was part of a rearguard covering the evacuation of a defensive area near Imphal. He may have even killed some Waziri's/Afghan's when he was on the NW Frontier 1936, but again something he never spoke about.
    During the research of my book I spoke with Major A who after several meetings finally told me of his experiences. He spoke clearly stating it was a job he had to do. Kill or be killed. Oddly the first person he killed with his pistol was a civilian wielding a machete during the retreat from Burma.
    Lionboxer
     
  19. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    On a thread here a question on the colours of the field service cap of the Lancashire Fusiliers. The official documents and other evidence point to Scarlet over Yellow, Yet an old hand would have none of it, blue and gold/yellow and his mind was set. More digging and back to the year 1893 the dress regulations for the LF - blue with gold/yellow piping (officers and ORs) changed to scarlet over yellow later. He had indeed worn the earlier pattern and knew it!
     
  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Purely anecdotal - Most of the men from that era I have spoken with would not talk about killing others, except in purely abstract terms.

    Old Hickory would not speak of killing other soldiers at all and the few times during our book discussion that he even ventured near it, he cut himself off and moved on to other subjects.

    Jeff,

    Your description of Old Hickory sounds very close to the conversations I've had.
    I qualified my statement by saying, "in general" and upon further thought it could simply be that there are more American vets than Canadian (we use the standard 10-1 ratio) to speak about their experiences and therefore create that impression. Only of those vets whom I have known very well and usually later in their lives (and mine too for that matter) have even approached the subject. It's quite understandable that they might tell a 50 year year old some details that they would never mention to a teenager.
     

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