A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago. The beginning posts set the stage for 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europewith the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.

#31- The Trip Over

    ◆    75 Years Ago
    ◆    14 - 23 September 1944

10th Armored en route to and arriving in Europe.
    •    September 16, 1944
Dora came to visit.  (Diary)
Dora arrived only 3 days after the 10th was on its way. Did Buddy say to her, “Go spend some time with my mother. She will be at her wit’s end?" Had some kind of connection been made between Beula and Dora in that brief visit at the end of June? Did Dora know that for the marriage to work in the long run she needed to find out more about Buddy’s family and what the future might hold? Just by the fact that she had been living in Georgia, was doing things that introduced her to a wider-than-just-Jewish group of people, and then found one she married, would reinforce the idea that she had moved beyond her closed-off Brooklyn upbringing. Whatever the case, it is interesting  that she was open to this visit.

On that same day, Nichols in Impact! Reports that the 2nd ship (the USAT Brazil) caught up to the whole convoy and experienced some type of storm, possibly a hurricane. (Nichols)

    •    September 18, 1944
Went to visit Mabel together and then a show (Diary)
Attacked by U-boats, destroyers ran them off. One of convoy’s tankers torpedoed. (Nichols)

“Appetites dwindled” as ship constantly shifted positions zig-zagging maneuver (Nichols)

    ✓    20 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

At sea aboard Brazil enroute to European theater. Weather favorable. (MR)

    ✓    22 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Dropped anchor at Weymouth Bay England (MR)

    ✓    23 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

0730- Sailed for France
1945- Debarked Brazil via LST
2005- Arrived. Truck convoy to 2.1 miles NW, Quettehou, FR
2350- Set up bivouac. Weather rainy.
(MR)

        •    September 24, 1944
Dora left on 2.15 train (Diary)

    ✓    24 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Began field duties at bivouac site. (MR)
Quettehou is on the eastern coast of the Cotentin or Cherbourg Peninsula. The headquarters of the 10th Armored Division was about 4 1/2 miles west of there in Teurtheville. It would make sense that the whole area was an extended bivouac for the newly arriving troops. Company C would remain at Quettehou until the end of October.

[Diary= diary entry from Beula Keller Lehman
MR= 80th Medical Battalion, Co. C Morning Reports
Nichols= Impact! The Battle Story of the 10th Armored Division]

#30- Embarkation

    •    75 Years Ago
•    10th Armored Division/80th Armored Medical Battalion leaves New York- twice

    ✓    11 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Departed at 2120 from Camp Shanks, N.Y., for NYPE…via rail and ferry. Embarked 2320 to USAT Edmond B. Alexander for Overseas destination and permanent change of station. (MR).

USS America (ID-3006) was a troop transport for the United States Navy during World War I. She was launched in 1905 as SS Amerika by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the Hamburg America Line of Germany. As a passenger liner, she sailed primarily between Hamburg and New York. … In April 1931, America ended her service for the United States Lines and was laid up for almost nine years.

In October 1940, America was reactivated for the U.S. Army… renamed USAT Edmund B. Alexander. … and was refitted for use as a troopship for World War II duty. At the end of the war, Edmund B. Alexander was converted to carry military dependents, remaining in that service until 1949. She was placed in reserve until sold for scrapping … to the Bethlehem Steel Company of Baltimore, on 16 January 1957 and was broken up a short time later. (Wikipedia)

    ✓    12 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Sailed on USAT Edmond B. Alexander at 0300. Ran aground while leaving harbor. Debarked at 1330 via harbor boat for transfer to USAT Brazil. (MR)

It was high tide, Nichols reported in Impact!, with heavy fog as they “slipped from the pier” and ended up stranded on a sand bar 200 yards from land

    ✓    13 September 1944
    ✓    Company C Morning Report

Sailed on USAT Brazil at 1730 for PCS [permanent change of station] and overseas duty. (MR)
SS Brazil was a US turbo-electric ocean liner. She was completed in 1928 as SS Virginia
Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's 56th St Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York undertook Virginia's refit in 1938, then renamed Brazil.

From 1942 to 1946 she was operated by the War Shipping Administration as a troopship. In October 1944 she arrived in Boston carrying US Army personnel and prisoners of war from Europe. [This was most likely the return trip that had taken Buddy and the 80th Medical Battalion to France.]

She was laid up in 1958 and scrapped in 1964. (Wikipedia)

#29- The End of Peace

• August 31, 1944
Card saying Buddy was leaving. It is terrible
• September 1, 1944
Letter from Buddy and Dora. I am just sick
— Diary Entries, Beula Keller Lehman
I sit and stare at these entries and the ones to follow from late summer 1944. Over these past years of researching World War II and my Dad’s involvement, I have had some of the emotions that may have been a part of those days for my family members then. Having none of the letters they sent, and never having talked to any of them about it, all I can do is guess what it might have been like. The 75 years that have passed give the remembrances a glow that I am sure didn’t have at the time. Most images of World War II are either in black and white or that sepia tint of old pictures. Everything is frozen in time; each event is a unique moment in time. But they were connected- one flowed into the next. I have been discovering that for myself as I have gotten closer to today when peace, in whatever way Army training can be peace, was about to come to an end for the 10th Armored Division and their families at home.

• September 7, 1944
Canned pears. Sent some to Buddy. (Added later)- but he did not get them.
— Diary Entry, Beula Keller Lehman
We also live in a world that is so incredibly hyper-connected that it seems like ancient history to think about families who didn’t know what was happening to their loved ones. The Vietnam War was the first TV war. Even though it was delayed by a day or so, we could watch Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley bringing us the latest from halfway around the world. When the Iraq War started we all sat around the TV and watched the bombing of Baghdad live. Beula couldn’t do anything like that. So she just went on with her life. It was all she knew. Canning pears- and sending them to Buddy; putting money in an envelope for him to spend. Just normal and everyday behavior. Life was already disrupted. There are comments about getting ration cards or about gas rationing. Everything was uncertain and unknown. The best way to cope was to keep the feelings and fears as far below the surface as possible. To do that was to keep normal routines.

For Dora, only married four months, she celebrated her 31st birthday on September 10 as her new husband was boarding a troop carrier.

• September 8, 1944
Wrote to Buddy and sent him some money
— Diary Entry, Beula Keller Lehman
I have been surprised over these months and years of working on this story. It began as a way of honoring my Dad’s service and making some distant connection with a man I hardly knew. I discovered that many of the family stories and myths were true. At the same time, the diary entries hide as much as they reveal. I have been a pacifist for the past 50 years. I have wrestled with my interest in the war and how it was fought. I found myself intrigued as I dug into the stories. The events that were about to happen at this time 75 years ago changed my dad, I am sure. They changed who we were as a nation, first for the better, and then…?

In recent months I have also been challenged to figure out what these all mean for me. It is one thing to simply recreate a world that ceased to exist when the war ended. It is another entirely to discover what the personal impact of all this might have been - or has been - on me. How did this world-shattering war impact who and what I have become? I do not want to take anything away from the story I am attempting to recreate. It stands on its own. It is the story of Beula and her son, of my dad and my mom. It would be less than 20 years after these events that all those connections would be gone for me. All that would be left would be pictures and some words in diaries.

• September 12, 1944
Letter from Buddy and Dora. I think Buddy has left NY
— Diary Entry, Beula Keller Lehman

#28- Arrival at Camp Shanks

    ◆    75 Years Ago
    ◆    1 September 1944
Arrived Camp Shanks, NY, 1430 via rail from Camp Gordon, GA for permanent change… Distance traveled 384 miles. Discipline excellent. (MR)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Through the next year there will be many references and quotes from the daily Morning Report of Company C, 80th Armored Medical Battalion, Buddy’s unit. The screenshot here is from two days ahead in October. The top locates the company and then lists any changes in personnel followed occasionally by a record of some events. The bottom section is an accounting of numbers of personnel in each of the categories, officers first, then enlisted men. Different units had slightly different styles of morning report forms, though they were all for the same general purpose.

Jennifer Holik at the WWII Research & Writing Center has a couple of good articles explaining both their use in the military during World War II and their value for researchers.
Company Morning Reports
A Morning Report was created each day outlining events of the prior day for the events of a Company. …Morning
Reports listed many details about the company which include:
    ◆    The location of the company for the date of the report.
    ◆    Strength of the unit in numbers of men
    ◆    Details of those entering and leaving the company
    ◆    Names of those declared AWOL, Missing In Action, Killed In Action, or wounded.
    ◆    The reports also provided information on the day’s events. Some clerks reported weather conditions, in addition to the usual information on where the unit was fighting, and other enemy encounters.

The companies were required to report numbers of men at each meal, which provided information to the Army, who then was able to provide food and appropriate supplies for the soldiers. These numbers also alerted headquarters when the ranks were depleted and replacements were needed. (-Link)

I have been able to obtain the Morning Reports for Co. C for the entire time in Europe beginning with today, 1 September 1944. They have given me invaluable information on where my Dad’s company was every day and, when appropriate, a record of events. Whenever I use one of the reports I will note it with (MR).