After being wounded
in Normandy and my wounds had healed, I returned to Wollaton Park.
replacements were interested in our combat experience and tried hard to
fit in with the combat seasoned veterans. The replacements were necessary
to bring the 508th to full readiness to parachute into another
invasion or battle.
Mt best estimate is
that my return to Wollaton Park and the 508th was sometime
during August 1944.
The weather in
Nottingham was good at this time of year, which enabled us to train with
our new recruits with field problems, like parachute jumping, firing range
and the like.
It was not all
work; we were allowed to go into Nottingham on personal passes.
We visited pubs,
where local Nottingham residents had gathered for years before we
Americans ever thought of being in England, particularly in a war
Many of the
paratroopers had become seriously romantically involved with some local
enjoyed visiting Nottingham Palladium where [they had] big band music and
dancing, and many, many girls who wanted to dance with the soldiers.
The majority of the
girls were civilians, however sometimes both the English Auxiliary
Territorial Service (A.T.S.) and their counterpart, the American Women’s
Auxiliary Corp. (W.A.C.) came in force to the Palladium.
The Palladium was
practically all bandstands and the dance floor was filled with allied
soldiers from America, England, Australia, France, Canada and Ireland.
Going to the
palladium after I returned from Normandy was extra special. I met people
who were interested in my safe return from combat. They also inquired
about other troopers they had met and were also interested in their
I also checked out
the Red Cross building, which was located in Nottingham, in fact the Red
Cross building was near the Palladium. Both were fun places to go with
lots of nice people to meet.
The Red Cross
served doughnuts and coffee. The coffee was very good after drinking the
heavy black beer. I did not particularly like beer, but after a while I
was able to down a few.
We were so anxious
to get into Nottingham after a hard days exercise at Wollaton Park, that
we skipped the evening meal served on our base in order to have more time
at our favorite pubs, the Trip To Jerusalem and Denman’s.
We enjoyed eating
in the pubs. Both pubs sold big cheese sandwiches consisting of a piece of
cheese about a half inch thick between two pieces of bread, that was it,
but was it ever good! The sandwiches weren’t wrapped; instead they were
stacked on a shelf behind the bar. So our evening meal often consisted of
a mug of Guinness and a cheese sandwich. Apparently the diet agreed with
me, because I weighed the most I ever weighed in my life.
There were pianos
in the pubs, and we bought the piano player drinks to play our favorite
songs while we sang to them.
were English soldiers in the pubs and they would get upset with the
Americans, because we could afford to buy beer, liquor, food and songs.
There was quite a disparity between the pay scales of American and English
military forces. The English [disliked] it when we bought beer and food
for the piano player.
One of their
favourite comments about American Soldiers was that we were overpaid, over
sexed and over here.
On the other hand
local residents attending the pubs seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and
joined in the singing.
began in such neighborhood gathering places. One sad case I recall was a
pretty English girl who came to the Trip To Jerusalem. She had fallen in
love with an American Air Force soldier before the invasion of Europe, and
they planned to be married when he returned.
She had become
pregnant. It was quite common for the English girls want to marry American
soldiers in order to become American citizens. Unfortunately the Air Force
soldier was killed in the invasion. The baby was born before we returned
from Normandy, and she often came to the pub to see her friends. It seemed
that she might be having a difficult time, because she was not as well
kept as she had been prior to the D-Day Invasion. I remember we pooled
some money for her. The rumor was that somehow American soldiers were
getting food rations from the mess hall and giving them to her.
families benefited from knowing American soldiers.