After exiting the
plane over Holland, I took out and cocked my .45 pistol.
As I was
oscillating downward, I realized that my pistol was no match for the
anti-aircraft (AA) weapons aimed in my direction, so I put my pistol away.
I landed just
outside the enclosure of the then silent AA battery, and many enemy
soldiers came towards me to surrender.
the 3rd Battalion walked from the drop zone to Berg-En-Dal,
where I set up an aid station in the home of a Nijmegen banker named Van
The bankerís eldest
son, Gerard, a member of the Dutch underground resistance, loaded me on
the back of his motorcycle and we went in search for a car. We
appropriated an abandoned late-model Oldsmobile, which we were able to
start by crossing wires under the steering wheel.
In returning from
our forward aid station in Beek, where we had help from Dutch nurses, Lt.
Schools, my assistance surgeon, was driving the Oldsmobile when he took a
wrong road and sped by our advance soldiers at a road block.
On realizing this,
we climbed an embankment to turn around and the car stalled. We had some
terrifying moments trying to restart it and escape back to our own lines.
Later on, I was
seated in the front seat of a jeep which was used to pick up the wounded.
We were moving slowly on top of a bank above flat ground, when suddenly we
rounded a corner of a house and found ourselves facing the menacing big
gun of a German tank.
My driver came to a
complete stop, put the jeep in reverse and shot back to the protection of
the house, then sped away while the tank gun was exploding with fury.
The expert driver
was so unnerved by this experience; he was unable to drive again and was
assigned less stressful work.
Then there was the
time I had walked and crawled forward to assess the combat situation
concerning casualties. I had to hit the dirt because of incoming shells. I
found myself behind the British Tank and saw two Tommies beneath it,
calmly having their afternoon tea.
I have forgotten many things, but some
things stand out, such as those eerie night creatures.
On the move one night, we were startled
to see many people completely in white, aimlessly walking about in the
They were not ghosts, merely terrified
occupants of the nearby insane asylum.