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Frank McKee - F Co.

We departed from Camp Shanks, New York on December 27th 1943, and spent 11 days at sea on the troop carrier ship U.S.A.T. James Parker. We landed in Belfast, Ireland on January 9th, 1944.

Our camp was at Port Stewart on the northern coast of Ireland and [we] spent a chilly winter receiving ground and weapons training.

We eventually became accustomed to warm Guinness stout, blackouts and Irish girls.

In our exercises along the coast we were surprised to see that the refreshment stands, diving pavilions, amusement piers and other innocent looking buildings along the beaches were really gun emplacements and fortified troop positions.

I remember two incidents in Ireland, the first was that Southern Ireland was neutral and was actually host to a German Consulate.

One night I picked up a girl in Port Stewart and in the course of our conversation she stated that the German consulate office in Southern Ireland financed trips for women to go to Northern Ireland, mix with the troops, get information by identifying regiments, divisions and strength, then report back to the German consulate.  She was one of such informers. I guess I should have handed her in.

The second incident was that I had a relative living in an area which was somewhere below Belfast and bordering on the Southern Ireland border.

I travelled down there alone to visit a relative who owned a pub. I found the place, walked in and informed the chap drawing beer that if he was the owner, I was his relative from the U.S.A.

He never acknowledge me, and kept drawing beer and went about his business. All the patrons were civilians; I of course was in my army uniform.

Finally a little Irish man came up to me and told me that it would be smart to get out of here and informed me on how to get a bus.I said something to my relative like, who the hell needs you, and left.

It occurred to me sometime later that either I had wondered into Southern Ireland, or they were Southern Ireland sympathisers.

There were no Yanks in that town, and I donít remember the name of that place.

In March of 1944, we shipped out to Scotland.

An interesting incident happened to me there.

I received an over night pass to Glasgow. I met a girl there and thought that she was quiet attractive Scottish lass.

Later in the evening she informed me that she lived in Scotland for several years, but she was actually Italian. That was o.k. with me but it seemed funny that I was to go to Scotland to meet an Italian girl.

The regiment soon found itself in our real home in Europe - Wollaton Park, Nottingham, England.

We loved it there, the people, the quaint pubs and innís, the girls, all of these things were super.

We continued our airborne training and prepared for the invasion of Europe.

I remember one night jump in particular. We were flying in a large formation at night with only two paratroopers to a plane. I was to be the second man out of the plane.

The idea was to jump two men, the second man delaying his jump by 14 seconds after the first man. Once on the ground you were to plot your position. In this way the dispersion of the regiment could be obtained without jumping all of the men.

We were instructed that once on the ground, stay there for the night, then head for the nearest road and wait there for a jeep to pick you up.

I landed in a field near a haystack not to far from a farm house. I could see lights in the house and decided to roll up my parachute and sleep in the hay stack.

I awoke early morning to find an English Home Guard man poking at me. He carried a rifle, and questioned me quiet intensively before he was convinced that I was an American. He later informed me that Germans had actually landed in England in the past.

I jumped in Normandy on D-DAY and fought for about a month and was wounded on 4th July, 1944, taking Hill 95 near Le Hay De Puits.

I recovered and rejoined my regiment after the Holland drop, just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.

I survived that one and when war ended  I served as Honor Guard in Frankfurt, Germany.

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