A German Officer came over and told me
to come with him. I pointed to my leg and told him it was broken. He
gave an order in German and a couple of Jerries came to me and picked
me up, placing my arms across their shoulders. They carried me to a
truck and tossed me in it like I were a bag of meal. Then the officer
slapped my face and cuffed me around a bit because I would not tell
him when I landed, what outfit I was with, and all that stuff. Soon
he gave me up as a bad job and went away, sourly.
At about 4:30 they
took me to a sort of a hospital where there were a few other American
prisoners, mostly wounded. I was dumped in with the others on some straw.
We stayed in this place several days. I never knew the name of it. It
was plenty stinkeroo with me. Then we were moved to Cologne to a larger
hospital unit where there were more American prisoners. Still we had
little or no drugs, and I received practically no medical attention
until after 11 days we were moved to Cherbourg. There we were placed
in quite a large hospital. There was a ward for Americans and we were
cared for some of the time by those of our own numbers who had not been
wounded. A German doctor came along, however, and told me to grit my
teeth while he set the bone in my leg and put a temporary splint on
it. That was fun. At least it was a break in the monotony of just plain
pain. We had been without morphine, sulpha [sic], or any sort of a pain-easing
drug for several days.
Almost from the time we arrived at the hospital
in Cherbourg we were under fire from our own guns. Believe me, we were
glad of it. They never did hit the hospital which was pretty good shootin’
because they hit nearly every other place in and around Cherbourg. One
day a 500-pound bomb dropped right in the courtyard of the hospital.
We could see where she went into the ground. For a while those Jerries
were scared to death. They came strutting into our ward and asked for
volunteers to disarm the bomb after they had gotten it out of the ground.
No one else spoke up, so I told them I'd be happy to disarm it when
they got it out. Luckily for me, they lost interest in that bomb when
our boys continued to draw nearer and nearer. I guess they thought,
“What the heck does one bomb more or less mean when we are being blown
out of the tub, anyway!”
There was one German Officer who had a sense
of humor. He was a sort of a head man about our food. I guess that’s
why they selected this guy. Anyone who had anything to do with our food
would have to have a sense of humor to even call it food. Anyway, a
day or so before the fall of Cherbourg, this officer came bouncing into
our ward and, with appropriate gestures, said, “Room! Boom! No bread!”
Then he told us that one of our bombs had blown up the bakery and so
we would have no more bread. We gave a big cheer, figuring that it wouldn’t
be long before our guys would take over and we'd have some real bread.
Then it happened. Cherbourg fell and the very first thing our fellows
did who were able to walk was to raid the Commissary and set all of
us up to a real meal. All the while everyone was busy tearing down old
Hitler’s picture and messing up his name wherever it was painted on
Right away we had the best of medical care insofar as field
equipment would go. Really, I don’t remember much about those few days
right after the capture of Cherbourg. I know the first day must have
been like Armistice Day back home in 1918, with a French accent. We
all had such a grand celebration we forgot about being wounded. It was
about a week before I was moved across to England and into a real hospital.
I remember that it was on the Fourth of July they re-broke and reset
my leg. I sort of made a Declaration of Independence of my own. I was
independent like a hog on ice, as the saying goes.