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Hance, Borden

Shaun Illingworth:  This begins an interview with Borden "Brub" Hance on June 29, 2006 in Red Bank, New Jersey in Navesink Harbor with Shaun Illingworth.  Thank you very much for having us here again, and we will be joined by Sandra Stewart Holyoak and Jonathan Wolitz later.  To begin, could you tell me for the record where and when you were born?

Borden Hance:  I was born in Red Bank, 1919, September the 22nd.

SI:  Can you tell me a little bit about your parents?  What were their names?

BH:  ... My father was Borden L. Hance Sr. and my mother was Elizabeth White Hance, and I had an older brother and an older sister.  I was the baby of the family, and I was born on Reckless Place in Red Bank.  Everybody plays a joke, "That's why you're so reckless."  That was an old family name from Red Bank--Reckless. 

SI:  How did your family come to settle in the Red Bank area?

BH:  Well, the Hances have been here, the original John Hance came here in the 1700s.  He got a patent from the Indians or England or something, and he got a land grant.  They called it a patent of five hundred and forty acres ... in North Shrewsbury on the Navesink over to the South Shrewsbury right across Rumson and we've been here ever since.  I'm about the fifth Borden Hance.  Hance married a Borden, there's a Borden family.  ... When they had children they combined the name, and my middle name is Lovett, L-O-V-E-T-T, that's an old family name around here too.  It's a funny thing--a little story.  I went to a meeting of the Fair Haven Historical Society, and they were having a meeting about the old families, and they had a speaker come, and I figured I should join that group.  So, I went to sign up by the secretary, and she was a new lady in town.  ... I said, "I'd like to join your organization."  She says, "What's your name?"  and I said, "Borden Lovett Hance, Jr."  She said, "You're pulling my leg," but then a friend of mine was standing there, and he says, "That's right.  He's not kidding you," and we have streets named in the town of Fair Haven, there's a Hance Road, a Lovett Avenue and a Borden Place.  That's in Little Silver, not Fair Haven.  ... My father, he had a hardware store in Red Bank, Robert Hance & Sons.  My father had gone to Pingry School and then he got out of school.  He got a job with the Harriman family, railroads, and he went West for a little while, but then his father, my grandfather, he was Robert Hance, ... he decided to sell the property that was left in Rumson and come to Red Bank, and he bought the hardware store, and he set it up, Robert Hance & Sons, and my father was the oldest son, and he had a brother who was in the business and two sisters that were silent partners.  ... He was in the hardware business until he had heart trouble.  He had to retire in the late '30s.  He was retired ... with heart trouble.  He couldn't go up and down stairs, but he took up the hobby of homing pigeons, so he used to have a loft out in the garage, and he'd go out play with his pigeons every day or so.

SI:  When you say he went West with the railroad, how West did he go?

BH:  He always used to talk about St. Jo, ... Missouri.  He didn't talk too much about it, but he often wondered if he had stayed with the railroad, ... because he was in on the ground floor with the railroad.  ... I guess he had a good contact, but his father told him to come back and run the business.

SI:  Was he working in an office in some kind of manager position with the railroad or was he actually working on the railroads?

BH:  I never heard, he never went into details, or I was so young that I didn't pay much attention to it.

SI:  What about your mother's family?  Was she also from an established family?

BH:  They were from Little Silver.  ... He was a vegetable farmer, produce, and his claim to fame, he was the first one to ever grow asparagus under glass in a greenhouse, and at Red Bank, we used to have steamboats come into Red Bank--there was a steamboat dock at Marine Park--and go back and forth to New York City and it was a delicacy from here, they had oysters from Oyster Point up here, and his asparagus, they used to sell to the Waldorf Astoria or something, because they were fresh.  Every day he'd cut the asparagus when it was in season and bring it to Red Bank by horse and wagon, of course.  ... He had a big farm there.

SI:  Do you know roughly how big the farm was?

BH:  ... Twenty acres or so.  He had greenhouses there.  I don't know exactly what the extent of it was because he moved in with us when I was about eight years old.  ... They moved his house over across the street, and my mother eventually gave it to my brother, and he had been born in the house, and she had been born in the house, and they both died in the house, the northwest corner of Branch Avenue and White Road, Little Silver.  So when she died, she was about seventy-four, I guess, and my brother was almost ninety when he died.  My brother was fourteen years older than I was so he was more of an uncle than a brother really.  He got married at a young age.  ... When he was eighteen, he was fourteen years older than me.

SI:  What was his name?

BH:  His name was Winfield White and his grandfather was named Winfield White; my brother, Winfield White Hance, known as "Wink."

[TAPE PAUSED]

SI:  You were talking about your mother's father and how he had an asparagus farm, and then he moved in with you later on.  ... When he moved in with you was that the end of the farm?

BH:  Yes, that was the end of the farm, but he was a character.  ... He knew everybody, and we lived on Spring Street at the time and he could walk up to the Broad Street, every morning he'd walk up by cane and get his newspaper and he used to smoke little cigars.  He would walk in there, and he'd walk into the bank, he knew the president of the bank.  They tell a funny story of the Bank Holiday back in 1932, and at the dinner table his mother's brother was still home and my father was there and my grandfather, and they used to kid him because he was a staunch Republican, and they told him about the Bank Holiday, "You can't go in the bank."  "What do you mean?  That's foolishness.  The Second National Bank is like the Rock of Gibraltar."  ... He hated the Democrats.  So anyway, he always used to go in the bank once a week and get his little petty cash, at that time probably twenty-five dollars.  So, it was his day to go in the bank, and they had a guard out.  "I'm sorry, Mr. White.  There's a bank holiday declared by the President."  He says, "Don't talk foolishness."  He took his cane and pushed him away.  "Let me go see the president of the bank," he's on a first name [basis].  So he walked in, and he says, "What's all this foolishness I hear about?  By God, I've got to get my twenty-five dollars."  So, the president of the bank, before he caused a riot or something, ... he just went in his pocket and gave him twenty-five dollars just to get him out of there.  So, at the dinner table that night ... he told my father and brother, he says, "I didn't have any trouble.  I got my money, walked right in and got my twenty-five dollars.  What's all this foolishness about a Bank Holiday--the Rock of Gibraltar."  At that time he knew everybody in town.  He'd walk up, ... he'd see somebody and says, "Oh, hi Sam, how's your father?" and if a stranger came along, he'd hold his cane up and says, "Who are you?"  [laughter] and the guy says, "I'm Sam Jones."  ... "Are you the son of Charlie Jones up on the corner of so and so street?"  He says, "Oh, no, I'm from Perth Amboy."  He said, "What are you doing in Red Bank?"  As I say, he was a town character, but it was fun, and well, he died when I was about twelve or thirteen years old.  ... I was born on Reckless Place and in the first year, I guess, my family moved to the corner of Spring Street and East Front Street.  That house is gone know, Krauszer's is there now.

SI:  Is that the house that we can see from the window here?

BH:  No, it's further down.  ... That came in '29 I moved up there, but anyway, at that time, I got a pony.  So when I lived on that side of the street from the river, I was a farm boy for the first ten years of my life, and I was very fortunate.  I had a very fortunate childhood, and my father and his hardware store was always doing people all kinds of favors, and he liked people.  He liked to talk.  Anyway, he knew the manager of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, you've heard of the Whitney family, ... with the race horses?  ... They had a farm out here in Holmdel I guess it is, and it was the Greentree Stable, and he knew the manager of it--the manager was a good friend.  He says, "We're looking for a good farmer to go down to Kentucky and run Mrs. Whitney's breeding farm."  ... My father suggested a good friend of his who was a farmer up in Shrewsbury, and his name was Arthur (Shutz?), and he got the job, and he used to send the two year olds up from Kentucky after they were broken in with a saddle, then they'd send them up here for training as two year olds to run in the Kentucky Derby.  ... When they send the sort of race horses up in a boxcar, they used to do it in the train boxcar.  I guess nowadays they do it by truck but in those days, ... in the boxcar, they'd send up a group of a dozen yearlings they called them--they were just young horses--but they always sent something in the truck, I mean in the car, to calm them down like a pony or a sheep or something.  ... At this time they put a pony in there, and as an eight year old kid, one ... Friday evening at the dinner table there was a knock on the door, and there's a telegram for Master Borden Hance.  I mean I'd never gotten a telegram.  I mean that's when they had a guy on the bicycle come and deliver the telegrams.  ... I opened the telegram.  It says, "Borden, be at the Red Bank freight station Saturday morning at six o'clock.  We have a load of horses coming in, and there's a little pony on there for you."  I mean that was a pay back to my father for getting him the job.  So, on this property we had a big barn.  ... It was ideal for one pony, a big box stall, so I got him when I was about seven or eight years old and I had to take care of him.  I had to clean out his stall every morning and carry down two buckets of water, because the garage was maybe fifty yards from the house, and we didn't have water out in the barn so it had to be carried from the house.  We had an outdoor faucet.  So, at that time, until I was ten years old, I was a horseman.  That was the uppermost thing in my mind was a pony, but then, when Dr. Fields' widow died, Dr. Fields, he was the one that organized the Monmouth Boat Club, and he married Alice Hance, so that's our connection.  ... Dr. Fields was the town surgeon, and he took out everybody's appendicitis.  ... There's a funny story about him.  On his right hand, he ... injured his pinky finger, and so it wouldn't heal up.  ... It was always in the way when he was going in to get somebody's appendix, so he amputated it, or had it amputated.  So he only had three fingers ... after it was all healed up.  When he would take out somebody's appendix, he didn't need as big an incision in the stomach to get in there, and he was famous up and down the whole seaboard.  ... Somebody said, "Oh," when they saw the scar, and they said, "I bet you Dr.  Fields took out yours."  [laughter]

SI:  Was Alice Hance directly related to you?

BH:  ... She was my father's aunt.  She was my grandfather's sister, but he didn't have any children.  He was another town character.  As I say, he organized all the clubs, and he organized the Elks Club and the National Guard, horse cavalry.  ... He had a horse right in his barn on Spring Street.  ... In those days, your family doctor, he was like God or something, and they heard that he was a collector of things, and if he had performed a good operation they say, "This is another thing and this is just a thank you."  So, he had one room in his house with all kinds of firearms, old flintlock guns, and stuffed birds, a big ostrich egg I remember.  He had a moose head in there and a flying stork hanging from the ceiling.  ... So, it was a great place for a kid, and he saved a hoof of his favorite horse and sawed it off her.  ... He had that up on a shelf.  That was very interesting to the kids.  ... Dr. Fields' house was on the river.  ... That's when I got introduced to the river, got interested in the river.  So I went from a horseman to a sailor.  ...

SI:  Were you just swimming in the river then or did you have a boat back then?

BH:  Well, the first year or so ... I didn't go down to the river too much because there was a gang of fellows ... in West Red Bank, they controlled the riverfront.  ... I got my own group; a group of us assembled up in the top of our barn, and we set up a gymnasium there, ... but then a friend of mine, Tom Lloyd, he built a kayak, and he asked me if he could bring his kayak, use the river, and I said, "Yes."  That's when we first went in the building, the Barefoot Yacht Club on Dr. Fields' property.  He had his boathouse which turned out to be the Barefoot Yacht Club, and that was filled up with junk.  I remember I went down there with my father, and you could open the front door and the back door but you couldn't get through, it was so full of junk, but in this junk was his kayak ... that Dr. Fields had used and it needed to be sort of repaired so Tom Lloyd helped me get that going.  ... My first year on the river was kayaking.  Tom and I, we paddled all the way down to Sea Bright all the way around, but then a neighbor, Dr. Roman--he was Dr. Fields' protégé--and he was married and had a son about the same age as I am, and Dr. Roman bought his son a sailboat, a Snipe, and so, I sailed with him as a crew member, got interested in sailing and I sailed with him the next year I guess, and other people came around with boats, and eventually, I got my own boat.  Eventually, we ended up about twenty-five or thirty sailboats along the area.  Out in front of the Barefoot we had about twenty of them.  ... These were all wooden boats, so we'd have to drive a post in the ground to tie them up.  Nowadays with plastic boats, they dry sail, what they called dry sailing, they haul them out on a lift, put them on a trailer, and park them there until they have to use them again, but when we had a boat, it was a labor of love.  You had to watch it continuously.  If it rained you had to go out and bail it out, take the water out.  When the storm is there you have to be careful to tie it up, and that was before they had track on the sails, so you'd leave the sail on the boat.  If it rained, after it rained, the sun come out, you have to pull up the sail to dry it out, you couldn't leave it all furled up, right.  So, in those days, when a kid owned a sailboat, it was a labor of love.  It was almost a twenty-four hour job, and you had to paint it and caulk it when you pulled it out and it'd sit out of the water, I mean, they'd shrink, you know, sailboats.  ... So then you'd have to caulk them and paint them, and to have a smooth bottom, you have to sandpaper them.  ... Now, the kids use a sailboat like it's a tennis racket or a baseball.  It's there when they need it, and when they don't need it, it's sitting on dry land on a trailer--it isn't getting barnacles.  There's a drain plug for rain.  They take the sail off the boat, put the sail down, and take it home.  Things were all different, but that's progress.  [laughter] 

SI:  I want to get more in depth into the sailing aspect but before we leave your days as a "horseman."  Did you have other chores on the farm besides taking care of the pony?  Did you do anything else?

BH:  Well, it wasn't a farm.  It was a good sized piece of property.  It was right in the middle of town.  Well, it's a funny thing and that brings up another--we had a man that took care of our lawn, our grass, he mowed the grass.  He'd come in a couple of days a week and this gentleman happened to be Count Basie's father, Harvie Basie.

SI:  Really?

BH:  You've heard of Count Basie, Mr. Red Bank.  He was Harvey Basie, and he would come in and do whatever had to be done.  He had to clean the house and mow the lawn and shovel the snow or, you know, whatever had to be done, because my father spent all his time in the hardware store.  He had to go down at seven o'clock and open it up and then after he got all the clerks and after his brother came in from Middletown, he'd come home and have breakfast.  I mean, he was just two blocks from his store, so he could walk home, and he'd come home for lunch and dinner.  ... He stayed open Friday nights and all day Saturday, so he didn't really have much time.  Well, he being the boss, he took Thursday afternoon off.  He played a little golf or something, but he didn't have time for housework but he could afford it.  I mean, he hired, and I say I lived a very good childhood, and so did my mother and we had a maid that did all the cooking and housework too, I guess.

SI:  Was your mother involved in the community?  Was she involved in a clubs or that sort of thing?

BH:  ... She and a group of other ladies, some of my aunts, their biggest activity was in the afternoon having a coffee party or a tea party, and they'd all get together at four o'clock and have a little cup of coffee ... and socialize, just talking.  ... We belonged to a beach club, and she in the summer, she would take us to the beach, but I didn't go to that beach; I had a bad experience there.  I was surf riding a wave, just body surfing I guess they call it.  ... I ran aground, the wave picked me up, and I dove right in, the sand in my eyes, and I got my eyes full of sand.  ... I've never been in such agony.  She had to drive me home and to the doctor to see Dr. Roman and he flushed out my eyes, but after that, I spent all my time at the river.  I mean, we had such a good time.  We didn't have to go to camp, we had a camp right in our backyard.  A group of about twenty of us and most of us, ... a few of us had boats--the other guys were our crew.  We had either one or two guys to help you sail the boat, you know.  ... Here already I've jumped into the Barefoot Yacht Club.

SI:  You mentioned earlier that you had your group of friends and then there was this other group from West Red Bank that controlled the river.  Can you tell me again how you won control of the river?

BH:  Well, I spent more time down at the river, and they came by, and I guess I told you about my wrestling match.  ...

SI:  You can tell the story again.

BH:  Do you want to hear that all over again?

SI:  We would like to get it on the tape.

BH:  ... Well, for some reason they challenged me to have a fight.  ... All the guys from each group sort of sat around in a circle, and we were in the middle like a ring.  ... We didn't punch, we just wrestled, you know, and we wrestled and wrestled, didn't anybody win, but I guess I convinced them that I could hold my own or something.  ... Their number one guy, he didn't beat me up and I didn't beat him up.  ... It was a draw, so after that, they didn't come around so much because at the time when they got there, why the people didn't keep anything on the waterfront because they're afraid that this other gang would either steal it or break it up.  They kind of turned it over to us and they didn't cause any more trouble.  Sometimes they'd walk by, and we'd say, "Hello."

SI:  How old were these boys?

BH:  Our ages, in the teens, early teens.

SI:  Twelve, thirteen, fourteen?

BH:  Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, yes.  We didn't have guns or anything.  ... I ended up going to school with some of them.

SI:  Can you tell me a little bit about your schooling?  Where was the first school that you went to?

BH:  I went to Mechanic Street School, that was a kindergarten for the first couple of years, but then I went to private school at Burton Hall run by Mrs. Hazard there, where the parking lot is for the Riverview Hospital right along Front Street there.  It was a private school.  I don't think she had more than twenty-five people, but she had from kindergarten up to twelfth grade.  My sister was one of the few people to ever graduate from there that went through the whole twelve years.  I went there until the sixth grade, and then in the sixth grade I went back into the Red Bank High School, and then went to junior high school and high school, and then, I didn't want to go to college.  Well, all through this thing, as you probably can see, I have a speech problem, I stuttered, and I'm a lot better now than I was then.  I was very bashful, and so I was afraid to go to college really, but I got a job in the Cadillac place.  My brother was a salesman for the Howland B. Jones Cadillac and Oldsmobile, and they were right on the corner of Maple Avenue and Front Street, that was right close to home.  ... I stayed there, and I actually got to be a manager of the parts department, but then the war broke out ... a group from the Barefoot Yacht Club, just after Pearl Harbor, we were all patriotic, and we went ... up to New York and went up to that famous street where you go to volunteer for the Army office, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines.  I tried them all, and at that time, they were very particular.  The guy saw that I was wearing glasses.  ... At that time, they weren't accepting people with glasses unless they can see.  So, he says, "Just to save you time and me time, just take your glasses off and read the sign on the wall there."  I turned around, I said, "What sign?"  ... A few months after that I guess I got, I heard from Uncle Sam, I got my draft notice so I reported to the draft board.  I figured, "Well, these other guys didn't want me."  So, I went for the exam, and then came the eye test.  ... I took off my glasses, and they said, "Oh, leave your glasses on.  Can you see the big E?"  I says, "Yes, I can see that."  I can see pretty good with my glasses.  He looked through my ears, he says, "If we can't see through your ear to the other side, you're accepted if you're warm."  So, then I had to go up to Newark to the final acceptance, and I figured, "Well, these guys won't want me."  So, I went up there, they interviewed me, and I got to the final desk, and a colonel there, he held a reject ink stamp on the accept, whether you want to go in the Army or not.  He says, "It's up to you.  I mean, if you don't want to go in, you don't have to go in, and if you want to go in you can."  So, I says, "Well, I'll give it a try.  I don't want to go in as a 4F."  I guess at that time, there was a stigma about being a 4F, you know.  All my other buddies were going in, so I did go in the Army.  So, I mean, I had tried to go in the Navy or Coast Guard, something to do with the water, you know.  Of course, I ended up in the Mojave Desert, that's where the Army was in.  I went down to Fort Dix, and then I went out to Camp Cooke, California.  They were forming the Fifth Armored Division out there, and I took my basic training out there, and during my basic training, I got pneumonia, but I survived.

SI:  Before we go further into your military career, I want to go back and ask you a few questions about before you joined the army.  What year did you graduate from Red Bank High School?

BH:  1938.

SI:  How aware were you of what was going on overseas?  Was it something that was on your mind or did you not know about it much at all?

BH:  Well, it didn't make a great [impact].  I guess I was at the age, I was in love.  ... [laughter] Everything sort of centered around, I mean, my girlfriend.  ... I was conscious that the war was going on, of course, but I didn't feel like I could do anything about it.  I mean if they called me, I'd go and fight, and I tried to volunteer, ... but I just envisioned that this is such a great country and the ocean was between us and the war, and I felt so confident in the United States of America that I was not worried about it.  I figured we could take care of ourselves if we had to.  ... Of course, all the propaganda about Hitler, bad guy, worse guy, and he was, but I guess I was, well, just before the war, they had a rowing club just like those guys out in the shell is, see them.

SI:  I am looking out the window at the river.

 BH:  ... You can't see if from there, but there's four guys out in a shell, and we had a good sized rowing club here, and I was in that just before the war, and so, that's where I spent my time rowing.  ... How did I squeeze that in with sailing?

SI:  We were talking about what you knew about the war and how you felt about the war before Pearl Harbor.  Was it something that your father or some of these other adults talked about?  Do you remember them ever having conversations about the future and what was happening?

BH:  Well, at the dining room table, I mean, yes, my grandfather and my brother.  I was the first one from my family to ever go in the Army.  They were originally Quakers when they came over from England, the original John Hance.  I guess they wanted their own religion, so they came over to New Hampshire, they landed in New Hampshire.  ...

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BH:  So, I have kind of rambled.

SI:  That is fine.  You mentioned that you were the first in your family to go in the military.  Was your brother drafted before the war?

BH:  As I said, he was fourteen years older and he had a big family.  In fact, he was married twice and had children.  He was married and had a few children.  ... My sister had nothing to do with it.

SI:  What was your sister's name?

BH:  Her name was Elizabeth Lovett Hance but we called her Betsy.  She was Betsy, and she was married three times, and she married very well.  I mean, they were all millionaires, but she didn't go to Red Bank High School.  She went to the private school, and then she went to a finishing school up in Massachusetts.  ...

SI:  You were working at the Cadillac dealership before Pearl Harbor.  At that point, did you think you were going to make a career out of what you were doing there?

BH:  Well, that was my problem.  I didn't know what I wanted to do, and well, I had this speech problem, and it ... affected me more than anybody else.  ... I didn't have any confidence in anything.  ... If you want to talk about my career in the war, they wanted to send me to Officers' Training School and everything but I wouldn't go, or I wouldn't take a promotion because I said, "I didn't want to be responsible for a platoon of men or a company of men if I had to say something and all of a sudden, I froze up."  ... If they're heading for a cliff, and they were marching, I couldn't say, "Halt," or something like that.  ... I didn't want to take [a position] where I had a responsibility for anybody else, so that held me back in life actually, and so, I didn't have enough confidence I guess to really set a goal, but a lot of credit has to go to my wife.  [Carol Lee Ingram's Note:  My mother was Carol Elizabeth Apgar Hance.  She was very instrumental in Dad's college education.  She always had great faith in him and his abilities.] She said, "I won't marry you unless you go to college."  She was very conscious of, she was a very bright lady in school, and that's before they were giving away scholarships, you know.  I mean, if she had gone to college I think she would end up as president of AT&T or something.  She was very well read.  She could be a fast reader.  ... Well, they tell a story about her at the Red Bank Library.  During the summer vacation, she'd come in there and get a stack of books to carry home like that and finally the librarian says, "Do you really read all those books?"  She says, "Yes," but the librarian called up her mother and says, "Do you know your daughter takes home about ten books or so?"  ... She said, "Yes, she reads them all," but she used to come down to the waterfront and read and watch all the sailboat races.  She liked sailing.  Well, that brings up another story of how we met.  ... Did I tell you that before?

SI:  Please tell it for the record.

BH:  We were out sailing, the Barefoot Boys some of us on Friday nights if the conditions are right, had a nice breeze, a nice warm day, we'd take our girlfriends out for, well after dinner, ... just before sunset when we'd go out and sail, and I had my other girlfriend and a friend of mine Arnold Schwartz, ... he had my future wife, and he upset the boat, and I came along as the hero, and she was a friend of my other girlfriend.  They were schoolmates, so we picked her up, and I brought her home.  I took her home, and I made a date with her the next Friday night or something, and I guess, so ten years later we got married, but I went all through the war, she was very faithful to me, and I was faithful to her, and then everybody said, "The GI Bill, I should take advantage of the GI Bill, get a good education."  She said, "That's something they can never take away from you, is a good education."  So I went in under the GI Bill.  So, at that time, I was very interested in boats, and I always read about they have a towing tank up at Stevens Institute of Technology, and I went up there because of that.  I thought I'd get into something about boats, but it's a funny thing--undergraduates didn't have anything to do with the towing tank.  You had to be a graduate [student].  I could have gotten a fellowship or something that got into the towing tank, but they didn't pay much money.  ... By that time, I was married, and I didn't think it was fair, ... well I don't know who would pay for it.  ... I got through college under the GI Bill, but I used up all my money.  ... I got some kind of a fellowship or something but it wouldn't work out financially so I figured I have to go to work.  So I did go to, after I graduated from college, I went to work up in New York City at Gibbs & Cox ... there in the shipbuilding [industry] but I had to commute.  By that time, I was married and had a child.  ... My family didn't like the commute from Red Bank up to New York, because I'd have to catch the 6:36 train out of Red Bank and didn't get home till after dark.  So, I didn't see my new child, just on weekends or something, and I didn't think that was fair to my wife or my daughter, so I got a job down here at Fort Monmouth but I didn't like civil service either.  Well that was down at Camp Evans ... down in Shark River.  I just didn't like how they operate in the civil service.  So, right in town here, they had Bendix, and I applied for a job there, and I got a job at Bendix and remained there for thirty-four years.  Their old plant was up here on Pearl Street, but then they built the big plant out in Eatontown so but now that's all gone.  So, I saw that plant being built, and saw it torn down, and thirty years in between is where I worked. 

SI:  We want to go over your career a little more later, but going back to the war, you tried to enlist right after Pearl Harbor.  Do you remember the day of Pearl Harbor and how everyone reacted?
 

BH:  Yes, I remember it very well.  That afternoon I had a date with my girlfriend at four o'clock as she had to go out during the day with her family, they were going and picking flowers.  ... I was sitting in the living room with my father, and I guess we had a football game.  ... I don't know if they were playing football back then or not, but I was just sitting in the living room to listen until it got to be time to go pick up my girlfriend, and it came over the radio, and everybody was shocked, but I still kept my date with my girlfriend.  We talked about it, of course, "How is that going to affect me?"

SI:  Were you shocked by this development?  Did you expect a war at that time or was it a complete shock?

BH:  It was a complete surprise to me.

SI:  Was there any local panic? 

BH:  It was the talk of the town, but I got my times mixed up.  ... I was still living at home up in Little Silver with my family, and I was working at the Cadillac place, and, of course, I was worried how it was going to affect me personally.  ...

SI:  Did the war start to affect things in town?  Were there blackouts?  Were there air raid drills?

BH:  Yes, I was an air raid warden for a short while I think.  We did have a blackout, and the headlights on your car they painted black.

SI:  Do you remember what you had to do as an air raid warden?

BH:  Gee, it's the first time I thought about this in sixty years. [laughter]  I was in a group I guess.  ... I wasn't around that long.  ... Pearl Harbor was December, and I went in the Army in February, so, I didn't have much, that's a pretty short time, getting drafted, draft board.  That seems to be sort of a blank.  ... It all happened so fast I guess I didn't realize it.

SI:  Was the Cadillac dealership able to stay open while you were there?

BH:  Oh, yes.  Yes, they stayed open all through the whole war.

SI:  Were they just selling used cars after a while?

BH:  I wasn't there. [laughter]

SI:  The auto industry was really affected by the war.

BH:  Yes, well my brother went to work for Bendix, come to think of it.  He was there before I was.  So, I don't know whether they were open or not, I guess, because Howland Jones himself went in the Navy, and he got deaf, and he was on a big ship or something and then they fired off one of the big cannons and it damaged his eardrums. 

SI:  Was he the owner of the dealership?

BH:  Yes.  ...

SI:  You spoke about how you got drafted and the whole process of checking your eyes and so forth.  Do you remember anything else about the induction process going to Newark and Fort Dix and that period of being tested and so forth?

BH:  Yes, well, we got on a bus at Asbury Park, all the ones that got called, we had a bus full of Red Bank people.  We got on a bus at Asbury Park and it took us down to Fort Dix.  The first thing we did, we took a sort of IQ test.  ... I guess, I did pretty good on that because they kept bringing it up.  ... That saved me from being in the invasion on D-Day.  ... After being in this country for twenty-two months, I went to California, and we went out, had maneuvers on the Mojave Desert, which was an experience, and we all thought we were going to get sent to Africa, but the African campaign ended, so they didn't need the maneuvers anymore in the desert.  They sent us east to Tennessee--Tennessee maneuvers--and we were there for a while, and then, they sent us up to Pine Camp, New York State--now Camp Drum--for snow maneuvers.  So I was all maneuvered out for twenty-two months.  ... Then finally they decided they were going to send us overseas.  They sent us here to Camp Kilmer, and we were there for a few days, and they told us--I shouldn't tell this story--but they said, "You're going to be shipped out in two days," and it was the whole Fifth Armored Division.  ... One night they let all the guys away from New York, they couldn't get home, you know, give them a chance to go to New York and most of them had never been here, and then all the New Jersey people, ... they give you the final night to be home with your family before you're shipped out.  I had a friend here from Red Bank [who] was with me, and he had a friend who was a taxi driver.  So, he called up his friend, he says, "You pick us up outside the gate at so and so, and we'll be there, and you bring us home," and then he'd pick us up early in the morning, so we can be back in camp for reveille, so we did.  We jumped over the fence, A-W-O-L.  We didn't get caught.  I came home and had my last night with my family and girlfriend, and then they were going to come and pick me up about five o'clock in the morning.  I couldn't sleep.  I remember we had a big clock on the wall that chimed every hour, and I heard it chime every quarter of an hour or so.  So, when I got home my brother asked me if I wanted that clock, and I says, "I never want to hear that clock again."  It reminded me, I was getting ready to go overseas.  So, I got back to camp that morning, and everything was fine, but they said, "There's been a change in the plans.  There isn't going to be any leave tonight.  We're going to ship out this afternoon."  So, I got home that last night.  If I hadn't gone on A-W-O-L, I wouldn't have that last night home.  ... We were on the Athlone Castle, that was the sister ship to the Morrow Castle ... that came ashore here.  ... [Editor's Note:  On September 8, 1934, the SS Morrow Castle caught fire, killing 137 people.  The ship eventually beached off the coast of New Jersey in Asbury Park.]  They didn't tell us we were on it until we were out past Sandy Hook; "You are on the," that was an English ship, "HMS Athlone Castle."  All the guys, "We're off to a good start if we ever get away from New Jersey." 

SI:  The clock story is interesting.  It goes into a question I wanted to ask.  What were you thinking as you were about to go overseas?  What emotions were you feeling?

BH:  Just nervous, I mean, you know, it's something brand new.  You hear all kinds of stories, and you're going to war, you know, war is hell, believe me.  It took us fourteen days to go across the ocean.  Now they fly across in a few hours.  ... I guess everybody went over in the biggest convoy.  ... You'd see ships all over and they had battleships.  ... We just didn't go in a straight line, we zigzagged so we wouldn't be hit by submarines, ... change course, and so it took fourteen days, and we landed in Scotland.

SI:  What were the conditions like on the ship?

BH:  You don't want to really know.  [laughter] My first night they had hammocks, and none of us had ever slept in a hammock.  So we all tried it out, the first kid got in it, couldn't sleep.  ... I guess they understood that, because up in the corner they had mattresses.  So, couldn't anybody ... sleep in the hammock, so we brought down the mattresses, spread them out, across all in a big room, like a gymnasium almost, so that way we'd sleep on the mattress and then they had tables seat about sixteen.  We'd set up the table and for our meals, we had to pick straws to see who was going to go and get the meal.  They sent one guy from each table.  They had these big galvanized pots in sections like this, ... the oatmeal in here, and the spaghetti here, and some bread here, and an orange marmalade.  ... We'd all stand in line going down an alleyway, and there was a doorway into the kitchen, and you hold your pot in there, and the guy would have a dipper ... on a long stick, and he'd go in the pot and slap some, you wouldn't get it in a section, so you had spaghetti and fish heads.  It was the greasiest, dirtiest thing, so everybody ended up, ... all I'd ever eat was bread and orange marmalade, you couldn't eat any other stuff because it was all mixed up.  I don't know how the hell we did that for fourteen days.  ... I spent all the time that I could out on the deck because it was so filthy.  All the guys were seasick and laying around on mattresses, but I had the call of nature.  I had to go down to the head and down the winding steps, and I sat on the toilet and a guy comes running down, going to be sick, "Spread your legs," and he'd puke.  So, then I got seasick.  I couldn't help but get seasick in those conditions.

SI:  Were they rough seas or was it just people getting naturally seasick?

BH:  I mean, we were just off Sandy Hook.  As soon as we left the harbor, you hear guys start, and we all had our helmets, used that as a pot to throw up in.  You could take a bath or a shower or something once a week or so with cold salt water.  Have you ever tried to shave with cold salt water?  ... Just as we got on the ship the Red Cross gave us a little ditty bag with shaving cream and a razor, and toothpaste and toothbrush, so I tried to put some lather on there, just like tar, and try to shave it off.  Jesus, I just ended up throwing the whole mess away, oh, God.

SI:  Did you go over with the Fifth Armored Division?  Or where you part of a different unit? 

BH:  No, I went over with the Fifth Armored.  

SI:  Were there any alerts?  You mentioned that you were going in a zigzag pattern in a large convoy.  Were there any problems?

BH:  No, I didn't hear about any.  Maybe there were, they didn't want to panic us, but no, we didn't have any incident like that.  We had our own problems.  [laughter] They always say England was the "Queen of the Seas" or something, but they were a mess.  ... Oh, yes, something else happens.  Them guys got kind of hungry, you know, eating the spaghetti and fish heads, but the crew, the English crew, when they were in New York City, they had gone to a deli and gotten ham and bread and they made ham sandwiches and they'd sell you one for five dollars.  In those days, five dollars is like five hundred dollars, you know, and the guys got so mad.  I never bought anything from them.  I don't know who did.  ...

SI:  Did you have any other interaction with the British crew?

BH:  No.

SI:  Did you have any other observations of them, like how they worked?

BH:  We didn't really see them, I guess, I don't know if the guys in the kitchen, I guess they were English guys.  ... The guys up in the bridge, which I never got anywhere near, I guess they were English, they were driving the boat.  It was their boat.  [laughter]

SI:  Before we get to Scotland, I just want to go through all your training in the United States.  You were training for twenty-two months you said?

BH:  Yes.

SI:  You were in the United States for quite a while before you went overseas.  After you left Fort Dix, did you go directly to Camp Cooke?

BH:  ... It was about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco right on the coast, and it was cool.  In fact, that was one of the few camps they'd tell us that we didn't ever wear khakis, we always wore the heavy wool pants and shirts.  ... It was the same every day.  Every morning it was so foggy you couldn't see your hand before, and the sun would come up and burn it off about noon or a little before noon, then the sun would be shining.  ... At night, the fog would start coming in, and it was that way every day almost, and we were right on the ocean.  When we'd go for a pass, we'd go out on the main highway just like going out, and you always go to a town at least two in a group, you know.  We'd never go by ourselves on leave, and so one guy would be hitchhiking going south and the other one north.  If you went south you went to LA, if you went north you go up to San Francisco, but all our rides always took us south.  Well, we didn't even get to LA.  We got to Santa Barbara which was a beautiful town.  I loved Santa Barbara, it was the best thing in California, and the soldiers could have fun there.

SI:  Did you have basic training at Camp Cooke?
 

BH:  Yes.

SI:  What did that training consist of?  Was it a normal infantry basic training course or was it something more specialized?

BH:  ... We ended up with a twenty-one mile hike or something, and that's where I got pneumonia.  We went through the normal close order drill and calisthenics.  We had one funny little incident--we had sand box drill, you know, you've heard of the sand box.  I mean, they'd set up a situation, ... and I guess one time, they set up a situation.  They said, "You have a tank here and you have a group of four or five, are the crew, three guys in the tank."  ... They asked you how you'd handle the situation if the enemy was going to come and you ran out of gasoline or diesel.  "What would you do?"  Well, we all said, "Oh, we got to save the men."  The instructor says, "We can get all the men we want for a penny postcard, but we can't get a tank." ... So, we said, "This is the way war is run."  You have to think about the equipment.  Then, I had an incident with General Patton.

SI:  At Camp Cooke, or later on?

BH:  No, that was in England.  It was just the invasion coast.  ... They were getting ready for the invasion, and I was a jeep driver at the time, and I was in the company headquarters offices like just sitting in the lobby in case somebody wanted to go for a ride in the jeep, I'd take him.  So I was sitting here with a couple of other guys, and we look out the window, and there was George Patton.  ... That is just [after] he had left Sicily when he slapped the kid, you know, you heard about the story when he slapped the kid.  [Editor's Note:  In August 1943, General George S. Patton slapped American soldiers who suffered from "Battle Fatigue," now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD].  His career would be severely impacted.]  So, we were sitting there, and we saw him come marching in there with his aides, ... his riding crop, his side arms.  ... All the guys were out on the street doing close order drill, and they were on a ten minute break, so the guys are all, I guess they were switching from the close order drill where they had their belts on, carrying the guns, and they're going to do calisthenics.  Well, anyway, they were on a five minute break, and they all went in the barracks, and there weren't any officers around at the time, so an old army sergeant, a real old army guy, he saw the situation, so he called the battalion to come to attention.  The guys all went in formation.  General Patton walked up to him and says, "Prepare the troops for inspection."  So, the sergeant says, "Open ranks, march."  ... General Patton with his crop came up to this one kid, and he pointed to a hole--he had overalls on.  He says, "There's a hole in them."  He said, "Soldier, you're going to die."  Everybody figured he's going to pull a gun.  He says, "Son, you're on the verge of going overseas, going to be on the battlefield, and there aren't any supply sergeants there.  You can't go get a new pair of overalls.  You want all your equipment to be in tip-top shape when you get on that ship."  ... It was funny, everybody just laughed after hearing about in Sicily where he slapped the guy.  He said, "Soldier, you're going to die unless you keep your [equipment in good shape]."  So anyway, I was in the battalion headquarters building, and so, our sergeant in charge says, "We'd better straighten this place up."  ... He went down to the head; it was just a bathroom, just one room, because this had been a private home, and they turned it into headquarters.  ... The sergeant says, "Go in the bathroom, straighten it out, see if there's paper on the floor."  Well I guess I had a broom, and all of a sudden I look up ... and coming down this aisle, this forty foot aisle, and I saw a general coming.  He had his aides, and his guns and his crop.  He filled up the whole aisle.  ... I called myself to attention and leaned up on the wall.  I bet you my imprints [are still on the wall].  I pulled myself back, and he walked by, and he looked at the bathroom, and all in order, and turned around and walked back.  I can say I rubbed shoulders with General [Patton].  So, that was a funny incident. 

SI:  To go back to Camp Cooke and your basic training, when were you assigned to the armored division?

BH:  ... It was the armored division.  Camp Cooke was a brand new camp.  We were the first troops in it.  I remember ... the water was full of chlorine, you couldn't drink it, ... they just opened it up, you know, when you first got there you couldn't drink it, and it was the Fifth Armored.  It was being formed.  They sent all the inductees from all over, we had a big group from all over every State practically.  ... It was interesting to see all the, I mean, I had never been out of Red Bank, to hear all the accents--well not the accents but their dialects or something.  The Southerners, and the Westerners, and Midwesterners; it was interesting.

SI:  What did you notice about them that made them different from somebody from Red Bank or New Jersey?  What stands out in your memory as new?

BH:  Well, one of the things--very minor things--but they called mashed potatoes, "smashed potatoes," and a few other odd sayings.

SI:  Did everybody get along?

BH:  They seemed to get along, yes.

SI:  Were there any regional differences or squabbles?

BH:  They'd kid about, "You're a Southerner, you're a Northerner."  I mean, I went in with a group of Jersey guys from "Joisey" City.  I didn't have their accent.  When I'd tell people I was from New Jersey, they wouldn't believe it.  ... "Aren't you a Brooklynite or [from] Jersey?"  I didn't have the same accent, but the Southerners' and the Southern drawls.  Yes, they'd call the afternoon, "evenings," instead of evening.  ... To me evening didn't come until after about seven o'clock at night, but that was just, and I'll always remember smashed potatoes.  ...  Oh, gosh.

SI:  Was it difficult for you to go from living at home to the military lifestyle and the regimentation and so forth?

BH:  I'm very adaptable, I think, I mean, I adapted to it.  I just sort of went with the flow.  ... I mean, I guess I had such an inferiority complex that I figured if this is the thing to do, you're supposed to do it, so do it.  [laughter]

SI:  Does anybody stand out in your memory who maybe did not take orders so well or have problems with authority?

BH:  No, they all went along with it.  I guess they figured this is how the Army works, and that we're all gung ho, we want to be American citizens, patriotic and stuff.  We were in there for a cause.  I mean, there's a different attitude now, all these crazy wars now.  I mean, we were after the bad guys, we were after the Germans.  General Patton told us the only good German is a dead German.  ...

--------------------------------------END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE-------------------------------------

SI:  There is a story you told during the break that I wanted to get on tape.  You said that your brother played drums with Count Basie a little bit.  Could you tell us a little bit about that?

BH:  That's about all I know.  [laughter] He made the comments when the Count took a break or something.  He sat in with him, I guess that's it.

Sandra Stewart Holyoak:  Tell us about the boxing match story you told us earlier off tape.

BH:  ... On the so-called farm in the big barn where I kept my pony ... we had a haymow or hayloft that's a second story, and my brother, well, it was before I had the pony.  ... He was fourteen years older than I was, and they used to go up there and box.  Well, my brother and his buddies and I guess the Count was with them, and I don't know whether this was Hance, but he said, "The Count hit me and I flew right out of the haymow door out of the building."

SH:  The Count had gone to school with your brother.

BH:  Yes, I guess.  ... My brother didn't finish high school.  He was a dropout, and I don't know whether the Count finished.

SH:  How long did you have your pony and did you have other friends to ride with?

BH:  Oh, yes.  Well, I told this all to Shaun that my father had a lot of friends.  He had the hardware store, and he loved to talk to people, and especially the farmers.  ... He was a good friend of the manager of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney's Greentree Stable.  ... My father knew her farmer manager.  ... He said that they are looking for a farmer to send down to Kentucky to manage their ... breeding farm, that's where they breed the horses for racing and after they got to be yearlings, they'd send them up here to train them to race, and so, my father says, "Yes," he thought of a gentleman, who is a friend of his, also a farmer.  He said, "I think he'd make you a good man."  So they did get together and he got the job.  So, as a payback or something, this gentleman sent up a pony for me.  It was when they shipped the yearlings up from Kentucky, ... they used to put them in a boxcar, and now I guess they do trucks or airplanes, and jets and everything, but they came up in a big boxcar.  ... When I was about seven years old, I guess, a knock on the front door, it was the Western Union man.  They used to ride bicycles, you know, bring the telegram, and I have a telegram here for Master Borden Hance, and so I opened it up, and it said, "Be at the Red Bank freight station Saturday morning at six o'clock and meet our shipment of horses," and when they used to send high strung race horses they always used to send a calming factor which was my pony.  So, I got my pony.  ... That's how it happened.

SH:  Did any of your other friends have ponies that you rode with?

BH:  I had a girlfriend who had a horse, and I had some others up the street that had horses or ponies and we used to get together.  ... I was seven years old, and I took care of that horse for three years before and when I was ten years old, ... my father inherited Dr. Fields' house right across the street on the water and we had to get rid of the pony.  Well, he had had horses, Dr. Fields but Front Street is out there, there wasn't any place to run.  So, my father shipped him over to a farm.  I could go over and ride, but it wasn't like having him in your backyard.  Then I got interested in boats so he sold it.

SH:  Just crossing the street changed you.

BH:  ... That's what I said, the environment on a person's life, whether they live by the water or lived by the countryside, so.

SI:  Just to get back to your military career, we talked a bit about your basic training at Camp Cooke and you met all these people from all over the country.  After you had completed basic training was there any other stage to your training or did you go right into a unit in the Fifth Armored Division?

BH:  I was just into the Forty-Sixth Armored Infantry.  ... We just had regular training, nothing special just what soldiers do I guess to kill the time, calisthenics, and close order drill, parades.  ...

SI:  Were you assigned as a jeep driver right away or did you have another assignment?

BH:  ... I drove a jeep most of the time.  It's funny how foggy your memory gets when you pin me down.  ... I hadn't thought about all this stuff, trying to forget, sixty years now.  From Camp Cooke we went out of the Mojave Desert.  That was an experience.

SH:  What do you remember about that?

BH:  Well, the important thing out there was water.  ... The first three days out there, I mean, we slept under shelter.  ... They hooked them all together, and we put our blanket down, and between ten and two o'clock why you just stayed in there in the prone position just laying until your blood got acclimated to it.  They gave us salt tablets to thin our blood and all kinds of things, and you couldn't hardly walk out to the slit trench.  They didn't have bathrooms, they had slit trenches, and you'd have to crawl on your hands and knees.  ... I had been on snow maneuvers and all over, but that was the coldest.  At night, some nights ... it felt cool here.  ... I'd sleep in a bed with an overcoat on.  ... They do have shower units in the Army so that was a big treat.  They just put us all in a big truck just standing up, looked like prisoners of war, and took us to the shower, and you wore all your clothes with your overcoat just so you get them saturated with water, because you'd stand in the shower.  They gave each group five minutes or something, you just stand there, and just inhale water and get everything you own just as wet, and you get back out on the truck, and you're all dried off before you got home, that's how dry it was, and hot.  ... There you learn to appreciate the value of water.  I happened to be a jeep driver for the chief umpire of the maneuvers--you know, they fought in wars--and I would drive him around, and I'd have a couple of five gallon cans of water, you know, and guys would come around and feel it, but we had one maneuver that they gave each guy a canteen of water, about a quart of water.  You had to live on that one quart all day, and so the problem began at nine o'clock in the morning and at eight o'clock that night we were going to attack a mountain, a machine gun nest or something, and all the guys had used up their water by noon, you know.  ... So, there was more mutiny.  Guys were, I remember, they were carrying machine guns, and they'd just throw them down, supposed to go up a hill or something, and there were cactus plants, the cactus seemed like the cactus things would come out and get you, but the officers tried to get some order, I mean, control, and the guy says, "I can't go any farther.  Shoot me if you want."  Threw the gun down, so my umpire, he called it off.  He said, "It was asking too much of the men," and the colonel that had designed the maneuver, he got transferred.  He got punished, I guess, because everybody just quit.  The guys just gave up.  ... The guys would come up feeling our cans of water, so the colonel told me to pass it out.  Of course, it didn't last long, but the guys were offering their salary, a month's salary, for a glass of water.  It was pretty bad.  It's the first and only mutiny I ever saw.  I mean it was tougher in the Mojave Desert than it was on my part of the war.  I wasn't in actual combat.

SH:  People have talked about the strange animals they encountered on maneuvers in the Mojave Desert. 

BH:  Well, just snakes, and the insects.

SH:  Scorpions?

BH:  Scorpions, yes, people were afraid of scorpions.  ... I didn't have any contact with them.  I remember that out in the maneuvers we couldn't use the highways.  ... The Red Army was on one side, Route 66, that was the borderline.  I remember we were out there, they had commercial traffic, you know, civilian traffic and a big ice cream truck came along, and we commandeered it or something, stopped it.  I guess the guy was used to it.  I remember we each got a quart of; I got a quart of vanilla ice cream.  You can get too much of a good thing.  I haven't liked vanilla ice cream much since.  It was getting warm, and I had ice cream.

SH:  Did you suspect that maybe this ice cream truck knew you guys were out there and would purposely come through?

BH:  ... We didn't have any money, they were actually giving it away, I don't know how, maybe we had pulled our guns.  I don't know but I did end up with it, I don't remember paying for it because I didn't have any money.  I don't remember the details, but I know the quart of ice cream.

SH:  What type of training were you participating in?

BH:  I was with the umpire.  ...

SH:  Was there any artillery fire going on?

BH:  They didn't shoot any guns, no.  It was just all maneuvers and moving the troops.  I remember I was on my convoy, we were going through the desert at night after dark, we were making a move or something, and you just follow the convoy, it was a mile long probably, you just follow the guy ahead of you, and I was in the jeep, we had four guys, and so they stopped for a five minute break and we all fell asleep.  [laughter] We woke up and everybody was gone.  So, I was driving, the sergeant says, "Well, let's go straight," and everybody followed us.  ... "Don't follow me, I'm lost too," but anyway, we just kept riding, and I guess we could hear them.  They said, "I think I hear them up there," so we finally ... came up behind them, and nobody knew we were missing, except us--a funny story.  ... Talking about driving, when we were in England, you know, they drive on the other side of the street, and one Sunday afternoon, a group of us got in a jeep just to ride the countryside and ... go on an excursion.  So we came to this hill, rode up to the hill, got to the top, and passed another car, and then in about thirty seconds, "Do you know what happened?  Do you know what we just did?"  I had drifted back to the American side and it was lucky the other guy was American too, he had done the same thing, so they all came through.  ... I like to think of that as a funny side of the war, oh, gosh--things happen.

SI:  You were with the umpire in the Mojave Desert, but were you ever trained on what you would do in a combat situation on these maneuvers?

BH:  No, I don't think so.  It was all up to the commanders.  I was just a PFC.  ... 

SH:  Did anyone ever argue with the umpire?

BH:  No.  ... Colonel (Gans?), he's a good guy.  I remember the two of us were out anyway, to spend the night, we just parked the jeep somewhere.  We had sleeping bags.  ... We woke up the next morning, and I could see a tank track had gone right by.  I must have slept soundly.  Out there all you had to eat was either canned sardines or canned turkey, and it was about ten to one in favor of sardines and I don't eat sardines.  As we used to say, "If you went out in the Mojave Desert with a shovel ... all you'd find is a can of sardines," because a lot of the guys would bury them, and I don't eat seafood.  ... I live right on the river where they catch soft crabs and hard crabs and all kinds of fish and everything.  ... I like my meat and potatoes and a nice dry bed. 

SI:  You said you went on liberty to Los Angeles when you were at Camp Cooke.  Did you also go there when you were in the Mojave Desert training?

BH:  Yes, once we went into--that was another funny thing.  We went, a group of us, we got a hotel room, and going in, we passed the Sunkist orange plantations and everything, so I got into town, and I got sick I think, and all I wanted was a glass of orange juice or fruit salad, and I went to quite a few, so we went to a hotel, and we're having dinner, I says, "All I want is a, can I just get a glass of orange juice and maybe fruit salad?"  You have to buy a whole meal, so I said, "Throw the other stuff back, all I want is orange juice."  I had this fixation, so I finally did get a glass of orange juice, but it cost me a full meal. 

SH:  I hope it was a good glass of orange juice.

BH:  Sunkist.  No, I think they send them all East--it's very difficult to buy a Sunkist orange in California I guess.  [laughter]

SI:  I was wondering if you remember anything of the USOs or anything like that in either Santa Barbara or Los Angeles.  What would you do on liberty?

BH:  I don't remember going to a USO in this country, but overseas, over in Paris, I remember they had a Paris hotel, and they turned the kitchen over to GI cooks.  ... Our cooks cooked their food, so that was pretty good, and the price was right, I think, but it was a funny thing.  ... If we went anywhere to eat, we'd go to a Chinese restaurant, because the English food they sell, their hamburgers were like sawdust or something, they didn't have any flavor, but the Chinese food had flavor.  So, we went to [get] Chinese food.  ... Since I've been home I've never been to a Chinese restaurant, oh, gosh, the funny things you do.  I'm just rambling on.

SI:  No, no, please.

SH:  After the maneuvers in the Mojave Desert, where were you sent?

BH:  To Tullahoma, Tennessee for the Tennessee maneuvers, and I remember that was another story.  We went right from the desert to Tennessee, and they sent us out in the field to pitch our tents, we were on maneuvers.  ... The first morning we woke up, we were in snow.  We had just come from the desert.  Our tent was covered with just snow, from one extreme to the other.  [laughter] Oh, gosh, I always remember the Easter in the army.  My first Easter was when I was in Camp Cooke, and we were taking basic training, and we'd gone on our twenty-one mile hike and I got pneumonia.  So, I was in the hospital on Easter Sunday, and then the following Easter Sunday I was down in Tennessee directing traffic.  They dropped me off from the jeep, I wasn't a driver then and they said, "Direct traffic.  You tell them they went that way," you know, just stand in the middle there right on Easter Sunday, and then, I don't know if it was the next Easter Sunday, but it was Easter Sunday, we were crossing the Danube River under smoke screen on a pontoon bridge.  So, Easter Sunday was always an eventful day.

SH:  Sounds like it. 

SI:  Once you arrived in Scotland, where were you sent and what happened then?

BH:  To Swindon, England just outside of London.  ... Then I think we went right down to the invasion coast right where we met General Patton.  Our whole division was there, but then just before D-Day ... I got plucked out of the armored division and into the signal service group.  So, then we went up into northern England.  I saw the invasion overhead, the airplanes.  I've never seen so many airplanes before or since.  The sky was just black.  They had all these gliders, I had never seen a glider, you know, that they towed, but I've never seen them before or since, but all these planes are flying over.  ... You couldn't hardly see the sun.  ... We could hear over the radio, I guess, somebody was broadcasting over the radio what was going on.  You could look out the window, I mean, we were probably fifty miles from the Channel but the airplanes, well, England, the whole island of England, everybody thought they had those barrage balloons up just to keep England from sinking, all you could see was American trucks.  I mean what actually won the war was the American two and a half ton truck.  I mean, we could keep our lifelines.  Hitler he couldn't get supplies up to the front, he had his tanks, but they needed fuel and food and everything, but they had all horse and wagon stuff, and we had our two and a half, Red Ball Express.  ... It just brought truckloads and truckloads of whatever was needed.

SH:  Do you remember what city you were sent near for your training in England when you went north of London while you were watching the invasion?

BH:  ... I don't know, it was sort of a castle.  It was our headquarters.  ...

SH:  About how many people would you guess were involved in this training at the castle?

BH:  Well, I guess they went to ... different classes and they told us about things we were going to do.  It was supposed to be a secret outfit.  I mean as soon as the war ended, why they disbanded us, ... they sent us all different directions.

SH:  How long did you stay there?  You said you went over about D-Day + 25.

BH:  Yes.

SH:  Were you already receiving messages there or was this just training?

BH:  No, it was just training.  ...

SI:  What did they train you to do?

BH:  Well, I was a part-time jeep driver and this code clerk which wasn't too busy.  ... We didn't have too much to send back to headquarters.

SI:  Could you describe for the tape what you actually did when you were coding these messages?

BH:  ... We had a little machine, and they had to change it every day.  I had to keep that up to date.  Somebody sent me a sheet of how to set this machine up, but I was always ready.

SH:  Who was receiving the messages?  You said there were German-speaking people with you.

BH:  Yes, I mean, they were on the radio just listening in.  ... If they picked up something that they thought was important, ... they'd write it down in English and then we'd get it back.

SH:  Did you get to know any of the people that were doing the listening?

BH:  No, I was just a private and they were high ranking sergeants or something, and they were the sort of long-haired guys, they weren't real soldiers, you know, regular GIs.  They were kind of in a class above.

SH:  Were most of them older?

BH:  Yes, they were older.  ... These are all American guys.  ... They were American professors, so they could intercept what they heard over the air what the German people were saying.  ...

SI:  Do you happen to remember any of the schools that any of them came from?  Did they ever mention that?

BH:  ... I don't remember.

SI:  Did this unit serve a division or the US Army as a whole?  Who did they report to basically?

BH:  ... The 20th Corps, and that was made up of two or three divisions.  ... Yes, there were about three or four of these companies made up from each division.

SH:  Were there any special requirements of you because you were in this unit as far as secrecy was concerned?  Were there any restrictions put on you in any way that you remember?

BH:  Not that I remember, no.

SH:  Were there any special guidelines in case something happened?

BH:  If we got captured?

SH:  Right.

BH:  No, they didn't give us any capsules to take or anything, [laughter] because we really didn't know that much.

SH:  Were you supposed to destroy your equipment or were there any guidelines like that if you were captured?

BH:  No.

SI:  How many men were in this unit approximately?

BH:  A hundred I suppose, but they were all support like the cooks and the mechanics.

SI:  How many were with you coding things and listening for signals?

BH:  Probably about ten of them.  I really didn't, ... I was a lowly private.  ... I wasn't in the inner, "In the loop."  ...

SI:  Where did you work?  Did you work in a tent or a trailer?

BH:  A truck, two and a half ton truck.  It was like a house on a truck, a little office I guess you'd call it.

SH:  How far behind the lines were you once you got to Europe?

BH:  Well, the frontlines were here and the artillery was back here.  ... We were right in the middle.  ... I didn't seem to worry for some reason, which was good I guess.

SH:  Were you ever on guard?

BH:  ... Yes, we had to take turns, yes--four on and four off.  You just have to stand guard.

SH:  How often did you have to move from your position?

BH:  Yes, well, I think General Patton's Third Army at one time, we held the record for moving the whole army from the invasion over to the Siegfried Line.  That's where we spent our first winter in the Siegfried Line.  It got too muddy or something and they couldn't operate, so they just stalled in Metz.  We stayed in Metz, M-E-T-Z, right on the Siegfried Line.

SH:  What do you remember about the Battle of Metz in late 1944?

BH:  Well, what I remember is Dinah Shore came and entertained us.  I mean the war, ... it was stalled for the muddy season or something, for winter, I guess, and so they were just stalled there, and Dinah Shore came there with the USO, and it was funny, so we had sort of a party.  The Americans had captured a big sort of hangar almost where the Germans had stored all the fur coats.  I mean everything that had a fur, in Germany, they had skin and made into coats because they were going to invade Russia.  ... They were just stacked high.  ... They gave us, we could go through and pick out, I got an all-white rabbit hair coat, and you'd sleep in them.  [Carol Lee Ingram's Note:  He brought it home and we used it for many years, until it finally fell apart.  It was named "Herman the German."]  Anyway, Dinah Shore came and put on her show, so she was standing up in the sleek dress, and of course, the soldiers like that.  ... General Patton, he gave each one of us a bottle of cognac and a dinner--horsemeat dinner--and a fur coat.  So, we were having a big time, and a couple of the big truck drivers, they had a little too much cognac, so they went up on the stage with Dinah Shore, and they had one of these big long coats, these fur coats, and she put it on, then she started scratching, making believe it had bugs.  She went right along with the gag.  I can remember she was a good gal, but then that's when I got called away from there to go up to the Battle of the Bulge.  We went up into Luxemburg, and we holed up in a bowling alley restaurant.  We slept on the bowling alleys or something, and then they gave us a good Christmas dinner, and I was on guard during the Battle of the Bulge, airplanes flying over, and a couple of guys came to our company.  They were just running away from the Battle of the Bulge, and they just were running for their safety, and they joined our company.

SH:  Did they?

BH:  Yes, scared to death. 

SI:  I know a lot of units that were behind the lines were pressed to go up to the front.  Soldiers who had not shot a rifle since basic training were given rifles and being sent to the front.  Was that ever discussed in your unit?

BH:  No, we didn't seem to get involved in that.  I was very lucky I guess.  I seemed to be in the right place at the right time as far as the war goes.

SI:  Were you ever shelled or attacked in any way?

BH:  During an air raid, I had to drive an officer down to Plymouth, England from wherever we were, and I was right in the middle of an air raid, heard the airplanes flying around.  ... Our "ack-ack" guns were "ack-acking" away, but we missed it somehow.  ...

SH:  It must have been important to get the officer where he needed to go.

BH:  That all worked out alright.  We got there and back, and nobody got hurt, as they say.

SH:  Were there any friendly-fire accidents in your unit?

BH:  I know we had been parked at an intersection somewhere.  I don't know why we were doing but all of a sudden we just pulled out--right after we left a shell came in there.  I don't know ... why or something ... but luckily we moved.

SI:  Did you have to do any driving during the Battle of the Bulge?  I know there were a lot of problems with people moving around because they thought some people might be Germans and there were a lot of security problems.  Do you remember any of that?

BH:  ... It's hazy.  I don't know exactly what I did while we were there, but we were just in the area.  Well, General Patton was sent up there to help, and they were backing him up, so, but I don't know, ... I think we were just on standby more or less.  ... Aren't we supposed to be talking more about the Barefoot Yacht Club?  ... I did one of these things at Brookdale, but didn't go into detail.  ...

-------------------------------------END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE TWO--------------------------------------

SI:  Please continue.

BH:  So, we came into this little town, and people came out into the streets and flagged us down, and they had a couple of bombs, potato mashers they called them, you know, and they were holding them up.  We didn't know whether they were going to throw them at us, so they stopped us.  They were asking permission if they could explode them in the local pond.  When they throw the bomb, all the fish surfaced, and they all got in there with their aprons and scoop these fish out, threw them up on the beach there.  We were heroes, we fed them.  ... Another time we got stopped by an old couple, they flagged us down, and we didn't know what they wanted, and the old gentleman took us out in the back barn.  He had a horse there that had been strafed.  It was injured pretty badly.  It was bleeding, and he wanted us to shoot the horse, so they can eat him, you know, horse meat.  All our brave soldiers, we wouldn't shoot a horse.  Shoot a German, yes, but not a horse, and we still won the war.  [laughter] Oh boy, funny things I haven't thought in fifty years.

Jonathan Wolitz:  I have a more general question about the people you encountered in Europe.  What was your impression of the various people you encountered in England, France, and Germany?

BH:  Well, the French I don't think I liked as much, and I didn't see anything of the Germans much, but the English, well, I didn't see many of the men because they were all in the service doing their own thing in the war.  They weren't socializing much.  I was always with a group of American soldiers and we were amongst ourselves.  ... We didn't socialize much with the civilian population.  There weren't too many of them around, really.  Yes, I remember when we first hit Germany, we would move into a town and assigned each group a house.  They'd start at the top floor and throw everything out, all the furniture and everything and kick the people out, ..."Go live with your in-laws or something," and then, we'd come in with a sleeping bag and just sleep in out of the weather, that's all, but that became very unpopular.  They thought this wasn't a good image of the Americans, treating them so rough.  ... During one of these times, one of the old gentlemen, he had a beautiful black Duesenberg.  He had it all jacked up because he couldn't get gasoline ... and our guys from the motor pool, they got it, they sprayed it "OD," gray, you know, the Army colors, put a white star on it.  It broke the poor guy's heart.  He had been polishing that car from the beginning of the war, oh, gosh.

JW:  What gave you the impression the French did not like you very much?  Was there anything specific?

BH:  Well, just by the Rhine River there, when it was going back and forth, one day the Germans would have control of the town, and the next, the Americans would, and I remember we were going through there, and a bunch of school children, they had two flags, Swastika and American flags, and when we were going through they were ... [supposed to wave the American flag].  Except one little kid, he was waving a Swastika--everybody laughed.  ...

SI:  You mentioned that on Easter Sunday you were crossing the Danube under smokescreen.  Can you tell us that story and what you were doing?

BH:  Well, we were going south.  We ended up in Austria, that's where we were on V-E Day.  ... They had this pontoon bridge, and they had a smokescreen over it and we drove.  ... There they separated the American vehicles because some of the troops had captured German vehicles like our friends with the Duesenberg, they were bringing them down, but they wouldn't fit on the pontoon bridge, so they'd have to leave them over in Germany, but I think we did spend one night in Nuremberg Coliseum or something--we camped there.  ... In California when we were going down to the Mojave Desert, we spent a night in the Rose Bowl, slept right on the fifty yard line. 

SH:  What kind of damage did you see as you went along in Europe? 

BH:  ... They all looked like Asbury Park right, now.  Have you been to Asbury Park?  Everything is bombed out.  ... I remember, ... the Germans had retreated, and our guys, I mean, they all had their horse drawn, they had so much stuff that was horse drawn, all their hospitals and supply lines.  ... When we were advancing, I guess, we just mowed down, so they had to go in with the bulldozers, scrape everything off the road so our tanks and stuff could go through there.  ... On that same trip, we were down in Austria, I guess, and the Austrian Army they came down, they came on the highway, ... they had beautiful highways, looked just like the New Jersey Turnpike.  ... Our turnpikes are copied after theirs, ... I mean we were riding down there, and then coming out of the woods, we saw these guys with guns and rifles with white flags on them, handkerchiefs or something.  They wanted to give up, they wanted to surrender, but I mean, at first you were big heroes if you captured a group of guys, but they told us, our commander says, "Look the other direction, because if you capture them you've got to feed them and guard them," and we didn't have the men to guard them.  He said, "Let the other guys, the military police or somebody do it, ... but don't be a hero and go capture this Austrian Army."  I'm kind of giving the funny side of the war.  You have to keep your sense of humor I guess.

SI:  You started to tell us at lunch a little bit of Buchenwald and how you got to visit there.

BH:  Yes, we all walked through there.  It was just unbelievable, you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it yourself.  You see all the, I mean, they had cages, like dogs, everybody's on floors, they couldn't stand up, two stories, just skin and bones.  ... You'd see piles of dead people that just had died and the ashes.  ... Well, they had tried to burn them, you know, they had these big copper stretchers, and they'd put them in the oven, and try to burn them, but they were dying faster or they were killing them faster than they could get rid of them.  I saw a big pile of ashes, that high, and these people ... were on the verge of dying in these cages, and others, just dead bodies on top of wagons, and when we got there ... it was still, I mean the guards had been killed.  Our guys, they killed them, and they threw their bodies right on top ... and some of them were hanging over the fences.

SH:  You said that Eisenhower had ordered the troops to see the camp?

BH:  Eisenhower had all his troops in an area of fifty or seventy radius, told all the troops to walked through there, because he believed, which is right, that one hundred years from now or fifty years ... people would probably say that it never happened ... but he wanted as many people to see it with their own eyes, like I'll never forget it, you wouldn't convince me that it was done in Hollywood.  It happened.

SH:  Did anyone try to talk with you or try to communicate?

BH:  They were so close to [death], I mean, they just looked like animals, just skin and bones, you couldn't believe it.

SI:  Before that experience, had you heard any rumors or reports about the concentration camps?

BH:  Yes, well I had been to a couple of them before, Gotha.  ... I don't know what we were going up there, but I remember that they had a group of them in formation.  I guess the Army troops were on the way to liberate them, so they shot each one of these guys, each one of these people right behind the ear and killed them all, ... just left them laying in lines.

SH:  The German guards had done this to the people in the camp.

BH:  To the prisoners, yes.

SI:  Did you go to that camp as a visitor the way you did at Buchenwald or were you passing through there as part of your operation?

BH:  I don't think we were told to go there.  We were just, I don't know what I was doing there.  ...

SH:  As you were advancing across Europe, had you heard that these places existed?  Were there any rumors or was this a complete shock?

BH:  ... It's surprising now to hear it.  ... They used to have a place, a camp, from the outside of Buchenwald, I mean it had the barbed wire fence, and the red brick, and it looked like an innocent hospital more or less.  ... It looks so innocent from the outside, you know, another institution, more or less.

SI:  Were the people that you were with shocked or angry?  What were their reactions?

BH:  Just unbelievable, it's just hard to believe.  It made an impression.

SH:  Did you see displaced persons in Europe as the war was winding down and when it ended?

BH:  That's another funny story.  I mean, we had time off.  ... We were right on a highway where all these people that had been liberated from other places.  They were all going home, and they had to pass through some guards, ... and I remember, one guy was carrying a bunch of swords, and our guard says, "You can't carry swords."  He said, "Why are you carrying them?"  Of course, they couldn't speak English, ... so he says, he's a sword swallower, and the guys just sees him swallow them.  ... I just happened to be there while he was doing it.  Unbelievable, war memories.  [laughter]

SI:  Were you able to communicate with home through letters?

BH:  Oh, yes, we had mail call.  ... That's where they sent the Barefoot Bulletin, it was the thing you looked forward to.  ... I'd get a letter from my girlfriend, from her every day and from my family, from my mother, ... from my mother or from my girlfriend, nobody else wrote me, I don't think, except the Barefoot Bulletin, that would come through.

SI:  Were you ever able to use it to find anybody that was near your area?

BH:  Yes, I was in contact with one of the Barefoot Boys, Bobby Davey, and he was in the same area, I saw that he was in Europe, and I wrote him by ... V-Mail, and we were in contact, and I figured that we were going to get together to see each other and the last one I got back from him, killed in action.  So he had gotten killed, but then another one I met in Austria, we did get together, and we met his cousin who was there too.  He was an officer and we were enlisted men, but the Barefoot, we got together, and we found a shell, a rowing shell, because we had rowed together out here and we went out for a ride.

SH:  Where was this that you were able to row around?

BH:  Germany.  Yes, they said our company--I mean, we found a ping pong table.  A couple of us used to like to play ping pong, and whenever we would move, we'd put the ping pong table in the bottom flat or just slide it in there, so that way we knew it was there, but we didn't have a net, so we had a board.  ... We had to make our paddles, I don't know how we got paddles.  I had one ping pong ball.  I had to ask my girlfriend to send me a ping pong ball.

SH:  Precious cargo.

BH:  But then going through the Black Forest in Germany, we found some horses, and I went back to my horseback days.  I took a ride through the Black Forest on a horse, and we tried to figure how we could, ... we did bring the saddles up.  ... We had a piano, we had a guy that would play the piano with one hand.  ... He had his other hand, ... we loaded up a piano and then carried it with us for a while, but all those things when we went across the pontoon bridge, we couldn't take all that stuff.  One of our officers got a trailer.  We found a trailer somewhere, and he had a lot of art pictures that he had gotten from various houses, he was going to take home, but he had to give it up when he crossed the bridge that separated the Americans from Germany. 

SI:  Towards the end of the war, did you have any contacts with the Soviets?

BH:  I never saw a Soviet. 

SH:  Did you ever meet any one else from the other Allied forces at all?

BH:  ... Somewhere we met some Australians in a bar, just bar room talk.  ... I led a very simple life I guess, always looking on the funny side of things, but that's one of the only pieces of advice that I got from my dear mother.  She said, "Don't ever lose your sense of humor." 

SH:  Where were you when the war ended?

BH:  We were down in Austria, right where they caught Hitler, right in Austria, I could see his hideout almost.

SH:  The Eagle's Nest?

BH:  Yes, and I guess we had spread out that far.  ...

SH:  During the last days of the war, was there any resistance or did they just surrender?

BH:  They were just retreating, giving up or retreating.  They weren't fighting back much.  ...

SH:  Do you remember the reaction when the word came out that the war was over in Europe?

BH:  "Let's go home."  That's all, that's the uppermost thought in everyone's mind is to go home.

SH:  Were there any celebrations?

BH:  All the time.  [laughter]

SH:  We heard stories that it was almost more dangerous on the day of the end of the war than it had been up to that point because soldiers were shooting off their guns.  What was your experience?

BH:  We were the only ones in Austria in this area.  ... I don't know how we ever got there, but after the war was over ... they disbanded our unit right after V-E Day.  They sent us back, spread us out, and I got sent up to Cherbourg, France.  ... A group of us were sent up there, and we had a farewell party, I remember, and they gave us a Coca-Cola and a bottle of cognac, so we were all kind of celebrating, and all of a sudden I was drunk I think, I was trying to be very careful to pour out some Coke and add a little touch [of cognac], but the following morning I found out that our bottles of Coke were half-cognac.  ... I think that was the only time.  ...

[TAPE PAUSED]

SI:  You found out that the Coca-Cola bottle was half cognac. 

BH:  That was the following day during the hangover.

SI:  Were there any other instances where you had "liberated" champagne or any kind of liquor from the towns in France and Germany?

BH:  Well, we always had enough wine.  I remember we went in one wine cellar and helped ourselves, but I was always talking, ... I wanted pink champagne.  I remember we went into one wine cellar.  Of course, they didn't have any opener of champagne, so they would break off the neck of the bottle and pour it out, see what it was, and if it wasn't what they wanted, they just throw it aside, and if they found a cache of something they liked, they just took it out and put it in the truck, or car, or vehicle.  ... I remember I was on a night shift in a message center.  ... I slept through the day, so I woke up in the next afternoon, and they had hit a champagne factory.  I had always been talking about champagne, and they got cases of champagne.  ... They surrounded my whole bunk with cases of champagne.  [laughter] When they did something they did sound big, oh, gosh.  Well, if we had free time, the soldiers, they loved girls.  I mean, they liked to see girls, and we spent a lot of time chasing the ladies.  That was fun.

SI:  Were you in areas where there were women around?

BH:  Well, in Paris, and yes, I had a little girlfriend up in Luxemburg while we were there, I'd go visit her.

JW:  What did you think about Paris?

BH:  ... It was a good place for the soldiers to be.  As they say, "Whoever takes their wife to Paris is a damned fool."  That's a man's town.  [laughter] ... If you got transferred from one place to another you always went by the way of Paris, spent a night in Paris.  ... We were getting transferred once and we were in a ... two and a half ton truck, and it had about ten of us, and I guess we had an officer in charge.  He says, "Okay, we're going to park here and you're on your own and we will be back here in twenty-four hours with the truck.  Be here or you're A-W-O-L.  ... You can go out and do whatever you want."  So, we'd go out, do the town, but just before I got sent home, well that was a funny thing.  You didn't get discharged unless you had eighty-five points.  That was a combination of your combat and your years of service, and I had about eighty-four points, right on the border, but I had five points coming, but they didn't get it on my records, so I was delayed for a couple of weeks, so I had to spend an extra week in Paris till they get it straightened out.  ... Just before V-J Day, I was supposed to come home on one of the Queens, Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mary.  It was in port down there.  ... The day before we rode down and looked at her and says, "Oh boy, a couple of days we're going to go home," and then V-J happened.  I had gone on a pass in Bath, England, and I heard V-J happened.  So then, all my orders changed.  ... I had been, going to come home on the Queen, but have extra training in this country, then go over to Japan to fight, or army of occupation or something, because I didn't have the eighty-five points.  ... Then they said, "You're not going home on the Queen.  Spend a week in Paris," which that was nice duty and just on my own, just the end of the subway line.  I can go anywhere I want, so anyway I was actually shipped home from Marseilles.  I had to go from Marseilles, ... go from to Paris to Marseilles and then get on the old Rex.  Did you ever hear of the Italian liner Rex?  R-E-X; that was one of the big luxury liners, so they changed it to a troop ship.  Of course, we had captured it.  ... Coming home on that was a lot better than going over on the English ship.  At least it was a clean, but we had bunks that you could sleep in but there was three deep--one, two, three--you're right close together, you couldn't hardly turn over, but, so, we came home on the Rex.

SH:  You came into New York City?

BH:  Yes, Pier 88.  We saw the old Statue of Liberty, glad to see her.  ... We got off the ship, and they took us back to Fort Dix to discharge us to get our papers and everything.  So, I got discharged at midnight.  Of course I wanted to get home, but they put us on a train, there isn't any direct train route from here to Trenton.  You had to go up to Newark, so I pulled into Newark about one o'clock, I guess, or something.  I tried to get a hotel room, they wouldn't take a soldier in the hotel, I don't know why.  So, I just started hitchhiking, so I hitchhiked home on US-1, and some guy picked me up.  This was the "welcome home" trip.  ... He was some kind of a pervert or something.  He rubbed my leg and everything, and I said, "I get out here at the junction of Route-35 and US-1."  ... I said, "This is where I get off."  So, I got another ride, and I had to walk from Red Bank to Little Silver, but I had called; I guess I told my family I was coming home.  ... I arrived home probably at five o'clock in the morning or something.  There was my father sitting there waiting for me.  [laughter] I think I kept him alive his last three or four [years], between me and the pigeons.  Of course, he followed the war and every picture he saw, "Oh, there's Brub,"  but he wanted to see me get home, and he did, and then he wanted to see me get through college and then he'd have a son going to college.  ... Out of the Army, when I was in college my senior year, my wife and I, we used to live in Little Silver, we'd go over and have Sunday dinner with him, and we'd go out in the garage and talk things over and feed the pigeons.  He said, "Are you going to graduate?  Are you sure you're going to graduate?"  Because this was in December, and I said, "Yes, I think I'm over the hump when you get to be a senior.  I've passed calculus."  He says, "Okay," and the following day he died.  He didn't see me graduate or hear me graduate, he couldn't have gone up.  ... I assured him.  I've wandered all over the bush.  ...

SI:  Just as a wrap up, what was your most vivid memory of your experience in Europe?

BH:  In the Army?

SI:  Yes.

BH:  Gee, ... there wasn't any one incident I don't think, just the whole thing that I survived, that I got through it.  I didn't get hurt, so many people got injured.  ... We didn't talk much about the Barefoot Yacht Club.

SI:  What we wanted to do today was start interviewing each individual member about what they did beyond the Barefoot Yacht Club.

BH:  ... Did I tell you how I met my wife?

SI:  Yes. 

BH:  I did, okay.

SH:  I think that we will talk to you more about the Barefoot Yacht Club later.  We will talk about some of the photographs and things that we have.  Thank you very much, again.

BH:  Yes, well sometime we got to take a trip down to the Barefoot Yacht Club--I mean the Monmouth Boat Club.  ...

SH:  That is right.  We will do that the next time.  You can take us on a tour.  Thank you.

----------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW-----------------------------------------

Reviewed by Alexandra McKinnon 5/15/13

Reviewed by Nicholas Molnar 5/31/13

Reviewed by Carol Lee Ingram 7/9/13

 

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