Two Soldiers Heading Home

It’s rare that I republish a previously shared post. But, today, I’m making an exception. I have a very good reason for doing that, so please read to the end. Today’s additions are all in italics.

Here’s my post originally published on May 6, 2013:

Last night, as we often do on Sundays, Motor Man and I had dinner with his parents. Although we always offer to help with dishes, his parents prefer that we just visit and insist on doing the dishes after we leave.

Motor Man and I cleared the table and sat back down to chat. We noticed his dad had taken an ink pen from his pocket and was quietly writing on the corner of a napkin. Motor Man asked: “What are you figuring, Pop?”. His dad replied: “67 years ago, I left France.”.

(A little background information, some of which I may have shared before. Motor Man’s parents {Mom and Pop} were married on June 6, 1942. She was 15, he was 20.

Two years later, in the months before Motor Man was born, Pop was drafted and sent to boot camp in Texas.

Once boot camp was over, en route to New York, Pop managed a quick visit with his wife and two-day old son (Motor Man).

On to New York, where Pop boarded the Queen Mary, being used as a troop ship, and sailed overseas to defend our country during World War II.)

Back to last night:

Pop is a man of few words, so I jumped at the opportunity to ask questions. I learned that it was May 6, 1946, when, after completing his service in World War II, Pop left France headed for home.

pop as soldier_Snapseed

Sketch of Pop, done by a fellow soldier during WWII

I took out my cell phone and began taking notes. Pop, who made the rank of Corporal, sailed from France on the “Wheaton Victory”, arriving in New York on May 15. (I researched and found that the Wheaton Victory was one of 550 Victory ships mass produced by six shipyards in the U.S. from February 1944 through November 1945.)

sswheatonvictory

SS Wheaton Victory (internet photo)

According to Pop, the soldiers were wearing their “OD’s” (olive drabs), and Ike jackets.  From New York, they went on to Ft. Meade, Maryland, where they were issued new uniforms.

Pop then caught a ride to Richmond, Virginia with another soldier, whose parents had come to meet him and take him home.  From Richmond, Pop took the bus to Newport News, arriving home late at night on May 19. His wife knew that he was due home soon, but had no idea exactly when to expect him. (I’ve often said I would love to have been a fly on the wall when she answered that knock on the door.)

It’s easy to understand why May 6 is a memorable date in Pop’s life; he was heading home.

home of the brave 5-5-2011 7-56-12

Thanks, Pop. Job well done.

Now, to the reason I’m sharing this post again.  Last week, I received this email:

“Hi Dianna,

My wife and I were doing some research on our father’s last night.  My father returned from WWII military service on the Wheaton Victory.  Googling the ship name led me to a blog you posted on Nov. 11, 2015. *

I believe you were referencing your father-in-law.   Among momentos from my father is a photo of the Wheaton Victory in port before leaving.  On board, my father cabled my mother (I have the cable) letting her know he was coming home.  The cable indicates it was radioed from the Wheaton Victory on May 7, 1946.  My father and your father-in-law came home on the same ship!

Again, last night through google, I learned that the Wheaton Victory was built at California Ship Building Company in Los Angeles.

Through my wife’s momentos from her father, we know that he was a civilian worker at California Ship Building when the Wheaton Victory was being constructed.

Sadly both our father’s are gone now.  I believe mine was born the same year as your father-in-law, 1922.

I don’t know if you’ll receive this email or if you find these sort of things interesting, but I thought I’d pass it along as your blog post brought my wife and I smiles.

Best,

Bob”

Thanks, Bob, for contacting me. Learning about our ancestors is fascinating. I’m so glad that your father also returned safely home from his service to our country.

*I had shared my post a second time for Veteran’s Day.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

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12 responses to “Two Soldiers Heading Home

  1. How interesting to have met someone who was on the same ship as JR’s Dad coming home! That doesn’t happen often but thanks to the internet it can.

    Pam

  2. Isn’t it wonderful to find such connections? And thankfully both men came home after their service in WWII.

  3. that is amazing! this gave me chills –

  4. This is the first I had read this blog, and read with rapt attention. What great detail in a young soldiers life. How thoughtful for Bob to reach out and share the connection his father had with Pop. A wonderful slice of history. One of your best.

  5. Amazing story.. No better way to say it … & it’s always good to hear about Pop’s war stories …

  6. Wow! What a great connection made through your blog. We just never know who may be touched or affected positively by what we write, do we? So neat that Bob reached out to you. 🙂

  7. I loved reading this. There are no coincidences.

  8. I love stories like this and no wonder you reposted.

  9. How AMAZING! So glad the connection between your two families was made. Just warms your heart with sweet memories – old and new.

  10. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    So interesting. Some times it’s a small world.

  11. That is so wonderful and amazing!

  12. So nice! I always loved my father’s stories of WW2. He earned two purple hearts but never talked about them. He only spoke of the wonder of Europe and his love of service.

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