Robert Faulkner Narrative

My name is Robert Faulkner. I was in World War II in Europe. At first, the war didn’t have much of an effect on me, but that was before I was drafted. I had no idea it was going to turn out the way it did, but later on I understood.

I had graduated from Hollybrook School and was working in Maybeury at the tunnel and cutting timber. I didn’t know there was a war, but I knew we were attacked, and I knew we had to respond. It was two or three months into the war before I was drafted. I went in during the last part of ’43. I went in with a school teacher named Garland Updyke (later a principal at Rocky Gap). We went to Fort Meade, Maryland together. It was there that we were separated.

I was sent to Georgia on a bus to take my thirteen-week basic training course, which wasn’t that hard because, living in the country, I’m used to hard work. The city boys couldn’t do anything, though. I made a lot of friends at basic training. So many, you couldn’t remember them all. After that, they gave me a furlough and sent me home for two weeks. Then I received orders to report to Fort Meade to prepare to go overseas. I was sent to Boston, Massachusetts and put on a ship for about 21 days until we landed in Scotland. There, we stayed overnight to fuel the ship and rest. The next day we got up and boarded the ship and crossed over the English Channel.

We landed in France. We got a boxcar and rode from France to Belgium. That’s where we went in to action and they tried to sort out the differences in Belgium. We fought from Belgium and into Germany. Eventually, we came up to the Rhine River, which only had one bridge across it, but there was too much fire on it and we couldn’t cross it. So we got on a pontoon boat and went back into action again.

I was in the front line in the infantry the entire time. 272nd regiment 69th infantry division. We were the first ones to meet the Russians. We ended up digging us a fox hole and had a pop tent beside us and they brought us instant meals. They weren’t very good, but that was all we had, so we had to get used to it. At night they gave us a password and they put guards out. If you couldn’t remember the password, you were killed.

We were scattered out from each other, but we had them pinned down in a strip of woods. We’d been in battle for about four or five days. Shots were being fired everywhere. We lost a lot of men, and they lost almost all of theirs. We went into the woods and soldiers were gathered around everywhere. I spotted one sitting up in a tree with his eyes wide open and he wouldn’t bat an eye. I walked up to him and I realized he was dead.

Men were getting fired on, so we called Radford Artillery. The fighting continued on for about two or three days until all fire ceased. We then received orders to go back, regroup, and move in about a mile and begin fire again. We had radios when we were on the front line to see where to shoot at or where to go to. We killed several men, but we never left one behind. We continued up the Nairobi????f River back to Russia.

Everything was quiet for two or three days and we noticed the war was over. They told us we were to stay three months and then they would send us home for two weeks or until they got the replacements for us. We were supposed to come back through England. I didn’t… we went to France and spent a week in Paris, then returned to camp and stayed a couple of months. I had no idea what was going on. Our general was General Rinehart. I never saw him, though. We were just told his name.

We took a lot of prisoners and I had to search a lot of them. I never found anything on them. But, after we could search them, they sent them away, but I’m not sure where. The whole time I was over in Europe, it was scary. Bullets were constantly coming at you and you couldn’t stop it. The dirt was flying up all around you from the guns firing and you could hear the guns popping. But after it was over, people would talk to you, though I could hardly understand them for a long time. I was just glad the war was over and that I could come home.

It wasn’t too hard to get used to civilian life again. I didn’t do anything for about two or three months. I finally got a job cutting timber at Radford and with the Hercules Power Company. I worked there for twenty-six years and then I worked around the house and haven’t done much since.

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