How did the war effect your family

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Posts: 6
Joined: 06 Jun 2014 18:12

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by davidjwest » 06 Jun 2014 18:50

My mother in law (born 1926, still with us!) was an "ack ack girl" in the British Army. ... k-ack-girl

I've listened to her tales with interest and despite her age and her health problems, she suffers from Alzheimers, she remembers a lot of her army days vividly.

Her best story was when she was based near Antwerp on an AA battery. She was attacked and strafed by a lone Stuka dive bomber, I asked her if she can remember when this was and she confidently remembers it as being New Years Day on 1945, which would tie in rather well with this:

She also remembers shaking her fist at the pilot and shouting "You missed me!" as he turned away from his attack run!

I'm skeptical about the plane being a Stuka as the historians accounts don't mention this type was used in the battle but I would have thought an AA crew member would be pretty good at enemy plan recognition!

Although it is possible - "By 31 January 1945, only 104 Ju 87s remained operational with their units. " quote from Wikipedia, for what it's worth!

There is a sad side to this story as her brother who was also in the army was killed by a V2 rocket in a cinema in Antwerp around the same time.

Posts: 15486
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by ljadw » 07 Jun 2014 08:31

On 16 december 1944,the cinema Rex in Antwerp was destroyed by a V2,there were 567 dead,of which 296 allied military .

User avatar
Posts: 382
Joined: 28 May 2012 14:55
Location: Pohojanmaa, Finland

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by Karelia » 08 Jun 2014 13:45

My grandfather on the father's side was a lance-corporal, served in the Winter and Continuation Wars as a machine gun man and a horse driver.
The other grandfather was a private in the Continuation War and served as a POW guard (was not qualified for fighting duties due to health issues).

My grandaunt on father's side was a "Lotta" (a kind of volunteer, non-armed "WAC"), but not on the front. She lost her husband, who was a staff sergeant, on around 22th June 1944 on Karelian Isthmus in an artillery strike. She was left to raise their two sons alone, since she never married again.

User avatar
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by Guaporense » 14 Oct 2014 05:23

My grandfather from my mother's side almost served in the war as he was among those earmarked to be shipped to the Italian front among the Brazilian expeditionary force in 1945. However, thankfully, the war ended and he was discharged.

Great grandfather from my father's side was living in Germany at the time of the war, he worked on the occupation of France. I don't know the specifics of what he did in France though.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

Posts: 16
Joined: 23 Sep 2014 20:19

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by ilovehistory » 25 Dec 2014 12:59

I am from Germany.

My grandfathers were to young to fight in the Wehrmacht but one of them (1945 16 years old) have to defend Berlin in the Volkssturm. Only for a short time than he get caputured by the US Army and as a POW of the US Army he drinks Coca Cola for the first time =)

User avatar
Posts: 5053
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 02:45
Location: North America

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by Annelie » 25 Dec 2014 15:16


Do you know where in Berlin your Grandfather fought to defend
Berlin? Did he give you any details about this time you can share?


Posts: 102
Joined: 11 Jan 2007 05:29
Location: San Diego, CA, USA

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by donsor » 15 Jan 2015 00:37

I was a six year old toddler when the Japanese invaded Manila, Philippines early in '41. I and three other younger siblings lived with my parents in a house two blocks from the University of Sto. Tomas where hundreds of US civilians were imprisoned. The first year of Japanese occupancy seemed mundane when they (Japanese) embarked on a program to woo the Filipinos to their side. But as the US forces started to gain grounds in the Pacific and as the underground forces (guerillas) became active, the occupiers started to tighten things up, commandeering food supplies for their own, harassing the populace, barging in in people's houses looking for guerillas. As the skies started to fill with US aircraft, anti- aircraft fires resounded throughout the city filling the skies with black and red puffs followed by clanging of shrapnel as it rained down over corrugated house roofs. December 24 1944 a two inch shrapnel fell about two feet from me. By mid 1943, food was getting hard to find. We subsided in rice, coconut and yams. The Japanese then started their mass torture and massacre campaign. Fortunately for us, the US forces came down from the North to liberate the University of Sto. Tomas compound and its surroundings. However, when the Japanese retreated across the river, they commenced shelling the compound whereby by that time was emptied of prisoners but turned by the US Army into an artillery base. The sound of the artillery duel was deafening and it went on all night for several nights. Many of the surrounding houses were hit including one right in front of us. As a toddler, everything going on around me was like watching a war movie. I gave my parents credit for providing for us kids despite the odds. Now I know when I watch the news on TV showing starving kids around the world how it was really like -been there done that.

User avatar
Posts: 969
Joined: 11 Apr 2013 11:03
Location: Europe

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by seaburn » 15 Jan 2015 20:50

Thanks for sharing 'Donsor'...very interesting first hand account.

Posts: 358
Joined: 04 Mar 2012 09:19

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by OldBill » 20 Jan 2015 02:56

Parts of my family have been in uniform (if you consider war paint as in uniform, and for us, it was) since the English came to Jamestown. So when my father asked to join at age 17 it didn't surprise my grandparents. They signed, he signed and he enlisted in the USN in 1945. He never left the US, never saw combat, yet it left its mark on him. He caught some type of fever that hurt his health for most of his life. Eventually, it affected his heart and he was pretty much disabled. There were times when his health kept him from working, and we lived on what we grew and hunted. Towards the end of his enlistment he was a military prison guard, and unfortunately some prisoners decided to make a break for it while he was guarding them. I only learned this when he broke down and told me about it while I was home on leave and he had had a few drinks.
Two of my three children have either served or are now serving. I don't know if that would be the case if not for the war.

Posts: 31
Joined: 16 Apr 2014 01:40

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by AmYisroelChai » 27 Jan 2015 00:50

My paternal grandfather served in WW1 and contracted a disease when undergoing a blood transfusion. He was of frail health from that time until his death in the 1940's. On my mother's side I had two uncles serving in Europe, one in the US Army Air Corps, as a mechanic in England whose air field was repeatedly bombed nearly killing him; the other as a G.I. in 1945 who saw some action, but mostly saw horrific things in liberated Nazi death and slave labor camps. He met his future wife in a D.P. camp for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and brought her back to Brooklyn. In fact, she was liberated from Auschwitz by the Red Army on this date, exactly 70 years ago. I write this in her honor. She was from Buda-Pest and only survived because she was 16 years old and could fluently speak 6 languages. The Nazis used her as a translator, so she was able to survive... One of my step father's brothers was killed flying a US bombing mission over Belgium. He is buried in Liege. My father-in-law fought in the Pacific and was a medical corpsman who was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, seeing action at Guadalcanal and the Philippines. His brother also saw action in the Pacific and then went to Japan for the Occupation, marrying his dear Japanese wife in the process...

User avatar
Posts: 1497
Joined: 22 Feb 2004 20:54
Location: Arlington, TX

Re: How did the war affect your family

Post by WalterS » 28 Jan 2015 14:46

My father joined the US Navy in 1943 at age 17. He served as an aviation mechanic in the South Pacific campaigns. He had orders to the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga for the invasion of Japan. The war ended before he transferred. His brother (my uncle) served in the USAAF and was a B-17 pilot with the 8th AF in 1943-44. My mother's brother (another uncle), who is still alive at age 90, served as a US Navy Corpsman and went ashore with the Marines at Peleliu and Saipan. He also spent 21 days in a life raft in 1944 when his transport ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

I would say that the single biggest effect that the war had on my family, as with many American families, was that after the war millions of veterans, my Dad and uncles included, were able to go to college and buy homes on the GI bill. This enabled many people to go to college who would otherwise never have gone, and helped to create a thriving middle class.

Posts: 5
Joined: 14 Jun 2011 02:47

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by grondssen » 31 Jan 2015 02:32

My dad's uncle was in 4th (US) marine div, landing on Saipan.
My mom's uncle was on USS North Carolina, providing NGFS for marines landing on Saipan.
They didn't meet in person until something like 1980... interesting conversation.
My dad's dad was training to be a photographer (on B17's) when the war ended.
I have cousins (distant) whose families - mom, dad, brothers (3), uncles (3) were killed in Warsaw uprising.

Posts: 2
Joined: 28 Oct 2014 12:01
Location: India

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by mariareese » 09 Feb 2015 10:14

When a soldier receives his orders for going to war, this not only effects the warrior, but also, his family. If the soldier has childrens, care should be taken to ensure the family understands that "daddy" or is coming back home after war.

Felix C
Posts: 1198
Joined: 04 Jul 2007 16:25
Location: Miami, Fl

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by Felix C » 10 Feb 2015 01:46

My father was born in December 1926 and the sudden rise in employment due to the war enabled him to come to the U.S. to work in NYC. I would not be here because he would not have met Mom. The Spanish Civil War and WW2 meant my maternal grandfather was stranded outside of his home country for ten years leading to my mother being raised differently and so she had mucho independence and left Spain at an early age to come to the USA post-war where she met Pop.

Orlando di Lasso
Posts: 2
Joined: 03 Jun 2015 08:00
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: How did the war effect your family

Post by Orlando di Lasso » 20 Jul 2015 02:18

My Grandfather was defending Germany against Russia. He was a supply officer in the Wehrmacht. He was shot in the arm, and escaped capture. He buried his uniform and met up with his wife in Canada later. I don't know much more than that because he was losing his mind when he got old and didn't speak about it. I wish I could say more.

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”