Friday, April 29, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
A wave of patriotism swept over the USA after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Young men and women from all walks of life were pouring into recruitment centers.
Between the period 1938 to 1946, more than 9 million Americans enlisted in the United States Army. Two of those men, Alan and Roy Badgerow, were my uncle and father.
They lived on a farm at 2058 Goodells Road, Goodells Michigan. Not big enough to make the claim to be a city, it is still a village, to this day. The biggest city near by is Port Huron. Just on the border of Canada a stones throw across the St. Clair River, at the mouth to Lake Huron. If you have never seen the area, you must
view the blue water in person. To say,
pictures do it no justice,would be a huge under statement.
Alan Lee was Roy Martin's elder brother, by 7 years. He was among the first to enlist, as so many did, just after December 7th,1941.
Roy on the other hand was just a teen when he entered the war. May 25,1942 was his 19th birthday.
Roy was just comping on the bit! He, and a great number of young people, were oh so very eager to get into the thick of it.
They saved the world, from the German, Italian, and Japanese that were hell bent on World Domination. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.
The men who survived that era are strong and silent.Those that were in the thick of it spoke rarely, if ever, about their experiences. After the war, both Roy and Alan came home
to the farm, in the sleepy little village, of Goodells.
As the story goes, they took their shot guns and rifles off the wall, where they had hung in their absence. Then promptly walked to the nearest fence post with their arms full. They paused and vowed together to never, fire another gun.
Taking their fire arms by the barrels one at time, they smashed them into smithereens.
A small solemn grave dug near the house, forever holds their message of peace.
Before the war the Badgerow boys loved to hunt the surrounding wooded area of their farm, with their father Martin Alan. Great Grandpa was known for his strawberries, far and wide. He supplied the surrounding area with the biggest and juiciest berries, you could imagine.
Also, there was always a row or two of corn, just for the deer.
"There is nothing like corn fed venison." Great Grandpa was noted to say. "It's like a fatted calf you shoot, from the comfort of your back porch."
During the war Alan drove a Red Cross Ambulance with the First Army in Europe.
Roy was a Ranger captured Jan 30,1944 in Italy.
Grandma Badgerow wrote the boys faithfully. She also saved and cherished those letters, the boys sent her.
Alan's letters never stopped. Roy's did.
Return to sender
was not what you wanted to see on the envelope you wrote to your youngest son.
Missing in action, presumed dead, that was the official message the government gave.
In time Roy surfaced as a P.O.W. being held by the Germans in stalag 344.
Very few Americans were held in Stalag 344..... Grandfather Roy was one of those less fortunate men with that distintion. If anyone knows of another GI from America,
that was held prisoner there, please contact me. Lots of RAF boys were held there and some of their descendants wrote articles and stories. Polish,Australian,
Canadian,Russian,French,Yugoslavian,South African, prisoners passed through the the camp. I know from letters written in the camp that each group was held in their own respective nationality barracks. The officers on a norm were held away from the N.C.O.s. Grandpa Roy was a private and wrote of good friends he made while incarcerated. So anyone with a descendant that was there, that was from America and not an officer, may have been one of those great friends that helped him cope with the times. The Germans let them play baseball and provided them with some equipment. Roy had lost the two middle fingers on his right hand during his capture. He could still play ball and wrote his Mother and Father that he was fine.