Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 006, folder 12: Charles R. Cawthon

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D DAY Book 17 mer Int.

CAWTHON, Charles R., Lt Col

29th Hq Co.

A G. Po-XR The adjust d b > Army Wash 25 D.C.

Release to PG

Box 6, #12

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For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-Day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? Charles R. Cawthon

What was your unit and division? Hq Co. 2nd Bn., 116th Inf., 29th Division

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Approx 0700 6 June 1944

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Captain, Inf.

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 32 years

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name? --

Did you have any children at that time? --

What do you do now? Lt. Col. USAR on extended active duty Press and Information Officer, Hq. Allied Forces Central Europe

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? My battalion began training for beach assault sometime in the summer of 1943. I assume it was realized at the that time.

What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? It was routine like the previous dry runs. naval I met a [crossed out] n [end crossed out] x /officer on the transport from my home town. He loaned me a magazine/. I attened my duties, attended a religious service, There was no particular tension or conversation regarding the assault. We had all been soldie ring together from one to three years. It was family talk, mostly.

What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in).

no

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 -

Your name Charles R Cawthon

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day?

No.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day?

Many, my battalion and regiment suffered heavily.

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties?

No

Were you wounded?

Yes, in the face

Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so suprised that you felt nothing? No particular pain is recalled Any pain was overlooked in the general business of the beach. In any event, the [crossed out] pa [end crossed out] zz wounds were not of a particular painful nature.

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time?

No

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else?

No

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Charles R. Cawthon

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either? No

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944?

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? [inserted] On the transport Thomas Jefferson In a stone barn about one mile inland between Vierville and St Laurent

Do you know of anybody else who landed within those 24 hours (midnight June 5 to midnight June 6) as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? I believe you have already contacted or know about all those from the 116th

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

Cornelius Ryan Frances Ward Research, The Reader ’s Digest

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Interview

Lt. Col. Charles R. Cawthom - Capt. at that time

Saw one TK firing in front of Les Moulins.

Saw one man drop in water in front of him. Saw men ahead surrounding and hiding behind obstacles waist deep water - nauseated. 4 hr ride in boat.Hit on left cheek by shrapnel, "Damn good thing it didn’t hit eye" Twisted head around. Scene was ruptured tooth. "Hells with fires banked" half running in, half being washed. Strong tide running unable to stand up.

Grass fire uncovered S - mines

At shingle got on left side of cheek when he reached shingle.

Had dinner with Capt. Shermna Burroughs of Roanoke, Va., [inserted] told him: [end inserted (I’m going to recite the shooting of "all the way into the beach") wife and children. Saw him in water. Capt. Lawrence Madill, Co E, Fla. Lt. "Crow" Williamson, Mantusville, Va. The war had become real (Had married British girl during 1943-44 - both had daughters born after D-Day)

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