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KAN 8 Plainville, KANSAS
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. IP YOU WERE ONE OP THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. BLACK
What was your full name? Edwin Everett Gardner
What was your unit and divisiom? 116th Infantry Regiment; 29th Division
Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time ? Omaha Beachhead; [illegible] White Section ; 7:00 A.M.
What was you rank on June 6, 1944? [?P.f.c.?] What was your age on June 6, 1944? 23 years
Were you married at that time ? no
What is your wife ’s name ? Helen
Did you have any children at that time? no
What do you do now? U.S. Rural Mail Carrier Early Spring of 1944. We were firmly [?briefed?] in May 1944 [illegible] Neymouth [?Harbor?]
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? Had nice trip accross Channel, Everyone was serious and was sure of going into combat. However some thought at [?every?] just another dry run on [illegible] [illegible] Some of the men said that might it might be last time they would to [?shore?] abd it was.
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 olanned to set it afire when the troops came in). We were hoping to establish beachhead and then returning back to States. Wishful thinking.
for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name Edwin E. Gardner
Dud you by any chanoe keep a, diary of what happened to you that, day? No. I didn't have time just tried to keep alive.
Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day ? Yes. 2/3 of them
Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? Things were disorganized but we knew we had to get shelter in the hill beyond the beach. The 88's were [?raining?] [illegible] with the troops and machine gun fire at times were intense. Our Colonel [?Canigham?] told us to get up and die inland not on the beach that got us all up and moving forward.
Were you wounded? Yes, twice
Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing ? It is more like a shock doesn't hurt at the time but when everything settles down then the pain begins. Something similar to a horse kicking you.
Do you remember seeing- or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time? Yes. We had trained in the English Moors for a year and were sick of them but a few minutes on the Beach and everyone was wishing he were in England again. Some of the boys said "England never was like this
Dc you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? Yes, the next morning we [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] regrouped at the beach again and it was covered with personnel and equipment. [?Was?] a sad sight because the missing ranks were laying on beach never to be with us again. Very heart-breaking to one who saw it.
- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Edwin E. Gardner
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 ? Laying on the beach D. morning we were all pinned down on the shelf. Colonel Cannigham told us to get up and die inland [crossed out] to [end crossed out] not to [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] lay there and die. Yes some men disregarded the intense fire and were miracously missed and everyone showed great courage in moving forward.
Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Above the beach standing guard with a captured German machine gun.
Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? Trying to get into Grand-de-Camp France.
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? 1. Sgt. Clyde K. England- Martinsville, Virginia 2. Bill [?Janas?]- Gregory; South Dakota 3. Edward A. Estrella4. Donald [?Brin?]- Plainville, Kansas 5. Charles A. Cawthrone- Martinsville, Virginia 6. Robert [illegible] [illegible] Plainville, Kansas
PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOH. "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
#21 Plainville, Kansas June 6, 1958 RFJ #1
Mr. Cornelius Ryan:
I notice your requests in the American Legion magazine for anyone who made the inital landings in Normandy France. I can proudly say that I was in the engagement with Company H 11th Infantry 29th Division. "Third wave." Will be glad to give any information that will help you in writing your book. Sincerely Yours Edwin E. Gardner