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Glen Allen, Va. VA [crossed out] O - TE [end crossed out] VA - 2
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? Bernard J. Morecock Jr. ASN 20366675, Sgt.
What was your unit and division? Battery "A" 111th FA BN, 29th. Div.
Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Easy Green was our sector of Omaha Beach. The name of the villiage was Les Molins Draw. We anchored 11,000 yds off of the baech, app.2'oclock AM 6 June 1944, H hour being at 6 O'clock AM
What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Sgt. Chief of 1O5MM Howitzer Section.
What was your age on June 6, 1944? 24 yrs of Age
Were you married at that time? No
What is your wife's name? Edith Hoy Morecock present. ( I have something very [crossed out]en[end crossed out] [inserted]in[end inserted]tresting about her, see end of [crossed out] letter [end crossed out] [inserted] questionnaire [end inserted]
Did you have any children at that time? No
What do you do now? I am now employed by the Virginia National Guard. My title is " Adminstrative Supply Tech."
When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? We All knew that we were going to fight the war in Europe, but as for the intial landing party, we found out about Oct. 1943. The 1st Div. returned to England from the Africaian Campain. That was it. The 16th and 116th RCT's were picked.
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? We made a fake landing on the 5th. June 1944, but returned to Portland Bill England. On the eving of the 5th. of June we started out for the intial landing. Miss Ward !! I was sea sick. The channel was rough. The conversation was about home, trading different articles, playing cards singing and telling jokes. It was a Seabee with us who[crossed out]m[end crossed out] was from Ark., we called him Arky, what a charter he was.He started trading from a fountian pen and ended up with a 17 jewel watch. From all our training that we had we all was glad to get started in combat. None of of knew what it would be like to see your buddy killed, [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] slaughtered.You can not dig a fox hole in the water. good on Omaha
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). We were briefed on what to look out for, we knew all the gim emplacements and how to flank them. Our most warry was hoping the 9th Air force could place the bombs where they were needed most. All I can say is not so good. A good bomb grater could have saved a lot of men. As for the Germans pouring gasoline on the water it did no good at all, as the tide was rising very fast and all the gasoline was on shore. On the LST that I was on we had the former Middle weight champion " Lew Ambers". He was still champ, as far as I am concern. There was one hard thing the men did not like including myself, "general quarters". There was a german PT boat in our vicinby so general quarters was given. That is when you are locked up in your assigned quarters and stay there until the all clear. There is no taking then, " sit, look and wait.
- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Bernard J. Morecock Jr.
Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day?
Yes. I still have it. Its a ggg good thing as ones memory slips by rather fast.
Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day?
Yes. Five killed three wounded in a matter [crossed out] munites [end crossed out] minutes. I still have the original loading list. A little water soaked but can be still read.
[Side Column] [?Get?] [?list?] [End Side Column]
Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties?
Quite a few. My machine gunner Raymond Seala [inserted] Selah [end inserted] from Brooklyn N.Y. was saying a few minutes before he was machine gunned and killed, quoted " Why in the hell don't you rebels [crossed out] leave the [end crossed out] go home and leave the war to him. Cpl. Lesie Baughan who was my wire Cpl. also another rebel, asked me to signal to the navy for help. I told him to give me his handkerchief and I will do it. In signaling for help as we were being machine gunned and shelled he was hit by an armored [crossed out] pricing [end crossed out] pearicing shell right through the stomach. Cpl.Altice radio operator from Norfolk Va. was [crossed out] direct by a [end crossed out] hit direct by an H.E. shell. Nothing was left but blood and meat. Our Medical Capt. Bernard J. Sabitiano who has the same initials as mine was killed by a shell fragement. Pfc. Gilbert Hodges from Ohio was killed when a shell took the left side of his head off. Cpl. Kenneth Eckardt of Richmond, Va. who my gunner Cpl. was wounded in the right. Pfc. Carpenter from West Va. was wounded in the knee. Later on in the war I lost another man.
Were you wounded?
Yes. I was hit in the hand by shell fragiments. I did not report it as it did not bouther me.
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?
Miss Ward, I prayed so hard that I was not afraid anymore. To me it became to be a big hunting trip. You did not have time to worry. As far as feeling any pain, I did not know I was hit. Everything was a surprise until later on after we got reorganized, which was three days later.
Do you remember seeing or bearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time?
I had three men in my section that played different mucial instruments.How they held on to them is a merical. They used to play them in [crossed out] the [end crossed out] gun position when we were [inserted] not [end inserted] firing. One evining we were having a good time singing and forgot all about the war, when all heck broke lose. The favorate saying started then, " What Happened" .No one was killed, but all our camofloge was missing. We also heard that there were negro artillery men to our rear, they were singing, " Praise the Lord and pass the Ammunition," being closer to the front, we started singing " Praise the Lord the Ammunition passed Me". " Who done it" was another. There are so many it would take quite a few hours to discuss.
[Side column] On D-day? NO [End side column]
Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable,which struck you more than anything else?
Yes. First of all the death of Col. Thornton L. Mullins. [crossed out] was the [end crossed out] 111th FA BM commander. If Col Mullins was alive at the time, [crossed out] of [end crossed out] the 111th Field Artillery could have been of grave danger ahead. Col. Mullins [crossed out] landed before ahead [inserted] had [end inserted] of [end crossed out] to go forward on the beach to make arrangements for our 105MM Howitzers to land. We all were waiting for his call, but never received it, as he was [crossed out] killed [end crossed out] dead at the time. That is how I got too close to the beach with our duck, and took all the germans could through at us. It was to late then. Cpl. Eckardt, Pfc. Carpenter, [crossed out] and myself swam to [end crossed out] Pfc. Levendoski swan to an LCT which was sinking at the time. We were [crossed out] [?pluu?] [end crossed out] pulled aboard but had to abandon to another LCT that came along side. Guess what, " British Cammando's & American Rangers", by the way " I swan with them". That boar load of good trained fighters had not gotten to the beach as yet. They poured coffee down us and started for the beach, after getting information as to haw the situation on the beach was. All I could say is, " The germans still have it". Being what they [inserted] were [end inserted] trained for, they hit [crossed out] it pluss [end crossed out] the beach plus three weary artillery men.
-for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Bernard J. Morecock Jr.
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?
Col Mullins showed great ingenuity, by him being an artillery commander, he took charge of an infantry squard or more and kept them moving across the beach. In doing so he was continuously wounded, but not giving up until killed.
Stupid things run very high. We all had to learn the hard way. Getting under trees were dangerous. Shells that could go over your head if out in the open, would hit the trees and exploed, killing who might be under the tree.
Conjestion on cross roads, [inserted] 'was another, '[end inserted] digging fox holes with 1/2 block of TNT, that'usually caused a large puff of blach smoke. The germans would think that they had hit something inportant and would throw in everything they had, which [crossed out] ment [end crossed out] meant that some [crossed out] would [end crossed out] one would get killed or wounded. The old saying was; "You are not going to die until your time comes". that was a mistake. If you are told to protect yourself and [inserted] you [end inserted] think that [crossed out] the book wiht it [end crossed out] " I'm not going to die until my time comess" is another mistake on ones part.
Where were you ar midnight on June 5, 1944?
Appr. four miles off the coast of France.
Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944?
Dug in on the side of the cliff which was appr. 200yrs inland from the beach.
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 have a very close friend, who was just ahead of Col Thornton Mullins before the Col. was killed.
[marginalia] Write Wicker [end marginalia] His name and address are as followa; Mr Frank Wicker, 110 North Blvd, Richmond, Va. He had his leg blown off 6 June or the 7th. I got in touch with him, and he said that he would be glad to give all information that he knows. He also stated that he kneew some other fellows that had more information them himself.
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 SEPERATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE ARE THEY NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
PS. About my wife; I went to bomb disposal school in Bristol England. The Sgt that [crossed out] I [crossed out] has [end crossed out] had as [end crossed out] [inserted] was [end inserted] my room mate, came from Calloway, Va. He would receive letters from [crossed out] this my wife whom I did not know [end crossed out] his [crossed out] at the time, and never did at that time. [end crossed out] sweetheart of school days. I would say to him, "Al! let me read your letters,
Cornelius Ryan Frances Ward 4/30/58 Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest
As I did not get any mail to-day. "sure he said..." Help yourself.
After the war, I met my wife., She had a scrap book. I saw a picture of Al. & told her of my being his room mate in Bristol England. To my surprise it was her letters that I had been reading.
We are now happily married, have two children and our home. [crossed out] thanks to to god. [end crossed out]
PS.2 Miss Ward, please excuse my writing, spelling, and the poor English. I know it could be better worded and expressed, but not being a clerk [crossed out] you can [end crossed out] myself, [inserted] I hope you [end inserted] understand. I went to be a friend of mine to see if he [crossed out] could [end crossed out] [inserted] would [end inserted] rewrite it for me. He said it would be best for me to send it in just as the way it is written. Thanking you for the pleasire [crossed out] to [end crossed out] [inserted] I [end inserted] hope [crossed out] to [end crossed out] [inserted] will [end inserted] help in you readers digest, I remain
Bernard J. Morecock Jr. Bernard J Morecock Jr.