Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 007, folder 04: William H. Sands

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SANDS, William H. 29th DIV

Va 24

Box 7, #24

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Norfolk, VA. -I'd say BLACK- ?

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day

THOUSANDS OP 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 ? SANDS, WILLIAM H.

What was your unit and division? 29th Division Artillery, 29th Infantry Division

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Omaha Beach, June 6th, with half Division Headquarters and half Division Artillery Headquarters.

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Brigadier General, Commanding Division Artillery

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 52

Were you married at that time? Yes What is your wife's name? Dolores Winn Sands Did you have any children at that time ? No

What do you do now? Attorney at Law

When did you know that you were going to he part of the invasion? As soon as anyone else, during the spring of 1944

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?

Available for interview, if desired. 713 Bank of Commerce Building, Norfolk, Virginia

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).

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 -

Your name

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

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

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

Were you wounded?

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?

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

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

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 -

Your name Sands, William H.

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?

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? In the English Channel on LCIL

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944?

Near the crossroads at Verville-Sur-Mere

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?

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 MOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL AC KNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN III 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 Digeet

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July 24,1958

General William H. Sands 500 Boteturret Street Norfolk, Virginia

Dear General Sands: A history of D-Day, June 6,1944, to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the Normandy invasion next year is being prepared by Cornelius Ryan for publication in the Reader's Digest and in book form. It is being written with the cceplete cooperation and assistance of the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. This will not be another strategic history of invasion day, but a story of the twentyfour hours of D-Day as people lived them and remembered them. For this, we can only go to the men who were there and, if they are willing,invade their memories. Having learned of the part which you played in the invasion, we hope very much that you will be interested in the project and agree to help us.

During the next few months, both in this country and in Europe, Mr. Ryan will be interviewing many of the D-Day participants who agree to contribute to the book. Very probably, he will wish to talk with you during that period. In the meantime, since we are dealing with literally hundreds of people, we have found it necessary to develop an individual file on each person who agrees to help us. Therefore, we hope that if you are interested in the project, you will complete the en- closed record and return it to me at your earliest convenience. We truly believe that these questions will serve you, as well as us,if they can help to crystallise some hazy memories and to indicate the sort of information which we are seeking.

I should be most grateful to know as soon as possible when and if you will be available for interview during the next few months. We want very much to tell the story of your unit, and in order to do that we need your personal account. We look forward eagerly to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Frances Ward Research Department

FW:LL Enclosure

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