Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 007, folder 07: Francis L. Simeone

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Co. G 2nd Bn 116th

Easy Green

Dead

Good Stuff

One of 1st Killed

[?Providence?] [illegible]

SIMEONE, Francis L. 29th DIV Conn 11

Box 7, #7

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CONN 11 Rocky Hill, (Hartford) CONN. GREEN

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 FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? Francis L. Simeone

What was your unit and division? Co. G. 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry Reg., 29th Division

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Landed on Omaha Beach, at H-Hour 6:30AM

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Private

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 20 years old

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name? Ellen A. Simeone

Did you have any children at that time? No - not married

What do you do now? Automobile Casualty [illegible] for Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. - Hartford Insurance Group. - Asylum, Ave., Hartford, Conn.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? The numerours amphibious maneuvers we were subjected to every few week from about Feb to May 1944 Enforced Training program assault [?due?] insulation on the English southern sea coast. Many others to numerous to mention.

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? Do not recall the crossing. We were aboard the APA Thomas Jefferson (a fast ship) and made our rendezvous with the rest of the task force sometime on the night of June 5. My recollection as far as conversation is concerned is vague the boys were not in a talkative mood. Especially our officer asked anyone wishing to see the Chaplin to make any final will or anything else they wanted done. Tried to rest or sleep but could not to many thoughts were going through my mind, started to get nervous etc. Some gambling and talking about going to Paris with the winnings we had made at various [?marshalling?] area.

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). Do not recall to many specific rumors. We did hear that the defenders were old timers who would not give us a tough time since they were sick of the whole thing about being in the area such a long time etc. To watch out for the French civilians because they were not sure if we would be successful in liberating the area and were used to the occupation troops after over three years etc.

Last edit 21 days ago by MaryV
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-for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name Francis L. Simeone

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? Yes One of the first killed was Sgt. [?Neff?] hit by a 20mm shell instantly killed laying in the water partway and on the beach. Another one was caught in a crossfire as he was coming out of the assault boat. He forgot his ammunition being an assistance [illegible]

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualities? Yes. One of my friends [?Alan?] Ryan was in another boat section was hit badly by mortar fire. We were all set to go to Paris together. About three days latter we found him on the beach taged but not remove to be shipped back to England he was plenty sore being a first casualty but not moved as yet. He gave me his M-1 rifle after he was hit since my [won?] cease to function.

Were you wounded? No

Dc 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? None

Do you remember seeing- or bearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time? Not seeing ot hearing but serious enough at the time. My M-1 rifle did not function properly. It always worked before being new and completely zeroed in. On the land [insert] ing [end inserted] some sand must of have gotten into the gas chamber causing cylinder to chip away. This was discovered after dismanteling the piece on the beach against the seawall which gave was some protection from heavy firing from above us. the piece only fired single short had to be worked by hand. Under [?these?] conditions it was useless until Dan Ryan gave me his.

Dc you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more then anything else? Yes. - On the beach was a LCI which got hit. Laying a short distance away were too many sailors one crying the other dead. before speaking to the sailors who was some what in shock he told me that of the invasion they both were engaged in the Eastern theater Normandy was the worst, since it killed his buddy after being together for such a longtime. The amount of our equipment which was blown up under fire since they could not move inland for cover. The great number of dead and wounded, making you wonder if your turn is next.

Last edit 21 days ago by MaryV
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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 Your name Francis L. Simeone

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember examples of either? Yes. - Our assault section landed wrong by a short distance (meaning the whole of G Co. ) and we had to justify the mistake. By going parallel along the beach taking cover as best we could about seven of us move along with our section officer to our proper area. Everything and everybody being a a confused state just stayed where they landed. After a while we worked our way up the bluff and started inland. We marked our way carefully since mines were in the area. The Lieutenant explained the situation and selected two of us to gather our Co. together so we can correct the error in a body to our objective. I ended up going myself. Leaveing my equipment on the bluff I started back down to the beach and had to go through the whole area about a thousand yards rounding up the company or whoever wanted to come along. The heavy firing was going on more at the this time and had a couple of close calls on the beach once again after going through it one already. Everything turned out alright.

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Anchored off of the Normandy Coast watching our Airborne troops flying to jump inland. German flack guns lighting up the interior.

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? On my first out post dug in at a crossroad somewhere in the Vierville area Normandy.

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 should we write to? Yes. A paratroopers of the 82nd AirborneStan Cleaver [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] Whethersfield, Conn. Louis Schmidt- Altoma, Pa. of one of our assualt sections on the landing.

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 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's Digest

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Frank L. Simeone 11 Barry Place Rocky Hill, Conn. June 6, 1958

Miss Frances Ward Reader's Digest 230 Park Ave. New York, N.Y.

Dear Miss Ward:

In answer to your add placed in the June issue of the V.F.W. Magazine requesting information on personnal who participated in the operation of D-Day, June 6, 1944 I perhaps can furnish some data since being on of the many participant.

As a former member of the 29th Infantry Division, 116th

Last edit 20 days ago by MaryV
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