Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 007, folder 09: Eugene Nelson Slappey

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SLAPPEY, Eugene Nelson 29th Div Va 7 Box 7, #9 LEESBURG NEAR ?? Dead File

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For Cornelius Ryan -------- O-1 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 ? Eugene Nelson Slappey What was your unit and division? Co----115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time ? Easy Red Beach- Omaha Beachhead What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Colonel What was your age on June 6, 1944? 49 Were you married at that time? Yes What is your wife's name ? Katherine B. Slappey Did you have any children at that time? Yes- 3 What do you do now? Retired- Live in country 3 miles west of Leesburg, Virginia

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? Do not remember- exactly. 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 were on crowded LCIs - had been for nearly a week. Our problem was to try to keep physically + mentally fit. For the final crossing, my recollection is that all hands were pretty quiet, each man probably absorbed in his won thoughts.

What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in v/hich you made the crossing? (Some people remember s-cuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in ). I think our outfit had heard it all before we boarded ship

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name 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 Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? No

Were you wounded? No

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 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, simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? The soldier operating a bulldozer, while under fire, clearing a road from Easy Rd Beachwas both memorable + heroic.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name 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? Yes- especially the stupid - but I'd rather not talk about it- for the confusion was great and the stress terrific Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Aboard our LCI Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? In rear --(south) of 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? Mr. A.E. Shaff 713 Motter Ave. Frederick , Md. There are others, of course, but at this time I do not know where they are

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. VJE 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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April 29, 1958

Dear Colonel Slappey:

A book about D-Day, June 6, 1944, is being prepared by Cornelius Ryan for publication in The Reader's Digest and in book form to coincide with the 15th Anniversary of the Normandy invasion in the spring of 1959. It is being written with the complete cooperation and assistance of the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. The book will not be another history of the invasion day, but rather the story of twenty- four hours in the lives of the people who participated. I have already had the good fortune of meeting General Purnell of the 29th Division in Baltimore, and enlisting his assistance for our attempts to reach other D -Day survivors from the 29th Division.

Mr. Ryan is presently in Europe trying to get the project under way there. He will return very shortly, and sometime in the late spring and early summer of this year he plans to take a trip across the country in- terviewing people who have stated their willingness to help us. Before that, however, he and I will be in Washington again, probably during the first full week in May. Mr. Ryan wants very much to interview you, if you are willing to see him, sometime during May or June of this year. However, since we are finding this project to be such a huge one, we have adopted the procedure of keeping an individual file on each person who is willing to help us. We honestly believe that this will provide a means of crystallising hazy memories, as well as a very good basic record for our purposes.

We hope very much that you will be interested in the book, and that you will be willing to see Mr. Ryan. If you are willing to help us, we should much appreciate your completing the enclosed form at your earliest convenience and returning it to me. We look forward to your reply, sir, and we thank you very much for any assistance which you can give us.

Sincerely yours, Frances Ward (signed) Frances Ward Research Department for Cornelius Ryan

Colonel Eugene N. Slappey Route 1, Box 8l Leesburg, Virginia

Dear Miss Ward - I have been away from home for a long time, but should Mr. Ryan wish to see me, I will be available at my home address by June 15, 1958. Sincerely yours E.N. Slappey

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