Box 024, folder 23: Gunnar H. Gunnarson

ReadAboutContentsHelp

Pages

ryan_box024-tld_f23_01
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f23_01

GUNNARSON, Gunnar H.

Canadian 3rd Div.

Box 24, #23

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
ryan_box024-tld_f23_02
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f23_02

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? Gunnar H. Gunnarson

What was your unit and division? Royal Winnipeg Rifles; 7 Brigade, (nickname- Little Black Devils) 3rd Canadian Infantry Div.

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Juno area, Mike beach. I was in the second wave of assault craft touching shore 10 minutes after the first just before 8 oclock

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Rifleman.

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 28

Were you married at that time? No. still single

What is your wife's name? -

Did you have any children at that time?-

What do you do now? Farming and prospecting for mines in Northern Manitoba when opportunity presents.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? We had months of special training for assault landing. I helped on top secret planning operations "overlord"

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? I was busy distributing live maps as distinguished from ones used for briefing the troops. Only a selected few knew the real location before the ship actually left for Normandy. I was with the Intelligence section and helped many officers with their maps as I had worked for months preparing the briefing centre and was familiar with all phases of the operations as far as plans were concerned. For briefing purposes Canadian names were substituted for the French names and most troops saw the French maps for the first time when the ship left for Normandy.

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 aboard ship for about five days waiting to move. Speculation was mostly where we would land. Nobody had any doubts about not going. All were occupied with checking equipment and going over plans for the assault. There was also a lot of practice on the actual assault craft on the ship. How to get in and out quickly. We were very well trained.

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
ryan_box024-tld_f23_03
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f23_03

- 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 D-day? The Paymaster's clerk had the reputation before landing of being the weak sort. He was a slim slight lad and many considered him rather useless. His section was badly shot up. He rounded up survivors and took command and really did a job till he was badly wounded. I seem to recall he got a decoration and really earned it. He was one of the surprises. I can't recall his name.

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? aboard ship.

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? with the battalion headquarters some five miles inland.

Do you know of anybody else who landed within the 24 hours of D-day, June 6, as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? Mr. R.K. Wislon, 388 Winterton Ave, East Kildonan, Manitoba, Canada Wilson was sargent in the adjutants' office and would remember many things as he kept all the records and such.

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 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

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
ryan_box024-tld_f23_04
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f23_04

NEG

Arborg. Manitoba 9 Oct. 1958

CANADIAN

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

Dear Miss Ward, Enclosed herewith [crossed out] your [end crossed out] is your questions on D. day. I have trouble recalling exact details on so many things. This [?epoc?] has to be experienced to be believed or understood. We had very intensive training. We were conditioned to accept anything. I have never been able to think of any description of my feelings except the word "surprised" and that one applied to everything. That I was in France, still alive all the bullets fired missed me and most of the others etc. Many outstanding things occured. In the questions I gave the paymaster's clerk. Another was a British naval officer sitting under the [?dunes?] operating two radio sets, two singal lamps and giving everybody directions with out being the least confused. a veteran of many landings. another was corporal "Bull" Klause of German descent. He was apparently badly wounded and his section pinned down by a machine gun in a pill box. He ordered his 2 I/C to wait till the firing stopped and he crawled toward

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
ryan_box024-tld_f23_05
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f23_05

2.

the pillbox. The firing stopped and the sections moved on. He was found later in the pill box dead with a dead German by the throat in each hand. He was a wrestler from Brandon Manitoba. He was recommended for the V.C. but apparently the action was not confirmed by a high ranking officer (major or higher) before the bodies were buried and so did not get the decoration.

I was with Battalion headquarters. In the afternoon (6 June) when we were a few miles inland and the [illegible] and troops some distance ahead, a mile or more, a German solider stood up with his hand up in a grain field, wanting to surrender and [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] obviously wondering if it was "safe" to do so. His sudden apperance actually caused consternation among us and hurried conferences were held to decide what was supposed to be done with prisoners. Everybody had quickly gathered around him to see what this ferocious breed known as Germans looked like. Finally someone had time to look around and saw forty more Germans standing farther back in the field, with their hands up, patiently waiting for us to notice them.

Last edit about 3 years ago by SarahAnn
Displaying pages 1 - 5 of 7 in total