Oshbosh, Wis. LL WIS 6 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? WAYNE E. PALMER
What was your unit and division? MEDICAL DETACHMENT 16TH INFANTRY 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION.
Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? OMAHA BEACH APRROXIMATELY 6:30-7:30 A.M. ON D-DAY (second wave)
What was your rank on June 6, 1944? S/SGT (TECH 3RD Grade)
What was your age on June 6, 1944? 23 yrs
Were you married at that time? NO
What is your wife's name? BETTY JANE
Did you have any children at that time? No!
What do you do now? ASSIST MANAGER INVOICING + ESTIMATING DEPARTMENT OF THE MORGAN CO.
When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? ABOUT 6 MONTHS BEFORE ALTHOUGH WE WERE NOT DEFINITELY TOLD UNTIL WE WERE IN A STAGING AREA
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? TRIP QUITE ROUGH SEAWISE -- SPENT TIME READING -- PLAYING CARDS -- USUAL ARMY "BULL" SESSIONS TALKING ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM WHAT FRANCE WOULD BE LIKE TO WHAT OUR CHANCES OF SEEING HOME AGAIN WERE. SPENT QUITE ALOT OF TIME ON DECK WATCHING THE FLEET FORM IN ALL DIRECTIONS + JUST WATCHING + "SWEATING".
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). RUMOR THAT WE WERE TO MAKE INVASION AND SECURE BEACHHEAD AND THEN WE WERE TO GO HOME. (THIS WAS OUR FAVORITE.) THE BRIEFING SAID ADVANCE INFORMATION SAID IT WOULD NOT BE TOO TOUGH AS THE SHELLING, BOMBING, + ROCKET FIRE WAS TO SATURATE THE ENTIRE BEACH AREA - THIS TURNED OUT TO BE PRETTY THE BEACH INVASION
- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Wayne E Palmer
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 - more than I care to think about as we lost close to 50% of our strength the 1st morning.
Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? DON'T REMEMBER - EVERYTHING WAS VERY BUSINESS LIKE.
Were you wounded? SLIGHTLY IN THROAT - NO HOSPITALATION.
Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were so surprised that you felt nothing? JUST A SLIGHT PAIN OR SHOCK.
Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? WE HAD A LITTLE SHORT FELLOW WHO AS SOON AS WE HIT THE WATER INFLATED HIS LIFE BELT AND THEN COULDN'T TOUCH THE BOTTOM AND HE COULDN'T SWIM SO ALL HE COULD DO IS FLOAT + WAVE HIS ARMS FOR HELP UNTIL I GOT UNLOADED + COULD HELP HIM IN. HE TOOK ALOT OF KIDDING LATER.
Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? 1. The scattered wreckage and many wounded and dead upon the beach when I first saw land - up to that time I had felt that briefing would be pretty close to right. 2. The tremendously accurate artillery fire from a little navy destroyer that helped us finally get moving off the beaches [inserted] Too bad - post D day [end inserted] 3. The look on some German prisoners faces on the beach on D+1 when they [unintelligable] equiptment follins ashore
- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Wayne E. Palmer
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 from D-day? CAPT KIMBALL RICHMOND REALIZED THAT HIS "I" 16TH INFANTRY WAS BEING LANDED ON WRONG BEACH HAD BOATS TURNED AROUND AND LANDED ON CORRECT AREA. ALTHOUGH ALL BOATS WERE HIT OR HIT MINES. HE + THE SURVIVERS SWAM ASHORE + HELPED TO ORGANIZE THE ATTACK TO GET OFF THE BEACH.
Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? IN BED ON TROOPSHIP.
Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? ABOUT 2 MILES INLAND IN A RAVINE WHERE WE HAD A 1ST AID STATION SET UP.
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? REV. JOHN DAHLIN - CHURCH FERRY N.D. CLARENCE HAGLE - 804 EAST PALMER AVE GLENDALE 5, CALIF. OLAF JOHNSON - BOX 217 ROSE CREEK, MINN. NOEL RILEY - 215 OVILLA ROAD, WAXAHACHIE, TEXAS BAYER ROSS - BOX 614 MOUNTAIN LAKE, MINN EDWIN SCHNEIDER RR5 JASPER, IND. URBAN TANGEMAN - 209 W. WALNUT ST COLDWATER, OHIO. CHARLES WOOD - 1011 CAMPBELL AVE COLUMBUS, OHIO. ALL ABOVE WITH 16TH INFANTRY 1ST INF DIV.
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. If you do want to interview me, I shall do the best I can to help you. Please give me a little notice of time. WE Palmer
Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest