Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 012, folder 53: Robert W. Woodward

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WOODWARD, Robert W. 1st Div Mass 1

Box 12, #53

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LL MASS Rockland MASS-1

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? Robert W Woodward

What was your unit and division? 7 FA 1st US Inf div

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Omaha Beach 9:00 AM

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Capt

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 28

Were you married at that time? yes

What is your wife's name? Virginia

Did you have any children at that time? One son

What do you do now? Manufacture Textiles & Textile mach.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? In Sicily the year before

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? This was [crossed out]my[end crossed out]our third invasion. Conversation and passtimes were routeen

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 well briefed. There were no rumors of consequence that I can remember.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Robert W. Woodward

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No, contrary to regulations

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? Yes, There was a setteling up of small sums owed Prior to the debarkation. In one case where a friend was killed I attempted to recover his check before it cleared my bank.

Were you wounded? Not in Normandy

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? I most vividly remember going up and down the beach organizing a firing line and kicking the bodies on the beach. Some were corpses and some were just petrified with fright. A double take between myself and a German soldier at the mouth of a tunnell

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? Late on D day an American wounded in a mine field crying for aid, not one of us, although we had been in mine fields and taken chances greater than his rescue would have involved, had the courage left to go after him.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Robert W Woodward

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? Acting at first mechanicaly I attempted to dig in. Then tiring I stopped to think and remembered from air photo study that there was excellent cover in an abandoned trench system about 15 feet ahead.

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? at sea

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? about 100 yds inland

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? General George A Taylor [*have written*]

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

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DECORATION AND AWARDS BRANCH, MILITARY PERSONNEL DIVISION, AGO

Initials [illegible] Date 11/3/44

RECORD OF AWARD OF DECORATION BY AGENCY OTHER THAN WAR DEPARTMENT

Last Name WOODWARD Organization FA Headquarters 1st United States Army Type of Award Distinguished-Service Cross Oak-Leaf Clusters By Command of MAJ. GEN. W. B. KEAN

First Name ROBERT

Middle Initial W. Station or APO 230 Number

Serial No. 0389219 Foreign CO No. Section 39 II Posthumous NO Posthumous Amended Revoked

Grade Capt. Others Date 31 July 1944 DO NOT WRITE IN COLUMN BELOW

CITATION

For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy on 6 June 1944, in [crossed out][illegible][end crossed out]. Captain Woodward, while on the beach on [crossed out][illegible][end crossed out], discovered an enemy [?mate?] from which heavy fire was being delivered on the troops moving across the beach. Exposing himself fully to the view of the enemy at less than 300 yards range, Captain Woodward jumped into a tank, required it to be moved forward and then directed its fire on this emplacement. He then left the tank and, though completely lacking cover from the intense enemy fire, [crossed out][illegible][end crossed out]proceeded through the barbed wire and up a sharp slope directly towards the fortification. Captain Woodward fired his pistol into successive [illegible] openings and forced the surrender of 23 of the enemy. Captain [crossed out][illegible][end crossed out] Woodward's initiative, personal bravery and daring set an inspiring example to his men and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

Entered military service from Massachusetts.

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