Talk about a dedicated friend. That's the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the email from Nancy Gardner, a close pal of Cecil's daughter. She informed me that she decided to do a bit of research and came across our site. She inquired whether I would be interested in hearing Cecil's story. Well the answer to that was an unequivocal yes!
Cecil's daughter Debbie and her son Matthew, used a camcorder to record some of his
remembrances and Nancy volunteered to take the recording and
put it in written form. She stated that it was going to take a little while since it
involved a lot of listening and re-listening. But she was
determined to get it done.
Many thanks to the entire family and Nancy, for this walk down memory lane. Cecil I'm delighted to do this for you.
September 27, 2010 - It is with deep regret I announce the passing of Cecil. I received a note from Nancy just before heading out the door to fly to PA for the 36th Combat Engineer Reunion, a few days ago. My sympathy goes out to Debbie and her family and to Nancy and all those who were part of his life. I was grateful for the opportunity to get to know him through his stories and photos. Rest in peace, Cecil.
Cecil E. Addy, a native of Decatur, MS, served in the 36th Engineer Combat Regiment in World War II. He was born August 4, 1922, to Ervin Isham and Emma Terrell Addy. Cecil was inducted February 25, 1943. His military occupational specialty was construction foreman. After arriving overseas at North Africa on November 27, 1943, he participated in campaigns in Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. At the time of his honorable discharge on November 4, 1945, Cecil held the rank of staff sergeant. He had been put in for the rank of 1st Sergeant but returned home before approval went through.
On May 1, 1948, Cecil married Lola Keen of Union, MS. They have two children, Michael E. Addy and Deborah (Debbie) Denice Addy Boggan, both of whom reside in Decatur, MS. After crop farming for awhile, Cecil made his living by dairy farming until his retirement in 1986.
479 Beeline Road
Decatur, MS 39327
2698 Muley Road
Decatur, MS 39327
The following information was obtained from interviews of Cecil and Lola Addy made by Debbie and her son, Matthew Boggan, in February-May 2007.
WWII REMEMBRANCES OF CECIL ADDY - 36th ENGINEER COMBAT REGIMENT
CECIL: Well, Matthew, back in February '43 I received my Class 1A classification to come back to Newton County. I was in New Britain, Connecticut, in a machine shop, working at New Britain Machine Works along with my brother Terrell. When I received that card he said, "If you've gotta go home I'm going, too, because I don't want to stay up here by myself." So we both came back together.
On the date that I was supposed to go, my daddy and brother Dennis carried me to Decatur in a wagon. I got on a bus to go to Hattiesburg (Mississippi) to Camp Shelby. Stayed at Camp Shelby a few days and from there, I was transferred to Fort Belvoir, VA, engineering school. I took six months of training in engineering and from that they sent me to an ordnance base in Texas in San Antonio. I stayed there a few months, then back to Granite City, Illinois, to another ordnance base. After I stayed there a few months they told me they'd give me a fourteen day leave, which more or less said I was going overseas.
Cecil at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Well, I came home and stayed the fourteen days, then I reported back to Pennsylvania (Camp Reynolds). But I had a little layover in St. Louis. I was AWOL a day or two. But, anyhow they told me after I got up there everything was slick, and they shipped me on to Virginia...Camp Patrick Henry. That's a de-embarkation point.
We left there on the "Empress of Scotland." We went on to Casablanca, Africa. We stayed there a spell and then we started back up the Mediterranean towards Naples, Italy. We came to Oran, and we stayed there a day or two...and on in to Naples, Italy. There's where I joined my outfit, the 36th Engineering Combat Unit.
We trained for the Anzio Beachhead a few months. I don't know how long. But we landed at Anzio and that was the first combat I had. Pretty rough. Stayed there for a few months. We finally broke out of there. Then we pulled back and we trained for Southern France. Well, we hit Southern France and after we got on into Southern France we went on in to Germany. Went through Germany on up into Austria. Up there the war was over at that time. Anyway, I stayed around there awhile and we moved back into Germany. At that time, they said that we would be staying over there as troops to, you know....just hold everything down there in Germany as occupational troops. But the war ended in Japan. So that turned us loose and we could come home. We went to Marseille, France, and we got on a little ol' "Sea Robin" and we came home. And that ended my travel right there...which was a few miles.
MATTHEW: A lot of miles, sounds to me like.
CECIL: A lot of miles.
DEBBIE: When you came back into the United States, where did you come back into?
CECIL: Where did I land when I came? New York City. I could see the hole where the plane hit the Empire State Building. Ladies met us and gave us milk and ice cream and foods we had not had in a long time. Roy Rogers and Trigger were in New York. A lot of the guys wanted to go see them and go do different things. But I said, "No, thanks. I just want to get back to Mississippi." Stayed at Camp Shanks about a week before we came on back to Camp Shelby.
MATTHEW: And then you took a bus back from Camp Shelby up here (to Decatur)?
CECIL: Up here. Well, from Hattiesburg..yeah, right. That's where I toted my barracks bags from (Highway) 15 out here (a distance of about 1 1/2 miles). Two barracks bags full of clothes.
When I got up to the house, the ol' dog says you're not coming in. He (Cecil's dad) had a bulldog, part bulldog. And I told him to move over, this is where I live, too!
LOLA: But you know, Mrs. Addy (Cecil's mother) said when she heard that dog bark she said, "Ervin, Ervin, wake up!" She said, "I bet that's Cecil." And she said, "I don't know why that come to me that that's Cecil." I bet she come up out of the bed.
CECIL: He (dog) was on that porch in that hallway. He was just daring me to come on up on it. I'd have choked him to death. I'd have jumped straddle of that dog. He didn't have a chance. He didn't know it, but he didn't have a chance on me then.
Well, Matthew, that pretty well covers it. Now, I can give you a little ol' tale or two that I seen that happened.
We'd been in Anzio a long time. We stayed up on the front for forty-five days. In fact, we got in this book that I've got, a commendation in there telling us, you know, that everything was all fine that we stayed up there so long. That don't usually happen. You don't stay that long. But, anyhow we had pulled back and getting a little rest. We called it R and R. We had our foxhole dug. There's an airplane come over us...low, German. He seen us with all these foxholes dug. He turned around and come right back at us, strafing us with about 20 mm guns. He was just knocking that dirt up. You could see the bullets hitting the ground.
Once he made his pass, this ol' boy right above me...about as far as from here to the road out yonder...come up cussin' and raising Cain. I said, "Boy, what's wrong with you?" He said, "That S. O. B. shot holes all in my blanket!" He held it up, and when he did he just ripped it! It just got a burst right down it. You know dirt was piled up that close (gestures about 18") and those bullets were coming about that close to where he was in the hole.
MATTHEW: What guns did you carry?
CECIL: Most of the time I was on a submachine gun. Not a submachine gun....just a regular handheld, air-cooled machine gun...45 caliber.
MATTHEW: A 45 caliber air-cooled machine gun?
CECIL: Right. I was #1 gunner, and ol' William Edminston over there at Meridian (Mississippi) was my #2 gunner. I carried the receiver. He carried the tripod. About 3 more boys carried extra ammunition, usually one in each hand. He just sat it down, I'd set it on it, and wherever we needed to shoot, we was ready to go. And I've seen it shoot 'til it would be plum red, the barrel on that thing. It was heavy--especially if you had to run. And I'd say, "Willie, can you move?" And he'd say, "Ah, hell, let's get outta here!" He wrapped one of those bandoliers around the barrel, grabbed the grip back here, and away we'd go.
MATTHEW: You told me a story one time about you and somebody were walking down the road and encountered some Germans or somebody.
CECIL: Yeah. We were at Anzio and my company commander got orders to get a patrol of about fifteen men together. The orders said y'all go until you see the enemy or get fired on. So we started down this highway. We called it Prostitution Avenue. There's houses on both sides of the road. We checked this house, we'd walk across and we'd check this one...just going on. The rest of the patrol was back of us. The captain with me said, "I'll be #1 scout...you be #2, Addy." That's what he said. I had a little ol' machine gun and hand grenades and pocket full of clips, you know...shells, ammunition. We just kept checking them houses like that from one side of the road to the other one.
Directly, we were sitting up in this ol' pink building looking out a shell hole out yonder. And I said we couldn't see nothing right there. I said, "I just feel like we're close enough. I can just about smell 'em. Let's get out of here." He said, "We ain't got shot at. We haven't seen nobody." And I said, "Well, we gotta go...let's go."
So we hit the highway again. He was on one side, and I was on the other. We hadn't gone as far as from here to that barn up yonder and he said, "Yonder they are right yonder in a foxhole." Said it low to me...I was across the highway. So he said, "I'm gonna shoot one of 'em." Well, we didn't have to do that. All we should have done was pull back. But he said, "I'm gonna shoot one of 'em." And I said, "Do what you gotta do." And he cut down. He said, "I got him! I'm gonna shoot another one!" BAM! He let it go again. Well, all hell broke loose, if you want to know the truth. Them 88s from them old tanks went popping over our head. That shrapnel was flying everywhere. And we got to running. You don't know how fast you CAN run.............! But, anyway we took off up that highway in the ditch with the grass grown up high.
We got back to our regular patrol which was about twelve or fifteen men. We started back to our company where we were staying, and we met the whole outfit coming up. They thought we were tied down. They were coming up there to get us out. That made you feel good. But we didn't need 'em, we were done out of it.
But, anyway I run out of what ammunition I had...all the grenades...and I had one clip in my machine gun. That's all I had.
MATTHEW: You were shooting and running...
CECIL: I was running! I wasn't shooting! I'd just hit the ground and run, hit the ground, run. And it jostled out of my pockets. I didn't take time to pick them things up. Man, nah!
Anyway, Matthew, we went back up there the next day to take that position...here the Germans were. We lost eleven men up there. Only one was killed, but the rest of 'em was wounded. Which put 'em out of commission. We wouldn't have lost that many if we'd got on out of there. Had we just pulled back after we'd seen 'em... But he couldn't do it. I thought the ol' captain made a bad move, 'cause all we was supposed to do was see 'em. We didn't have to shoot 'em. But, anyway we lost those men. Oh, it was Captain Godfrey...that was his name. He was a mean ol' dude.
We had a pretty hot little thing when we took that outpost. While we were there, after we'd done took it I was standing down there in the ditch. The shoulder of the road was just going up gradually just like highways are built. There was a bullet went by my head. It cracked...it didn't sing or nothing. This sergeant was standing up on the side of the bank. That thing came by my head and hit that sergeant in the fat part of the leg. He just came rolling down there where I was. I said, "Sergeant, are you going to be able to make it?" He said, "Hell, yeah! Let's get outta here!" He walked out of there with that bullet hole in his leg. Of course, you know, that wasn't no big deal if it didn't hit a bone.
DEBBIE: Tell about the time that bomb came into wherever y'all were.
CECIL: We had a little port there at Anzio Beachhead which we had to go down and guard. We was down there one night. I believe it had done got daylight. I don't know how come us staying that long. A little ol' plane came in, a little ol' bomber....you know, strafing? Maybe one little ol' 500-pound bomb in there. We was in there in the pool room. We had a pool room and a table in there. We'd mess around in there. Here come that little rascal. We heard him out there. You could tell when he was in a dive. That's when he dropped his bomb. That thing came in the room...about like we're here and in yonder in the other room...that's where it went in. It come through the roof and hit the floor----didn't go off. It was a dud. There was some ol' boys came in there the next morning and disarmed that thing and got it out of there. If that thing had went off, we'd have been killed. It would've killed all of us, I imagine. But we'd already went under that pool table. We thought that'd be a little protection.
DEBBIE: What about that gun you were telling me about that the Germans had?
CECIL: Oh, Anzio Annie? Well, I guess we'd call ourselves capturing it because we was the first that found it, as far as I know. We was going up, we moved out of the beachhead that morning. We just kept moving north. We got up to this little ol' town they called Cittavecchia. That's where that thing was. I forget the dimensions on that thing. It was an 11-inch hole at the end. I believe it was forty-ft long, that barrel...wasn't it, Matthew? You seen that picture of Anzio Annie?
MATTHEW: I studied about it sometime. I can't remember the dimensions on it.
CECIL: That thing, it had a booster on it. That thing would hit...like here...then that booster would take off and it'd go hit somewhere else over yonder.
Well, we had supplies in there you wouldn't believe. Ammunition, clothing, food. You couldn't hardly shoot back there without hitting something. If it wasn't people, it would hit weapons or whatever. A lot of times I seen that thing go off there on the beach, and it'd take off again and go out yonder. Maybe hit a ship a mile out yonder in the water.
Well, Matthew, something that really took my attention..... I never had been into combat 'til I went to Anzio. But we were fixing to land. We had pulled up there waiting our turn to get off that boat. Them little ol' bombers were coming in trying to hit them boats....strafing. This one little rascal peeled off. We could see him come out of the sun. Here he come.....he's coming right at us. Two or three of us went under a halftrack there for a little protection. I watched that bomb. It come out of that plane, Matthew.....it went right across the bow of our ship. And the next ship over, it went right under the bow head and went off. The end of that ship went straight up, boy. I said, "Good Lord, it done 'em in!" But that ol' boat come back down, settled down. He didn't get the hull of the boat. It went off under it. Just popped it up. That was a pretty close encounter right there.
Cecil and friend
DEBBIE: Did they bring y'all in on big boats?
CECIL: Nah. We got out as far as they brought us in. They had this deal, you know the front end would let down. Usually, they'd just let it down, and you'd be in close enough you could hit the water and come on out, wade on out.
DEBBIE: Just walked on in?
CECIL: They'd have a guy line to hold onto or something.
There was one little ol' boy with us in Southern France....Albin Mikolajzcyk, little ol' short Pollack. He was right ahead of me. He was short and that pack would tilt him over. I'd grab him and snatch him back every little bit 'til he could get his feet on the ground. Just a little ol' young boy. Seemed like he wasn't old enough to be in the service.
Albin and Cecil - 1944
Cecil - Nice, France - 1944
DEBBIE: Where were you when it was so cold?
CECIL: Germany. Italy was miserable because it was semi-tropical, and it rained a whole lot. But Germany---snow, ice---all that kind of mess. It was miserable---cold, cold.
DEBBIE: And you were in a foxhole?
CECIL: Yeah, part of the time. Part of the time you were moving, walking or traveling in a truck.
DEBBIE: How'd you keep warm?
CECIL: You didn't.
MATTHEW: Y'all couldn't build fires or anything could you?
CECIL: Hardly ever, Matthew. That's right. Now, this one time I'll tell you about me and Willie (Edminston). He got the coal up, and we slept warm that night. I said, "Willie, ain't no way in the world we can burn that stuff. They'll see it and shoot the devil out of us." He said, "When we get through they ain't gonna see it."
He got to digging. You know we sat on something where we could see out of the foxholes. He dug back up under the bank----way back up in there, that far (gestures two to three feet). And you couldn't see no glow nowhere. You'd stick your feet up inside that ol' bucket we's burning. Felt so good, I'm telling you.
We slept---two of us was in a hole---two hours on and two hours off. That's the way we worked it every night. And that's poor sleeping. Poorly! You don't get no rest, really.
DEBBIE: When you were on the beachhead and y'all stayed there the 45 days, what did you do about eating and everything? Were y'all in foxholes the whole time?
CECIL: We were up there----forty-five days, we stayed up there. We had C-ration cans, we had one little burner. What'd they call that thing? It wasn't a Bunsen. It was some kind of burner you had to pump it up, put gas in it. We'd heat that can a little bit, enough to sorta eat it.
If you had to use the bathroom you just got outside, done it and covered it up. Like a cat.
DEBBIE: So y'all just went in and you had a little shovel??
CECIL: Had a little shovel with a handle on it about that long (gestures about 3 feet).
MATTHEW: Did it fold up?
CECIL: Folded up. And I have popped that thing, and then popped the handle out of it. Stuff like that. Ol' ground would be sort of froze, you know.
MATTHEW: Tell me the story about the spotter plane that German fighter got after.
CECIL: That Piper Cub? He spotted for our artillery. He spotted for theirs, too. If he could see it, he'd put something on it. He just stayed up there floating around all the time. You'd hear him buzzing here...you'd hear him buzz over yonder a way....he'd come back.
One day one of them German planes come in there going back to that little ol' port I was telling you about. He done his little bombing and strafing thing and he come back over. He got after that little Piper Cub. And that little rascal---you'd be surprised, the fakes he could do in that thing. He'd go straight down, he'd go under them power lines....every way he could to get away from that devil. He's was gonna shoot him down if he could. But he (German) never could do it. I watched him 'til it was over with. I know he didn't.
Sometimes you could be standing there, and you'd hear a dogfight up there in the sky. You'd get to looking and the little planes would look about like a crawfish. But you could hear those guns a-rattling. Sometimes they'd shoot one another down, too.
I've been sitting in a foxhole watching through binoculars and these bombers going into this town---to bomb a town. I mean, just in droves! Anti-aircraft of the Germans would get to shooting them down. I seen a bunch of 'em go down. They'd get hit, and they'd go to smoking. You'd see them boys be jumping out or anything they could do, a parachute. He'd start down and that big ol' bomber...I reckon it would hit the ground. It would just be a big ol' plume of smoke come up. Black smoke. And that was it. Them boys jumped out---all that could get out, jumped out. They didn't all of 'em get out, either...a lot of times. Burned up in them things.
DEBBIE: Did many in your group ever get taken prisoner?
CECIL: At one time, there was about seven or eight or ten did on the beachhead there we were talking about. That's the place that little ol' corporal in the hole with me said, "Addy, what we gonna do?" I said, "I'm gonna get the hell outta here. I don't know what you're gonna do." And I said, "I'm going back to Mississippi." That's just what I told him. And he jumped out with me. We got down in the water and mud and slid right out 'tween them Germans. Right close as from here to Matthew. That morning I slid out of there---them durn Germans. We got on back to our line, and we had a password and a countersign. That night it was "Prince Albert." When he hollered at me, I said, "Prince." He said, "Albert." And boy, I knew we had it made. We walked on across. I believe that corporal would have give up. I told him I wasn't.
DEBBIE TO LOLA: Tell Matthew what you remember about the war.
LOLA: All I remember is all the boys was gone. Somebody asked me did I date much. I said there wasn't nothing left to date but old 4-Fs. I said I didn't care about going out with them.
MATTHEW: And what was a 4-F, Mamaw?
LOLA: Well, someone else asked me about that, "What's a 4-F, Mamaw?"
CECIL: It's a reject. Their health wouldn't let 'em go.
LOLA: It's ones wasn't good enough to go. A lot of 'em played sick, didn't they, Cecil? Some of 'em played sick so they wouldn't have to go?
CECIL: Why, yeah, some of 'em did. You better believe it. They done anything to get out of that war.
LOLA: You know Mama had three in there: Conrad, George and Pat (Keen).
DEBBIE TO LOLA: Tell about your brothers going to the war.
LOLA: There was three----George, Pat and Conrad. They turned G. B. down because he had bad legs. He had swelling in his legs. He lost an eye, too. He just had one eye. So they turned him down. There was three of 'em in there at one time.
DEBBIE: Where all did they go?
LOLA: You know, I don't know.
CECIL: George and Pat went to Europe. George was in the artillery and Pat was in the tank corps. Pat got wounded in the arm. George got wounded somewhere---I don't know where. It wasn't as serious as Pat's, though.
Matthew, I forgot to mention the ship I went over on was the "Empress of Scotland." Had about 8,000 troops on her.
MATTHEW: That's the one you headed out of here on?
CECIL: That's the one I went to Africa in. Took us about eight days to go. When I came home, I came home on a "Sea Robin" that was built down in Pascagoula (Mississippi). It had it stamped on there. That was a rough little devil. I mean, it wasn't very big and we got in some rough water. You talk about tossing some people around.....now, that thing was bucking!
MATTHEW: About how many folks would it hold?
CECIL: Not near as many as that "Empress of Scotland." It was probably three or four thousand troops on this little one. Maybe half as many as on the first ship I went on.
They used to take us on hikes. We'd get on a boat, we'd land off of that boat on land, then hike about twenty or twenty-five (miles). You know that wasn't easy. Them ol' boys, a lot of 'em---would fall out just intentionally. They wasn't gonna do it. An ambulance come along and picked 'em up. They'd come by us waving at us, laughing. They'd done pulled their thing. I couldn't do that. I'd have died before I'd have done it. I was just so stubborn, I wasn't gonna quit.
MATTHEW: How much did those packs weigh that y'all carried?
CECIL: Probably 40 (pounds).
MATTHEW: That's 40 plus your machine...
MATTHEW: Plus your rifle.
CECIL: Always had an M-1, you know. It was an M-1 Garand 30 caliber standard issue rifle.
MATTHEW: So you carried an M-1 plus your machine gun?
CECIL: Nah, now the M-1 was for hiking and stuff, for when we were not in combat. The machine gun was when we went out to take a position from the Germans or something...to use in combat.
But the day we went up and lost them eleven men, we got to this ol' house down there that had a big ol' crater in it. There was a German shooting out of it. There was a boy with us that had a grenade launcher on his rifle. I knew he did. I said, "Put one of them things up yonder in that hole, boy." He said, "I can't hit that hole." I said, "You can, too. Put it in there!" First crack, boy, it went in that hole just perfect. That thing went off in there. There was four or five of them boys went up those stairs so fast on that German. He come out with his hands up. He was ready to give up. Done got 'im.
DEBBIE: What did y'all do with your prisoners?
CECIL: We carried 'em back. Some of 'em got a whupping and all that stuff. They'd whup 'em sometimes---make 'em tell what they wanted 'em to tell. Some of 'em was shot and different things.
I'll tell you a story that's the truth. This German there---that position that we took---he was wounded. Had been shot. An ol' GI---I didn't see it, but I know it happened, they told me it did---he just walked up there and pumped a whole clip in him. Of course, it wiped him out completely.
We went on up into Italy, wasn't two weeks after that. We was taking a German position. This boy (who killed the German) got his head up a little too high. A German caught him with that machine gun they had. We called it a machine gun---it shot so fast. He just cut his whole face off with that thing. You know we said there's justice in anything? He shouldn't have killed that German laying there. He was defenseless, he couldn't do nothing.
DEBBIE: Wasn't there a certain number of points or something, that if you got so many points you got to come home?
CECIL: Once you'd been in so many theaters over there...and time...you automatically could come home.
We were at the beachhead at Anzio and a messenger came in. He said, "Pack it in, we're headed to the front in a few minutes." This Miller boy had been in my outfit ever since I'd been in it and long before. He had built up enough points to come home to the states. I don't know why they did it, but they told him to pack it up....you're going with the regiment. Well, he hadn't been up there three days, I don't reckon, 'til he was killed.
I helped carry him out on a stretcher. We put him on a stretcher, and we must have carried him from here to William McMullan's over yonder (about 1/2 mile) in that mud and stuff. Mud that deep (gestures to mid-calf) where soldiers had been walking and what have you. He rolled off every once in awhile, and we'd put him back on there.
I did some kind of bitching to some of them officers after we got him back there for the simple fact that he could have been back home instead of dead. Didn't do no good. You know, he's just a dead soldier. They didn't pay it no mind. But he should have never died over there. He should have come back home 'cause he had the points to do it. I know he did.
DEBBIE: What was his name?
CECIL: He was a Miller....last name. I don't remember his first name. If I could see a roster, I might recognize that. Of all the group.
DEBBIE: But what about....if you got so many points, though, then you got to come home?
CECIL: They would send you home. That's right.
MATTHEW: How did you get those points?
CECIL: By being in so many theaters of operation. Now, he probably come up through Africa with my outfit. And Italy. Before I joined 'em, see, he'd done got a bunch of points. And by the time he got his points, I only had a few. I hadn't been in there that long. But he should have been allowed to go home.
And another time, Matthew, when the war was over with we were in Innsbruck, Austria. We had this time they let us go anywhere we wanted to go, more or less. We go out this night---of course, I know nothing about it but I knew the guy involved. But the next day there was a man and a woman come down there inquiring about their daughter who had been killed. They knew it was somebody from our outfit, but they weren't sure exactly who it was. So the company commander told me to go out there and fall everybody out. Line 'em up and let these folks walk down there and look at 'em.
I can't recall this ol' boy's name, but they pointed him out and said that was him. Well---to start with, let me back up a little bit. This ol' boy wasn't in the lineup to start with when they called roll. The CO asked me did I know where he was at. I said, "I understand he's up in a building way up yonder." He said, "Go get him."
So I go up there and I said, "Come on, get in the lineup down there." He said, "I ain't going." I said, "Yeah, you're gonna go. One way or the other you gotta go. I may not can take you, but we'll get enough here that can. We'll put you in that lineup."
But they picked him out, anyway. The CO said, "Jumble 'em up. We'll take the people inside where they can't see. Just mix 'em all up." They (the man and woman) went down that row. They picked him out again. Just like that...that's the one. What he'd done was stabbed their daughter to death. Killed her.
The CO said, "Put him under arrest right now." The last time I knew we left Innsbruck, Austria, they still had him under arrest. I don't know...surely they tried him. They ought to have killed him if he done what he done. Yeah. He stuck her with a knife and killed her. And why? Why in the world he would have done that, I don't know. Just pure meanness, I guess.
Cecil and unknown friend
DEBBIE TO LOLA: Mama, you tell about Grandma (Keen) getting letters from her boys.
LOLA: She couldn't get any letters. She couldn't hear from 'em no way. She just couldn't wait for the mail carrier to come every day. She'd just stand and wait. She wouldn't maybe get no letters for weeks, and sometimes she'd get as many as three. They'd wrote 'em but they didn't get there. That was from George, mostly. He stayed in there longer. Pat got wounded and they took him out for awhile.
DEBBIE: Did they censor you letters, Daddy? Did they read them?
CECIL: Yeah---some of 'em they censored. They had 'em cut out. When they'd get here, more than they would what I'd get there. Yeah, they cut some of 'em out. If they didn't want the word spread, they'd cut it out.
LOLA: But you know, they'd notify the people if they got wounded. I remember the sheriff up there at Union (MS) drove up out there one day and brought Mama a little note that Pat had got a little wound or something in his arm. It wasn't serious. It didn't hurt him much. But they'd let you know about if if any of 'em got hurt or anything.
MATTHEW: Reckon how they did that...by telegram?
CECIL: Yeah, I'm sure they done some of it. Yeah, they got it back to Washington, you know, and ran it on down to the local people. It was probably the mayor or the town police from Union come out there.
But it was a trying time. I ain't sorry I went. I'm glad I got the job done. I was drafted. I didn't volunteer but I done as good soldiering as any of 'em.
MATTHEW: You did what you had to do.
CECIL: Yeah. I done what I had to do. That's right.
MATTHEW: Papaw, you were in the 36th Engineering Group with the U. S. Army?
CECIL: 36th Engineering Combat Group. We were a regiment big enough that they used us as infantry, you see. We'd fill a gap. If they needed fill, they'd call us to come in there and fill that gap.
We had a dude, Matthew, came in there from West Point. He was a 2nd lieutenant. He thought he knew it all. He asked the company commander for permission to go out there on this point. We had a point of woods that went out there on down the road just past where our line that we had dug out ended. He asked permission to go out there and dig a machine gun in and take some boys out there. The commander said, "What're you gonna do?" He (2nd lt.) said, "We're going to harass the Germans."
So they go out there and they work all day. They sandbagged a machine gun in. They opened that thing up out there, and you ain't never seen such a barrage of artillery that came in there on them boys in all your life. One of them ol' boys told me that concussion was blowing him that high (gestures up several feet) off the ground. You know, it was hitting so close. And that little ol' lieutenant, after that shelling, he never was worth a toot after that. It just got his nerves or something. He was nothing no more. Just ruined him.
I know---I seen it going on out there. They got a bunch of shelling. And they broke that little machine gun nest up out there in a hurry.
Cecil and "Bender"
****END OF INTERVIEW****
[NOTE: The following additional information was provided by Cecil Addy after the previous interviews were recorded.]
One time we killed a deer, and a German woman was going to cook it for us. A messenger came in and told us that we were about to be surrounded and we had to pull back. When we were able to go back to the town where the deer had been killed, the Germans had eaten our deer.
I remember eating a D bar, which was a piece of hard chocolate.
I had a terrible headache. Another guy and I were dug in on the side of the highway. The guy with me told me to lie down and try to go to sleep so maybe I would feel better. The guy woke me up when he heard something. We knew it was Germans but, luckily, it was the German prisoners being brought in.
One time we took a German prisoner. I asked him for his watch. He said his sister gave it to him, and it meant a lot to him. I didn't take it. Later, I saw the prisoner and his watch was gone. Another GI had taken it.
We passed air strips in Germany with lots of planes but there was no fuel to fly them with.
We were in one town with a beer factory but there wasn't any "hops" to put in it, so the beer didn't have any "kick" to it.
In Nurnberg (Nuremberg), Germany, I went to the "Little World Series." It was played with all GIs. Ewell Blackwell pitched. Nurnberg Stadium is where the games were played. That's where Hitler had reviewed his troops.
Austria was the most beautiful place I remember being. In Rome I saw St. Peter's Cathedral. It was beautiful.
The British furnished artillery. They called it "A Walking Barrage." The British would fire the artillery to protect the Americans as they moved in. The British had the best artillery of any.
Many times when we ate, there would be a dead German or another GI right there in sight. You would just eat, anyway.
Some names written down in a book of mine are:
Dean Mitchell (a very good friend who visited some after the war, but has died)
Albin Mikolajzcyk (another good friend)
The following are special documents from Cecil's collection and are presented as PDF files. Some may take longer to download than others. All may be saved and/or printed.
Commendation - 36th Engineers
Decatur Engineer Turns Infantryman - Meridian Star Newspaper - April 4, 1944
There is a typo on this army document. It shoud state 2828th, not 288th.
Special Orders - September 7, 1945
The next file is a very interesting document that is taken from a transcript from the House of Representatives. It is a plea for special pay and recognition for our engineers. The 36th Engineers are mentioned several times throughout. This is a reprint from the 2828th Combat Battalion.
Congressional Record - Proceedings and Debates of the 79th Congress First Session