Walter E. Hughes
After the bridge
How could they not keep going? How could they leave them, without even trying to get through? For years those thoughts have haunted me. What if our objective was the Arnhem bridge and we were left hanging like the British Airborne was. Those guys we drank with a nd sometimes fought with were abandoned by their own People. I suppose the higher ups had their excuses and reasons. Sitting in a hole in the woods, I was glad it wasn't on my conscious. We had a lot more fighting to do before we would leave Holland, Den Heuvel Woods, and along the Wyler Meer. We finally settled in to holding the high area where we set up good defensive positions. The Patroling was almost every night. The shelling was constant and I became acquainted with the, “Screaming Meemie” and the “88” You never forget what either of them sound like. I would work with Ed Hann and Sgt Davis to run lines out to the platoon holes for the sound Power Phones. We did this every night as the German shells would cut and shatter them. The Positions were called, “Ace, Queen, and King” One forward hole was a listening post and several troopers, I believe disappeared before the hole was abandoned. It was to close to the Jerrys. The Patrols continued, the shelling was constant. You never strayed far from your hole. Some of which became pretty good protection with the empty mortar cases reinforcement. They almost became habitable. September dragged on into October and we were able to get relieved to go into Nijmegen for a shower and bath in this huge place which was probably a public bathhouse. We would shed our cloths, and there was a pile of clean cloths to exchange for the dirty ones. Many of the Troops would wind up wearing British pants or jackets. By this time our own Jump suits were pretty shabby. But we kept our boots. Nobody wanted those heavy British shoes. (Just an aside. On clear days and nights sometimes we would see the trails from the American Bombers, (and I guess Brits) heading into Germany by the hundreds and all- thought we could barely hear them, we seen so many of them hit and fall But I often wondered how the German soldier could look up and see those Bombers heading for their cities, their people, their families and not want to end the war, so that would stop. It had to be terrible.) We lost more men to the shelling and the mines. Sgt Baker (or Barker) Sgt Dewy, I think his first name was George or Bob, Sgt White, and Lt Kennedy. And many others I can't recall the names. We left Holland relieved by a Canadian Unit sometime in early November. We were told we were going to a rest area near Paris. That sounded good and we wished our Canadian Friends well and left Holland. Destination France.
WALTER E. HUGHES ….PFC I/COMPANY 504/PIR "DEVILS IN BAGGY PANTS!'
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