Thanksgiving - Christmas 1944

A story by David T. Daniels

70 Years Ago I have written extensively on my combat experience in this period. There are a few items that are unclear, plus a few that haven’t been mentioned before. After five months of consistent fighting, we came upon Thanksgiving. At this point we had not had a break since September. For over two months we had not eaten a hot meal. On this day trucks rolled up to the front and, a squad at a time, took us to the rear for a hot turkey dinner. What a treat!! Three weeks later I was wounded by a mortar shell. As determined later, I had a serious brain wound and I fell into a semi-conscious state in enemy territory and I was picked up by the enemy. It was seven months later that I learned that my parents received a wire from the War Department informing them that I was missing in action. Then, how did I end up in a U.S. Army field hospital?? This question will always remain a mystery. However, there is a fact that may shed some light. That is, I was wearing trousers which are issued to German soldiers. In September I replaced my tattered and torn ones with ones I found in German barracks in Metz. The only differences in our uniforms were the helmet and trousers. Our trousers were dark greenish brown and the Germans’ were light brown. If my helmet had gone astray on my fall I would appear to be a German soldier. They probably thought I was of them. After all, why would an American soldier be in their territory? Before Christmas my poor parents received another wire stating that i was seriously ill and not expected to live. They had this thought until receiving a letter from me with all cheers. They thought I had a miraculous recovery. Here is another interesting tidbit. In October, my mother informed me that she was sending to me for Christmas one of her great homemade fruitcakes. That package probably went many paths following me. I returned home in June 1945, and reported that no fruitcake arrived. I was at Camp Shelby in Mississippi when the war ended on August 18th. Four days later, a dry, crushed fruitcake arrived and it went into the trash. Another tidbit, in my hands is a small bible (New Testament) with a metal cover. Inside my mother inscribed Love - Xmas 1944. I have no memory of ever receiving this. In June, while gathering up my limited personal belongings, this bible appeared.

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 bible,brain injury,combat,fruitcake,Germans,trauma
  Metz, France
Feb 25 2024

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