SEGMENT: MILITARY SERVICE

Michael Scully>LPL Interviews N-Z>LPL Interviews K-Z, Segment 8

SEGMENT: MILITARY SERVICE,

duration 16:11
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MILITARY SERVICE
American ex-patriots in England and France started the American Field Service. About 2000 served with British and French in war, driving ambulances and doing other services. Given 2-3 weeks driving training in Naples. Sent to Eighth Army - half the nations of British Empire - Scots, Indians, Gurkhas, New Zealanders, Australians, Poles. He was in Italy and Germany until VE Day. Sent to India for six months. Came home after A-bombs went off. Drove ambulances that took wounded from the front to the hospitals. Drove at 2 miles an hour. Worst experience was in Germany. After VE Day shipped to near Belsen Concentration Camp. Shocked at the human damage done there and the depravity humans could do. He made a speech on this for AFS prior to Iraq War. Eighth Army experience was brutal. Never heard about it on the front. War was fought by enthusiastic eighteen year olds. Simple life - life and death, food, sleep, warmth. Paid twenty dollars a month. Big change from privileged life before. Group solidarity united the diverse people who served. All volunteers. Matures people faster. Describes waiting in India for next assignment in Sumatra, but war ended and they waited five months after VE Day to come home. Saw the last of the Raj, though did not realize that. Took the train to Bombay and saw beggars - like the concentration camp prisoners. When A-Bomb went off, but was just a another fact. Impact didn't register. Came home on Queen Mary with 15,000 Canadians. Met in Halifax. Train to New York. Back to society.