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Sergeant Beasley: Memoirs of a WWII P.O.W.

Sergeant Beasley: Memoirs of a WWII P.O.W.

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Sergeant Beasley: Memoirs of a WWII P.O.W.

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173 pagine
2 ore
Jul 25, 2011


Sergeant Beasley: Memoirs of a WWII P.O.W. is a compilation of the memories of Sergeant Charles Palmer Beasley. It chronicles his life from youth in the hills of Crawford County, Indiana to the Civilian Conservation Corps to the Army Air Corps and as a prisoner of war at the Keifheide (Stalag Luft IV) P.O.W. camp in Germany. Sergeant Beasley spent time at Fort Knox, Esler Field and Fort Dix before being sent overseas to Membry Airfield in Berkshire, England. After training at Eastbourne in East Sussex, England, he returned to Membry and served with the 2911th Bomb Squadron (L) in light bombers before moving on to the 447th Bomb Group, 711 Squadron where he flew as a belly gunner in several B-17 bombers. Sergeant Beasley was serving on the crew of "Leading Lady II" on a bombing mission over Germany when the plane was shot down and he was taken to Keifheide (Stalag Luft IV) as a prisoner of war. This is his story, in his words.

Jul 25, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, I am a programmer-by-day and writer-by-night. I write fictional novels and poetry. To date, I have one published novel and 14 published poems. I currently reside in Bloomington, Indiana with my wonderful wife, two beautiful daughters, and three cats.

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Sergeant Beasley - Pete Partin

Sergeant Beasley: Memoirs of a WWII P.O.W.

Published by Peter L. Partin at Smashwords

Copyright © 2011 Charles Palmer Beasley

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Chapter 1 – The Early Years

Chapter 2 – The Civilian Conservation Corps

Chapter 3 – The Army Air Corps

Chapter 4 – Basic Training

Chapter 5 – Fort Knox

Chapter 6 – Esler Field and Fort Dix

Chapter 7 – Membry Airfield (Berkshire, England)

Chapter 8 – Eastbourne (East Sussex, England)

Chapter 9 – Back to Membry

Chapter 10 – The 2911th Bomb Squadron (L)

Chapter 11 – The 447th Bomb Group, 711 Squadron

Chapter 12 – Prisoner of War

Chapter 13 – After the War

Chapter 14 – Epilogue

CHAPTER 1 – The Early Years

I was born the morning of January 28, 1920. A young man named Russell Longest drove the buggy for old Doc Gobbel. He said he spent most of the night in the kitchen sleeping in a chair, leaning against the wall behind the stove.

I guess that Dad and Mom were proud of their first child. They had my picture made in a studio. Most of the other kids did not have theirs made. Mom bought a box camera and took their pictures. Also Dad took me to English and got my hair cut by Kernal Perkins, while the other kids got their hair cut by mom. His shop was in the old Rail-Way Hotel, or Honky Tonk, as it was later called. It had a doorway in the corner next to the street and Railroad. He would cut my hair with hand clippers first. Then Mr. Perkins got electric clippers. I think Dad had to hold me when he came at me with those things buzzing.

My first memories of going to English were traveling out past where they hanged the first man in Crawford County, then down over the hill to Brushy Creek. We turned right up the creek and came out by the barn on the old Satterfield place where Zenon Morris lived. We then went up the holler, past the house where Mom was born, and came out at the Bill Beasley farm. Then we followed what is called Beasley Road into English.

We also went to English by the way of the Narrows. The Narrows got its name when Dad and some of the neighbors blasted a road wide enough for a wagon to go through. This was done with black powder. We had to cross a branch that came down from home, then Brushy Creek and White Rock Creek. I remember one time when we were at English and a rain came. When we got to the Narrows, Brushy Creek was pretty high. Mom was afraid and didn’t want to cross, but Dad cracked the whip and the mules went right through there. When we went to town by Bill Beasley’s place and visited Bill, as he was a brother of my grandfather George. If we went by the Narrows, we visited Grandpa’s sister, who was married to Wesley Hubbard. They lived where the No. 10 Road met Highway 37.

Most of my childhood days were spent playing with my cousin Robert, who was six weeks younger than me. Our farms joined and our fathers farmed together a lot, so we saw each other about every day. About 1925, our fathers went together and bought an Overland car. They brought home a half stem of bananas. Robert and I got 2 or 3 a piece and crawled under the bed, ate them, and put the rinds in the springs. They got a lot riper before Mom found them.

In those days the roads were dirt, which meant dust in the summer and mud in the winter. When winter came, they put the car in the garage that they built especially for it, drained the radiator, took out the battery and put it in the cellar and waited until the roads dried out in the summer. My Dad would not learn to drive the car. He tried it once. After he went down toward the church, turned up the lane and ran into a ditch, he said that was the last time he was going to drive unless they removed the front fenders so he could see where the wheels were going. Mom drove some, but because it did not have a synchromesh transmission and was very hard to shift, she gave up. Arthur did the driving. I remember going to English once with Robert and I in the back seat. Arthur picked up an old man who chewed tobacco. He would chew and spit out the side of that open car. We had heard of second hand tobacco smoke, but we in the back received second hand tobacco juice.

We used to pile into the old Model T Fords. There wouldn’t be enough power to pull us up the hills, so when the car began to slow down we would climb out on the running board and before she stalled, we would jump out and start pushing. As she gained the top of the hill and picked up speed, we would all climb back in.

A favorite trick of the bigger boys was to get hold of the spare tire when someone was starting off with their Model T. They would hold it back and cause them to kill the engine. That would make them have to get out and crank again.

Another trick was to pick up a rear wheel and when the driver gave her the gas and then drop it. It gave a jack rabbit start. My grandfather Satterfield had a Model T on which the clutch dragged. He would jack up a back wheel and start it. Once it was running, he would let the jack down, catch it, and climb in as it had no door on the driver’s side. Sometimes he wouldn’t even take the time to jack up the wheel. He would just crank her and when she started, get out of the way and catch her as she went by. Mom was always worried that he would get ran over, but he ended up dying in bed.

Talking about my grandfather Satterfield, he was sheriff of Crawford County back in the 1920’s. We went over and stayed all night one night. He showed us through the jail. I remember there was a lot of nice artwork on the walls. Grandpa said the prisoners did this by getting the color out of the Sunday comics papers. He had to lock me in a cell, too. Only time I’ve been in jail so far. He showed Mom a still and several jugs of moonshine that the revenue men had captured and were holding for evidence in the jail. Grandpa said that moonshine was noted for being good stuff, so Mom asked if we could have some. Grandpa got a bottle and poured her some of the evidence. There was plenty left. Mom mixed it with water, rock candy and pine tar for cough syrup. This was visit to the jail was also my first adventure with electric lights and silent movies.

I must say more about Bogard Creek. A lot of people lived up and down the creek and most of them were relatives of mine. The old timers spoke the language of Eastern Kentucky. You could say How are you feeling, Aunt Min? Tolerable she might answer. Did she mean she was just able to tolerate her condition? Another was dreckly. I’ll be there dreckly. To me it meant as soon as soon as I can, or did it mean in a straight line?

As there was no mail delivery when I was a kid, whomever went to town would get the mail for everyone in the neighborhood. I always liked to take Uncle Minor and Aunt Linda Satterfield’s mail to them. They would always give me something -- mostly chestnuts. There were no chestnut trees near home, but their son had some on his property near Marengo.

To me, Alva Sturgeon was the last of the old timers. He was very superstitious and believed in ghosts and tokens. I remember him saying once that when Howerton Webster died, he knew it was happening. He saw a token as he was coming home from visiting Howerton. I forget just what he said it was. I remember he came up home in his Model T Coupe to call on Mildred Satterfield, whom he later married and just happened to be staying at our house. As he passed the Mt. Sterling Cemetery, he saw a light in it. He gave the car the gas and as he went around the curve, a front wheel came off. Alva got out and he kept going.

Alva showed me how to stop a whippoorwill from hollering. You point your finger in his direction. Keep moving it around and he will stop hollering and fly somewhere else. When he starts again, repeat the process. I didn’t know a whippoorwill would do that.

Alva worked for me a lot when I came back to the farm. He was the first person I could depend on to go ahead with fixing fence, hauling hay and such. He knew how to do it. When he was unable to work and applied for his social security, I was the only one who had paid any in except the W.P.A. He told me he sure appreciated it.

Bogard Creek was where we swam and fished. There were several swimming holes in the creek then -- some over my head where I was not allowed to go. My brothers and sister and Uncle Arthur’s kids spent a lot of time in the creek during the summer. We would start home in the heat, hot and thirsty. We would stop at Hendrick Webster’s spring and get a cool drink. At least the others did. Dad told me they had found toe nails, hair and teeth in that spring. There was the Sturgeon cemetery on the hill above it, so I would sweat it out till I got to Uncle Arthur’s. I found out later it did not bother Dad to drink off toe nails, hair and teeth.

Robert and I would take some eggs, a bucket to boil them in, a frying pan, lard, salt and pepper. If we caught some fish we would fry them and boil the eggs. If we didn’t catch any fish, at least we had eggs.

May 1st was barefoot day. All us kids in the neighborhood could hardly wait to go barefoot. It was like letting a bird out of a cage to be barefoot. It seemed you could run so much faster and climb trees better. Even if the weather was warm before May 1st, Mom would not let us go barefoot. She said the ground was still cold. If it was cold and rainy after the first and the ground hadn’t a chance to warm up, barefoot days were delayed.

There was one day on television when the announcer was interviewing a bottle collector. The collector told how he like to find old toilet holes where outside toilets had been. Asked why that was such a good place for bottles, he replied that he didn’t know except maybe the old man of the house threw a lot of them in there as the old patent medicines were high in alcohol and he didn’t want the family to know he was on medicine. Well that is not the reason. Parents did not want broken glass where barefoot kids played, so all bottles, broken jars and etc. were thrown in the toilet hole to prevent kids from getting them. Kids would use them for targets, just to see them fly. My wife said they even hammered glass till it looked like sugar and used it in mud pies. They also tasted it. Surely God does look after the eyes and stomachs of little children.

Revival time was a big time on the creek. The old log church would be full. Sometimes the boys on the outside would punch out the chinking between the logs so they could whisper or tease the girls inside.

I remember a big horse apple tree stood by the road at Aunt Mary Webster’s place. We could dig down in the grass and find apples until almost Thanksgiving. We would start crowing like a rooster and soon every rooster on Bogard was crowing.

When I was thirteen, Dad bought me a new .22 rifle. It was a single shot, bolt action model 60 Winchester. Dad, having served in the Army, thought there was nothing to compare with a bolt action rifle. It cost a little over four dollars and .22 shots were two boxes for a quarter. I held the box all the way home as I sat on the wagon seat by Dad. When we got home he began to teach me how to shoot. Dad was an excellent shot and I never could outshoot him. If I had a hard shot, I always looked for a rest. Dad never used a rest and thought it disgraceful to use one. I remember Cleo McDaniel at the Bogard reunion in 1992 telling how Dad had him lay a flashlight battery on a post with the end toward him, and he knocked it off.

When Mom wanted a chicken for dinner, usually a young rooster, she would catch him at night off the roost and put him under a bushel basket till morning, when she would butcher him. She also had a hook in the end of a can fishing pole that she had improvised. She would throw some corn on the ground and when the young roosters were busy eating, she would reach in the flock and snag one with her hook. Later, she would have Dad take the rifle and got one. One day she asked me to shoot one. No problem, I thought, and I went out and knocked one down on the run. I proudly took my rooster in to Mom, bragging how I’d shot it on the run. She looked at it and said in dismay, You shot it through the body, your Dad shoots their heads. That took the wind out of my sails and after that I shot their heads. If you think that is easy, a chicken’s head is never still. He works it back and forth when he walks and up and down when he eats.

My Grandpa Satterfield told about the time he was helping put up hay. They were working across the road from a house where a young lady he wished to impress was sitting on the porch. A larger and older boy was working with grandpa. He asked the boy if he would wrestle with him when they got in front of the house and let grandpa throw him. He agreed and when they got in front of the house they went into it. Grandpa said that boy wiped up that field with him. His little deal backfired.

Another time, he said he took a pound of butter to the Curby store to sell. Some lady asked, Is that good, clean butter, Mr. Satterfield? The jokester he was, grandpa answered, It certainly should be, Jane spent an hour picking the hair out of it. She didn’t buy it.

I was about 14 when I learned to drive a car. I had sat in them and practiced all the motions, but had never really got to drive. Dad sold the timber back on the Ninety and Busty Stuart had the job of yarding the logs out where

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