My grandfather, John Walker volunteered for service in WWII. He was in the Battle of Normandy and completed boot camp at Camp Croft in South Carolina. He was in Army Infantry Division #115. While in boot camp he recalled marching in the rains at night for hours and digging a fox hole so deep that a tank could drive over and no one got hurt. He spoke of sleeping, eating, and celebrating his birthday in one of these fox holes with his entire troop around.
John was stationed in Germany, Holland and France. While in France he wrote in one of his many letters to his wife, Winnie Stacy Walker, back in Hazard, Perry County Kentucky about him and his troop sitting in a cow pasture listening to Dinah Shore sing and described the farm homes around him. An excerpt from one of John Walker’s letters to his Winnie reads: “Today is such a beautiful day here in Germany. Right now, I am on a beautiful farm which has been untouched by the war. I am sitting out in the sun all alone writing this letter. All kinds of birds are singing. People are working on their fields as if there is not a war going on. This farm is much like one of our Bluegrass farms except there is not sign of tobacco or race horse. All the horses are very large work horses. There are some fine flocks of white leghorn chickens and several hogs and sheep. The houses on these farms are regular mansions.”
In 1944 in Germany, John earned a medal for bravery. His bravery was reported in his hometown newspaper for crossing the front lines to take men supplies, four times, being over 2,000 yards during a heavy gun battle. My grandfather also received a Sharp shooter medal for excellent marksmanship.
While in Germany John speaks of not being able to take a bath or to have sheets to sleep on. He and other soldiers looted bombed-out buildings to find furniture to create a makeshift church for all the men.
On Sunday mornings he noticed the people of the town on their way to church walking past those who were homeless in the street, acting as if they were not there. He thought it was terrible for Christian people to not stop and help those less fortunate.