CLARIFICATION ON MCCAULEY
I recently received the October 2005 issue of World War II Magazine that contained the memoir “In Enemy Hands,” which was written by my late husband Dr. Charles McCauley. Although in general I was very pleased with how your editors handled my husband’s piece, there is one fact in the foreword to the story that misrepresents Charles’ experience. Charles and the rest of the crew were ordered to jump—jumping was not presented as an option. In addition, I thought that your readers might be interested to know that Charles received numerous medals for his service in the war, including the POW Medal, Air Medal and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Following his death on October 3, 2001, he had the honor of being buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
I read with great pleasure the letter in the September 2005 issue from Major Richard Winters (“Communiqués”), the legendary commander of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry, regarding the occupation of Berchtesgaden. In Band of Brothers, there is a photograph of Sergeant Floyd Talbert standing on the hood of one of Adolf Hitler’s staff cars in Berchtesgaden. In the book it says that Talbert tested its bulletproof windows with armor-piercing ammunition and then ran the engine without oil in it.
At the Canadian War Museum in 1998, I admired the centerpiece of the collection, one of Hitler’s staff cars that was found on a railway flatcar in Germany and sold to a collector in North America who later donated it. It always puzzled the staff and visitors that someone had fired armor-piercing ammunition through the passenger side window, where Hitler might have sat. I wonder if these two cars could in fact be the same.
Quesnel, British Columbia
A YOUNGER READER
I wanted to compliment you on your publication. I imagine that many of your readers are World War II–era veterans and have an excellent frame of reference in regard to the many articles and photos you publish.
I am 17 years old and have always been a history buff. I enjoy the articles in the magazine because they give me a sense of what was happening then and the hard facts. They have a sense of action that shows feelings that are hard to duplicate in words. Thank you for printing a magazine that appeals to all ages. I always look forward to the next issue.
VIEW FROM THE GROUND
In the story “Low-Level Hell in the Philippines,” in the November 2005 issue, Bob Wilson describes flying his B-25 over Balikpapan in June 1945 to spray DDT to prevent malaria. I presume that when he talks about the island, he means the big island of Borneo and not the small island of Tarakan farther north; both were major oil producers. I remember the B-25s very well: They flew over our camp to let us know on August 23, 1945, that the war was over and we were free again. Unfortunately, the victory came too late for 200 Dutch citizens held on Samarinda farther south from Balikpapan. In July the Japanese had killed men, women and children in a monstrous way, the children being dumped alive into a mine shaft.
I later met an American sailor who participated in the landings of the Aussies at Balikpapan. Those troops were on their way home when they were diverted to the landings. There, Japanese surrendered in great numbers for the first time. The sailor recalled an Australian on the hood of a jeep with a bull whip to encourage the Japanese prisoners to catch up with the column. After 60 years I still struggle with my memories of three years of brutal Japanese internment.
PROBLEM IN THE PACIFIC
I just discovered your magazine World War II and I congratulate you on putting out such a wonderful publication. I am a World War II veteran and served with the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Philippines at the beginning of the war. I took part in the Battle for Bataan and after the surrender took part in the Bataan Death March and was later imprisoned at the dreaded Fort Santiago.
I would like to point out an error in your Victory in the Pacific special issue. In “Manila’s Bloody Liberation,” you say that the University of Manila is the school adjacent to the old Bilbid prison, but it is actually Far Eastern University.
The special brought back many memories of my time in the service. When we received word of the Japanese attack we were told that the U.S. Navy carriers were out to sea at the time and were thus spared. I have always wondered where, in fact, those carriers were.
Oscar M. Buenconsejo
Originally published in the February 2006 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.