Wednesday, July 07, 2010

by the end of this year


Guadalcanal
NEW YEARS
Fri., Jan. 1, 1943

Well, today is the start of a new year here and we hope & pray that this year will bring us victory. As I write this (8:30 A.M.) our planes of all types are flying in battle formation in 7's, 3's and 4's. They sure look wonderful. I don't know whether they are expecting something or not, anyhow they are sure on the alert. It's just like the Japs to try something on a big holiday. Although, there are no holidays for us here.

Tojo has admitted defeat in the Solomons. The communique said he has warned the Japanese people to be prepared for anything. He said "our allies are getting stronger every day and they have not begun to fight us yet".

I hear the Japs in the hills are slowly surrendering, one and two at a time. We are taking them prisoner to encourage the others. Some new B25's (bombers) came in yesterday (10 of them). We are going to shell them from the beach. Shell them with heavy artillery. Bomb them and strape them for 3 days. 24 Hours a day and then we are going to make a big drive. We are determined to have them off the island by Jan. 10. After this big drive, the 164th, 182nd, and 132nd Infantry are leaving. The rumor is still heard that we are leaving by March 8.

I believe this war will be over by this time next year.

Sat., Jan. 2, 1943

Had the same detail today: unloading trucks in the depot around camp. I worked with Beatty today. Pancho, Dryden, Hall and myself played the game of "hearts" practically all day.

I hear the Japs in the hills have concrete pill-boxes now. Sure hope and pray we soon get them out of there.

Heard that the Senate or Congress passed the 14 mo. 'overseas service' and it's now up before the House. We will have 14 months in March, so if it's passed we will go home. I hear Wynn and Nothern have Malaria bad and they are taking them by plane transport to some small island 9 or 10 mi. from Fresno. Maybe that is where we will go too. At least, we all hope so.

Heard that the 135th Inf. is getting wiped out on the front lines. Only 34 men left in one platoon, and 19 in another. Heard also that out of a company of 200 men - 117 of them have Malaria and are going off the island.

Sun., Jan. 3, 1943

We had another sea battle last night (5th) and another big air-raid. This time it was 2 Jap bombers from the Jap Destroyer. I hear that we sank 5 of their 11 ships. We didn't pick up the Jap plane until it was directly above us. There were 5 bombs dropped about 200 yards from my tent before I could get my pants on. And that is all I put on.

I got in the fox-hole with my bare feet in the mud up to my ankles.

The A.A. Fire was just missing him and we had him in the lights good (5 searchlights). Worked up near the front lines today building another depot.

Heard that Russia declared war on Japan. Just a rumor, but I sure hope it's so. Valvatasdok on the coast of Russia is only 650 miles from Japan.

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Harry makes an out-of-character statement when he predicts the war would end in one year. He wasn't one to speculate. His entries from one week ago (after Christmas 1942) were filled with hope and good news. Just 3 days into 1943 and he's diving into fox-holes, learns about some fellows with Malaria (bad), and getting more disturbing news about the casualty rate.

It would actually be 2 years and 4 months before this war would end. Harry would serve until July 1944, marry in June 1945, have a son in October 1958 and live the rest of his long, happy life in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

There's more of Harry's War Diary to come...every month we post several days that continue the series.


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