If you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, then you’ve already met my Uncle Wilbur, aka Uncle Web. Helen received a touching letter from him while they were both in active duty during WW2. And she told Frank proudly that her brother lost a rank or two because he’d decked an officer who’d barged into an elderly German lady’s home to steal the silver candlesticks he’d spied in her window. I had a big fat scene about him, but it was one of many I had to cut, or the book would have run over 1,000 pages. Helen loved her big brother twins, Walter and Wilbur.
Here’s what Wilbur’s son, my cousin Roger, related: Dad earned 2 Bronze stars. I know that one was when they left him behind to resupply ammunition for his 155 mm cannon. Germans counter attacked with tanks rushing over the hill. He said that being alone, he has to choose to run or fight. He loaded the shells by himself and fired them like a rifle. After several rounds, the tanks turned around. Good thing he still had the strength of a farm boy. Those shells probably weighed about 100 lbs each. His favorite story was after the war ended. His job, since he spoke some German, was to tour the area and round up stragglers. A young boy was trying to get home. Dad picked him up. A Lieutenant stopped his jeep and ordered him to put that boy in the field with soldiers that had surrendered. As you may have guessed, he chose to ignore that order since the field offered no protection from the rain etc. Instead, he drove him to his parents home. They were so happy to see their boy that he was invited to stay for dinner. He said it wasn’t much but was still the best food he has eaten in months. Most of his stories were about people he met and not about battles.