Albion Central Schools Veterans History Project
David George Newman
Mr. Newman with his interviewer and grandson, Albion Central School Student Brad Bidell
DAVID GEORGE NEWMAN: BIOGRAPHICAL & MILITARY SERVICE INFORMATION
- Birthplace: Lydonville, New York
- Place of Residence*: Albion, New York
*at time of interview
- Wars of Service: World War II
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit/Division/Regiment/Ship: 22nd Infantry, Company 6
- Other Information: Sustained combat/service-related injuries
- Date of Birth: May 10, 1922
- Method of Induction: Drafted
- Service Dates: 6/27/44 - 10/18/45
- Place of Service: France, German
- Rank: Private First Class
Mr. Newman began his military career on June 27th, 1944 when he was drafted. He faced this duty responsibly and wanted to fight for his country, seeing the war as a necessary thing. His first placement was at Fort Dix, where he learned the basics of life in the army: marching, disassembling and reassembling his rifle, target practice, and so on. He also learned about new duties, like KP (Kitchen Patrol), for which he helped the cooking staff by peeling potatoes, scrubbing pots, and doing other chores. While in training, he also met new people from all over the country (including another man named Newman from Massachusetts!)
One of Mr. Newman's most memorable (and life-changing) experiences during the war was when he met the woman who would later become his wife. Before he was sent to Germany, while he was stationed in North Carolina, Mr. Newman and some of his friends there went to Hendersonville on leave. While there, he met Myrtle Dill, who was also enjoying a night out on the town with some of her relatives. She was working in a wartime factory, sewing items (like parachutes) for use in the military. The two later married.
When he was sent to Europe, Mr. Newman was put directly in the line of fire. He recalls being shot at (and his first advice to the soldier of today is to "keep his head down.") But interestingly enough, his 'most fearful moment' came when he was told to cross a river...although he didn't know how to swim, he learned pretty fast.
Mr. Newman did most of his fighting in France, as the U.S. Army moved in towards their enemies in Germany. Between the battles, life was awfully uninteresting. Most of the time was spent just hanging around, laying in the barracks or tents or whatever they were living in at the time. And the food wasn't very appetizing---mostly canned food and things that could be easily carried in their bags as they moved forward against the Germans.
As the U.S. army pushed ahead into Germany, Mr. Newman found out that German farmers lived very differently than Americans. For one thing, their houses and barns were very close, with the barn often being right in front, and frequently manure would be piled up right outside the family's living room.
While in Europe, Mr. Newman got the chance to introduce himself to some distant relatives he'd never met before. He was sent from Germany back to England on leave for a short rest. While there, he met up with a cousin from Buffalo, who was also on leave, and they visited some of his grandfather's relatives, who lived in England. Mr. Newman also stayed in contact with his family back in the United States by writing letters.
Once in a while, he got packages from the people back home containing cookies and crackers and things like that, which made his time in the military a little more enjoyable.
Coming back from Europe was an experience in its own right...ships were packed with returning soldiers, many of whom got seasick. Lots of the men needed to get up on deck to get fresh air. Things weren't too bad, if you could find a clean place to sit or sleep, but this wasn't easy, since things weren't kept very clean on the boat. To make matters worse, washing on the boat often left your hands and face sticky, probably because the ship's washrooms used salt water for cleaning.
Mr. Newman was put on leave at the end of the war in Europe (when Germany surrendered) and was home in New York for a while. He was about to be sent off again to continue fighting the war against Japan. (Japan was an ally of Germany, but didn't stop fighting when Germany did, so World War II continued in the Pacific area for several months after it was over in Europe. See map below.) But then, Japan surrendered, too, and Mr. Newman was pleased to learn that the war was over and he would not have to go to the Pacific after all!
Two Areas of Fighting in World War II:
The European Theater (vs. Germany) and the Pacific Theater (vs. Japan)