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Archive for the ‘Frank Arnold's war diary’ Category

On the 66th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, I repost links to the World War II diary of Chaplain Frank Arnold, my uncle. I originally posted these last summer with the permission of his son, Frank Yunk-Arnold. Uncle Frank crossed into France to join combat forces a few weeks after D-Day, though his entries in advance of the invasion and on the day itself make interesting reading today. The first of the five posts includes D-Day:

Chaplain Frank Arnold’s World War II diary

“Indescribable hell”

“This is the day Satan hath made”

“16 below. What a day to ride a Jeep”

“Visited Nazi extermination camp”

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Frank in uniformThis is the World War II diary of Army Chaplain Frank M. Arnold II, my uncle. I have published four earlier sets of excerpts. Uncle Frank used ellipses a lot. I am not using every entry here, but if I use an entry, I use it all. The ellipses are just his writing, possibly indicating multiple times that he wrote in the same day. My notes and translations (using Google) are in italics. CCB is Combat Command B, Uncle Frank’s primary unit.

2/20 Went to Dudelange and Dippach. At D. (sic!) spent quite a while straightening out an undisciplined adolescent who was trying to divorce his wife – whom he said he still loved – to marry an Army nurse whom he hadn’t seen for 3 mos.

2/21 Had services for 46-B and CCB at Bettembourg. Went to see Cohen for a while Went to 37th to finish up with previous day’s business… Prepared to move quickly, and then find out it is not until tomorrow.

2/22 Left Bettembourg to the tune of tears… Stopped en route and fired Carbine, P-38 and 45. Did surprisingly well with each. Arrived at ruins of Reisdorf. Went over to Wallendorf, Germany. Beat Sgt. Morris in a game of chess. (more…)

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This is the fourth installment of excerpts from the World War II diary of Army Chaplain Frank M. Arnold, my uncle. My notes and translations (using Google) are in italics. Earlier installments told of assignments in the U.S. and England, of his first few weeks of combat in France and of continued fighting and a rest break. Now he returns to action late in 1944:
Frank Arnold in his chaplain's jeep

Frank Arnold in his chaplain's jeep

11/9 This is it! Started out rainy. Big tank battle. Then what a symphony! Thousands of heavy bombers. The air was full of them. What a beating the Krauts are going to take today! We hit a regular blizzard. The going is pretty tough. Ran into the ditch. Had a flat tire. Lots of P 47s. Spent the night in a “deserted village.” (more…)

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Chaplain Frank M. Arnold, my uncle, kept a diary during World War II. I wrote in two previous posts about his preparation in the United States and England and then about his first few weeks in France, starting in July 1944. My notes and translations from Google are in italics. Uncle Frank used ellipses a lot. Those are his, not places where I have cut anything out. I am quoting entries in full, though I omit some entries to condense the story. We pick up the story in France in August 1944: Chaplain Frank M. Arnold, left, with his "peep." Not sure who the other two are.

 8/16 While sleeping blissfully smashed peep against prime mover. Am now being towed in by similar p.m… We seem to be well into France…

8/18 Gen’l. D. left to take over Div…Got Anniv. card from Florence. He maketh even the wrath of man to serve Him. Borrowed a Bible from Dick Irving!! From this something will follow! CCA took Orleans…Col. Bixby is new C.O. Off again! This part of France looks more like Midwest — wheat fields, gently rolling hills, etc. … Got Anniv. Card from Flo — citizens are throwing tomatoes, pears, apples. They are getting to be worse than the snipers! (more…)

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About a decade after World War II, Chaplain Frank M. Arnold II is shown with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence, right.This continues my excerpts from the World War II diary of my uncle, Frank M. Arnold II, an Army chaplain, pictured here about a decade after the war with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence, right. The first installment told of his time in the United States, Scotland and England in 1943 and ’44.

Where you see ellipses, they were part of his entries. I am not sure whether they signify breaks between multiple entries in a single day or whether he just used them a lot or whether he was not typing everything from his handwritten diaries (I doubt this). I will not use all the entries, but will publish entries that I use in full. I will not try to explain abbreviations unless I am pretty sure of them. My commentary will be in italics, but mostly this will be his actual entries, which speak well for themselves. Uncle Frank occasionally commented in French or German. I provide translation in italics using Google. We pick up the story in July 1944 as he prepares to cross the English Channel:

7/9 0415 wakened, loaded aboard LCT 614. Rain, wind, cold, wet. Pulled out at 1400. 1430 turned back — too rough. Left again 2230. (more…)

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Chaplain Frank Arnold about a decade after the war with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence.

Chaplain Frank Arnold about a decade after the war with son Frankie, daughter Jean and wife Florence.

We laid my Uncle Frank to rest 44 years ago. But he was alive in my living room this weekend, speaking from the pages of a diary he wrote as an Army chaplain during World War II.

Frank Mitchell Arnold II was a hero in my family: idolized by my mother, his younger sister by 12 years, and admired by my father, who followed him into the Air Force as a chaplain. Chaplains aren’t normally viewed as war heroes, but Uncle Frank was a war hero in my family. He was awarded a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars (one of them with “V” for valor) and a Purple Heart. I didn’t know much more than that the medals had something to do with tending to casualties under enemy fire and that he had been in the Battle of the Bulge and had been appalled at Gen. George S. Patton’s profanity.

I was just 10 years old when Uncle Frank died, just weeks before Dad was to be transferred into his command in the Pacific, stationed at Wakkanai, Japan. We would have visited Uncle Frank in Hawaii on the way to Japan. But he died of a heart attack on a trip to Thailand. His was the first funeral I remember attending. (more…)

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