SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 2010: Lille, France, to Fouron-le-Comte, Belgium
We park the CTS-V in the heart of hilly Antoing on this rainy, dreary Sunday and tromp along the wet, deserted Belgian brick streets. No one answers when I knock on the imposing wood gates at the entrance to the castle and fort that preside imposingly over the town. RJD was here for only two days and managed to meet a count and countess? I can't even score a latte, let alone a tour. Let's move on.
8 September 1944: We moved from Antoing to the vicinity of Genappe, Belgium. Here the boys really had a good time with the people, who insisted on wining, dining, and entertaining them. We captured eleven German prisoners, who walked in and gave themselves up.
11 September 1944: We marched by motor to the vicinity of Glons, Belgium. Our welcome was still enthusiastic and the towns began to look cleaner and more modern. Here the boys' "promenading" hit a new high and I was forced to restrict them all for two days. A very pretty Belgian girl attached herself to Hodel and spent most of her waking hours with him. I went to mass in a very beautiful church.
Wow, Bob, give the boys a break! It's one of the peculiarities of wartime that, at age twenty-six, RJD is a bit of an old man, at least compared with the lads in his charge. Warrant officers had varied areas of specialization, but his role for the battalion was essentially that of personnel director. If someone was awarded a commendation or a Purple Heart, my dad wrote the praising prose and handled the paperwork.
14 September 1944: We made a very short move across the Meuse River and into a Belgian army barracks on the outskirts of the town of Vise. The barracks were very luxurious, comparatively, with mattresses and springs, hot showers, rooms for the officers, and maid service. Movies were held nightly. We were allowed to go downtown to the very, very imposing Catholic church.