Personal recollections from world war two veterans and civilians.

Vic "Baseplate" Miller - 5th Ranger Battalion


" With the surrender of Brest, we were brought our duffel bags and stripped, washed and changed into clean clothes for the first time in 3 weeks. Yet, as we picked up our individual bags until we each had one, there were 8 left! These were the ones who didn't make it. I grew pensive in gazing at these and then wrote the following memorial to them:"

A chill breeze swept o'er me last night.
It made me look around.
There I saw eight dufflebags
Tossed upon the ground

Yes, eight sodden dufflebags
Thrown up in a stack.
The only outward sign there was
That we didn't all get back.

As I gazed at those mute dufflebags,
I slipped into a trance.
I thought of all my comrades
Who nevermore leave France.

There was "Tex" --a "new man".
I had always thought he'd scare;
But when the lead was flying thick,
"Tex" was right in there.

There was a little shorty--
"Mister five-by-five".
He was the butt of all the jokes
While he was still alive.

A cook came to our company.
He didn't look for fame.
He fought and died to help us out,
Though I never knew his name.

Don't forget Pancho--foreign-born.
A native of Old Spain.
He gave his all to uncle Sam--
Would we all do the same?

Our machine gun squad lay in a hole,
Fighting side by side.
Then mortar shells rained all around,
and both of them--they died.

I know dufflebags aren't human;
But they speek this tale of woe:
"We shall always fight with might for right,
But some of us must go."

Written after the campaign to take fortress Brest.

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