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Alice Healy:

Question: March 12th, 2002. We are recording for Joseph Glydon. We are at Lion's Hospital in Lion's Basking Ridge, New Jersey. It is about 1:15.

Joseph Glydon:

Answer: My name is Joseph Glydon. I was born in Glouster, New Jersey, January 6th, 1924, the youngest of eight children. My mother's name was Badida Butz (ph) before she was married. My father passed away when I was four-years old. The oldest two had to go out to find work. And from then on I think my mother sold the house and we moved to Creskill, New Jersey. From there I went to Tenafly High School. When I got out of there I got a job. In 1941, when Pearl Harbor, I was a senior in high school, and after getting out of high school I got a job working at a plastics place. I was doing defense work, military work, in cotter pins. My oldest brother and the one after him were already in the service, so my mother didn't want me to enlist, so I waited and was drafted in 1943, in March, and I went from Bergenfield to Newark, then to Fort Dix. From there I was processed and went to basic training in Miami Beach, Florida. I was in the Air Force. I was then sent to a mechanics school in North Carolina at Goldsboro. From there I went to gunner school in Fort Myers, Florida. And from there I had furlough, went home, spent sometime with my future wife, Josephine, who I married after the war. And then I went back to South Carolina and got training for overseas operations, and we were molded as a crew. I met my pilot and the rest of the crew. And we flew on together, except for the copilot, until I was shot down in northern Italy. Anyway, after operational training we took a new airplane, a B-25, from Florida down to South America, over to Africa via Ascension Island, and through Algiers, and then up to Corsica, where we flew from the 379th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group. I flew the -- after the first 25 missions we had a rest cure in Caprice, and after the 50th mission we had a rest cure, we went to Cairo, Egypt. And then after that it was on the 68th mission, we are in northern Italy and we were shot down by flak, and we all had to bail out.

I was wounded at the time in the right leg with a burst of flak. And the navigator and bombardier came back, and they pulled the hatch, and was deciding who to jump. And they said to me, "You jump," and I jumped. You had to sit down and hang your feet out, and then hold your hands to the back of the hatch so you wouldn't bump your head on the way out. And it seemed like I might have passed out.

Seemed to awaken, the harness pulled apart, and I reached out and saw the rip cord and I pulled that, and then everything worked well. It was quiet, and I floated to the ground, and didn't hear any noise until you almost reached the ground. As soon as I hit the ground I landed in a grassy plot in the middle of a town, it's near Asti, Italy. And the first thing I saw was a heavy woman coming from the right side. And just as she was approaching in the front of me the German's pulled up with a 20 millimeter mounted on the truck, and guys jumped out, shooting machine guns, so my hands instantly went up in the air. From there they took me in a panel truck. They had a Red Cross and parked on the side of the hill, and started shooting across the valleys and the partisans to where the rest of my crew had gotten to. Being the first out I was first caught, and the rest were not caught until sometime later, I found out. Anyway from there I was taken to a radar station. First to a hospital at night, and they gave me some morphine, and then the next day I was in a radar station a couple of days. And then they took me on up to Germany through the Brenner Pass, to Frankfurt, Germany where the interrogation center was.

There the first night I was there, I might have been naive, they put a guy in the room I think, I thought it was somebody, he said he had landed where he had just bombed, and people punched holes in his face because he looked bad. I think maybe he got some information from me. He might have been a spy because I never saw him again. I don't know. But anyway I had been interrogated, and the guy pulled out a mimeographed sheet that had as much information about where I was from as what I knew.

Anyway then after a couple of days there they sent me on a train to Stalag Luft IV, which is up in the Baltic Sea.

It used to be part of Poland. From then after being in there from November to February, the Russians were coming, so they started marching everybody out. Then we were on the road. The first day we walked about 20 miles and it was raining. They stopped in a place that was all tree stumps, it had been a cut-down forest, and it was drizzling cold rain, but we had to sleep there. So we bundled up together as buddies to keep warm and covered ourselves the best we could. But from that night on we slept in barns every night, and we had hardly any food, and we got rye grain out of one of the hoppers in the farm. And I remember getting food twice. Once it was barley cereal, and another time we got soup one night.

Otherwise we just kept marching one day after the next.

And then the ironic thing was one farm we stopped there for three days, we couldn't get food, but my shoes were worn out and they got my shoes resoled. That is a weird thing, you couldn't get anything to eat, but you could get your shoes resoled. And one of the hard things was then sometime in the middle of April they were giving out Red Cross parcels in the field where we share three to a parcel. And they say the first guy share it with the guy, two guys behind. So me and a fellow I buddied up with were behind another guy, he got a parcel, and I started to follow him. And he turned to me and he said, "No, you share it with the guy behind you, the two guys behind you." So I turned around like, and he just ran off with the parcel leaving us, which was one of the disappointing things about having one of your own men do that when we are all in such bad circumstance. But after a week or so we got our share of the parcel, somehow we got. And that's about the most food we had in the whole trip. I don't know how we existed. Anyway, I remember April 12th we -- when President Roosevelt died, a woman came out. I think it was the 12th or 13th, came out of the house crying, and she told us President Roosevelt had died. We just kept walking. We were walking in residential areas, we would say, "Sipent ver broth (ph) (German)." We'd ask, "Give soap for bread." We had plenty of soap, we couldn't eat it. And then another time near Torgau we got bombed by A-26's, I think they were, or B-26's they termed them.

And that was pretty harrowing. You could see trees blowing up. It was about a 100 yards away. And from there luckily I saw a P-47 shoot a railroad engine in the distance. I saw that blow up, that was good. And April 25th, one morning we were walking by a railroad overpass, there was a young German with a bazooka. And then when we passed him, the next thing I know the guy next to me grabs the guard's gun and we were liberated.

Alice Healy:

Say it again.

Joseph Glydon:

I was an engineer gunner on the B-25. I forgot to mention.

Alice Healy:

And your rank?

Joseph Glydon:

I was a staff sergeant.

Alice Healy:

And that's the first that you knew you were liberated when --

Joseph Glydon:

Right. And then I went to -- I volunteered for KP. The next day I went in the hospital because I had tracheobronchitis and some other things, I guess. I saved some memorabilia. I don't know if you want to see that.

Alice Healy:

How did your wound heal? Did your wound heal?

Joseph Glydon:

Yes, that was fine. There was a few flak wounds in the right leg.

Alice Healy:

But you were able to do all that marching, huh?

Joseph Glydon:

Right. Oh, yeah, that was healed up. There was a Dr. Kaplan in the prison camp, he was an American doctor. He took care of us. Even on the march, he was on the march, but he was in a different group than I was in.

I think he was -- had got better attention to the group he was in because he was a doctor. And from the way I heard later, they had a lot better treatment, they got food and other things. I think the group we were in, we went ahead of everybody else it seemed like.

Alice Healy:

Where was the hospital?

Joseph Glydon:

In France. Near Mormalone (ph), France. It was where they -- just south of where they signed the treaty at the end of the war. I think I was there March 5th when the treaty was signed too. But anyway they gave me a pass I have here to go, I still have it by some weird thing, going from the hospital in France to LeHarve by way of Paris. That was not too eventful. We got to see a little sights in Paris, but that was about all. We went to LeHarve, and then got a liberty ship home, which went through a hurricane. We spent about two weeks getting across the ocean.

Alice Healy:

When did you get home?

Joseph Glydon:

I got home I guess it was June it says here on my thing. Let me see. Right on the discharge paper says when you -- the 30th of June, '45. Went to the ETO, April 18th, '44, and back in the U.S. the 30th of June, '45.

Alice Healy:

And where did you go when you arrived back?

Joseph Glydon:

I went to -- first to Camp Shanks by Nyack, and then Atlantic City we got mustered out of the Army. And then after that I didn't join -- get that 5220 Club. I got a job right away with United Air Lines. And pretty fast after that we became engaged, right?

Alice Healy:

Did you happen to keep a diary at all?

Joseph Glydon:

No. I wrote some, you know, little outlines of it.

Alice Healy:

Except for that one bad experience with that soldier, how were your other soldiers, your buddies and officers?

Joseph Glydon:

Once in a while a big stupid slaps some around, and hit maybe you said something he took wrong or something, but other than that I didn't run into too much bad treatment.

Alice Healy:

Where was that experience?

Joseph Glydon:

That was in the prison camp.

Alice Healy:

And he was a fellow American?

Joseph Glydon:

No, he was a German. A big German soldier, about six foot four it seemed like. He must have weighed 250, 300 pounds. But I understand he was taken care of after the liberation.

Alice Healy:

Generally speaking you weren't treated too badly, just the lack of food, you were starving?

Joseph Glydon:

Just the starving. Right, other than that, yes.

Alice Healy:

Do you know of others that had died through starvation?

Joseph Glydon:

Not with me, no.

Alice Healy:

Not with you?

Joseph Glydon:

None of the group, I understand. I think I was shot down November 11th. I was still in pretty good shape. I hadn't been there with a poor diet for a long time like a lot of the others were. Every morning when we were on the march, they say, "Grous come a loss, grous," (ph) (German) and I would be up, and a few of us would be fast and out and on the way. I think that's one thing, we didn't get fed a lot because we were one of the first groups or something. I don't know. But people were going all over Germany, refugees, they were marching away from the Russians all along the German borders, I guess. I don't know how it was. But they had people moving, and once in a while we would come across a dead horse of the people by the side of the road where other people in the morning left. Most of us stayed in barns and away from cities.

Alice Healy:

After you were liberated, did an officer come and take charge and get you all?

Joseph Glydon:

No, we went to the hospital.

Alice Healy:

You just went on our own?

Joseph Glydon:

A lot of people did. All kinds of people were scattered all over, I think. They had that system where they would send you into Camp Lucky Strike. One other thing on the march, I was going to say was a nice thing that happened, I was getting sugar beets out of one of those whatever you call them holes in the ground, I don't know what they call them, winter storage. I was looking and trying to find something to eat. And there was a farm worker there, it looked like a big Mongolian fellow behind a fence, and he waved me over, and he handed like a pancake through the fence to me. All I could say is thank you and eat it. I liked it I remember. I would like to thank him somehow if I could.

Alice Healy:

Do you still see or hear from your fellow soldiers or any of your buddies?

Joseph Glydon:

Once in awhile.

Alice Healy:

Did you keep in contact with them?

Joseph Glydon:

No, not too much. Once in a blue moon along the way. I saw the navigator. My sister had all the addresses of everybody. My pilot died pretty fast after the war. He had, what was that, meningitis, spinal meningitis. His nephew writes to find out information.

The navigator I saw a couple of times. And the radio man once. But my buddy in the prison camp, when I saw him after 50 years, one of the buddies I was on the march with, and another one I saw at the same time about, he was in Florida.

Alice Healy:

After the war then did you stay in the reserve or did you --

Joseph Glydon:

No. I was discharged, and then right away, like I said, I got the job in United Air Lines. Then we got married about a year after.

Alice Healy:

And you had children?

Joseph Glydon:

I had three children. A boy Joseph lives in Vallejo, California. My daughter, Kathy, lives in Metuchen, New Jersey.

Alice Healy:

Did you join any of the veterans organizations?

Joseph Glydon:

Yes, a lot of organizations. Purple Heart, Ex-Prisoner of War, Am Vets, and VFW, DAV, 57th Bomb Wing which was like a private organization. I think that's about it.

Alice Healy:

Anything else you can think of that you would like to -- do you have some photographs to show us?

Joseph Glydon:

Oh yeah, a lot of stuff here, memorabilia. I don't know how I saved it all.

Alice Healy:

What a nice notebook you've kept.

Joseph Glydon:

Yeah, my daughter gave it. The PFC is when we got out of the mechanic school. This is my discharge.

Alice Healy:

You gave us the date of your discharge.

Joseph Glydon:

The discharge, I gave it the date I was back home. Discharge was September, I think, '45. Here is a card to my mother from -- I've been in Paris two days, and saw all the sights,

Alice Healy:

Let's say that we would like to here about, awards and decorations, you were awarded the Purple Heart.

Joseph Glydon:

Purple Heart, yeah. Flak on the right leg.

That's an affidavit. What is this here?

Alice Healy:

This is a record of your hospitalization. You had bronchitis.

Joseph Glydon:

Right. Here is a note, I was in prison camp when this card was sent. Received when I returned home about June.

Alice Healy:

Did you receive --

Joseph Glydon:

This is a card I sent home to my mother, says I'm not wounded. I didn't want to worry her, so I put not wounded. And Miami Beach basic training was in the paper.

I think I was in the ______. This is me. Here is pictures in Cairo.

Alice Healy:

When were you in Cairo?

Joseph Glydon:

This is a camel. After the 50th mission.

Probably around July of '44. I don't know. August, I don't know what month it was. These are V-mails. My sister wrote a lot. Josephine wrote a lot, that would be my wife.

Alice Healy:

Service Bar for overseas duty.

Joseph Glydon:

That is something else. Here is a daily report about that I got from that fellow, my pilot's nephew, got this on the Internet or something, report on mission when I was shot down. And here is the award for POW medal in Fort Dix, I think. When we got there. Here is Paris by the Arc de Triumphe, a group of guys. Here I am back home, and my friend he was in the Navy. Right here in the discharge I weighed 145 pounds when I got home, that was -- 145 pounds that was six months after I was liberated.

Alice Healy:

Yeah, I see, 144 pounds.

Joseph Glydon:

Yeah. That was six months after I was liberated, so I don't know what I was when I was liberated. These are some friends in mechanic school, we went and got our picture taken. This here is a picture on a mission, a war mission, B-25's.

Alice Healy:

You took these pictures?

Joseph Glydon:

No, somebody else did. I got them from somebody. That looks like it's taken from a waist held position. Here in Corsica playing football. Most of the stresses between waiting for the next day's mission was on the 68th mission that I was shot down. We were supposed to get 50 missions when we got over there, and then they changed it to 70 when we were in the middle.

Alice Healy:

You almost made it, right?

Joseph Glydon:

This is my girlfriend. She is Josephine, my girlfriend, were shopping in Egypt that is, in the rest camp in Egypt. Here is just other cards. Here is the father's (ph) final blood bath, he wanted to get rid of all of the prisoners. Once I heard him say take their shoes off and walk them barefoot. We were lucky, we didn't end up getting his treatment. And the prison camp, I was back here, there was 10,000 men around this one prison camp. I don't know how many thousands were shot down and captured on the ground. Most I think of the Air Force, they were behind lines and shot down, there was probably hundreds every day being dropped in. They ended up, I don't know how many were Air Force people in it.

There is a lot of prisoners. Here is a story about the POW Recognition Day here. I think this note I gave my sister, she was working with Bendix, let her know that I was liberated. See, "Brother liberated." Sure collected a lot of stuff.

Alice Healy:

Wonderful that you have it all. What a nice record to have.

Joseph Glydon:

War rations book.

Alice Healy:

1994 notes?

Joseph Glydon:

Note shoe ration stamps. The 1994 note, I don't know what that's about. I didn't write this in 1994.

Maybe I transfigured it, I don't know.

Alice Healy:

I remember shoe rationing. Sugar, meat, butter, gas. That's wonderful he kept all this stuff. Very nice.

Joseph Glydon:

And then that -- we went all this time, now we had our 56th wedding anniversary.

Alice Healy:

Congratulations.

Joseph Glydon:

In June.

Alice Healy:

The same woman all those years?

Joseph Glydon:

I don't know what else I could say. I don't know.

Alice Healy:

We really appreciate and thank you for this.

Joseph Glydon:

If I can think of anything else I will let you know.

Alice Healy:

We are here every Tuesday.

Joseph Glydon:

Okay.

 
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