War on Their Minds
before   Paul Daly
Age in 1941: 12

Interview Team: Erin Kenney, and Becky Dexter-Smith

Q: What is your name?

Mr. Daly: My name is Paul F. Daly.

Q: What was your age in 1941?

Mr. Daly: I was 12 years old.

Q: What is your place of birth and where were you raised?

Mr. Daly: My place of birth was Natick, Massachusetts and I was raised in Wayland Massachusetts.

Q: To what extent were you aware of the happenings in Japan, Italy, and Germany during the 1930's?

Mr. Daly: I guess to that I would have to say that I only knew Hitler was bad and that I wanted to get rid of him.

Q: Explain how you first became aware of the dangers in Europe (Hitler) and Asia (Emperor Hirohito/War Minister Tojo).

Mr. Daly: The first indication was when we started having gasoline rationing, dimming of lights, lights out at night, dimming the headlights of your car, and things of that nature. I started realizing something was seriously going wrong.

Q: What was your reaction to the war? (The war in Europe-Invasion of Poland, Battle of Britain fall of 1940/ §Blitz'')

Mr. Daly: At that time I didn't think too much of it because I really wasn't aware of the circumstances that were going on, it was just a day to day basis and I couldn't get the whole picture, I didn't realize what was happening.

Q: What are your remembrances of the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Mr. Daly: That was unbelievable, I just couldn't believe it. All I wanted to do was join the service and go down there and fight the Japanese and punish them for what they had done at Pearl Harbor.

Q: What were your feelings about the American declaration of war?

Mr. Daly: At that time I felt it was a good thing that we were uniting with the good forces of the world and going after the bad people and trying to eradicate them.

Q: Did these feelings change during or after the war?

Mr. Daly: No, they didn't change. I knew we did the right thing and to this day I feel everything that we did was correct for what is right in this world.

Q: Under what circumstances did you enter the armed forces? (volunteer or draft)

Mr. Daly: I volunteered at an early age, I was in my freshmen year of High school. I had stayed back two years and wanted to get in the service and help my country even though the initial fighting of World War Two was over I still wanted to get in and do what I could.

Q: Which branch of the armed forces did you join? Was this your choice and if so why did you choose this branch?

Mr. Daly: The Navy. Well, I chose the Navy because I knew they had good training programs. I felt that my father was a plumber and I wanted to be one. They had similar situations in the Navy they called the ship fitter and they had ship fitting schools. I hoped they would send me to one of the schools and I could become a plumber but when I got in those openings were denied me and an opening occurred in the electrical field and I got it and that is why I am an electrician today.

Q: What was it like saying good bye to your loved ones ? Where were you? How did you feel.

Mr. Daly: Well I couldn't get away fast enough. I just wanted to get in there and get going. However, when I got there it was a different story. I was here in Wayland and went to Boston and enlisted in the Navy and they sent me to boot camp in Bainbridge, Maryland.

Q: What are your remembrances of boot camp?

Mr. Daly: It was a little scary. It was the first time I was exposed to military order. I was a very rigid person who tried to comply with all the regulations that there were a lot of, but I did rather well and got through it and we all graduated successfully from boot camp and then went to our different assignments.

Q: Where were you sent after boot camp?

Mr. Daly: After boot camp they sent me to Norfolk Virginia at little creek where the amphibious base was located. I was stationed on board an L.S.T.

Q: What special skills were you taught in the armed forces?

Mr. Daly: While I was in the Navy an opening came up at an electrician school at Great Lakes. I went to Great Lakes and graduated and from then on I became an electrician in the Navy.

Q: How did your faith impact your thoughts of the war?

Mr. Daly: It really didn't. I felt we were doing the right thing all along and didn't hesitate once. Whatever it took to get the job done was okay by me.

Q: What was your specific role in the armed forces?

Mr. Daly: I was on board an L.S.T which delivered men and equipment to the beaches of the invasion sites.

Q: Please describe operations or battles in which you were involved.

Mr. Daly: I was involved in situations that were more or less determined as maneuvers more than actual invasion regiment. Every year we would go down to the Caribbean and would launch marines and attack fortifications that were set up for maneuvers.

Q: What did you miss most about the U.S?

Mr. Daly: My family.

Q: What was your attitude toward the Japanese or Germans on a personal level? Did you hate them?

Mr. Daly: In the beginning I did hate them and then as time went on I understood that they were only doing what their Emperor wanted them to do and they were just following orders.

Q:Have you maintained contact with any persons in your unit? If so, why do you maintain this friendship?

Mr. Daly: Yes I belong to the LST association, and they have reunions once a year in various places throughout the country; Florida Tennessee... Every year they have a reunion of the LST sailors. It's just camaraderie.

Q: Did you lose any friends or family during the war?

Mr. Daly: My wife lost her uncle. He was a paratrooper. He was killed on a parachute jump over Normandy during the invasion of Europe.

Q: What was your most memorable experience of the war?

Mr. Daly: I can't say the actual fighting because I really wasn't involved. Everything transpired after the fact. I really can't say anything specific. I had things happen to me after the war was over. Immediately after the war we were in maneuvers on the way to the Caribbean and there were 8 LST's in the flotilla. Our ship was the flag ship, which means we had a Commodore on board. He was in charge of what we referred to as the squadran and on the way down we were passing through Cape Hatteras. Cape Hatteras is notorious for violent storms and everything like that. At that particular time it just so happens that one of the ships was banged by an oil tanker in the vicinity and our Commodore had to get off our ship and go row over to the damaged ship. We dropped the small boat which was called an LCVP into the water. I was the bow hookman and there was a coxswain, stern hookman, and the Commodore, and we went over to the ship that was hit and there wasn't any severe damage. The Commodore walked around and observed it visually for himself and a half hour later he got back in the small boat and at the time the water got about three times more violent and as we approached our ship where we were to be hoisted aboard we couldn't make connection. On the first pass the Commodore was able to get on a Jacob's ladder and climb aboard and left the three of us to try and get hold of the clamps and hooks and every time we did the waves would push up up above it and then we would go down below it and it was just unbelievable... the height of the waves. On board the ship they decided to throw us a line trying to stabilize us. We hooked it to the outside of the cleat on the small boat, and when the mother ship rolled it just pulled us over and swamped the boat. It just went right down and sunk in two seconds and the davit that was going to pull us out had five safety lines. A safety line is a thing that has knots in it every two or three feet, and you grab it and you wont slip when you hit a knot you'll hold. I grabbed one and the coxswain grabbed one, and the stern hookman didn't get a hold of it, and he floated off into the water. On board my ship they were throwing out many things to try and catch him but he just kept on drifting. I was hoisted aboard and the coxswain was hoisted a board, and we were trying to find out what happened to the other man. It appeared that a half hour later one of the other ships retrieved him.

I was stationed in Guam for a while, and about two weeks before I was to leave I went to the chow line I looked and I saw thirteen Japanese soldiers. I was informed that these were thirteen original soldiers fighting on the island of Guam that hid out in the hills from 1945 to 1952. There were thirteen of them and an officer. The officer wouldn't let them give up, even though we were always trying to tell them the war was over, and he wouldn't let them surrender and he finally died, and then they gave up and here they were at our chow line. They were flown home and they received a heroe's welcome.

Q: Did you participate in a welcoming home celebration?

Mr. Daly: No.

Q: What was it like seeing your family and friends again?

Mr. Daly: Well I was lucky. I saw them a few times during my enlistment. It was great. It wasn't like some of the poor guys that had gone for three or four years and never saw them. I saw them quite frequently.

Q: Were you aware of the internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans in detention camps ? If so, what was your reaction? Did you feel it was justified?

Mr. Daly: Yes I was, in the beginning I felt it was justified but as time went on I felt it wasn't really necessary.

Q: Did Americans whom you knew ever note the irony of racial segregation at home and in the armed forces while fighting intolerance abroad? If so explain, If not, why didn't people take note of this in your opinion?

Mr. Daly: I can't say for abroad when I was over there in my course of different situations where we did go over seas everything seemed normal and there was no discrimination that I could see, however, when I was stationed here in Norfolk Virginia during my boot camp training I did notice it and I was kind of shocked to see several little boys were throwing sticks and stones and an elderly Negro woman and I ran up an said § Hey you guys cut that out.Š That was about it though.

Q: What was your reaction to the German atrocities toward the Jews?

Mr. Daly: I wasn't aware of it until after the war, when we found out about it the whole world was shocked and I was just one more person who was shocked and couldn't believe what they had done, it was just unbelievable.

Q: How did you view President Franklin D. Roosevelt's leadership during the war?

Mr. Daly: I thought he was the greatest.

Q: How did you react to the news of FDR's death?

Mr. Daly: I was terribly disheartened and sad that we lost a great man and a great patriot and a great president. It was just a big loss.

Q: What was your opinion of President Truman's wartime leadership?

Mr. Daly: I was very surprised how well Truman did, he was pretty good, he did very well for a man that came from a small town in Missouri.

Q: What was your reaction to Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was the decision to drop the A-bombs justified?

Mr. Daly: I think it was definitely necessary because it saved thousands of American lives during the invasion because the everybody in Japan ( not just the soldiers) were prepared to fight on the beach to kill American soldiers if we tried to invade them. They were suicidal and they would have given their lives to do it, we would lose a tremendous amount of American lives had we invaded as opposed to dropping the bombs, so that was a necessary thing.

Q: At the end of the war, did you anticipate future wars, or did it seem to you that countries would find other means of settling conflicts?

Mr. Daly: I honestly thought it was the end of the big wars and a few years later the Korean war occurred and I was shocked again, I guess human nature is a wild animal, it is unpredictable and you never know what is going to happen.

Q: What are the lessons of World War Two?

Mr. Daly: You can't appease a bully, on your street if you have a bully that is causing trouble you and your neighbors have to get together and address that problem and take care of that bully, put him in his place so he knows he can't go rampant and if he does something he's gonna pay the price for doing it.

Q: What do you think today's generation of younger Americans? How are we different? How are we the same?

Mr. Daly: Let's see I would say the basic values are still the same. The kids are the same as we were. But technology has come into play and it changes things as you go through life you find things totally different and how to arrive at certain places at certain times your communication your cell phones your computers and its just a different world know. It was a lot simpler in our time. Sometimes you wonder if it's good or bad and at this point in my life I don't know which is correct. For instance when the television first came out, I thought it would unify the world.

Q: Do you have any parting advice for the youth of today?

Mr. Daly: Only that if you're morally correct and do the right thing and don't hurt your neighbor, you can't go wrong. Do well to others. That's the golden rule.


Mr. Daly voices his support of Truman's decision to drop the Atomic Bombs. (Quicktime)

Paul Daly's LST

LST Crew