War on Their Minds
  William R. Doherty
Age in 1941: 18

Phyllis Doherty
Age in 1941: 14

Interview Team: Jeff Tiberii, Zach Ducharme

Q: What are your names?

Mrs. Doherty: Phyllis Doherty.

Mr. Doherty: Bill Doherty.

Q: Your ages in 1941?

Mrs. Doherty: 14

Mr. Doherty: 18

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

Mrs. Doherty: I was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and raised in Lowell.

Mr. Doherty: I was born in Lincoln, MA, and lived there ever since.

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

Mrs. Doherty: I was quite aware, because I had an aunt who was part of the
American embassy in various parts of the world. At that time she was in
Brazil but married to an American, and was pregnant for the first time and
was in her earlier 40’s. She was very afraid of what was happening in Europe
and from her I heard a lot about it. She had come home on leave from her
embassy duties and she was worried about the general state of what was going
to be happening in the government, and so forth. She was more aware than most
people of what was going on, so I heard a lot about it.

Mr. Doherty: Well, not too much really.

Q: During that time how did you hear about it? Did the media play a role in
the war; did you hear it a lot in the newspapers or on the radio? Or was it
really quiet in the 1930’s and didn’t get a lot of coverage about the war?

Mrs. Doherty: Well, you know there was no television then and radios were
around and used a lot like today. You put it on in the evenings and listened
to certain things. At that point I was 10-12 and was not particularly
interested except from what was coming from my aunt.

Mr. Doherty: No, we heard quite a bit in 1939-1940; we started to pick up that there was going to be trouble.

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

Mr. Doherty: — Well, the minute you heard anything about them, you knew there was going to be trouble. The way Hitler was running over all the small countries, you knew somebody was going to have to stop them. The Pacific-- I didn’t hear that much or worry about them till Pearl Harbor, then we all were worried.

Q: What was your reaction to the war in Europe, invasion of Poland, the
Battle of Britain in the fall of 1940, and the blitz?

Mr. Doherty: Well, I knew eventually that I would be over there because the way
the Germans were acting and invading all the small countries, we would be in
it before long.

Q: At this point in time, how do you think FDR was handling everything? Did
he have a grasp on things?

Mr. Doherty: I think he had a very good grasp on what was going on. ‘Course they say now, that he almost invited Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor.

Q: And what do you think of that?

Mr. Doherty: — I’m not sure of that, I'm not sure whether he would go that far or not.

Q: Do you think that the soldiers believed in him? And felt that he supported

Mr. Doherty: Oh yes, they felt that [he supported them].

Q: What are both of your remembrances about Pearl Harbor? Where were you,
what was the initial shock like when the news came out?

Mrs. Doherty: I was just enough younger that I think I was a freshman in high
school, had no brothers or male relatives that would be involved. I just
really didn’t have any serious thinking about it at all. I certainly wasn’t afraid or worried of what was happening, until much later.

Mr. Doherty: I remember being home, and going down to my girlfriend’s house. We sat and listened to the news, and figured it would be over in a year or two.
I didn’t think it would drag on as long as it did. I think it would have gone on a lot longer if it hadn’t been for the atom bomb.

Q: Compared to the situation of Germany were the youth of America or
Americans worried about Germany more so than Japan?

Mrs. Doherty: Just shortly after the war, my mother died. So my family was
totally consumed from family internal disaster. I really can’t speak too
much about that at all. Until a couple years later as I was an older high
school student and the war was in full swing, and Fort Devens was not far from
Lowell, and all the soldiers came to Lowell. They had a USO, a YMCA, and the
dances and everything. To us it was all our high school older guys had left,
and we were pretty happy with our social life at the time. It seems pretty
frivolous but that’s the way it was.

Q: What was your feeling towards the American declaration towards the war?

Mrs. Doherty: Again, until things hit home like the rationing, or the black
curtains. We all had to buy black fabric to hang over the windows if we were
going to put the lights on. Sure enough there were air raid wardens walking
around knocking on your door if they could see any bit of light. I thought
this was pretty silly at the time, I couldn’t imagine that this would be such a major thing if we showed light. But in retrospect I realized it was very

Mr. Doherty: I think we had to do it. If we hadn’t gotten into it, the Germans would have run over the whole continent over there, if we had not stepped in.
’Course with Japan we had to get into it, they attacked Pearl Harbor.  And you knew you were going to be there.

Q: Under what circumstances did you enter the armed forces? Was it the draft,
or volunteer?

Mr. Doherty: It was the draft. I got drafted in ‘43. So I was 19 almost 20.

Q: Did you want to become part of the military? Did it hit you when Pearl
Harbor happened or did you decide in 1943?

Mr. Doherty: I wanted to go. I was kind of looking forward to it in away.

Q: Did you have any brothers, friends or relatives?

Mr. Doherty: I had one brother, he went in about ‘41, and he was in the Pacific.He was in there, so I figured I might as well go too. I think all the young fellows were pretty patriotic and wanted to go. A lot didn't want to enlist
but they didn't mind being drafted.

Mrs. Doherty: Interesting. I think in his family there were just the two boys. His brother is almost 5 years older than he and so they had one in Europe and one in the Pacific. I don’t know if that was good or bad, but his parents certainly had an interest in the war, on both sides of the war.

Q: What was the age of the draft? Was it 18 to 30?

Mrs. Doherty: No, it went until 36 or 38. My father was 35 so he was actually still eligible.

Q: What was it like saying goodbye to your loved ones? Did you leave on a ship?

Mr. Doherty: We left on the school buses from Lincoln. I went to Concord High School. I went up with my father; he drove the bus and was taking the kids to school. I just rode the bus up with him, said good-bye. Went down to the Depot, and caught the train to Fort Devens.

Q: Was Fort Devens a boot camp?

Mr. Doherty: It was a place where all the new inductees would go and then they would ship them off to different places. Like to the Air Force. I went to the infantry in Alabama and there they would split everyone up.

Mrs. Doherty: Where you told where you were going?

Mr. Doherty: — No, you didn’t know where you were going until you got there.

Q: Did you ever go through boot camp, and if you did what were your remembrances of that?

Mr. Doherty: — A lot of hard work. You’re young and it’s a lot of tough work, you get out there and do your 20-mile hikes and all that. I was in Alabama.

Q: And how long was boot camp?

Mr. Doherty: — 36 weeks or something like that, it was a long time.

Q: And after boot camp where were you sent?

Mr. Doherty: - I was sent up to New York, actually Camp Kilmer, and then I was actually sent to North Africa.

Q: And that was 1944?

Mr. Doherty: — It was June 10, 1943 I went to Africa. Then I came back and finally back over to Europe. I had an operation and had to come back.

Q: Which branch of service were you in?

Mr. Doherty: — I was in the army.

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

Mr. Doherty: — Mostly just infantry work. I had a course on driving, nothing special.

Mrs. Doherty: — He had surgery in North Africa as he had mentioned. It had nothing to do with the war, but it didn’t go well and they had to send him back home for recuperation. I thought he would have been discharged but they got him better and sent him back over to Europe.

Q: What was the surgery on?

Mr. Doherty: — It was a hernia.

Q: Can you describe the battles and the operations that you were part of in Europe?

Mr. Doherty: — The most vivid one I have is in St. Rowe where we had the battle in hedgerows. There would be ditches on each side and big hedges. We would be on one side and the Germans on the other. We may have been 20 feet apart, but we couldn’t see each other. It was very slow moving, and we may have taken a hedgerow a day. They tried that for a few weeks, and then decided they would bring the bombers in. I’ll tell you, you couldn’t see the sky from the planes. We knew it was coming and they were bombing out in the parking lot, it was close, and some of our men did get killed. I was lying on the ground, just bouncing on the ground, and that lasted half an hour. Once the bombing stopped we took off and there wasn’t a German near us that was alive. The Germans were so stunned that we just walked over them and left the hedgerow area. That was probably the most spectacular thing that I ever went through other than when I was captured.

Q: From the battle where did you go?

Mr. Doherty: — We kept walking all the way across France into Germany. We had battles all the way along.

Q: And how long were you in Europe?

Mr. Doherty: I went over to Europe on June 10 of 1943 and came home June 14, 1945. So just about 2 years.

Q: So you were in Europe after V-E Day.

Mr. Doherty: — Yes

Q: This is after you had been captured?

Mr. Doherty: — Yes, this was after I had been liberated.

Q: Could you talk to us about being captured?

Mr. Doherty: — We were doing a landing across the Saar River in Saarland, Germany. We had just made the beach landing and were moving into the town. It was nighttime. We moved into these bombed-out buildings. We all took turns being guard. I had taken my turn and went down into the cellar and there were a whole group of us downstairs. We were sleeping when we heard some commotion and the Germans come running down the cellar stairs. None of us got out, and they captured all of us.

Q: How many would you say that was?

Mr. Doherty: — I would say close to 50.

Q: Where did they take you?

Mr. Doherty: — They took us into bunkers to interrogate us. Bunkers were like pillboxes, big cement buildings, and they interrogated us there. I was a PFC, so they didn’t bother the PFCs, you just told them your name, rank, and serial number and that was all that was to it. Then after that they walked us 3,4,5 days, we’d sleep in a barn or any building that was available. You wouldn’t get any food. One night they gave us dog biscuits. Not bad {Laughter}. Then they marched us to a railroad station and put us in these boxcars they call 40 and 8 - 40 people or 8 horses. They’d jam us in there, 80 in a box. And you were in there 2 or 3 days. They would pass a little water or a loaf of their dark bread. That would be it for a few days.

Q: And where did the train bring you?

Mr. Doherty: — Then they brought us to an area where we walked to another prison camp, which was Stalag 380, and we stayed there quite a while. As the Russians came from one direction and the Americans from the other they would move us to smaller camps that were further away. They kept us in there until April. I was captured in December, and was there until April. We woke up one morning and there were no guards. The gates were open, everybody was gone. So we walked out and we found out later that the guards left us because the Russians were getting to close. The guards didn’t mind the Americans, but the Russians they hated. They were getting too close so they left us there, and we could hear the explosions.

Q: Did the American government know that you had been captured?

Mr. Doherty: — I was listed as missing in action. My mother was notified in the Spring.

Q: You had mentioned earlier being interrogated by German soldiers, what kind of information were they looking for?

Mr. Doherty: — Just information of what the objective of our plan was, maps and things like that.

Q: Were they interested in the Manhattan Project, and information regarding the A-bomb?

Mr. Doherty:: No, not at all.

Mrs. Doherty:: See, he was captured in December and his mother gets a letter the first of April, saying her son is missing in action, and she received telegrams saying that the service was unable to locate his whereabouts. So, for all those months his parents didn’t know whether he was dead or alive. It wasn’t until they walked out of the prison camp and onto an American base on May 3rd that his parents were notified. They then received a telegram, saying he had been returned to military soil.

Q: Once you left the prison camp did you go right back and start combat as a platoon again?

Mr. Doherty:: No, we walked for about 3 days before we came across any American units. They put us in the back lines, and we went to this camp called Camp Lucky Strike. It was an evacuation hospital. All the POW’s had to go in there to be examined. I went in and I weighed 150 lbs when I entered the service. When I was released from prison camp I weighed 110 lbs. They checked us all out, and then I came down with jaundice. So I stayed in there until June 14th, and I ended up being there for over a month. I was so weak that they shipped me home on a hospital ship.

Mrs. Doherty: — And from all those months in prison camp I have a letter I won’t read because it is lengthy, but it is un-addressed and his mother would sit and write him letters. Not knowing where he was or even if he was alive. It gets me every time I think about it.

Q: Of the 50 or so men in your platoon how many survived?

Mr. Doherty: — All of them, we didn’t lose anyone in prison camp.

Q: How did your faith impact your time of imprisonment and during this time of war?

Mr. Doherty: — It really didn’t bother me that much. I am kind of a happy-go-lucky, easy going guy. I know a lot of the fellas would dwell, and made themselves sick over it. And getting over the idea of being a prisoner, and being in camp, and after the first few days you realized they weren’t going to shoot you. It wasn’t like we were in Japan where they might shoot you, and once you got over that fear you just lived day by day. You may walk 10 miles this day or 20 miles that day or something like that. You didn’t get much to eat and your stomach was shrinking all the time. I can never remember being really starving to death. You’d get a bowl of soup. And it was a bowl of soup. Hot water, and we used to call it grass soup. It looked like they mowed the lawn and put it in the soup. We would get that and maybe a loaf of bread. Maybe four people to a loaf of bread. Then they’d give you coffee, which was nothing but burnt barley. One time we got barley soup. It was thick barley soup; you might have well put fillet mignon in front of me ‘cause that was how I felt. One time they brought in a keg of sauerkraut, and I had never had sauerkraut in my life. But boy it was good.

Mrs. Doherty: — And you have liked it ever since

Mr. Doherty: — I have loved it ever since! And with the bread they would give us goose grease. We never had butter or margarine, so they gave us this goose grease that was like lard. It made it slide down though.

Q: What were the physical conditions like? Were they brutal?

Mr. Doherty: — Bare, bare, bare. The prison camp was like a horse barn, you would walk into the main part of the building and there would be 2 wings going off. There were racks with like tiers, and they’d give you a mattress filled with straw. That’s what we slept on, there were lice, and we nearly scratched ourselves to death there. No heat, there was a little stove and if you could get a little piece of coal or wood it would be enough heat

Mrs. Doherty: — And this was all winter.

Q: What was the temperature?

Mr. Doherty: — The temperature wasn’t that bad. We didn’t have any snow and the temperature was in the high teens, low 20’s.

Mrs. Doherty: — Sounds pretty bad to me. But that’s how he is. Whatever is going on, he deals with it.

Mr. Doherty: — Well we were crowded in, you are sleeping so your shoulders are touching the next guy, and you had a lot of body heat. The closer you get maybe you get a blanket and a half over you. I can never remember being really cold. Of course when I was captured I didn’t have all our winter uniforms, but I had two pairs of underwear on, a couple of shirts, pair of pants, and some jackets.

Mrs. Doherty: — And then you’d trade it away for food.

Mr. Doherty: — We’d swap with the Russians. They were in the same compound as us only there was a fence dividing us. They did all the baking of bread. We used to call it saw dust bread, it had saw dust or something in it, I don’t know. It was terrible. After we got through the cold part of the winter, we would swap clothing for some of the bread. They didn’t have anything, a lot of them were bare footed, and the Germans wouldn’t give them anything. They wouldn’t even give them the time.

Q: What was the communication like? Did you make friends with the Russians?

Mr. Doherty: — No, we weren’t even supposed to talk to them. If we went over there with a pair of pants they knew damn right well what we wanted. They’d come back, and we get part of a candy bar, or cigarettes.

Q: How were the German guards? Were they short with you, and/or rude?

Mr. Doherty: — Most of them could speak a little English. Most of the guards were the age I am now, in their 70’s. They were too old to fight, but they could do guard duty. They knew the war was over. They treated us well; I remember one guard told us he knew the war would be over soon. They tried to keep up a stiff upper lip.

Q: We often see in movies the brutality and torture.

Mr. Doherty: — That didn’t happen in our place. We had our own laws really and if anyone stole anything we had an outhouse, trenches, and we would put them in there. This was amongst ourselves and if they stole food or anything they’d end up in there.

Q: Did you or any of the members of the platoon ever try to come together, and resist, or break through captivity?

Mr. Doherty: — We didn’t because we knew the war was almost over. And if you did try to escape and they caught you then they would shoot you. So we just figured what the heck. We had it pretty good, comparatively speaking. Compared to the Japanese.

Q: During those few years you spent I Europe what did you miss most about the United States?

Mr. Doherty: — I think just being home, that was the main thing. We were over there and had a job to do. Everything is an adventure when you are 19 years old. You didn’t like people shooting at you.

Mrs. Doherty: I remember one story he told me with the foxholes. It sounded like it came right out of the movies. And there was one person in charge says "One at a time", everyone runs across no man’s land. His {Mr. D.} foxhole buddy is shot dead, but he has to get up and go run right by his buddy who he’s been in the foxhole with for the last few weeks. That’s a cruel thing.

Mr. Doherty: — You had to cross this opening, and he got hit. It wasn’t the crossfire that hit him; it was an 88 that hit him. And there wasn’t much left of him. Makes you run faster.

Q: You obviously encountered death on the battlefield; can you discuss your first encounter with it?

Mr. Doherty: — It’s not easy. But you gotta realize that if he’s shooting at you, you gotta shoot right back at him, if you can see him, cause one of you is going to get it. It’s not easy.

Q: What were your most memorable experiences of the war?

Mr. Doherty: — I think the battle of St. Lowe was the thing that will stick in my mind. That was in Germany, I had been over there for just a month.

Q: Did you participate in a welcoming home celebration?

Mr. Doherty: — No, I was in the hospital in Framingham over here at Cushing, for about a month or so. Then we went up to Lake Placid. They sent all the POW’s up there to relax and recuperate. Then we had a furlough and were finally sent down to South Carolina to be discharged. Why they sent us down to South Carolina, I don’t know.

Q: What was it like seeing your family once you returned to the US?

Mr. Doherty: — They were pretty thrilled. They had not seen me for two years, and after being in prison camp for two years, my mother was very emotional.

Q: Had your brother already been discharged?

Mr. Doherty: — He was married while I was in prison camp. Funny thing, he was guarding prisoners in a camp in upstate New York.

Mrs. Doherty: — A lot of German POW’s were brought to this country. And that is what his brother was doing at the end of the war, guarding German prisoners.

Q: When you came back had you heard about what had been going on with putting Japanese in detention centers? And what did you think of it?

Mr. Doherty: — We had heard about it. I don’t think they were a threat to us, I thought it was pretty cruel.

Mrs. Doherty: — I find it just awful. Next to what we have done to the American Indians I think that is next on the list. Disgraceful. I think they should be paid back every penny for their lands, homes, and I guess they are getting some of it now. They will never get back what they lost.

Q: Do you feel that since they did that with the Japanese, they should have perhaps done
it with any Germans in the country?

Mr. Doherty: — It would have been equal, more fair.

Q: During these times what was your knowledge of African-Americans in the service, and did you notice a lot of segregation?

Mr. Doherty: — I didn’t run into that. It is funny that you don’t have any colored folks in with you. I knew they were in their own units. Down south in training I ran into some with their own buses and food. But as far as the fighting unit it never dawned on me.

Q: Do you wish it had been integrated?

Mr. Doherty: — It wouldn’t have bothered me.

Q: Even in Germany or France they kept you separated during battles and fighting?

Mr. Doherty: — Oh yeah. Most of them had their own outfit over there, and a lot of them worked driving trucks and things like that.

Mrs. Doherty: — A few years ago we were at a reunion in Boston and the Tuskegee Airmen were there and it was great to talk to them and it was special that they were finally being validated for the work that they did. It was long after the war that they were given the credit due them, and it’s terrible.

Mr. Doherty: — That colored Air Force group guarded the bombers when they went to bomb. They never were shot down, and they had an excellent record.

Q: What was the most memorable experience that you had?

Mr. Doherty: — Probably the battle of St. Lowe. It was incredible, all the bombing and what not.

Mrs. Doherty: — Just by luck that you got through that. It’s funny because when he had his operation in Africa in 1943, he missed the invasion of Sicily. Then when he went back over in 1944 he was captured days before the Battle of the Bulge. Two big invasions he missed, one by being sick and one by imprisonment. I felt that God was watching over you in many ways. You didn’t have faith, and I didn’t know you then, but now I do.

Q: Did you ever feel that way? Did you ever feel that someone was watching over you helping you get out of there?

Mr. Doherty: — During the time I was over there I never gave it too much thought.

Mrs. Doherty: — The only other serious boyfriend I ever had I met before Bill and he was in the Battle of the Bulge. He got shot through the neck and the jaw and when I met him he was in the process of having facial surgery.

Q: How many battles in total do you think you were part of while in Europe?

Mr. Doherty: — Well they give you ribbons. I was in three areas, Northern France, Rhineland, and central Europe. They go by areas, and you get a bronze star for each one of those.

Q: Being in Germany what was your reaction to what Hitler was doing to the Jews and
did you realize how much of a problem it was?

Mr. Doherty: — Practically all the time I was in Germany I was in prison camp. When I got out we heard about it and then they started finding all the mass graves and the gas chambers. As we were fighting our way across France we had no clue that anything was going on like that.

Q: So was it kept secret?

Mr. Doherty: — We had other things on our mind and didn’t talk of world politics.

Mrs. Doherty: — Back here we heard about it. About the time I got out of high school I came to and realized all the horrible things that took place.

Q: What do you think received more attention, Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust and what
was going on with the Jews?

Mrs. Doherty: — I think that essentially it was pretty equal. Pearl Harbor hit home, and I think it took us a long time to realize what was going on in Germany with the Jews.

Q: Earlier we spoke of rations, could you elaborate a little more on what that was like?

Mrs. Doherty: — My mother had just died so I became the person that did shopping and I remember the horrible margarine we had. It was like lard, and white, and they gave you this yellow coloring to mix in and make it look good, but you couldn’t really get it all in. Meat was rationed, pathetically so. We didn’t have a car in my family and I remember hearing the gasoline was rationed at 3 gallons a week. I can’t even imagine what good that would do.

Mr. Doherty: — When I came home from furlough I went up to town hall and got a rationing card.

Mrs. Doherty: — The thing that affected me the most, I am ashamed to say, is that I started smoking in those years. It was very hard to get cigarettes. They were scarce and they were expensive for that time. It was interesting as I look back on it.

Q: Being on both sides of the spectrum, did you get better rations in Europe or in the United States?

Mr. Doherty: — While I was in England we’d go out to get fish and chips, and they would wrap them in newspaper. They would wrap the fried fish and the French fries in a newspaper like the Boston Globe. In England they didn’t have much. I think even though it was rationed in the states, it was better here.

Mrs. Doherty: — Well, I think he had more fresh fruits and vegetables. Europe still doesn’t have those things, and being over there in the past few years most of their fruits are still imported. So I would imagine they were very restricted during the war.

Q: Who controlled the rations?

Mr. Doherty: — The government, but each town board also did. When I came back I had to go to the town building to get a card so I could buy some gas.

Mrs. Doherty: — It was the same all over the country as far as the amounts of what you could get.

Q: How did you feel and react when you heard about FDR’s death?

Mr. Doherty: — We were all taken aback by it. Because he had been the president all through the war, and even before. He had brought the economy up, and then he was probably one of the first presidents I really knew. Before him was Hoover and I was just too young to know who he was; weather he was good or bad. FDR, from the time I was able to know who are president was, he was the president, and we all respected him.

Q: How did that hit back home?

Mrs. Doherty: — Oh, I think people we’re really shocked. I don’t think anyone realized his heath was so frail. He wasn’t an old man; he was in his early 60’s when he died. He seemed old, looked old, and acted old, physically. But certainly his mind was shot. It was a shocker, no one knew who Truman was. Its bad enough now, vice presidents aren’t acknowledged as that important in the political scene, back then they weren’t at all. When Truman never won that election in ‘48 it was a great shock to everyone, but obviously he proved himself to be worthy.

Q: How did you two both view Truman, and the decision he made in dropping the atomic bomb? Did you like him as a leader, and for making that decision?

Mr. Doherty: — Well, myself I think it’s the only decision he could make. I figure we would have lost a million or so more, if we evaded Japan.

Mrs. Doherty: — It was a terrible thing to do, but it seemed to be inevitable. Someone else would have gotten that atomic bomb and Japan probably would have been the first one, it could have landed on us. I think they defiantly would have used it, too. I hope Japan doesn’t have the same mind now, as they did then. In 1940 they were doing just such terrible things to our men, who were captured. I read stuff like the Baton March, and the cruel punishment of torture given.

Q: When Truman did order the dropping of the two atomic bombs, did it come as a surprise? Had you heard things?

Mr. Doherty: — Hadn’t heard a thing about it. I didn’t even really know anything about what an atomic bomb was, no inkling at all. I think it must have been one of the best-kept secrets.

Mrs. Doherty: — To me it was a surprise. I think we knew more about it here at home. I remember hearing about the atom being smashed, and the testing in the desert. That was big news.

Q: What was the reaction of Americans? Were they glad that there was finally an ending? Did they feel for the Japanese?

Mrs. Doherty: — I think they would have felt for the Japanese civilians. However, I think that everybody was so angry at the Japanese actions, and the treatment to the prisoners of war that, you could feel sorry for the individual civilians. But you still realized that those civilians wanted to win that war, and control us. Still those Japanese Americans that were treated so badly here, I felt one hundred percent sympathy for them. Did and do.

Q: Once the war was over in Europe and in the Pacific, did you feel like the war was really over? Or did you really feel that there were going to be repercussions? Were you on edge?

Mr. Doherty: — Well, you know its funny. I didn’t even sign up for the reserves when I got out. I had an idea that something else would happen, down the road in a few years, and it did. Like Korea, Vietnam and whatnot. A lot of my freinds signed up for the reserves, to make a few extra dollars. But they were called right back in. Cause I had started my own business, I was glad I didn’t have to leave home, and go back over to Korea. But I had a feeling something would happen, but today I don’t have that feeling. I think that every government holds to many secret weapons, that if one of them decides to bomb another country or do anything, then they’re just going to get landed on. It will just ruin the whole world

Mrs. Doherty: — I think that I felt once those wars were over in both theaters, we had really won the war. There was no doubt about it. The Germans were totally defeated, their country was in shambles and so was Japan. I was surprised by Korea; I didn’t think we would have a war that soon.

Q: Where there celebration parties that we won the war?

Mr. Doherty: — By the time I got home, it was all over with.

Mrs. Doherty: — Not in general, I think there probably was some in New York. You see pictures of celebrations, but there wasn’t anything locally.

Q: What are the lessons you took from World War Two? And what are the lessons the rest of the country should take from World War Two?

Mr. Doherty: — Everyone has to learn to get along with one another. I don’t know how many more World War Two’s we could really go through without ruining the whole world.

Mrs. Doherty: — I think the lesson that we all need to learn is that its one world, and one humanity. We’re all different we have different languages, and different customs. But we are all still human beings. Not to be coveting each other’s countries, or land, and riches.

Q: What did you take from World War Two? Was there anything you took with you, which you still live by?

Mr. Doherty: — Well no. I’ve always tried to get along with anybody that I keep in contact with. I don’t have to many enemies. In the camp itself, the prison guards treated me with respect, and I treated them. I didn’t hold any grudges.

Q: If you had to do it all over again, if you knew that you would be a P.O.W., and loose loved ones, would you want to do it again?

Mr. Doherty: — If I had to, I would.

Mrs. Doherty: — He has great respect for the military, and the military life.

Q: What do you think about today’s generation of the younger Americans? How are we different and the same as you guys, and your generation?

Mr. Doherty: — I can’t see myself when I was a kid. I got in a little trouble. I think today, that the kids are missing something. They should go to boot camp for a little while, not for war but to learn a little discipline. They can’t run to mom when they have a problem.

Q: Why do you think it’s changed?

Mr. Doherty: — I don’t know. I think it’s the culture, and the world today. It’s so fast, you have everything, computers, TV’s we would come home from school and do homework. We didn’t have a T.V. to turn on.

Mrs. Doherty: — It’s a whole different world from when we were teenagers. It’s hard for us to relate to the world today.

Q: Do you have any more advice that you would give to the youth of today?

Mr. Doherty: — I can’t think of anything. I think the parents are making the kids.

Mrs. Doherty: — I would like to give their mothers the advice. I also think it’s the parents that are making the kids.

Q: Is there anything at all that we missed that you would like to tell us? Anything at all.

Mrs. Doherty: — One thing that has been strange in my own mind is that it took me a long time to realize what he had been through, and what happened to these men. A lot I learned through his mother. Through the letters that she would write to him, not knowing if he was dead or alive.

Mr. Doherty: — The German government was going down hill. They had no records or idea where I was. They had no idea what happened to me until I went through the American lines and got a telegram sent to my mom.


Mr. Doherty describes hedgerow fighting in France. (Quicktime)

Farewell Dinner Program

Farewell Dinner Prayer

MIA Notice
MIA Notice

Western Union Telegram

Telegram 2
Letter from the Army

POW Bulletin

Letter from Mom to her POW Son

Letter Page 2