1. The entire website being re-constructed (note the change from eucmh.com to eucmh.be) it may happen that an old link or several photos doesn’t respond anymore to your call. I know this is a shame for you but I do only have 10 fingers and 24 hours a day to work on the site. I have just installed this system to allow you to understand the reason that some post are not re-constructed yet. I am working on this but I have also to keep publishing new archives. So it’s a little bit to much work for an old fart like me.
I hope you do understand this but I would really happy to get some feedback if you see a broken link or a missing image.
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’
(You can comment right here at the bottom of this page)
Surviving US veterans of World War II.
There were 16,112,566 members of the United States Armed Forces during World War II. There were 291,557 battle deaths, 113,842 other deaths in service (non-theater), and 670,846 non-mortal wounded. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, around 558,000 American veterans from the war are estimated to still be alive as of 2017. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs also, in 2016, about 362 American World War II veterans died every day. Over 600 in 2017 and this amount will probably rise up 1000 a day in 2018. Beside the already horrific fact that we are experiencing the passing of the World War Two Generation, the memories of this War; its sights and sounds; its terrors and triumphs disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of aging, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict and are still alive today, are now in their late 80s and 90s.
They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front … As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest … In a deep sense they didn’t think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too. (Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation)
The Greatest generation’ quickly vanishing.
Thomas Broderick, who lost his vision to a bullet during World War II and went on to own an insurance agency and counsel other veterans with vision impairments, is gone now. So, too, are Daphne Cavin, who lost her young husband, Raymond Kelley, to the war; Johnny Holmes, who endured the racism of fellow soldiers while fighting the Nazis; and Wesley Ko, a glider platoon leader who helped liberate a concentration camp. In all, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette survey, about 71 percent of the battlefield and home-front heroes Tom Brokaw profiled in “The Greatest Generation” have died since the best-seller’s publication 16 years ago. It’s a poignant reminder that the “greatest generation” is also a vanishing generation. “It makes me sad,” said Nancy Pitts, Cavin’s daughter by a second marriage, who recalled her mother’s Memorial Day custom of putting flowers on both husbands’ graves. Cavin died in 2010.
Then one day, as was the case with the last Veteran of the First World War, an article will be published in a newspaper and announce the death of the last Veteran of the Second World War. No more witnesses will be available to speak, tell, explain what this war was. Their memories, both mental and material will be scattered and the great book of history will be given to people, whose only interests will be the cult of the sensational and the appetite for gain, tell stories as fantastic as ridiculous to a generation of young people who will drink these writings as gospel words.
English is not my mother tongue. I speak French, German, Dutch and even Walloon. The Englishman, I learned it with the multitude of Veterans who came to revisit Normandy, the South of France, the East of France, the plains and the hills of the Battle of the Ardennes, or some cities of Germany. Although I’m not doing too badly considering that my training was more oriented towards American Slang than British English, and even my mentor Charles B. McDonald was an expert in this area, I still need to use Google Translate when I want to say something while being sure that the peoples who will read the text will understand it. The following part of the text will be my message to you : Veterans, Veterans’ Relatives, Readers, Historians, Friends etc.
European Center of Military History
It’s getting harder and harder to get information, pictures, material from Veterans than from their heirs. This is understandable when one thinks of the number of people who have been literally looted by unscrupulous peoples. I know this practice very well because I have seen it in practice many times. This explains why I do not have a sensational collection of War equipment. I never whined at a Veteran to get things they would have given me without any problem. I always refused everything they offered me and sometime, believe me, it was a hard task to do this without hurting these old men. I drove over 40,000 miles in the USA and met probably several thousand Veterans between 1980 and 1990. It may sound silly but it’s my point of pride. I refused hundreds of coins that would be worth a fortune today. Para jumpsuits and helmets from the 17th 82nd and 101st Airborne, US and German helmets, Daggers, Medals etc. Today, what I have was bought or received as a gift. I never asked for anything and finally I’m proud of it. I personally know a multitude of people who can not say as much. But that’s another story.
When I say that the European Center of Military History wants You, it’s because I’m trying to save what can still be. I know that many people will read this message and I take this opportunity to formulate this request in the most explicit way possible. I think that the archives that I hold and that I still have to publish amount to more than 2 million pages of texts (CDs). I do not worry too much on that side. However, stories from personal notes of soldiers are always sought after and welcome. What I really need are 1940-1945 photos. Private Photos, Liberated Photos, Archive Photos: All that can be considered as photographic material or even film in 16 or 35-MM.
I am also looking for period material because if you have as much pleasure to read my texts as I have myself by publishing them, you will have noticed that I appreciate to present the small material that I find here and there or buy when I have the means. I am particularly looking for compasses because I am considering – if the collection of measuring instruments, level, and azimuth is growing enough, the publication of another book. I will work on a listing of items to help you.
You will ask yourself what’s the deal ? Wartime Paper-Notes; Wartime-Papers, Field’s Notes from Soldiers, Mini Stories, Short Diaries, in fact, all the kind of papers that will be, usually, dumped while sorting a legacy. This is particularly sad because, these papers are always the start point for a new publication and sometime, they can even be the missing link between some other stories, unpublished because of the lack of relevant information.
Photos ! Why are we so hot for wartime photos ? Essentially, private photos (photos from Soldiers) were often done before a fight, between two fights or after a battle. We need them because some are showing places that we can identify and even check on the field today. These photos are very interesting for researches purposes, particularly when inserted in the right time and the right place into an already published archives. Some can even allow to localize MIAs (Soldier Missing in Action) who are still waiting to be picked up and sent back home for burial. This is why photos are very important.
Equipment ! Equipments is a large area as, in fact, it goes from a single underwear button to a 30 men heavy field shelter. Rippers usually ask for Helmets, Daggers, Knives, Insignias etc. They don’t care about Memory Duty. Al they care about is money. For EUCMH, saying equipment means small items that will be used for photographic purposes to illustrate our publications but also to show them when a soldier talk about it. The ultimate uses of these items, is to add them to an archives to personalize it to the soldier who wrote it.
The size of an items (or multiple items) is not really important. A unit shoulder patch with a set Dog Tags is as great as a full duffel bag. Do not trow something away. Just pack the entire materiel and send it to the European Center of Military History. If you can’t handle the cost of shipping contact us and we will find a solution. Beside we have an address in the USA to allow you to send at the lowest costs ever.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND GUNS & RIFLES
Finally, what can you do for the European Center of Military History ?
What you can Do
1 – All the published archives are subject to be updated and everyone can work with. You can use the ‘Comment’ area to make a comment or addition to the original archive and I will (1) cite you of course; (2) make the requested change or addition.
2 – The History Center is starting to become really huge. If you see a published archive not finished or an archives with photos that doesn’t show or whatever other problem, just post a comment or send an email to email@example.com. I will correct the problem.
3 – Ideas, Advices, etc are always welcome. Got some, don’t be shy and shot !
4 – Sharing is always good. Got something related to a published archive, photos, more information etc, contact me. You’ll be also credited in due form.
5 – If you are not in one of these categories please consider visiting this page [Just Click Here]
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
Rue des Thiers 8
Note : Please do note contact me anymore for Battlefield Touring. I am gently becoming an old man and I don’t have anymore time to run in the forest. I still do it privately with my Metal Detector, but just to cool down.
Note (2) : The European Center of Military History is a one man story. Nothing else ! I am running it. I am typing the text. I am searching for the info. I am searching for the photos. This of course without any sponsor in Belgium nor elsewhere. Actually the only sponsor come from a World War Two veteran which send me money every months to keep the site alive. Sometimes I get help from other persons whose donations are really welcomed. For this, I want to thank them all.
You have probably see the quality of the work in this archive. The quality of the layout and the images as well. This is only possible because some of you takes the time to put some coins in the Juke-Work. Remember that the whole thing is a one-man work. Not even some kind of US 501-C etc …! I am doing alone, a remake of Rio Bravo, just when Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan and John Wayne are singing “Just my Rifle, Pony and Me”. In fact I could sing “Just my Keyboard, my Brain and your Donations”. That’s what keep this site alive and online. One last very important point! For God’s sake, if you have anything relevant to this archive, and I repeat – anything – do not leave that treasure in the dust of an old cardboard box in the shadow of an attic. If it’s a few photos, papers, badges or whatever, send them to me. If it comes to more important things contact me.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
Thank You for your support !