Yet, as dawn broke over the English Channel, the tranquility of that little town would soon be completely shaken.
One question that has always been debated is why Company A was chosen to go in with the first wave. Nance gave it a shove. He was determined that these new men would blend well and he took a personal interest in them also.
He thought it would be a good morale booster and it was as young men flocked to join. Parker took the photo of his daughter Danny out of his pocket and said, "If I could see her just once, I wouldn't mind dying. If we're supposed to fight, why aren't we fighting.
Times were hard in the small farming community of Bedford, population three thousand, as Roosevelt's New Deal had not yet lifted them out of the Great Depression. Each telegram that was delivered had to have a verification of delivery slip come back.
The question is still being asked — why did it take so long to tell us. The Battleship Texas would obliterate whatever the bombers missed, and LCT's Landing Craft Tanks adorned with special flotation devices would hit the beach before the infantry and give covering fire.
Stevens could barely swim and his sixty pounds began to drag him under. Only ten percent of A Company had survived the landing without being killed or wounded. I saw a couple small groups working out fitness camp type.
Landing craft with treads which would continue as they hit land would be better and give more protection. Less than fifty yards away, another LCA had also approached the beach. But Nance had his bandaged foot to prove his story.
Now the Bedford Boys wondered — how long. The Germans had annihilated most of his men in an instant.
Suddenly, the tank took a direct hit, possibly from a mortar. We all left and was going to whip them that night; it was pretty exciting. Of the thirty five Bedford Boys who went away to war, thirteen came home.
The smartest lay with their nostrils just above the water so they could breathe but with every other inch of their bodies submerged. The men in the water said they knew Stevens would keep them and himself alive because he was concerned about his brother. Bibliography: The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw Beyond the Beachhead by Joseph Balkowski 29 Let's Go!
A History of the Twenty Ninth Division June 6,The Voices Of D Day tape-recorded interviews with Roy Stevens, Ray Nance, and Allen Huddleston. The seven landing craft that would carry Company A — the boys from Bedford — onto the beach formed up in the darkened sea.
Finally all the LCAs were lined up and starting to shore. Riding out 6- and 7-foot waves that sprayed water into the boats, the soldiers huddled, wet and shivering. The losses by the soldiers from Bedford were chronicled in the best-selling book The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw, and helped inspire the movie Saving Private Ryan.
The movie's director, Steven Spielberg, helped fund the memorial, including funding for the creation of the Arnold M.
Spielberg Theater, in honor of his father, a World War II veteran.
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