Robert Milford

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Interview with Robert L. Milford

Interview By Matt J. Milford
Marion High School

Interview on May 14, 2003
At Mr Milford's House
With comments from Lila C. Milford

MJM: Hello I am with a fellow veteran mister Robert Milford of 1225 Northwood court of Marion In on the date may 14 2003 with Lila Milford who will be commenting.

MJM: What war did you serve in?

RLM: I was a soldier

LCM: Was it World War One or Two?

RLM: World War Two, I was taken away form college and put into World War 2

MJM: So were you drafted into the army? You didn’t have a choice?

RLM: All of us were.

LCM: You were a student at Notre Dame University at the time.

RLM: Yeah.

LCM: And how many years were you at Notre Dame before you were drafted?

RLM: I’d say about three years.

LCM: You were a junior at Notre Dame before they drafted you and what was your life like at Notre dame before? Do you remember cards and how everybody knew you were going to be drafted?

RLM: We played bridge, we played a lot of bridge, we knew we were going to go to war and that’s no fun, they took us to Indianapolis.

LCM: Did you go to a place in the south?

RLM: Yea but I can’t remember the name

LCM: Camp Lagoon?

RLM: I cant remember the name, a great big place a ton of soldiers I began to drink coffee there, there that’s the first time I ever drank coffee because I was young we practiced hard and it was tough

LCM: Do you remember where you went to basic camp?

RLM: I can’t remember the name

MJM: Was basic training hard?

RLM: It was busy, we had to take big long walks, we would go three miles, we didn’t mess around, and we didn’t have good food, but we had to eat it

LCM: Bob I remember something you said a long time ago it was extremely hot with the long trips with all your equipment on your back and the sun was hot and you walk and you walk with some people had heat exhaustion and actually died isn’t that sad

RLM: One of the fellas that was with us was a sort of a sissy man he really was now he was a sissy man and whenever I knew I had to take those long walks I made up my mind I would never drop over if he’s still going I would never let him get ahead of me and by golly that guy he kept up ahead of me and he went clear to the end of the darn thing and I followed him .

MJM: How long were you in basic camp before you went to Germany?

RLM: No I was down in a country way down south.

LCM: He went to basic training in this country then shipped over seas.

RLM: Right.

LCM: In what ship did you go on? Do you remember? It was an old English.

RLM: No it was a beautiful great big ship and it was a main one.

LCM: Moratana? Did you go one the Moratana?

RLM: Might have been that’s not the one that went down?

LCM: No that was the Lusitania.

RLM: Yea ok.

MJM: What was the attitude like the people you went with the other soldiers were they scared or nervous?

RLM: No just normal no no we weren’t scared.

LCM: Bob tell the story about Richard Simons brother.

RLM: we had a brother here and he was Jewish, very nice, I know it very well, he was really gun ho.

MJM: Like he was really ready to go to war?

RLM: Tea and he was so what actually happened he went in and he got to go up to the front.

MJM: The front line?

RLM: Yea and he started it real early and he got killed yea he died I actually told him I said now you got to be a little careful whenever he was in the boat when he was in the boat I talked to him a lot and I could see he was really going to get in there and sure enough he died

MJM: What did you actually do in the army? Were you in infantry

RLM: Well I was in the infantry that’s true, and I was a good soldier that’s true and I was never kept or shot I was a soldier and I didn’t want to be any of those other guys to be honest with you.

LCM: Bob you said that because you used to go camping and you used to learn how to take care of yourself and that one was of the things that helpedyou in the service.

RLM: I don’t remember that mother.

LCM: Yes you do you learned how even in Marion you used to go to some of the creeks nearby and never asked for trouble.

MJM: Did you make a lot of friends in the army?

RLM: Oh yea not a lot because we would be in a groupd and we wouldn’t mess around with the other guys, the soldiers, they were good students a lot of college kids, good soldier.

MJM: Where did you sleep at? When you were stationed out in the war? How were the living conditions?

RLM: Depends a little bit on different things we would dig a hole and then go down and whenever we went to sleep we would get into the hole and sleep there and wake up at certain times and go back to bed.

MJM: Did you ever miss America or your home? Did you ever write letters?

RLM: Yea but I wasn’t crying or anything but I didn’t talk to them very much you weren’t supposed to tell a lot of stuff.

MJM: They censored things?

RLM: Yea the word gets back and all of sudden you’re in trouble, so we were taking care of ourselves.

MJM: What did you do during peacetime how were you entertained in your off hours or free time?

RLM: You mean in the war?

MJM: Yea.

RLM: We were busy in the war going into places that were safe and things like that moving around we weren’t messing around or things like that I took care of myself real well we would sleep at night time at the basement of where we were.

MJM: Did you take any pictures or photographs?

RLM: No, no, I don’t even think I had a camera.

MJM: Did you keep a diary or anything?

RLM: No, no, no.

MJM: Were you awared any medals or honors?

LCM: Please tell bob your purple heart!

MJM: You were awared a purple heart?

RLM: Yea well whenever it came time to go home when the war was over the ones that get hurt could get home quicker so I didn’t get hurt I had the littlest tiniest thing.

LCM: Scratch grandfather really did get hurt hes underemphasizing but he did get a small wound.

RLM: About that big and then I sent in for a thing.

MJM: How were you wounded?

RLM: Well actually we were practicing shooting.

MJM: What kind of guns machine guns?

RLM: Rifles, one of them had something that bit me it was so small I cant make it that small but I sent it in saying I got shot so then I got to go home earlier they sent me a piece of paper saying I was a solider.

MJM: So you were awarded the purple heart?

RLM: Yea I got the Purple Heart I suppose it was funny but I don’t know how I ever made it without getting killed.

MJM: Did you have a lot of close calls?

RLM: I had a few most of them missed you know they missed me and when they miss you can run back.

LCM: Bob why don’t you tell them about your class the ones from your class of ’44 at Notre Name and how many went and how many came back.

RLM: I don’t know.

LCM: You don’t know the figures.

RLM: No idea but we all went to war.

LCM: Yes dear but your class more deaths.

RLM: Oh yea we were very active in the war all of us had to go practically.

LCM: But more in your class died then any other class during the service.

RLM: Yea some of them did die.

LCM: More died then any other.

RLM: Yea one of my best friends got killed that was really bad but it was war, war was war and I took care of myself a little bit I tried to anyways.

MJM: When you came home were you welcomed home as a hero what was the response?

RLM: No I just went back to Notre Dame no never talked about it didn’t pay much attention to it.

MJM: Did you finish school at Notre Dame?

RLM: Oh yea then I got my law degree.

MJM: Did you become a lawyer after that?

RLM: Yea.

MJM: How long were you a lawyer?

RLM: I don’t know 30 years 20 years.

LCM: No dead more like 44 years.

RLM: Whatever it was it was a long time I finished going to college there and got my lawyers degree.

LCM: You got your undergraduates degree then you went on to get your law degree and when you first went back to Notre Dame everybody was wearing their uniforms there weren’t clothes available.

RLM: You saw them didn’t you? Mother was there whenever I went back we all uniforms well they weren’t the matching ones they were nice clothes and they lasted for a long time I wore that for a long time at Notre Dame, well we all did.

MJM: Did you meet Lila before or after the war?

RLM: Before or after?

MJM: Did you meet here when you got back from the war?

RLM: No I didn’t even know her I met her after the war she was in school there too at dances what do they call that mother?

LCM: Tea dances.

RLM: Yea they had dances.

LCM: On Sunday afternoons it was so pure.

RLM: But it was nice though mother and a lot of people met people.

LCM: Yea that was the whole point.

MJM: When did you pick up reality? When did you start purchasing house?

LCM: You and uncle George had been practicing law but your father had begun to dabble in real estate and you decided to do it to do you remember?

RLM: Oh yea.

MJM: Did you go to any ceremonies or join any clubs after the war?

RLM: Very little, well we didn’t even talk much about it.

LCM: You did join the American legion bob, one of the people that you had gone to school with was one of the commanders here locally and recruited you, so a year or two ago you got your fifty-year pin for being an American legionnaire for over fifty years.

RLM: Mm hmm.

LCM: But grandfather is not a social animal so it was a little different then compared to some others who enjoyed all the facilities they had but he was very willing to pay his dues.

MJM: Do you still talk to any friends from war?

RLM: Very few most of them are dead by now because I am old.

LCM: Please tell them how old you are dear.

RLM: I don’t know 80.

LCM: Yes dear, you are 80 years old and please tell about that pin that one of your Notre Dame contemporaries gave you the sharp shooter.

RLM: Well we were to use the guns.

MJM: Rifle?

RLM: It was very dangerous I got a thing here up stairs a little tiny pin with the name of that one of my friends gave me a long time ago and I still wear it when I get a chance.

LCM: To remind you you were among those who actually did the sharp shooting, do you remember the name of the gun you used to use dear? It bickered you jiggled with it.

RLM: The gun? I used the ones that would explode.

MJM: Like a grenade?

RLM: Yea grenades the other soldiers, it was very dangerous for them I could kill them it would go up and go a long way then down then bam , by the time it gets up they couldn’t hear it ,it doesn’t whistle it doesn’t do anything and all of sudden he’s dead he didn’t dodge it.

MJM: Were you in charge of loading it or firing it.

RLM: Both you do it yourself

MJM: You each have your own like a box of grenades?

RLM: Yea.

MJM: Did you just drop it in there and it would shoot?

RLM: You would put it in then get down and cover your ears, it would go real fast it goes off and bam, dangerous.

MJM: Is that the only weapon you shot in the war?

RLM: Yea that’s the one I used mostly yes.

MJM: Were you a technician or what was your status?

RLM: No, just a veteran.

LCM: Just a soldier.

RLM: I did my job and didn’t get killed.

MJM: You did your job well.

RLM: Yea it worked went clear through the thing I started in England across the water.

MJM: The channel?

RLM: The channel yea that’s where we started

MJM: Is that France?

LCM: Yea I think it was.

RLM: Yea that’s what it was.

LCM: You were in the Rhine Valley two years ago we took a Rhine trip and we went close to the Romagen bridge and grandfather went on the Romagen bridge it was a rail bridge don’t think it was a car bridge but that was the highlights of our seniors years was going to some of the areas where grandfather fought in World War 2 and Germany and we went to some of the graveyards where some of the American soldiers and we will never forget and there are still some of the land mines and some of the obstacles that were put there by the French and the Germans to stop the tanks and when grandfather saw those items it came back to him somewhat better then right now.

MJM: How long were you in the war, how many years?

RLM: I think about two years.

LCM: Yes it was over two years you used to know.

RLM: But after 80 years you can’t remember all that stuff and I am sorry about that but I don’t remember a lot, we had nice fellas and some Notre dame people we were good Soldiers.

MJM: Well thank you for your time!