Segment 1


Clinton Gardner was born in New York City on December 26, 1922. The family moved to Larchmont, New York when Gardner was a baby and he was raised in that city. After 9th grade he went to Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Gardner entered Dartmouth in 1940 and after his freshman year he realized he might be pulled into the war. Gardner volunteered and earned a different serial number than those who were drafted. The men were trained by recently graduated West Point Officers. Gardner was a Corporal and became a Second Lieutenant. He had to take an IQ test and an aptitude test at Fort Devens in Massachusetts. He earned the highest mechanical aptitude score ever in Fort Devens from driving tractors on the farms in Vermont. Gardner went to OCS [Annotators Note: Officer Candidate School] and was assigned to an antiaircraft outfit on Cape Cod in Camp Edwards with many battalions training. Gardner and the men had 90mm guns with a proximity fuse that was American made. If the shell was about 60 feet from a plane it would explode. Gardner realized the training manuals were six months to a year old but the magazines regularly coming out were up to date. [Annotators note. Gardner’s phone rings and the interview stops for a moment. After a brief cut the interview continues]. Gardner bought a number of up to date magazines and built a projection box called a magic lantern. He put a magazine at the bottom of the box, with a mirror above it at an angle and a magnifying glass in the front which turned it into a projector and he taught antiaircraft identification with the projection box. Gardner believes his enthusiasm earned him the title of 1st Lieutenant over the older members. The men trained for almost a year at Camp Edwards from January to December. Over 15,000 men, including Gardner, traveled overseas on the Queen Mary. Gardner was a lookout on the ship to spot any enemy submarines. They landed in Scotland and then traveled to Henley and could periodically see flashes of the London night bombings when it became dark. The men stayed to train with new equipment such as radars and were preparing for D-Day but did not know when it would occur or where.


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