Segment 13


When you woke up in the morning, you had to make up your bed and it had to be basically a foot or 2 off the floor. The people that lived at the property had 2 or 3 little children. The men got to be good friends with the family and Baldwin would go talk with them and play with the children. The British would come around 2 or 3 times a week and get the eggs and milk from the family so they could help feed the Army and other people. England was in bad shape. This family would save so many eggs and so much milk for the GIs. They would get about a gallon of milk and about 2 dozen eggs. Sergeant Woods was head of the kitchen. He had his own Quonset hut with a kitchen set up. All of the bread was made out of potatoes. The bread was made round with a flat bottom. They would take that, the milk and the eggs and have a cookout on the potbellied heater. Had the British found out, they may have gotten on to the family. When Christmas came, the men in Cannon Company decided to ask permission to have the children come eat Christmas dinner with them. They were given permission so they got a tree and decorated it and put it on the table. They went down to get them and the children were all dressed up and ready for Christmas. Baldwin and the men took them gifts too. He felt like he was probably the main one wanting to do all of this for the children, probably because he had always had Christmas like that at home and he had a little boy back home. A guy from Texas came over to the table where the children were sitting with Baldwin and some of the other members of Cannon Company. This GI from Texas asked why they couldn't have the children sit with them. Baldwin refused since this GI and others didn't want to help initially with the Christmas plans for the children. Baldwin and this GI, named Carl, kept arguing about the children leaving the table and going to another 1. Baldwin finally told him to step outside and they can solve the matter because the children aren't moving. So they went outside and had a fight and had to be separated. The children didn't move and got somewhat scared or nervous at first, but they ended up alright. Baldwin was young and should have left it alone, but things like that happened. They trained there for 6 months. There was an old man from Newry that was in his 60s that was a stone mason and would pass by the gate sometimes when Baldwin was on guard duty. They would talk occasionally and 1 day the man invited Baldwin to go rabbit hunting. He had little ferrets that he would put in the rabbit hole and run the rabbit out. Jack got permission and would go rabbit hunting with him on several occasions. The man took Baldwin home 1 time and met his wife and 2 or 3 little children. His wife was a young pretty lady that married him because everyone was poor and she needed a home, Baldwin assumed, and he was well off. They cooked in an oven that was built in the wall with rocks. They would cook with the long- handled things they would side the tarts/cookies around with. They would bake hot tea and these tarts and would have tea at 10, 2, and 4 each day. He would furnish the guns and Baldwin would go home with him and she would bake a few things. Training in Ireland was routine. Hiking, obstacle courses, calisthenics, lots of walking and bivouacking. They had an ammunition dump there. It was huge and right outside the fence from where they were. Baldwin remembers they had to guard that 24 hours a day. That was 1 of their duties too. They had an obstacle course 1 time that you had to crawl under that had machine guns shooting crossfire over the barbwire. They would have to crawl and knew that if they raised up they could get hit. Some people thought the bullets were blanks, but Baldwin remembers that some of the shells had tracers on them. He didn't remember them ever losing a man to that. They also had to climb walls, swing over mudholes in their gear and keep going. As small as he was, he had a tough time sometimes. Melbourne Headrick, a member of Cannon Company, was over 6 feet tall and like a bean pole. He didn't have a problem. They trained on rifle ranges too. They would open a church several times a week for those that wanted to go. It rained nearly all the time in Ireland too. Not a hard rain, but at least a mist or fog. They grew potatoes there pretty easily and made a lot of things out of them.


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