Dunn, Lester 2000-05-24

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Lester Dunn talks about working on his family’s cotton farm, and his jobs between high school and when he was drafted into the Army. He tells about his experiences in basic training, landing on the beach in France on D-Day, and his battle experiences during World War II. Mr. Dunn also talks about his work experiences after he returned to civilian life and his volunteer work with the Veteran’s Administration.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Lester Dunn

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: May 24, 2000

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: David Marshall

Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Dunn, Lester, Born:1/12/1921 in Kirkland, Childress County, Texas, He was the second child born to E.Z. (?) Dunn and Mattie Laurena(?) Cowan (?) Dunn, Moved to Lamb County, Texas at the age of7, Attended Amhurst, Texas schools, Working on the family cotton farm, Married in 1941, Trying to grow cotton the first year of marriage, Move to Amarillo, TX, Working in Amarillo, TX, First job and pay check, Thoughts on leaving cotton farming, Working in Amarillo, TX (again), Leaving the smelting plant to work for Int’l Harvester, The opening of Reese Air Force Base, Brothers volunteering for Reese AFB, Brother’s war-time assignments, Being drafted into the military, Description of basic training, Military experiences, Convoy going overseas – 1943, Slipping out of camp in England, Story about an English village in which many people were named Dunn, Military experiences (again), Camps were tent camps – all temporary, Story about shaving their heads, On-going training while in camp, Shipping out from England to land in France, Amount of information given to the troops, Landing in France on D-Day

Tape 1, Side 2: Landing in France (again), Equipment carried on shore by each soldier, Water conditions going a shore, Only three out of fifty men from his basic training group survived the landing, Enemy resistance, Obstacles that had to be overcome, Comparing the movie Saving Private Ryan to the D-Day landing in France, Heavy causalities and their impact restructuring the units, Success of the landing regardless of the high causality rate, Troop formation on landing, Enemy resistance (again), Weapons carried onto the beach by the troops, Description of the battle to take the beach, Shrapnel injury on the third day of after the landing, Shrapnel still in Lester Dunn’s body, Setting off airport metal detectors, Shrapnel movement within his body, Encountering German tanks, “Digging in” for protection, Being hit by shrapnel and almost buried in the fox hole, Being assigned as a unit messenger, Commanding officer, Encountering German tanks (again), Taking shelter in a barn used for curing wine

Tape 2, Side 1: Encountering German tanks (again), Wine curing barn (again), Air Force reinforcement, Description of taking the town of Shurbert (?) in France, Causalities, Patton’s arrival with the tanks, Soldiers’ reactions to the horrors of battle, Germany’s determination to hold the line against Patton, Dunn, Lester (again), Injury that sent him to a field hospital, Efforts to take Hill 122, Description of the battle, Crawling through German lines to retrieve ammunition, Description of being captured by the Germans, German troops running away after their commander is killed, Dunn, Lester (again), Taking a German soldier prisoner, Story about taking cover under the same bed where a general was taking cover, Encountering civilians and snipers, Misfiring of carbine rifles, Dunn, Lester (again), Injury that sent him to a field hospital (again), Personal religious beliefs regarding to his survival, Story about an atheist turning to prayer in battle , Dunn, Lester (again), Having faith in his own survival, First injury – June 7, 1944, Second injury – July 7, 1944, Cigarettes in the K-rations

Tape 2, Side 2: Cigarettes in the K-rations (again), Commanding officer’s injury, Shurbert (?) France, Warehouse filled with cognac, Story about a ricocheted bullet, 90 Day Wonders, Causalities and inexperience, Difficulty in talking about war experiences, Differences between World War II and the Viet Nam War, Difficulty in talking about war experiences (again), Things that trigger vivid memories of battle, Story about killing a civilian woman, Being sent to a hospital in England, Retraining for a support assignment after recovering from serious injury, Working as a teletype operator for the duration of the war, Being sent to Germany after the war, Working as a teletype operator (again), Getting the message he was to be sent home, Getting word on Japan’s surrender, Returning home in 1946

Tape 3, Side 1: Returning home in 1946 (again), Returning to work at International Harvester, Moving to Lubbock, Texas – 1949, International Harvester Land-Lease Program, Relationship with Texas Tech, How the Land-Lease Program worked, Returning to work at International Harvester (again), Job related travel, Decision to leave International Harvester, Move to Lubbock, Texas (again), Getting reacquainted with old school friends, Volunteer work with the Veteran’s Administration, Edwards, Arnold, D-Day veteran, Jarman, Ed, D-Day veteran, Brookshire, Ray, POW, Works with the Veteran’s Administration, Huff, J.W., POW in Europe

Tape 3, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1921-2000

Bulk Dates: 1944-1946

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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