With Fellows of "'Lucky 13", AFS Unit ME 26,
and of C Platoon, 485 then 567 Ambulance Car Company,
British 8th and 9th Armies, American 5th Army

American Field Service
Middle East and
Central Mediterranean Commands
Mideast, Africa, Italy 1942-1945

What I wrote for My fellow Drivers who ordered copies of my Story:

Hyannis Port, August 20, 2000

Ours in the brotherhood of AFS,

Thank you for your interest in my story, which is to some extent your story, our story, about experiences we AFS Drivers shared and somehow survived in World War II; it is also a story of the bonding between and among us which has prevailed throughout our lives.

It is a story within the context of strategies and tactics, political and military, of the victorious Anglo-American alliance in the defense of freedom and for a better world. It is a story with beginnings in the Middle East; of the campaigns of the Western Desert, Tunisia, Italy; of the surrender of Germany and Japan; and of the post-war era especially the origins and development of AFS Intercultural Programs world-wide of which we Drivers can be so proud.

Our fellow Driver Howard ("Col.") Brooke wrote to me: "What a wonderful gift you have given to AFS Drivers and friends and their families!" I hope each. one of you will find this to be true, and that my story will resonate in meaningful, nostalgic, even enjoyable ways for you.

Thanks also for your support for the duplication, and your patience in waiting for its completion. Should you have time, I would welcome your comment and critique, and if you think publication in some form might be an option.

"Fox" is my AFS nickname, as explained p. 18, Part 1, "In the Beginning."

 

Charles P. Edwards
PO Box 368
Hyannis Port, MA 02647

 

Dedication

Dedicated to the Memory of Chandler Young Keller, 1917-1993

Charter Member of our "Lucky 13" Fellowship, American Field Service Mideast Unit 26, October 1942; Medical Services with British 9th Army, Occupation Forces, Syria and Lebanon, November 1942-January 1943; Chief, Section 3, C Platoon (485 then 567 Ambulance Car Company), Libya, Tunisia, Tripoli (Libya), Italy February 1943-March 1944; NCO, C Platoon, Italy March-December 1944; Lieutenant, Commanding Officer, C Platoon, Italy, Germany January-July 1945. Honorary Member, Order of the British Empire --- also Mentioned in Dispatches.

His boyish innocence, zest for life, and unfailing good humor barely concealed a heart with the courage of a lion and the generosity of an angel.

Our "Chan" could face and overcome any challenge however fraught with danger, turn aside any risk to his own life and safety with a jest or a joke, brighten with laughter and song any circumstance however awful, find the silver lining in the deepest hell-hole and inspire the very best of every person, commanding loyalty and devotion by love and example.

His life meant many lives saved, and he earned and received the highest honors for his heroic service, including Honorary Member, Order of the British Empire.

He loved books. He loved games. He loved people. In his professional life he put his law practice to the service of justice and compassion. He exemplified all the best there could be of the volunteer as well as the competent and dedicated professional in a life-long symphony of succor for others and the common good.

For his marvelous wife, children, and grandchildren he was adored husband, father. grandfather, counselor, companion, friend --- the very best of everything that could ever be.

For all of those in all walks of life whose lives he touched in so many wonderful ways and for the many service and community organizations to which he gave so very much. he was true charity.

For me, for us of our "Lucky 13" AFS fraternity and our AFS C Platoon brotherhood, who bonded with him when all our lives were on the line, he was more than friend, counselor, companion, leader --- he was my brother, our brother. Only an unwarranted death could take his body from us, but never his soul, his spirit, his example. our memories of him.

It was fitting that he should have led his beloved C Platoon as Commanding Officer in the final year of service in World War II.

 

Table of Contents

 Front Matter

 1. Foreword, The American Field Service in War and Peace
 2. Preface, Objector to War
 3. Acknowledgments
 4. AFS "Driver" --- Definition. "Job Description"
 5. Epilogue --- First C Platoon Reunion. Labor Day Weekend 1945

 I. In The Beginning, June to November 1942

 1. My Summer of '42 --- Waiting for Orders, Impressions of War. Boston Office
 2. Embarkation NYC Sept. 21, 1942 : Unit 26 and the "Lucky 13" Fraternity
 3. At Sea. Forty Days and Forty Nights. September-October, 1942 --- the Major and the Minors

 II. Middle East - November 1942 to February 1943

 1. Egypt --- El Tahag and Cairo, Oct. 31-Nov. 5, 1942
 2. AFS HQ and Workshops Mideast, Baalbeck Lebanon, to Mid-November, 1942
 3. Damascus Syria. Casually Clearing Station. Mid-November-December. 1942
 4. Selemiye Syria. Hadfield-Spears Mobile Clinic. January, 1943

 III. Go West. Beirut to Mareth. February 5 to March 20, 1943

 1. Rear Echelon Action on the Desert. Our First Battle Casualties
 2. Moving up to the front at Mareth --- the Reality of War

 IV. The Battle for Tunisia. March 20 to May 13, 1943

 1. Final Act of the War in Africa
 2. The Battle for Tunisia. Summary
 3. First Phase, Left Hook at Mareth,. Break Through at Gabes
 4. Second Phase, Gabes to Sousse to Enfidaville
 5. Third Phase, Enfidaville and German Surrender
 6. Postscript. Return to Company HQ, Convoy to Tripoli

 V. Our Summer of '43. Tripoli, Libya - May to October 1943

 1. Overview. AFS Pull Back to Tripoli. Delay in the Landings on Italy
 2. Tripoli, Libya: Choice Location to Rest, Refit, Reorganize
 3. Cultural and Intercultural Relations, Tripoli Style
 4. Interlude in Tripoli. Reflections: Conscientious Objection to War
 5. Prospects for Peace --- Allied Cooperation, Terms of Surrender

 VI. Italy: Sangro and Beyond. October 1943-January 1944

 1. Overview, The Italy Second Front Alternative --- German Thermopylae
 2. Tripoli to Taranto to Termoli --- Short "Indian Summer" Interlude in Italy
 3. Battle of the Trigno and the Sangro, October to November 11, 1943
 4. Jaundice, Evacuation and Treatment: Cobb (Oct 16-Nov 28) Edwards (Nov 11 -Dec 31)
 5. The Sangro and Beyond by Word and Camera. Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 1943
 6. Pollutri, Rest and Refitting - Intercultural Relations, to January 24, 1944

 VII. Italy: Breaking the Gustav Line. January-June 1944 / Aug.1944

 1. Overview: Cassino Offensives, Gustav Line Broken. Liberation of Rome
 2. Return to Action, San Vito and Cassino, January 24-March 1, 1944
 3. Lanciano. The Vital Center, C Platoon HQ and Postings, March 1944
 4. Lanciano, My Transfer to Allied Military Government. April-May-June, 1944
 5. Courtship and Marriage. My "AFS" Intercultural Wedding, August 3, 1944

 VIII. Italy: To the Gothic Line and Beyond. July 1944-May 1945

 1. Overview, Gothic Line Broken. German Surrender, June 1944-May 1945
 2. Italy, Ally Reborn --- More than Co-Belligerent, September 1943-May 1945
 3. C Platoon, 567 ACC. Action and Inaction. July 1944-April 1945 "One More River" --- Incident in the Advance to Break the Gothic Line
 4. My Transfer to 567 Company HQ. November 1944-April 1945
 5. C Platoon Liaison Office Rome, Unofficial - #11 Belotti-Bon. Winter 1945

 IX. Victory Over Germany and Japan

 1. Overview. Final Weeks of War in Europe. V-E Day May 8. 1945
 2 AFS in Germany. Horrors of Holocaust, Bergen-Belsen. April-June 1945.
 3. My transfer to AFS/GHQ CMF Naples. April-July 1945.
 4. Home at last via London. Montreal, Boston. July-August 1945, Japanese Surrender, August 15, 1945
 5. Hands Across the Sea --- Stormy Passage. Joyous Reunion. Christmas

 X. Reflections on War and Peace

 1. My three-year Odyssey in War. Objection? Acceptance? Both?
 2. The Soldier's Way in World War II
 3. America and the United Nations in the World. Partners for Peace
 4. AFS Intercultural Programs --- People to People World-Wide

 XI . War Poems (by Edwards) - 1942-1944.1978.1984

I wrote the following poems during the war except for "Sterling" (October 1978) and "Monte Cassino Revisited" which was written in 1984 --- forty years after the battle.

 "Soldier Calvary" (Enfidaville, Tunisia, April 1943)
 "Battlefield Cross" (Sonnet, October 1944)
 "To Mother" (Sonnet, October 1944
 "Preb" (In memory of Vernon Preble, Sangro Italy, November 28, 1943)
 "No Place for Kids" (To Denny Hunt, Ortona Italy, January 1944)
 "Cassino" (Italian Campaign, February 1944)
 "Sterling - Beyond the Sky" (in memory of Sterling Grumman, October 1978)
 "Monte Cassino Revisited, 1984"

 XII. Annex, A Backward Look at Some Highlights. War and Peace

 1. C Platoon 567 Ambulance Car Company AFS, World War II. Commanding Officers (1943-45) --- Roster, Friends and Brothers (1962)
 2. AFS Dodge Ambulance, Specifications, Configurations, Markings, 567 Company logo --- American Eagle ("Chicken")
 3. Vehicle Maintenance 31 Point Check
 4. Songs of the British Eighth Army, Titles. Excerpts
 5. Laugh with or at the Two Types by Jon, Some Samples
 6. The Vernon William Preble Memorial at AFS Headquarters. from 1950
 7. Testimonial to Stephen Galatti, November 1961 (draft by C. Edwards)
 8. Reunions of C Platoon 1945-1990. All Drivers 50th Anniversary. 1995

 Sources

 

Sources

AFS Archives and Museum, World War II Tributes to AFS, 50th Anniversary Drivers Reunion, Williamsburg, Virginia, October 1995; also the account of service by Edwards as PHWO/AMG Lanciano (Chap. IX, p. 776 ff , AFS application for Veterans' Status.)

Artese, Giovanni, La Guerra in Abruzzo e Molise 1943-1944 Vol. I (Lanciano, Casa Editrice Rocco Carabba, 1993); Vol. II (Teramo, Edigrafftal S.P.A. - Edition Grafiche Italiane, 1995).

Broch, Georg, Editor, The AFS Story ... 1914*1947*1997 (AFS Norge ... 1997)

Brokaw, Tom, The Greatest Generation, (NY, Random House, 1998).

Cobb, John C., Photographs (per captions in text)

Cobb, John C., Letters (selected, in text)), 1942-1944.

Edwards, Charles P., Letters Edwards to family, 1942-1945, including Letters Tunisia Campaign, printed, Milton, August 1943.

Edwards, Charles P., War Poems. published in Edwards' collections)

Edwards, Charles P., PHWO/AMG. Italy. Spring 1944, documented statement by Edwards, in AFS application for Veterans' Status prepared by AFS Veterans Committee (Jody Brinton, Historian) Chap. 9, pp. 776 ff.

Edwards, Licia S., Letters, to Charles P. and families, 1944-1945.

Eisenhower, Dwight D., Crusade in Europe (NY, Doubleday, 1948).

Goodwin, Doris Kearns, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - the Home Front in World War II, ( NY, Simon and Schuster, 1994).

Hale, Thomas, The Cauldron --- 1943-1945, Vineyard Haven, 1990.

Hamilton, Nigel, Monty: The Making of a General. 1887-1942 (NY, McGraw-Hill, 1981), and Master of the Battlefield: Monty's War Years, 1942-1944 (NY, McGraw-Hill, 1983).

Hapgood, David and Richardson, David, Monte Cassino, (NY, Congdon and Weed, 1984).

Kennedy, David M., Freedom from Fear (NY, Oxford University Press, 1998).

Lanciano, Citta Medaglio d'Oro.... 5 e 6 Ottobre. 1943 (Edito a Cura Dei Comune di Lanciano, 1984).

McCullough, David, Truman (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Nativio, Giovanni, La Guerra nel'Abruzzo (Lanciano, Editrice Itinerari, 1971).

Newby, Eric, Love and War in the Apennines (Penguin Books, 1971).

Rocca, Gianni, L'Italia Invasa, 1943-1945 ( Milano, Mondadori, 1998).

Rock, George, The History of the American Field Service., 1920-1955 ( NY: AFS, The Platen Press, 1956).


Front matter