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."
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.
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.
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).