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Edward B. Farley: WWII Veteran

Edward B. Farley: WWII Veteran

Alright. But let me tell you this before I start talking. I’ll tell you about that. I may try not to cry. I went to a private Catholic military school in a
place called Powhatan (Virginia). When I turned 18, I was drafted into the Army in 1943. And I was in what they called an amphibious outfit. I became a staff sergeant at a very
young age. I was 19 years-old. I had a platoon of about 50 men that I was in
charge of. Some of those men were in their forties and old enough to be my daddy. We went overseas. We stayed in (inaudible) for about a couple of months. Then it was almost June the 6th. June the sixth, we were on a beach in England and we stayed there during the
night – June the sixth, now. Well in the daytime, during the sixth, on the beach,
that was invasion. Thousands of men were killed that first day.
-And you were there? You’d be surprised, man. You’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. We landed that morning. We went across the English Channel.
We landed on Omaha Beach. And by the time we got near the beach, I saw thousands of dead bodies. Lot’s of arms, legs, heads – disconnected. In the water just floating. Then we landed. And our job was to
drive a vehicle to ships to select the supplies. Now on that beach they had whole line of ships – like this – as near the beach as they could go. We had to go out to the ships and collect all of the supplies. My men carried the supplies about a mile from the beach… …and gave the supplies to another very
important unit. We would carry our supplies [inaudible] about a mile inland. and the Red Ball Express people – they were
driving just ordinary trucks. And at that time, the Army was segregated. They would take the supplies off the trucks from my men. They would take the supplies further to the front lines. Now the first couple of days, my men were
very close to the front lines. But as time went on, it widened. I stayed on the beach about…We stayed on the beach for… I’m sorry. I lost two men in my platoon. Barry Purnell and Grady Hughes. I can still remember their names 70 years later. 70 years later I remember a name. There’s a lot of people I’ve met I don’t remember no more. But they were wa…they drown. – What were they like? What do you mean, like? -The men. Their personalities. One was old enough to be my daddy. That was Grady Hughes. He was 39 years-old. The other one, Barry Parnell, he came from New Orleans. Whereas Hughes came from West Virginia. Burnell was the same age I was. …very young. I think about that a lot of times.

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