My mother loved to tell stories about her life and I loved to listen. When I grew up and had an opportunity to publish her World War II adventures, I asked her to write these stories for a collection I was working on for Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, Parachutes & Petticoats.
My parents had five children at the start of World War II. My father was in the Maine National Guard. Their story begins in December, 1941.
— Leigh Verrill-Rhys
The Start of War (Excerpt)
The National Guard was activated after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tom’s division, the 43rd, was to be stationed at Camp Blanding just outside of St. Augustine, Florida.
On the way down, Tom made out a training plan for the troops when they arrived at Camp. He was the only junior officer to have done this. He earned his First Lieutenant bars and was sent to Fort Benning for further schooling.
Tom wrote that he wanted us to come down to be near him. So on April 18th, we set out for Florida. The night before we had a bad snowstorm. We were already to go, so we started off anyway.