Veteran Stories:
Charles Glover

Army

  • Picture of Charles Glover holding a Japanese flag. May, 1945.

    Charles Glover
  • Insignia of the 41st Infantry Division (United States) in which Charles Glover served during the Pacific Campaign.

    Charles Glover
  • Charles Glover's medals, from left to right: Philippine Liberation Medal (1 Service Star); Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2 Service Stars); American Campaign Medal (1 Service Star).

    Charles Glover
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"A Japanese captain was killed just behind our company area. And he had been lying in the jungle for days losing his men one by one. And he kept a diary which I found on his body. And I sent it to the headquarters. And later on I got a translation of it. And I suddenly realized that this man was a very sensitive poetic person judging from his writing. And it sort of gave me a different attitude toward the enemy to a certain extent. "

Transcript

We went to the POE in San Francisco and shipped overseas. And as we sailed farther south, we had no idea where we were going. You know, there's all sorts of rumours.

But we ended up landing in Milne Bay, New Guinea which is the very tip, the lower tip, of New Guinea. And where there's a staging area at the time. And then we went from Milne Bay to Finch Haven, New Guinea which was the Dutch territory at that time and that was a staging area.

From there we went to the invasion of Hollandia in -- I think it was May '44 [in the context of Operation Reckless, the Allied amphibious landing at Hollandia, Western New Guinea, April 22nd, 1944]. And we went ashore in Hollandia just after a huge explosion destroyed all of our equipment. Just before we landed there was an ammunition dump, a Jap Zero [the Mitsubichi A6M Zero, a Japanese fighter aircraft] came over and dropped a bomb on it, which is where all of our barracks, bags and equipment were placed. And they destroyed them all.

So then we went ashore and the Japanese were being pushed back into the jungles at that time. And after that we went on the invasion of Biak, New Guinea which is a little island off the northwest coast of New Guinea. And that was called the ‘War of the Caves’ because the cave was -- pinpointed all over the island were these caves where the Japanese would hide and come out at night and make their raids and so forth.

And our job was maintaining the equipment and the firearms for the 41st Infantry Division [United States], which we were a part of. And the bombing went on for days and days. And the Japanese were very well entrenched in these caves. And they'd come out at night and make their raids and so forth.

A Japanese captain was killed just behind our company area. And he had been lying in the jungle for days losing his men one by one. And he kept a diary which I found on his body. And I sent it to the headquarters.

And later on I got a translation of it. And I suddenly realized that this man was a very sensitive poetic person judging from his writing. And it sort of gave me a different attitude toward the enemy to a certain extent.

And after the war, in fact just a few years ago, I was telling a story to a film producer here in Vancouver. Her name is Anne Wheeler. And my intent was to check with the U.S. War Department [now the United States Department of Defense] and see if this diary could be returned to any of his survivors in Japan.

And they […] all things that were identifiable were returned to Japan to the family.

But I still have some items that I wish to return to their families in Japan if they could determine who they are. I'm in the process of having some of those things translated that have writing on them, so that we could track down the surviving families.

I sat around for a couple of months trying to get my head back into a civilian attitude. It was kind of difficult because I had this, what they call survivor's guilt, because we had seven of our men were wounded and one died. This was in Biak [as part of the New Guinea Campaign, May 27th – June 22nd, 1944].

We were taking off from this area on the beach up toward an airport that was a Japanese airport. And on the way -- we were living right at that point directly under a group of 155[mm] guns that were […] airport.

And when we landed at that area originally -- I forget what month it was -- I think it was June, our captain who was a stickler for the rules -- the colonel had told our company to be so many miles up the beach. And so our captain, as I say, practically paced out the route where we walked and ended up being right in front of this battery of 155s.

And as we were setting up our camp -- the foxholes were already dug by the Japanese so we didn’t have to dig any foxholes. But one of the men from the 155 unit came over to some of us and said, you guys aren't planning to camp here are you? I said, yes, that’s where our captain said we have to be.

So he said you're making a big mistake because we have misfires once in a while. So I went back and told the captain what I'd been told. He said no. We were told to camp right here, so that’s where we stay.

So we were there for a couple of days while this barrage ran on over our heads night and day. And so we were scheduled to move on and go up closer to the airstrip. And as our convoy was pulling out a shell exploded right over our area and decapitated one of my buddies and wounded seven others.

And I should have been part of that. I was in a jeep going up a hill, and one of our first lieutenants came up and said Charlie would you move on up ahead to one of the other trucks. I'll take your place.

And when the shell exploded it destroyed his jaw. And so I thought to myself that should have been me that was wounded.

And one of the guys up ahead where I was never put on his steel helmet like he was supposed to. He had it draped over his foot. And a piece of shrapnel went through the helmet, around the other side, and came out without injuring him.

So we went up farther into the jungle and set up camp in this spot. And we were laughing and carrying on in our tents at night oblivious to everything. And later on they captured a Jap [a Japanese soldier] who said that they had our area surrounded and were about to attack, but they felt it was a trap.

So that was about the extent of that time.

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