Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day, Morse Code and my Dad

My Dad never talked about his experience in WWII... However,  I have his photo album, and many letters he wrote to my grandparents.

This is one of my favorite stories that my mother tells...

Right after my parents were married and had moved to a new town, my mother had heard from a college friend that Phyllis and her husband were passing through. The two decided it would be great fun to go to a restaurant and meet each other's spouses and catch up. The husbands apparently went along with it, to make their wives happy.

My father was a quiet man, and my mother and her friends usually dominated the conversation, so he was prepared for another night such as that.

He was introduced to the friends husband and they sat down. Because this was 1948, the talk turned toward WWII in which both men had served. They found that they had been deployed to the same war zone.
 In the course of their discussion it came about that they had both been in Communications.

My father had been a radio telegraph operator and sent messages through Morse Code. 

Radio telegraphy using Morse code was vital during World War II, especially in carrying messages between the warships and the naval bases of the Royal Navy, the Kriegsmarine, the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Long-range ship-to-ship communications was by radio telegraphy, using encrypted messages, because the voice radio systems on ships then were quite limited in both their range, and their security. Radiotelegraphy was also extensively used by warplanes, especially by long-range patrol planes that were sent out by these navies to scout for enemy warships, cargo ships, and troop ships.

In addition, rapidly moving armies in the field could not have fought effectively without radiotelegraphy, because they moved more rapidly than telegraph and telephone lines could be erected. This was seen especially in the blitzkrieg offensives of the Nazi German Wehrmacht in Poland, Belgium, France (in 1940), the Soviet Union, and in North Africa; by the British Army in North Africa, Italy, and the Netherlands; and by the U.S. Army in France and Belgium (in 1944), and in southern Germany in 1945.

Operators skilled in Morse code can often understand ("copy") code in their heads at rates in excess of 40 wpm.

 The other man, whom they were having dinner with, was the recipient of those messages!!

The light suddenly dawned on him and he said "Double Dog??"

My Dad (initials are DD) was surprised and answered the man by calling him HIS code name. The evening took a turn as the two men felt the brotherhood that you get when you've served

For the rest of the night, my mother and her friend could hardly get a word in edgewise as these two Vets caught up on their stories.

My grandmother and Dad 1939

                  Radio Telegraph Operator

My Dad, home on leave in 1944


My Dad at his 50th Wedding Anniversary Surprise party in 1998.