Sunday, November 11, 2012

George William Hoskins

George William Hoskins
Before he could graduate from high school the 1st World War broke out.  Many boys quit school and went to join the Army.  George did likewise. He was shipped out for Europe aboard the English ship “Edinburgh Castle”.  It took 11 days to get to England because they zigzagged to avoid the German subs.  At one point they were so far north that you could read a newspaper on deck at midnight.  At night they slept in canvas hammocks that bobbed and swayed.  George was awfully sick and fed the fishes many times during that trip.  Once in England, they were sent to a rest camp for a short period of time.  George said that the only thing they rested there were their stomachs.  Things were tight in England at that time.
Soon he was sent to France and fortunately was assigned to the 90th Air Squadron Observation Unit.  Biplanes would fly reconnaissance missions and take photos of the German movements.  George’s job was to develop the film as it came in and then the film was sent to HQ.
The food in France was good.  Once George pulled KP and it was the first time they had ever seen dehydrated potatoes.  Not knowing how to prepare them, the Sarge told him to put the whole 5-gal. can of potatoes and as much water in a big barrel and let them soak overnight.  Next morning they had expanded over the barrel’s edge and were everywhere.
At the wars end, George came home in a captured German passenger ship “Vaterland”.  This was a big ship and carried 10-15 thousand troops.  They were running low on coal and so had no ballast in the ship.  As they came towards the Statue of Liberty all the men ran to the one side of the ship for a glimpse and the ship began to list.  Fearing they might sink, officers had to holler and shoot over the men’s heads to get them to leave the deck.  The first thing George did once ashore was to buy a pint of Neapolitan ice cream and a carton of milk.  He said he had never tasted anything so good.

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