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The parts left out of the story.

July 13, 2015
Carl Bonde Jr. in about 1928, destined for college, then the infantry, then death by German torpedo.

Carl Bonde Jr. in about 1928, destined for college, then the infantry, then death by German torpedo.

Reflections on my work documenting my uncle Carl Ralph Bonde Jr.’s life and death in the English Channel in the last few months of World War II.

The parts left out: Carl’s childhood experiences, his friends, his interests, anything about his family in the 1920s through 1941. Then his experiences as a fire lookout in Glacier on Huckleberry Mountain. What about his friends? What happened to them, particularly the young men? Many of them ended up fighting racism abroad, ironically, in a segregated U.S. Army or Navy. [When should I capitalize “army?”]
What are some more details of his life in the army? Where did he go for basic training, how did he get there? Much of that information was lost, unfortunately, in a fire in the early 1970s, I believe. I want to tell more information about his experiences coming home on leave.
What happened to many of Carl’s fellow soldiers? Many of them survived the war. I spoke to only a handful of veterans.
Much has been written about the S.S. Leopoldville, the ill-fated ship torpedoed the night Carl was killed in action. More information is available about the port of Cherbourg, France, where the army had a command post that failed to save many from the Leo from drowning or freezing.
I would include information about the captain and crew of U-486, the type VII-C German submarine commanded by Gerhard Meyer. Some has been published. All aboard were killed when U-486 was torpedoed near Norway. The Norwegian submarine “Tapir” made the kill. I would include as much information as I can glean about it.
A book was written about the survivors from the 66th Army Division following their losses in the Channel. They went to Lorient and St. Nazaire to contain the German submarine pens in those two cities in the Bay of Biscay. When we visited St Nazaire we learned something about the fortifications there. More to be told there about the Nazi surrender to General Herman F. Kramer, commander of the 66th Division.
There’s more to be said about the reason for telling the story in the first place, the longing in our family to become whole, to fill the void left by Carl R. Bonde, Jr. We had nobody to take his place, although we did have a few men. We should tell that story also.
All of the surroundings and sights and smells and times need to be told as well.

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