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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Boles, Robert Joe

Date: June 1, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211302

Biographical sketch: Robert Boles went to Camp Adair, Oregon for basic training and from there to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri for further infantry training. He received an Expert Infantryman Badge. He was attached to the 70th Infantry Division and shipped out from Boston to Marseilles. The troops were moved to the front, in northern France along the Rhine river, in time to participate in the Battle of the Little Bulge. He was part of the forces advancing into Germany. He tells of close calls while serving as a courier to the front and of moving forward quickly as the Germans began surrendering. He received a battlefield commission from sergeant to second lieutenant and received a Combat Infantryman Badge. He first heard of the end of the war when a nearby radio broadcast the German message "Achtung, achtung, der Fuhrer is gefallen" to announce Hitler's death. He remained in Europe after the war ended, waiting for his turn to be released. He was put in charge of military rations for all of Europe. He describes being in concentration camps that had been liberated by Allied troops, of traveling in Europe and Great Britain while on leave, and of running the Officers Club. He returned to England and supervised military police for Blackpool and Preston there. He studied forestry and chemistry at the Biarritz American University in France while still in the service. He returned to the United States in 1946, was released from service, and resumed teaching high school biology in Manhattan, Kansas. He used the G.I. Bill benefits to complete his education (M.A., Kansas State University; Ph.D., Oklahoma State University) and to help buy a house after his marriage in 1949. The interview ranges from a description of Boles' family background, education, and pre-war teaching career, through his years of combat service, to his post-war life and his opinions of America's WWII role, leaders, and use of the atomic bomb. The transcript's cover sheet provides a clear guide to the contents of the interview.

Summary: First Lieutenant Robert Joe Boles was drafted into the Army (Infantry) in 1943 and served until 1946 in the 70th Infantry Division. Interviewed by Loren Pennington on Jun 1, 2006, Boles talked about military experiences in the Second World War. He was born November 7, 1916, in Brandsville, Missouri. His parents were Walter E. and Ivy Nations Boles. He attended high school in Wilmore, Kansas, and Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original audio copy of the interview is available through the Emporia State University (Flint Hills) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-04-03  Cassette Audio Tape 

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