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Interview on experiences in World War II

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View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Beltz, Melvin

Date: November 30, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 212582

Biographical sketch: Melvin Beltz had been attending a radio-television school in Minnesota when he was drafted in April, 1942. He received basic training at Ft. Riley, Kansas before being sent to Chanute Field, Illinois for mechanical training on airplanes. His choice was instruments but they gave him propeller instead. On May 5, 1943 he left New York harbor on the Queen Elizabeth and arrived in Greenock, Scotland on May 11. It was a big ship and he said he never got seasick, even though they changed course every seven minutes so a submarine couldn't get them in it's sights. In England his duty was to maintain airplanes to fly missions, souping up the engines so they could out fly the Germans. He never experienced any combat, the closest being about ten miles away one night. One of the commanding officers in the group was the son of Franklin Roosevelt, Elliot Roosevelt. They were sent to De Havilland, an aviation school and were given money for board and room and lived in villages. Along with a buddy of his they fixed up a tandem bicycle and they would ride off base about fifteen miles. He was in Abington, England when the war ended and said they were nearly stampeded by the crowd. The group that he had been with since Colorado Springs was flown out but his name wasn't on the list so he was with a different group for ten days before catching the Queen Elizabeth home. He was discharged from Leavenworth and returned home to the farm, where he also did electrical work, plumbing, and TV work.

Summary: Melvin Beltz was drafted into the Army (Air Force) in 1942 and served until 1945 in the 8th Air Force. Interviewed by Clint Bain on Nov 30, 2006, Beltz talked about military experiences in the Second World War. 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 video copy of the interview is available through the Frank Stull American Legion #152 (Ness City) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

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

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019-14-03-02  DVD 

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