A G.I.'s WWII Memoir
November 23, 2010 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt," told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards.

From "Side Effects of the Story"
"In the year 2007, I was approached by DWNY Productions, Inc. who was working on a movie called "Revolutionary Road" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, two of the leading movie stars of the day. The studio was interested in using pictures from my story taken in Paris during my trip to Nice, France in 1945 - see Chapter 27, Rest and Relaxation. We arranged a financial agreement and although I sold them ten pictures they used only one. In it, they transposed my face with that of Leonardo DiCaprio."
posted by zarq (7 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
"In it, they transposed my face with that of Leonardo DiCaprio."

What a disappointment that must have been. This guy obviously wants to get his story out -- a nicely preserved piece of history at that -- and they discard his part completely.
posted by circular at 11:39 AM on November 23, 2010

Wow, I just skimmed a bit of it, but this looks like a great piece. From the part about Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert...

Mountains off in the distance rose out of the desert floor, but not even they could add any beauty to the desolute scene. They were not high enough to have snow on their peaks and there was nothing appealing about their appearance. Their dirty brown color made them resemble the Mesabi iron ore range in northern Minnesota I had seen in pictures. The only thing of any beauty in the landscape was the bright blue sky. The occasional small cirrus cloud offered no protection from the unrelenting sun.

I commented on the scenery to Bapst. "It looks like my first effort at landscape painting in the fourth grade."

"It must have been one lousy painting," he responded.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:47 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

This looks really cool! But I doubt he was all that disappointed by licensing his photos for the DiCaprio film--most studios pay pretty well for those kinds of materials.

Sounds perfect for History Channel.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:48 PM on November 23, 2010

His story is captivating - I've been reading it all afternoon and I feel like I know all the guys in his gun crew. His attention to detail is fantastic.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2010

Thanks for sharing this gem. Jumped into the story in chapter 18 (the Rhine crossing - I'm currently living 70km North of St. Goar and know the area fairly well) and read it from top to bottom. Completely engrossing writing.
posted by brokkr at 2:40 PM on November 23, 2010

I just seen that what I presume is Bob Gallagher's son (who runs the website) 's cousin happens the guy who got partially ejected from a KA-6D. Lots of interesting info about that event, including sound clips from the radio communication.
posted by brokkr at 2:48 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

That ejection story is fantastic! Thanks brokkr.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:06 AM on November 24, 2010

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