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WW2 Veteran Interview

Article about: Hey guys, I've started a bit of a project to interview as many WW2 vets as I can. I've already interviewed my great uncle Joe, and my step dad's father (both D-Day vets) Ive also been set up

  1. #1

    Default WW2 Veteran Interview

    Hey guys,

    I've started a bit of a project to interview as many WW2 vets as I can. I've already interviewed my great uncle Joe, and my step dad's father (both D-Day vets) Ive also been set up to meet Winston Churchill's tailor... which could be quite interesting! I've also been told of a Russian sailor!

    Basicly guys, I need your help! Do you have any suggested questions I could ask the vets? I may even re-do the two interviews I've already done.

    Thanks in advance guys!
    Lee

  2. #2
    OKW
    ?

    Default Re: WW2 Veteran Interview

    The little things like the colour of lanyards like Ades researching, who their mates were. Contact with the the enemy, service life, good kit, bad kit, weapons of choice, home life, yanks, pay leave etc etc. But one question never to ask unless they volunteer it is did you kill someone.

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW2 Veteran Interview

    Quote by OKW View Post
    But one question never to ask unless they volunteer it is did you kill someone.
    Oh I'm wise enough, and respectful enough to know that's a no-no!! Pity the local newspaper reporter wasn't!!! She interviewed Joe for the 60th aniversary of D-Day, and she asked that very question..... He just stared at her and said nothing!

    Anymore ideas guys?

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: WW2 Veteran Interview

    Lee i've interviewd hundreds of vets both British and German , it's like having a conversation with anyone , have an idea what you would like to know from them ( especially if you can research their units and Battles beforehand and get those questions in ) but the main thing is let them talk........ and hopefully talk and talk.

    Sometimes you will have to build up a rapport with them over a few visits ,some may want to talk about their experience in combat but not what kit they wore, many just want to tell you about the fantastic mates they fought with.

    Once you have done a few you will end up setting your own programme of how you want to interview vets and what you want to get out of them.

    regards

    Paul

    PS Be wary of any Sailors not just Russian ones !!!!
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  5. #5

    Default Re: WW2 Veteran Interview

    Hi Lee, over the years I have done a lot of these.

    My advice is to keep the questions fairly simple and broad based like themes OKW has suggested. Don't get too hung up on small details re uniforms & insignia. They were not interested at the time, (they were mostly young kids) and it is a long time ago. I know we like to know stuff like that though. Let me put it this way: What colour was the lining on your school blazer? You don't remember do you

    I always find that talking over a pint helps Let them dictate the pace. Often a chance remark will fire up an old dim and distant memory they had not thought about in years. Mostly you will hear funny stories of the daft things they did. The horror they went through is usually not recounted in any detail to you. But if you keep in regular contact this might come out later I have found. Remember that the loss of friends can still be very painful even 65 or 70 years on. Ask if possible to see their photos and talk about those. Looking back at these will jog memories.

    Cheers, Ade.

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: WW2 Veteran Interview

    I've found pretty much any question asked will generate memories both good & bad. If a veteran is willing to "open up" especially with battle under their belts, I've asked very vague questions and allowed them to fill in if they choose. In most cases just listening and letting them go will generate more detail. If a veteran is willing to "open up", they will if not, prying for info will not work. Building a rapport with always helps also showing an interest with knowledge.
    My uncle was captured on the beaches of Normandy. A MG gunner for the German side. My grandmother, my Mom & her sister, lived the horrors of our bombing campaigns in Germany. Both sides are interesting from a combatant's view and civilian.

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