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Uncle Homer's M-1

Article about: Thanks Bill, It'll be a great way for the boy to start. I started at a far younger age than he is. I was buying WWI stuff back in the late 50's when I was 6 years old. LOL At one time, I had

  1. #1

    Default Uncle Homer's M-1

    First off, I never knew Uncle Homer. I knew his brother Freddy. Freddy was like another dad to me. I even called him UNCLE Freddy just to give him a rash. He enjoyed it.

    Freddy flew B-17's and spent two years in Germany as a guest of the Reich. Homer was a USN SeaBee. Homer went through the Pacific "island hopping" campaign. He was a USN Radioman 2nd Class.

    When Homer got out of the Navy at the end of the war, he forgot to turn in his rifle.

    After WII surplus planes were plentiful. Freddy bought 2 Stearman trainers and two BT-13 trainers. The BT-13's were unflyable but all he wanted was the engines and brakes off of them to put on the Stearmans. The Stearman had a 220hp Continental engine and the BT13 had a 450hp Pratt and Whitney and a LOT bigger and better brakes and wheels. A 450-HP Stearman is only marginally faster than a stock one but it will lift a LOT bigger load. Freddy and Homer were now in the crop dusting business. Homer was ground support and Freddy and another guy did the flying. In 1952, Freddy rigged the planes to spray rather than dust. This was cutting edge back then and he wanted a picture of a plane in action. Homer grabbed the camera and said he'd do the photog work. Freddy was making a pass over a cotton field with his wheels clipping the tops of the plants. Apparently Homer waited just a bit too long to snap the picture and the left main mount took his head off. Freddy found out what had happened several hours later when Homer didn't show back up.

    I got my pilot's license in '93. Freddy was a lot of help and we burned a lot of avgas without ever leaving the hangar. Freddy was "Pappy" Spinks right hand man when Pappy was building skids for Bell Huey's during the Nam years.

    Pappy was Hell of guy and I'm proud to have know his crusty old arse too but that is another story.

    Freddy come down with liver cancer in late '97. We buried him in early in '98. He went fast which was a blessing. He told his lovely wife, Mary, before he died, to ask me if I would sell off his gun collection. She did and I did. Freddy didn't have any idea how much his guns were worth. Mary told me to take all the time I needed or sell 'em off in a hurry, she didn't care. I took my time and got top dollar on most everything he had. Mary nearly fainted when I put the cash on her table about three months later. She expected to see three or four hundred dollars and I laid out a bit shy of 10 grand. When Freddy was released from the Stalag, they were allowed to gather up some guns that had been confiscated from the Germans. He got some NICE stuff.

    When that deal was done I was drinking one of her beers and she said that there was another gun behind the door that Freddy wanted me to have. I picked it up and it was this M1 Garand that Homer had carried and borrowed.

    Had a Garand freak buddy of mine check it out and it is 100% as issued in 1942. Has all the correct stuff in the stock and they're wrapped in a piece of an old GI undershirt to keep 'em from rattling.

    No bayonet.

    Mary also gave me Homer's Pal RH37 Fighting knife.

    It was my turn to get all weepy eyed. I told her I could get a pretty good chunk of change for that rifle if she wanted me to sell it too. She told me in NO uncertain terms that Freddy wanted me to have that rifle and I could do with it as I pleased. He hated it. He had told me years past that Garand was the ugliest POS rifle the US ever issued.

    Either way, it's a keeper.

    Pretty wood on that "ugliest POS rifle that the US ever issued".

    It's got a home as long as I'm alive.

    It'll belong to that kid beside me when I can't use it anymore.

    Freddy was a Hoot and I miss him.

    There are some close up pics of the rifle here.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1


    Welcome and a good story to boot. At least you have a story to hand down to your children, nephews or any young person in your family. I have been fortunate to share the story of my boys and their grand-dad's encounters in the pacific theater.
    Our stories of what a family member did will be passed down as the generations pass. Please make sure it is passed.

    Personally i love the Garand, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. It was straight shooting and well balanced. Just take the time to aim

    rgds, Ty

  3. #3

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    Oh, i almost forgot. I love your avitar of one of my most favorite movies!!


  4. #4

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    Thanks Ty. I Love that movie too and always enjoyed Peter Boyle's and Marty Feldman's works.

    I'm rather fond of that 9.5lb dumplin myself.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    My favorite part of coursefor me would be when as the sene before your avitar, Gene Hackmen pours the soup on Boyle's lap. Actually the whole scenario has me rolling on the ground.

    Ah, the whole movie is fantastic. It was too bad that Marty Feldmand never got to see it's release. He will always be one of my favorites.

    (Gene Wilder) "damned your eyes!, (Feldman) Too late"

    best regards, Ty

  6. #6

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    All the props used in the Laboratory scenes were from the original "Frankenstein" and had been in storage in Hollywood for over 50 years.
    The Scenic Designer figured that maybe one or two of them would still work and they could do visual EXF to add the sparks and lightning bolts for the rest.
    Low and Behold, come time to shoot and EVERY ONE OF THEM WORKED!
    Just goes to show you that they really knew how to build stuff back then!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    Wow great story, and great gun!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    Hello Friends!I Love the story! I love that Garrand too. I've always wanted one. Hel, I've always wanted one of everything else too Get a nice Bayonet for it to finish it out so the young man in the photo won't have to second Mortage on the house to get one when his turn comes to own that Fine Rifle. The way the prices are going up as time goes by, I might not be to far off. I'm all about Third Reich stuff but I love a Garrand Bayonet. Perfect piece of equipment IMHO. All the best to all of you, Stormtrooper

  9. #9

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    People like your Freddy make the world a better place, I work at a VA hospital. Those WWII guys are just a different breed of people. I try to be more like them and less like me. Good hearing about him. Thanks

  10. #10

    Default Re: Uncle Homer's M-1

    Great story and Great Rifle.. A wonderful way to get into collecting Militaria...BILL
    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

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