Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Joe Bennett 1917-2020

Our friend, the father of one of our closest friends, died in the NH Veterans Home in Tilton today at 102 years old, of CoVid. One can quibble and say that people that old have a host of vulnerabilities and it is not reasonable to attribute the death to the recent pandemic, but the reality is that the home usually has about 40 deaths/year  and they have had 30 in the last 2+ weeks. He had rallied for a bit earlier this week but then went beneath the waves.  His daughter was with him at the time of death, a blessing.

He had served in North Africa, France, England, and I think Belgium during WWII.  As he was French Canadian, he was useful in France for sneaking into towns and finding supplies and getting information. He liked to tell stories.  I assume most of them were true, or nearly so, which can be unusual for wars so far away and long ago. His grandson's favorite was that his most frightening experience of the war was crossing a field at night and being surprised by a cow. The last story he told me was of briefly being a prisoner of war very late, but such was the poverty and desperation of the German soldiers at the time that he bought his way out by having a guard look the other way - for a pack of cigarettes.


Unknown said...

I'm really sorry for your loss.

As a centenarian, he's had some notice by the press people, so there are some other stories I've seen:

RichardJohnson said...

I hope that at least some of his stories were written down. He sounded like quite the storyteller, judging from the short sample you supplied.

Regarding war stories, I am reminded of my father. My father's cousin, 8 years younger, told me some years after my fathers' death that when he had asked my father about war stories, my father said very little. Yet during my childhood, we heard about his war experiences in India quite often. There was a slide show several times a year of his Army Air Corps time in India, as a sergeant in meteorology helping planes fly over the hump. "Dad, not the India slides again!" On one trip to visit grandparents we visited an Army buddy in Tennessee.

I suspect that the reason my father was quiet to his younger cousin about his war experiences is that his younger cousin was expecting tales of carnage and heroism. My father's fairly pleasant war experiences were far from that, and I suspect he didn't want to disappoint his younger cousin.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

My Uncle flew P-47 Thunderbolts in WWII and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. But my father, one of his younger brothers, was still in training as a Naval radioman on torpedo bombers when the war ended. So the rest of my Dad's service was completed in Ft. Lauderdale and places like Cuba!

Grim said...

My condolences to your friends, family, and to yourself.

Jonathan said...