Friday, November 6, 2015

WWII Troop Train at The Holly Springs Depot!

Mr. George Goodman
Mr. Goodman stated, "My step-father J. T. Munn caught the troop train at the old depot in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He took the train all the way to Camp Shelby, Mississippi during the World War II draft. Camp Shelby was South of Jackson. When he got on the train, it was already full of soldiers. They might have started loading at Jackson, Tennessee and every little town they'd stop and pick up more men."

 "On the troop train they would do the whole works. They did eye tests and physicals while they were moving. Brought each soldier in one at a time, and look them over to see if they had all their arms and legs. Then they would do a hearing and sight test in one shot. It was very dark in the coach. Do you know how they tested them?" Mr. Goodman asked. 

"No, how did they?" Ms. Ashmead replied.

 "Dropped a silver dollar. If they could find the silver dollar they had to have good hearing and sight. If they heard the silver dollar drop, they passed the hearing; and, if they found the silver dollar, they passed the eye test."
"Did they keep the silver dollar?" laughed Ms. Ashmead.

 "Nah, they reused the silver dollar for the next one," chuckled Mr. Goodman.

 "If they didn't pass the test, what happened?" Ms. Ashmead questioned.

 "They didn't turn down many men. They were desperate for men. They drafted men up to 50 years old! But they probably dropped the men that did not pass off at the next stop to catch the next train back. By the time they got to Jackson, the troops were even measured for their uniforms. They did all this while moving! They did everything but one thing. Do you know what that was?"

 "What?" Ms. Ashmead asked.

 "They did everything on the train before they got to Camp Shelby except for one thing. The men were not allowed to be fitted for shoes and were kept barefoot. See, a lot of city and country soldiers hadn't been anywhere outside of their home towns before. They were scared. They knew that if some of those men got off the coach with their shoes on they would leave."
Cite:  HQ INDUCTION AREA, CAMP SHELBY.  C. 1941. Photo.  Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  Preservation in Mississippi. Web. 5 Nov. 2015 < http://misspreservation.com/2010/11/10/remembering-veterans-camp-shelby/ >

 My step-father would tell this story a couple of times. I asked him one time, 'Is that the truth?' and he would say, 'It is so close to the truth it would scare you. That is just how things were.'"

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