The wartime recollection from the 82nd Airborne Division.
My name is Thomas Kent. I was in the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.
There I finally got a jeep to drive. I was still assigned to the same officer, Lt. Mike Berquet. I did not stay in camp in Leicester. The regimental HQ officers occupied a house on London Road. Three jeep drivers, Charley Davis, Jimmy Colsher, and I stayed there also. I went out one morning and found my jeep gone! Some one had stolen it. They finally caught an English soldier with it and he went to jail.
Col. Lewis had an orderly that was from Plaquemine Lane. This is across the river and south of Baton Rouge. We got to be good friends while there. I met a nice young lady while there, Winfred Elizabeth Glover. We had many good times together. She lived with her parents at 17 Lyme Road, Evington Road. This was just off London Road. She never would let me come to her home. She said her parents did not approve of her dating 'American soldiers'. We visited the pub quite often. She told me one day that she was going that Friday to some town, some distance from Leicester, by train. I didn't know if I could get off that day so I didn't tell her I might go with her. I did get a pass so I just showed up at the depot and went with her. She was surprised to see me there.
By not staying in camp we were free to go on our own without a pass after being released by our officer. Our officers were bad about wanting to be carried to some ladies home after supper then pick them up some time after midnight. I would take Mike out and he would tell me to pick him up, I will say 2a.m. I would be there for the time he would say and some times sit there for a hour before he would come out. One night after sitting there for a long time I finally blew the horn. He came out fussing and told me never blow that horn for him again. I told him never tell me to come for him at a certain time and not be ready to go. That broke that up.
One night some one carried Col. Lewis across town to his date but didn't show back up at the appointed time to pick him up. I was told next morning that he called and talked to the cook and requested that someone come get him. The cook said he came out to where I was sleeping and tried to wake me up to go get him. He said I rose up in the bed and told him to go to Hell. I would not have known where to go anyway. He wound up walking all the way back. He made it just in time for breakfast. He said well I guess I needed the walk anyway.
Another time Col. Lewis got ready for Jimmy to take him some place and I suggested that I go get Jimmy and tell him to bring the command car around for him. I knew what was going on out there. He said no that is all right I will just go on out and get him. Well when he got close to the car out rolled a certain girl not fully dressed. Next morning he told, me well I suppose I should have let you go get him.
The fog was real bad in Leicester. One evening I carried Mike out to help in a fake battle. The weather was clear. While he was gone I proceeded to go to sleep. I don't know how he found his way back because he had to use a flashlight to guide me back out on the road. Fog had moved in while I was asleep.
Have you ever had a battery to blow up? Well one day just as we got to camp and had gotten out of the jeep there was a rather loud explosion. Looking around I realized it was the battery in the jeep. It even blew the hood loose at the front!
We stayed in Leicester until we moved to an airport just out of London. Our camp was in Scraptoft. This near Leicester. Headquarters officers had use of a former home on London Road. I have tried to find the side street where this house was on the corner. This was between the park and racetrack. Leicester was my second home while there.
Mr Thomas Kent
23rd May 2008