Topic: Paul Cezanne
Replies: 5   Last Post: Feb 24, 2018 11:19 AM by: Joe21®
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Paul Cezanne

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 8:46 PM

Paul was not a member of my company during WW2. In fact I didn't know one thing about Paul Cezanne until I took a required course at the University of Florida after WW2. I opened up my text book and there was a painting by Paul Cezanne and it was like, "hey, I've seen that site with my own eyes". And now, for the rest of the story.

The war was now over in both the European and Pacific Theaters and about 25 - 30 former members of the 3125th Signal Service Company were sent down to the Marseille, France area. We were in somewhat of a limbo status awaiting orders for our next move. This is another one of those events where I can't remember why or where we were going. One day, most of the men boarded one of our "luxury" GI trucks for an apparent adventure tour. It had to be a beautiful day because we took the tarp off the truck so we could see the countryside as we drove along. We were issued our "K" rations, better known ae our "Crackerjack" meal and a "D" ration. The "D" ration is a chocolate bar, a bar so hard it requires a hammer and sharp chisel to break it. The "D" ration is at the end of the food chain, the survival meal which is supposed to last for a day. I don't know if the Army still issues the "D" ration.

The area of France in which we were located has a lot of ruins dating back to the time when the old Roman Empire had spread its power into France, In fact, just a short distance up the Rhone River is Avignon, which, at one time, was home to the Papal Palace. The noon hour arrived and it was time for us to find an appropriate place for our gourmet meal which we had been issued. Our driver found a beautiful spot and parked our truck in the shade of a beautiful old tree.

As we alit from the truck there were a lot of "oohs" and "ahs". On each side of a field of lush green grass were rows of trees and in the distance an old Roman Aqueduct. The trees made a perfect frame for the Aqueduct in the background. One or two of the guys had a camera and were able to capture this beautiful scene. I suggested to some of the guys that an artist should capture this scene on canvas.
When I saw Cezanne's painting in the text book, he must have painted his view from the same spot where we were enjoying our "K" rations on an early fall day in 1945.


Re: Paul Cezanne

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 9:51 PM

I envy you for getting the opportunity to tour that part of the world even under those conditions. I’m sure you will never forget that trip.. it’s a pretty long drive to the Papal Palace from Marseille, especially in a WWII troop carrier! It must be more than a hundred miles. How long did that take under those conditions? If you’re like most of us in those days, you didn’t have access to a camera either! Good story

Re: Paul Cezanne

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 9:59 PM

Joe, I had some "K" rations many years ago. They came in cardboard boxes with an olive green can with your entree inside. The kit also included soda crackers and peanut butter, 2 pieces of Chicklet chewing gum, some type of canned fruit, a packet of cocoa and a packet of coffee, sugar, creamer, plastic utensils, and a 4 pack of cigarettes and of course matches and toilet paper. Was this similar to what you had ?

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Re: Paul Cezanne

Posted: Feb 24, 2018 11:19 AM

The "K" rations came in a small package. The Crackerjack company made some of the rations so that is why we called the meal "Crackerjack". There were three menus, breakfast, lunch and supper. All three had the same items such as a four cigarette pack, toilet tissue. salt, pepper, sugar, and small items. Crackers (biscuits) were in most menus and in some, jam or jelly. Cheese was also in the noon and evening meals. The "entrée" (if there be such a thing in K rations) was usually a pork product. Most of the jam we got was made by Smuckers. The serving was by weight so the small container was not full. One of our guys wrote to the Smuckers company and complained about the container not being full. The company responded by stating the contents were by weight, thus the container was not filled to capacity. In addition, the company sent him a huge box of jams and jellies which he shared with us.

The cigarettes were a hot item. Smokers would trade part of their ration to the non-smoker for the cigarettes. The toilet tissue was stored in our helmet liners and the matches and other items we wished to save went in our backpack. If the weather was cold or wet, we saved the ration container to start a fire.


Thank you for sharing all of this, 21.

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 10:27 PM

My dad was in the Navy then and flew a F6F off of the Belleau Wood in the Pacific the last year or so. He was 19 years old? The only stories he would tell was how to triangulate off a map your time, distance, fuel, and direction back home to a floating dock in the middle of nothing. Pretty mum on the rest.

Even though he's a while gone now, your recollections help me know him better.


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My Grandfather fought in Europe during WW2.

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 10:49 PM

He never talked about it, until I was 16 and he was dying from cancer. One day he sat down w me for several hours and told me all sorts of stories. He was a officer in the battle of Anzio. Told me some horrific tales of that battle.

I think it was just as important for him to talk about that stuff to me in his last months. Probably a part of his life he hadn’t ever told anyone and had compartmentalized it all those years.

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