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Off the Coast of Normandy
June 8, 1944

 Roland E. Freeman

    My station was located on a 20MM gun in front of the pilot house when general quarters sounded. I got to my gun and started to strap myself in, but didn't succeed. When I became conscious again, I was lying on the flying bridge on the gyrocompass platform. The gyrocompass had broken off, and all that remained was jagged edges on the pipe where the gyrocompass had stood. I looked down and my left leg from just below my knee was pointed straight left. As if in a dream I reached down and took hold of my pants leg and straightened my leg out.

    I looked up to the front of the flying bridge, and Lt. Commander Pearson was lying dead across the front of the bridge. About that time Lt. Ross came by and said, "Freeman, if you get off this ship you'll have to swim." Later the ship started listing and when the water got up above my waist, I started swimming to a ship which was nearby that had a cargo net hanging over the side. I reached it and grabbed hold of it. Two men came down from the deck and grabbed me, and that's the last thing I remember until I woke up in a hospital in England.

Roland E. Freeman
June 2002

Footnote from wife Bertie: Roland was in St. Albans Naval Hospital in Long Island, NY, for 3-1/2 years - came home, went to college, and was in a management position for 30 years.

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