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CHIPS Articles: Veterans History Project explores stories of 12 veterans for 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord

Veterans History Project explores stories of 12 veterans for 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord
US Navy Radioman Herbert DeGenere D-Day Journey
By CHIPS Magazine - May 16, 2019
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress launched an interactive online experience that features unique journeys of veterans who were part of the invasion.

The digital resources include an interactive Story Map, “D-Day Journeys: Personal Geographies of D-Day ,” and a new online feature, “D-Day: 75th Anniversary.”

The Story Map draws from VHP collections, and chronicles the individual journeys of four veterans who took part in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944: Preston Earl Bagent, Robert Harlan Horr, John William Boehne III and Edward Duncan Cameron, according to the LOC release.

The website feature, “D-Day: 75th Anniversary,” explores the stories of 12 veterans from the VHP archive who took part in Operation Overlord, the military campaign which began with the June 6 invasion. In addition to highlighting the stories of those who took part in the first wave of the assault on the Normandy beachheads, the feature also includes those who followed in subsequent days, such as nurses Edna Statman and Ruth Dorsman.

Users can also access the VHP collections of combat medic Charles Norman Shay, a Penobscot Indian who was later captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war; John Bonzer, a doctor who treated casualties on Utah Beach; and Herbert DeGenere, a Sailor who kept a meticulous diary.

The website combines text, images and multimedia content in an online application for an immersive user experience that allows map-based discovery through geographic information system technology, referred to as GIS. This Story Map includes archival source materials ranging from ticket stubs to sketches, military orders, diaries, memoirs and photographs that reveal the thoughts and lives of select veterans during this extraordinary time in American history.

To access the Story Map, “D-Day Journeys,” visit click here, and for all 12 of the veterans’ collections featured in “D-Day: 75th Anniversary” go to loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-dday75.html.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of United States war veterans from WWI through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit loc.gov/vets or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

Herbert Raymond DeGenere
Beginning in March 1944, Radioman Second Class Herbert DeGenere chronicled his experiences in a small pocket diary. In it, he narrated the buildup to D-Day and what he observed while serving aboard the HMS Capetown, a British ship staffed by both British and American sailors. Anchored about two miles off the Normandy coast, the Capetown acted as “traffic control” for the temporary harbor. In the weeks after the invasion, life aboard the Capetown became increasingly bleak. The crew faced continuous air raids, rough seas, a lack of mail, and shortages of food and drinkable water. As his diary makes clear, the rough conditions elicited DeGenere’s anger toward the Germans, the Navy, and war itself.

War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: USS Pasadena (CL 65); USS Milwaukee (CL 5); USS Antaeus (AS 21)
Service Location: Newport, Rhode Island; New York; Pennsylvania; Norfolk, Virginia; Pacific; European Theater; England
Rank: Radioman Second Class

TAGS: InfoSharing, KM
Radioman Second Class Herbert Raymond DeGenere in Navy uniform with rifle [ca. 1944] Library of Congress
Radioman Second Class Herbert Raymond DeGenere in Navy uniform with rifle [ca. 1944] Library of Congress

DeGenere and shipmates posing on a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI); coming back from France after participating in D-Day operations, France, 1944. Library of Congress
DeGenere and shipmates posing on a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI); coming back from France after participating in D-Day operations, France, 1944. Library of Congress

Back of photo of DeGenere and shipmates posing on a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI); coming back from France after participating in D-Day operations, France, 1944. Library of Congress
Back of photo of DeGenere and shipmates posing on a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI); coming back from France after participating in D-Day operations, France, 1944. Library of Congress
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