Thursday, September 3, 2015

Memoirs Chapter 26/Tiemann Photograph

Following Chapter 26 is a photograph of the Tiemanns as they appeared in 1954. For the prelude and links to all of the chapters go to Coming to Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann.

Altho I continued to be very much occupied with farming and with town business, a grimmer - gradually becoming predominant - interest filled my thoughts and took an increasing amount of time, beginning soon after that early September evening in 1939 when we sat out on the terrace listening to the radio reports of Hitler's onslaught in Poland. It was not unexpected; I had been closely following the steady increase in Ger­many's might and her encroachments on other neighboring states. But now for the first time the bluff (as it had boon to start with, but no longer proved) was called by the entry of England and France into the lists, I felt in my bones that history would repeat itself and that the United States would sooner or later be forced out of her neutralist attitude into the role of combatant, However, I never envisioned a two-ocean war nor foresaw our entry would be brought about by Japanese aggression.

I have told of being in the Officers' Preserve Corps, training of which heretofore had been very sketchy due to the parsimony of Congress. If an officer wished to remain on an active status he was supposed to attend camp with his unit, -14 days of training at intervals of two or three years, and to complete at home a certain minimum of subjects in the Army Correspondence Courses. This too would qualify him, in time, for promotion. It was not very stimulating and I, for one, 'applied my­self to it only off-and-on, hence did not qualify for the grade of cap­tain until the spring of 1938. Also a practical test must precede promotion, and for this I had to go to Norwich University in Northfield which was noted for its cavalry ROTC, Following questioning by the regular Army instructors I was supposed to put a mounted unit thru drill and a minor tactical exercise. Arrangements of course were made in ad­vance, and late in the winter on the day assigned I drove up to Northfield. It was fair but cold. The three-hour trip did not bother me, as I was elated at the thought of winning a promotion. The first phase went well enough, but then it was discovered that for some reason the only "troops" available were members of the mounted band, and even they were taken unawares. But they gamely volunteered to help out and put on a very creditable show, The instructors were cooperative, and so I managed to qualify altho feeling both dissatisfied and let down.

Nor was that the end of my troubles. As I was leaving for the return trip, it commenced to snow and soon it turned into a blizzard. Going more and more slowly I made it to Cavendish about dark and then slid into the ditch going up Langworthy Hill [Wiley Hill] (my nemesis on so many occasions) and discovered I had a flat tire. I was really stuck, so left the car and stumbled the rest of the way home thru deepening snow.

As other reached the same conclusions I had regarding the future, interest picked up and the Regular officers supervising the ORC [Officers Reserve Corps] put pressure on us to augment our training. Cavalry officers in Vermont were organized into the Third Squadron, 316th Cavalry. I have a copy of Special Orders No. 1, dated 13 February 1939, making assignments of 108 officers (due to the large number, many were on an “attached” basis) and signed by myself as squadron adjutant.

Several times small groups of officers gathered at Northfield on weekends for tactical rides and military palaver. Quite a number in the squadron were alumni of Norwich, including Captain Ernest Gibson, Jr. who I believe also was a trustee of the University, and these made the arrangements, - The squadron commander, Major Brainerd, kept in touch with us all from Montpelier. - Official correspondence increased. At the behest of our Army adviser in Rutland, upon whom I called a couple of times, I accepted appointment (really an order!) as town chairman under the Windsor County Civic Committee, and organized a Citizens' Com­mittee composed of the heads of the various Cavendish businesses and other local organizations. While this committee held a few meetings, it was a struggle against inertia, as some of the members were inclined to pooh-pooh the prospect of becoming involved in the war. At best it laid the groundwork for active participation by the town when war came. - I was invited by the Legion to be guest speaker on Memorial Day, which was a perfect opportunity to emphasize the growing seriousness of the situa­tion and the country's military needs. - Following this I had no diffi­culty in getting the other selectmen to join in publishing a proclama­tion calling for support of proclamation calling for support of preparedness and urging and qualified you men to enlist in the United States Army.

The squadron went to Fort Ethan Allen in June, 1940 for two weeks of very intensive training, becoming acquainted with the Garand rifle and the .50 caliber machine-gun mounted in an armored scout-car, all recent developments. I vividly remember the night when we gathered around radios in quarters to 1isten to President Roosevelt and heard him castigate Mussolini for the "stab in the back" when Italy attacked France, already defeated by Germany; the grim reality was coming home to us all, Then trying to banish gloom, we wound, up with a fine party and moonlight cruise on Lake Champlain on the good old "Ticonderoga", - our final get-together as a reserve unit. I'm only sorry I don’t know how many of those fine men served in the war, and how many died. Certainly the maj­ority went as individual officers and did their bit. But the Reserve units: as such never were called, and the old horse cavalry went out of existence.

After returning home I got together a small group of local officers to meet periodically at the CCC camp on Okemo Mountain in Ludlow. The object of course was to increase our military knowledge, and I think our earnestness of purpose made up for our lack of professionalism. We kept it up until travel conditions got bad in the fall.

I' was slowed down considerably by an unhappy corollary to the summer training when I developed very painful hip and back trouble resulting, presumably, from a spill I took toot when riding.. Neither my doctor nor an osteopath were able to give relief. It became so had that I had to get up at night and go outdoors and try to walk it off. Then I spent over a week at the Veterans' Administration hospital at White River Junction with no success. The battle for Britain was just at its height and as I lay in bed listening to the radio reports my spirits were at very low ebb. Then, to make it even worse, Congress passed the bill setting up Selective Service and mobilizing the National Guard and the Reserve. What to do?? The doctors decided, nothing, and sent for Isabel to come and take me home. "He'll have to get along the best he can."

The situation was saved in an unlikely way by the same brother-in-law who had been of so much help during our early days on the farm. After visiting with us for a few days he practically dragged me back to Long Island with him ("You can at least see the World's Fair") and introduced me to a masseuse (of all people) who had made some marvelous back cures. This chap examined me carefully, put me on his table, gave me a half-hour's manipulation,- and I walked out of his office a new man. And I did spend all the next day enjoying the Fair! And had no further trouble.

Came the climax when I received a wire from Captain Gibson (then taking his recently deceased father's seat in the Senate in Washington): "Chief of Cavalry Office requesting orders for you to go to Replacement Center Fort Riley extended active duty one year as of January 15th. Wire..."

And that was how a good many of us from the 3rd Squadron of the old 316th Cavalry cane to meet again. Fort Riley was the seat of The Cavalry School, It was a long way from Fort Ethan Allen.

Phillip and Isabel Tiemann: This photograph of the Tiemanns was taken in 1954, for their daughter Joyce, who was in England and couldn't be home for Christmas.

The dog is "Carbo" and a "very special pet," according to Joyce.

Isabel hooked the rug on the floor and she most likely found the rocker at an auction and then painted and stenciled it. Joyce still has it in her apartment living room.

Recently, when asked about her memories of Isabel, Sandra Stearns, author of "Cavendish Hillside Farm,"   noted, “I remember she was one of the few women with a drivers license. She use to drive my mother around.”

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