Son posts father’s World War II diary online

Chick in pompeii, 1943, during the ww2
Chick in pompeii, 1943, during the ww2

Veteran Charles F. wrote a diary during the second world war which is now being published by his son. He served in North Africa and Europe until the war ended.  John Bruns, his son, has re-purposed the diary into a website called http://www.70yearsago.com . The website is updated daily.

He argues that it is his father who is blogging from the past.

Chick Bruns, 94 used to sell clothes at Joseph Kuhn & Co in downtown Champaign before he volunteered to join U.S. Army.

Chick unit was known as the combat engineers who destroyed anything that belonged to an enemy. He rode a truck as the army moved across the desert of North Africa.

When he arrived in Africa his ship sank with all of his belongings leaving him with only a camera and a notebook which helped him document all his experience and emotions of each day up to the day Germany surrendered. He used to send letters to his family to update them on how he is doing and about the war.

John wanted to change the diary into a book but no publisher was willing to publish the book for him which made him decide to post it online. He checked online and found that domain name “70yearsago.com” was available and he purchased it. He had realized that October 2012 was exactly 70 years after his father started writing his diary during the Honor Flight to the World War Two memorial in Washington, an event that the elder Bruns participated.

John said that the tales of his father left a good impression on him and due to that it was good if he shared what his father had written with the public.

The site is presented in a blog form which includes Chick’s maps to allow anyone visiting the site to see where his dad was at a certain time.

 Veteran "Chick" Bruns holding hi medals at his home in Champaign
Veteran “Chick” Bruns holding hi medals at his home in Champaign

One of the jobs that Chick unit did was to defuse mines placed by enemies mainly on the roads. They always carried pins which they used to stick to the mines so that the cores wouldn’t go down when they stepped on them. Some of the mines they detonated them.

Chick said that when they were in war it was a usual thing to lose anyone but if the victim was their friend it affected them so much. Only 8 of the 200 members of his unit survived the war.

On Nov 2, 1943 Bruns wrote to his parent informing  them that he was going to stay till the war was over because his services was still needed there.

At Anzio in Italy, his truck was hit and he lost one his friend and he was hospitalized. He left the hospital and joined his unit when it was moving to Roma because he did not want to be left behind.

Later in the war his unit reached Adolf Hitler’s home which was bombed by the British a day before, he took pictures of the house.

When the war ended he wrote a final letter to his parent telling them he had missed them so much that he might cry when he see them.

He was employed at the News-Gazette in the composing department, a job he did for about forty years until he retired in mid-1980s.