Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)
On this Memorial Day, I would like to dedicate my post to Alfred Duryee Guion, my Grandfather, who took very seriously his DUTY to send all five of his sons off to make their contribution to the American effort to end World War II. It is also a tribute to those sons, Alfred Peabody, (my Father), Daniel Beck, Cedric Duryee, Richard Peabody and David Peabody. Each of the boys did their duty to their country and served with honor.
Daniel Beck Guion
In January, 1942, his second oldest, Dan, writes from Anchorage, Alaska:
Uncle Sam feels he needs me to save the world for Roosevelt… When I left Anchorage I made several promises to keep the boys posted about how I made out with the Army….I tried valiantly but the Anchorage draft board tried harder, so into the Army I go, perhaps to fertilize some exotic orchid in the jungles of Sumatra, or fill out the lean feathers of some scrawny African buzzard…. saving America, of course, from the Japs, the Huns and the Wops, every one of whom has only one aim in life… to make every U.S. citizen a slave.
Dan, as a Surveyor and Civil Engineer, was in London and Paris before D-Day and was in Normandy shortly after the invasion.
Alfred Peabody (Lad) Guion
Later that month, my Grandfather writes:
Every week the war gets closer to home. Last Wednesday, Lad received notice of reclassification to A-1 …. And this of course is Dan’s last week home. He leaves Wednesday from Shelton to begin working for Uncle Sam and that, at present, is the extent of our knowledge on the subject.
Four months later he writes:
Last Wednesday, Lad woke me up a little before 5 am and after a hasty breakfast we started off in my car to the railroad station in Derby from which I saw my engineer son off to the Army camp. This time, however, there was much more of a crowd, the station yard being pretty well filled with cars. I learned later there were about 80 men in the group…We learned that Lad had been appointed a leader and would probably be busy so I said goodbye as the train pulled into the station. I have not heard from him since but the plan was for the boys to go to Hartford for their final physical examination then to Camp Devens and parts unknown.
Lad, a large machine Mechanic, trained mechanics for the Army and eventually was sent to France. Then, on his way to Okinawa, Hiroshima was bombed and his ship was diverted to New York. (This is another story.)
Richard Peabody Guion
The war continued and in February, 1943 in a letter to Lad my
You will recall, as will Dan also, that early morning trip to the Derby railroad station and my dutifully surrendering into Uncle Sam’s care, my two oldest boys. Well, that performance was repeated again with Dick as the sacrificial lamb. Dick and Dave (the youngest) had both set alarm clocks, heard them go off and immediately went back to sleep. At 10 to five, conscientious Dad, with the matter weighing on his subconscious mind, awoke, roused the two slackers, had a hasty breakfast and started on our way by bright moonlight at about 5:15. We arrived at the station at about 5:45 and most of the boys were already on the train. Unlike your case, Dick had been granted a 9-day leave so after going through the routine at Hartford, he returned last night …and does not have to go to report until next Monday.
Dick served in Santeliza, Brazil, as an interpreter and liaison to the local population.
David Peabody Guion
Dave dropped out of high school after turning 18 and enlisted. In January, 1944, my Grandfather writes:
Dear, Lad, Dan and Dick, It is only the three of you I am writing to today but it won’t be long now before Dave will be added to the list.
Dave goes Saturday, and following my usual custom which has happened as many times now it has almost developed into a habit, I shall deliver my youngest at the well-known railroad station in Derby to swell the ranks of Uncle Sam’s army.
Dave, with a number of skills, including typing, Morse Code and telegraph operator, Radio operator and Signal Corps, was attached to a 4-man unit that travelled and worked together at the Communication Centers, first at Okinawa and then Manila, Philippines.
Cedric Duryee Guion
Although Ced actually missed being drafted by one day (That is another story), he served the military as a civilian. The Army took over the airfield he was working at in Anchorage, Alaska, He was employed as a civilian and repaired planes, went out to the tundra to repair and bring back downed airplanes and, as a bush pilot, flew supplies all over Alaska.
Grandpa was fortunate that all his sons came home from the War, but today, I honor him, my Father and Uncles, and all the families and their sons and daughters, who served this country to aid in the “War To End All Wars”. Their sacrifices are immeasurable.