Vol. 10


The Summer of Salt, Sand,
and German Submarines

1941–1942; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA

I was eleven when World War II began. My mother had died, and my father was very sick. I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle who lived in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The simple oceanfront cottage was like paradise to me when I arrived. Days were spent combing the beach, searching for seashells, and splashing in the sparkling water.

Then the war began, and everything changed.

There were supply ships coming out of Norfolk, Virginia. The supply ships were going to Europe to deliver supplies to the fighting soldiers. The route they followed carried them just off the coast of Kitty Hawk. German submarines were circling the route the supply ships were taking so that they could blow the ships up and disrupt the supply lines. At night we had to keep the blinds down so that the Germans could not see our lights. We would hear the whine of torpedoes and the boom of explosions as they hit the ships. I was very scared.

There would be wreckage, tar, and oil on the beach the next day. We would see and smell smoke coming from the burning ships. As we would play, we would get tar on our feet. The tar would stick and smear, making it hard to remove. Supplies became limited, and we had ration books, which told us how much meat, sugar, butter, bread, and coffee we could have.

An area of the Atlantic Ocean near Kitty Hawk became known as “Torpedo Junction” because of the number of German attacks there. My final memory of that summer was when three German soldiers were reportedly captured, and authorities found Manteo, North Carolina, movie ticket stubs in their pockets. It was very frightening to find out that German soldiers had actually come ashore and were so close to all of us.

Whitley Anderson, granddaughter of narrator; North Carolina, USA


This copyrighted story may be copied for limited classroom use or reprinted in an article about The Grannie Annie.


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