“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Honoring Two World War II Liberations

On May 7, 1985, a clear and sunny late spring day in Alabama, my father, my aunts (his sisters), my husband and children, our dog and cats, maybe my sister and cousin — all gathered outside on the patio to eat. Dessert was a huge pound cake I had made — dad’s favorite — with real butter and bourbon instead of vanilla. My paternal grandmother, who may never had had a drop of whiskey in her life, taught me that little trick. So, how did she know the bourbon would make a great substitute?
We were there to celebrate dad’s 70th birthday. Seems like we celebrated most occasions with food, lots of food.

After eating too much, I saw dad sort of staring into space. I asked him if he wanted anything.

Still kind of off in space he said, “You know, on my 30th birthday, I was wandering the streets of Moosburg with a friend from camp begging for food. He was an architect, as I recall. No thanks, I don’t need any more food.”
Preserving the Past for the Future
The tower at Stalag VIIA. More pictures are available at
At Thanksgiving 2012, my sister, Susan Cravey, first cousin, Emory Kimbrough, and I were in my study going through the fragile scrapbook my mother had put together during those years, trying to decided how to save and preserve all the pictures, telegrams, documents, letters, pieces of parachute, German money — all manner of stuff. I came across a yellowed crumbling piece of paper which was a handout to the POWs explaining how they should eat in the days after being liberated and in a starving condition. It read something like the following (on the Web at http://ww2db.com/doc.php?q=165):
Hints on Diet During Recuperative Leave for Liberated Prisoners of War
1 Jan 1945
As a result of the privations you have endured as a prisoner of war, you have probably lost weight, and it is natural to think that the more food you eat the sooner will you recover your lost weight and strength. But you must remember that your physique as well as your weight may be temporarily below par, and this includes your digestive system. Just as you need rest at first and your muscles require gradual retraining, so your digestive system requires rest at first and then retraining in the handling of the sort of foods you normally like to eat.
To get your digestive system back to normal as quickly as possible a few simple rules that you should follow, especially if you are having trouble with your digestion, are given in the dietetic instructions below. You should show these notes and the following instructions to anyone who is giving you your meals, so that they can understand why you have to be careful about eating for a time, and what they should give you to eat.

  1. Don't overload your stomach. Avoid heavy meals, and instead, eat small amounts frequently. Try eating three light meals a day, with three snacks of biscuits and milk variety - two between meals and one last thing at night.
  2. Remember that your digestion is weak, and at first give your stomach foods easy to handle.
    Eat: Foods such as milk and milk puddings, eggs, cereals, toast or bread, biscuits, preserves, cake, and fish and tender meat if you can eat these without discomfort.
    Avoid at first: Fatty or fried foods, bulky vegetables, raw salads or fruit, highly seasoned dishes, twice-cooked meats, pickles and spices, rich, heavy puddings and pastries, strong tea and coffee.
    Beer and other alcoholic drinks are hard on a weak stomach, and you should take these very sparingly, if at all, for the first few days at least.
Tomorrow marks the 69th Anniversary of two major World War II Liberations that were occurring at just about the same moments on April 29, 1945: first, the unspeakable Dachau, on which much has been written and reported and which we can all honor in our own ways. (See http://www.thirdreichruins.com/dachau.htm, for example.)

And of Stalag VIIA, Moosburg, Germany. Moosburg, (sometimes spelled Moosberg), as that stalag has come to be known, was built to hold about 10,000 German Prisoners of War (POWs).

On 30 April, 1945, the New York Times wrongly reported: "Huge Prison Camp Liberated...27,000 American and British prisoners of war at a large camp at Moosburg."
The following day, the Times printed a correction: "The Fourteenth Armored Division liberated 110,000 Allied prisoners of war at Stalag 7A at Moosburg, instead of the 27,000 prisoners previously reported. This was Germany's largest prisoner of war camp."
Tomorrow Spittin’ Grits will honor that liberation of 110,000 German POWs, including my father, by running a two-part account by G. M. Strong, the son of another of those POWs, a piece which he wrote commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Liberation. Following is the Preface to his account:
Liberation of Stalag VIIA, April 29, 1945
Today is the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Stalag VIIA Moosburg, Germany. Thousands of Allied airmen and soldiers, as many as 80,000 were in the Lager (all nationalities). Some had been POWs for over 4 years. American and British airmen had been marched in the bitter cold in January from Sagan SL III and from SL IV. This was the single largest liberation of POWs in Europe and a day not to be forgotten. As one of Patton's tanks tore a huge hole in the wire, thousands of men were now free once more. As the American flag rose over the clock tower in the town there was first silence and then pandemonium of cheers and tears. Later, when General Patton came in and addressed the Kriegies, his first words to them were said to be, "I'll bet you sons-a-b*****s are glad to see me.” They were. My dad was one of them. Bless'em all.
The Lt. Col. John Thomas Cravey WWII USAAF
and USAF Careers Collection

The Lt. Col. John Thomas Cravey WWII USAAF and USAF Careers Collection is protected by copyright© 

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