PVT Gilbert M. Bush
175th Infantry Co M, 313th Infantry Co H and 313th Anti Tank
Died 8 May, 1945
-- Angela Bridget Christian --
My Dad, Pvt. Gilbert Manny Bush was born in Princeton, New Jersey on 15th January, 1916 and was the youngest of five children. His father died in 1930 when he was 14 years
of age and it was left to him to try and help his mother through the bad times of the depression. He was inducted into the army at Fort Dix on 18th May, 1942 and
assigned to the 29th Infantry Division. Usually the most athletic soldiers ended up in this outfit, so Dad must have been pretty sporty. I have learned that he
did some boxing while he served with 175 Th; maybe this is where I inherited my athleticism.
He spent almost eighteen months taking part in vigorous training in England and at sometime met my Mother in the London area. Sadly Mum didn't tell me much about him
other than his love of music, dancing, gambling, being incredibly romantic and having an eye for the ladies. He was just your typical G.I. Joe full of charm and brimming
There are still many gaps to fill in concerning the short life of my father, but, I know that he lived life to the full and literally swept my Mum off her feet with his
boyish good looks and charm.
He was awarded his Combat Infantryman's Badge on 9th December, 1944 while assigned to 313th Infantry. At this time he was fighting in France and sustained injuries which
warranted being shipped back to England for treatment. He was eventually sent back as a replacement and joined the Anti Tank section.
On the 8th May, 1945 (V.E. Day) while on security duty in the Dortmund area of Germany he was invited to join the Russian soldiers for a celebratory drink to toast the end
of hostilities, this toast to victory and freedom tragically ended the life of my father, some of his buddies and a number of the Russians.
How would my life have differed had this tragedy not occurred?
Thinking back to my childhood in bombed out London, being shunted from one homeless centre to another. Mum not knowing where the next meal was coming from, no family to turn to
for help and eventually marrying someone who was not a bad man, but, was unable to show me any sort of affection whatsoever. We were eventually given a council flat in South London.
I remember sharing a bedroom with my half brother and my step-father would creep in after finishing work and take my brother out of the bedroom to play with whatever new toy he had
bought for him. I would just lay there thinking "why does he never buy anything for me?Ó not knowing then that he wasn't my dad. Then one particular night he said "Angela are you awake,
I've got something for you". I was just so excited when he handed me a little man made of beads with bendy arms and legs. The excitement was so much that as I was bending the arms and legs
in all directions, the whole thing just fell to bits. I was devastated and I heard him saying to Mum, "See that's why I never give her anything".
I eventually started to think that maybe I was bad and undeserving and then as I got a bit older this changed to a complete dislike of my step-father, so when Mum eventually told me at the
age of twelve that he wasn't my real dad, I was overjoyed! This euphoria was short lived; I became a victim of sorrow. Why did I not have a real dad to love me, to kiss me goodnight, to
give me encouragement and tell me how precious I was, how I yearned for all those things, the hurt was indescribable.
When I reached my teens all I wanted was to get away and find someone who would really love me, so at the tender age of sixteen became pregnant, quit college to get married and for me that
was it. What could I have achieved if I had had my dad beside me to advise me and give me the confidence I so lacked? We will never know, but, I do know that he has helped me through the
bad times and he is there watching over me and I also know that he loves me.
I wish that I could sit here now and say to dad, "hey look at me, I'm the daughter you never saw. I'm talented, successful and someone to be proud of, but, I'm not. I'm just an ordinary Mum
who has brought up four children, had no career and only now at this late stage in my life, am I starting to find my feet and gain a bit of confidence.
Then on the other hand I think he is probably a little bit proud of me, after all, I, (little ole me), against all the odds, have found him and I am making sure that he will be remembered
and justly honored.
This is my tribute to the father I never knew, the father I think about every day of my life and the father that makes me so proud to honor his sacrifice. Dad, I love you with all of my
heart and thank you for giving me life.
Your loving daughter