Orazio Valente


By Brian Valente

                     Introduction: My grandpa, or Orazio Valente, was born in Fife, Scotland. He was born in January 26, 1921. His biological mother died when he was only two years of age. His dad was a major alcoholic. He had two biological sisters and a stepbrother and a stepsister. His stepmother favored her kids more than his father's kids. He loved school and being away from the house because his step mom was very mean to him. Most men were drafted into the army, but my grandpa was different and volunteered instead of being drafted. He volunteered to join the army to get away from his house and family at the age of eighteen. He would be in the armed forces for six years.

Orazio Valente (Right) and Friend

Life in Africa
: He joined the British army in 1939. He trained for six months in Glasgow, Scotland. He endured tough training and was told exactly what to do and what not to do, and he listened and obeyed. He was then assigned to go to Africa. The British controlled Egypt and he needed to go there to help defend it from Germany and Italy. He had to sleep in tents with other soldiers with massive mosquito nets because the mosquitoes carried treacherous diseases there. My grandpa had received many shots in Britain to protect him from these diseases. However, despite the precaution, he contracted diphtheria. With all the terrible things in Africa, he also had to worry about theft. Many people would steal his equipment and sell it because they were worth a lot. Even people in his own squad stole from other soldiers  just to make money. During meal time, the soldiers were told when to report to the tent to get their food. They had to eat what little food they had quickly because many of the flies would infest it. Despite all of the precautions, my grandpa got sick and was diagnosed with diphtheria and had it for three months. The disease has mild and severe cases, but only ten percent of all people who contract this disease die.

leaders of normandy invasion
(Seated from left to right) Maj. General Omar N. Bradley, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Tedder, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Bernard L. Montgomery, Air Chief Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Lt. Gen.Water Bedell Smith
Recovery and the Invasion of Normandy: After he recovered from his mild case of diphtheria, he was sent back to the British armed forces. He was, in 1944, part of the invasion of Normandy. He was the only one in his squad to play the accordion, which was very enjoyable and entertaining in war times. When he got out of the boat to go to Normandy, he held the accordion up in the air so it would not get wet. To protect him, the soldiers in his squad crowded around him and surrounded him so he would not get shot. He was not in the first wave of soldiers that hit the beaches on June 6, 1944 in Normandy and were trapped due to weather conditions. He was one of the first reinforcements that came to help the worn out and tired first wave of soldiers. He was in Normandy for about a month and a half. After the invasion of Normandy was finally successful, by cutting off the German supply areas from Normandy to other Nazi controlled areas and taking the Germans land and some of its power, it drove the Germans completely out of France.  Also, by taking Normandy and pushing onward, the British and American troops pushed from the west while the Soviet Union pushed from the east and pushed Germany back toward its homeland. Normandy was one of the most important strategic lands to have because of its location in Europe and the Allies wanted the war to go to the western border of Germany.

This is my grandpa working in Star Market in the United States

Life After the War: My grandpa was released from the army when he was twenty-four, in 1945. After he got out of the army, my grandpa wanted to go to the United States. He asked his friend Mario to lend him money so he could go to the United States. He came to the United States and worked with Stones and Bricks and built many buildings. After that, he worked at Star Market for seventeen years as the general manager before finally starting a small business in Dover that my father now owns. During this process, he met my grandmother, Lucy Valente, and learned Italian and brought with him the many adventures of war he experienced. He always will remember his negative and positive experiences from the war and continues to tell me about the war now from when I was a small child. He has also told my father, in greater detail, of his experiences in the war as well.  
Works Cited
“D-Day, the Battle of Normandy.” NWtravel Magazine Online . Travel History, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://www.u-s-history.com/‌pages/‌h1749.html>.

“Diphtheria.” Google Health. A.D.A.M., 22 Jan. 1997. Web. 22 Jan. 2010.

“Normandy Invasion, June 1944 Overview and Special Image Selection.” Online Library of Selected Images: EVENTS- World War 2 in Europe.

Department of the Navy- Naval Historical Center, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. <http://www.history.navy.mil/‌photos/‌events/‌wwii-eur/‌normandy/‌normandy.htm>.

Sullivan, Gordon R. Normandy- 6 June-24 July 1944. Center of Military History  , n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://www.history.army.mil/‌brochures/‌normandy/‌nor-pam.htm>.

Valente, Orazio. Personal interview. 3 Jan. 2010.