From a reader (sometimes known as “cop guy”):
The Corner, if I may be so bold, could use a Memorial Day story;
Mom’s hospitalized and I’ve moved back in with Dad for a few weeks. He served in US Third Army in Europe in 1944-45. I learned a lot about his war experiences these few days. One funny story follows.
His unit moved into a factory complex late in the war. He and his buddies went poking around and discovered a massive vault in the office area. They figured they had struck it rich, visions of Nazi Gold, that sort of thing. Dad and his buds spent hours with a hack saw cutting away the hinges from the doors to no avail. Even after the hinges were gone, the locked doors would not open. They concluded that the doors interlocked to each other and the walls, so they set off in search of something more destructive to use.
As they returned with a torch, they ran into another group of soldiers coming out of the office area. These guys were shook up. They had found the vault and done their own search, which turned up a key ring in another office. They systematically applied keys until the vault bolts clacked open– and the doors promptly fell, nearly crushing them. The vault, it turned out, held blueprints for airplane parts.
The irony is this:
They spent several days at the factory and used sheet metal from one of the work shops to repair vehicles and build trailers. My Dad made a bracelet from one of the scraps as many in his unit did. After returning Stateside he learned from a jeweler that the steel was actually almost pure silver!
To this day he wonders what happened to the silver plated trucks and jeeps they left in Europe.