Corbett publishes second book

November 11, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Inspired by his father's World War II service, Don Corbett has published the second installment in what he hopes will be a trilogy about Hancock-area veterans from that era.

"We are losing these people," Corbett said, calling his efforts to document their stories a race against time. "My father told me stories and I remembered them, which is what inspired me to write my books."

The first book in the series was "Hancock Home of the Brave," compiled from hundreds of hours Corbett spent talking with 14 veterans from the area. It was published in March 2002.


The second book bears the same title plus Volume 2 and relates the stories of 11 additional veterans.

"I already have five interviews done for Volume 3," Corbett said.

The third volume hopefully will include an interview with a woman who served in World War II, Corbett said. He has contacted her and she has agreed to talk with him.

Some veterans have been hesitant to talk about their war experiences, but Corbett said others have opened up after a little encouragement.

In the second volume, Corbett was hoping to include Marvin A. Douglas' experiences. "At first, it was hard to get him to talk," Corbett said.

Douglas told Corbett he spent 18 days on a cattle boat before docking in Scotland, and then boarded another boat for Africa and then Sicily, where he was involved in the invasion of that island nation.

Dropped off too far from shore, Douglas told Corbett he went under twice because he was so heavily loaded with equipment. Quite a few of his buddies did drown that day in July 1943, Douglas told Corbett.

After the operation in Sicily was over and Allies had a foothold, Douglas was awarded the Bronze Star.

"I never had any military service - I was too young for World War II and Korea and too old for Vietnam," Corbett said.

As president of the Hancock Historical Society, Corbett said artifacts from World War II have been donated to the Hancock Museum in its 20 years of existence. "We have well over 100 pictures, guns, knives, discharge papers and even some medals," he said.

Interest in recognizing veterans began years earlier when Corbett was vice president of the Hancock Bank and displays were set up in the two bank windows.

"After the first of next year, we will have a World War II exhibit going in at the museum," Corbett said.

There are seasonal changes in the displays at the museum, but the World War II exhibit will run the longest at six months.

Previously Corbett has penned books on former Christmases, memories of Hancock and the Round Top Cement Co., which used to stand along the C&O Canal two miles west of Hancock.

Corbett said he spends a lot of his time at the museum, doing research and writing. And then there are his 15 grandchildren, whom he visits as much as he can.

Retired for five years, Corbett, 65, said he is amazed at the turns his life has taken. "In high school, I wasn't good at math or writing," he said. "I never thought I'd be a banker or an author."

He became both.

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