The annual meeting of the Seymour Community Historical Society, Inc. is scheduled for 1:00 Saturday, April 20th in the upstairs meeting room of the museum. The public is invited to attend. After a brief business meeting including the 2012 financial report and election of board members and officers, Seymour native, Bud McBain will share his World War II experiences with the audience. A Seymour graduate and a veteran of World War II. He served in the communications unit that assisted war correspondents at the front lines throughout World War II. McBain went on to a career in broadcast journalism in the Oshkosh area.
Guest Speaker: Rolland “Bud” McBain Portions of this piece are excerpts from July 2012 and August 2012 articles that appeared in Prime Time, the monthly magazine, published by the Antigo Daily Journal, Antigo, Wisconsin. Edited by Marge Coonen. Bud’s talk, supplemented with a PowerPoint program featuring many wartime pictures, will start promptly at 1:30. The program is open to the public at no charge.
“Bud McBain was born in Seymour, the son of Arthur Bud and Bea Mc Bain, who resided at 227 Muehl Street. While in high school Bud was interested in writing and was on the staff of the Ripper,the school yearbook and the newly formed school newspaper, The Blue Jay. He also took the advice of a teacher who told him to take up typing. During his Senior Year Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 - and his life changed forever.
McBain graduated from Seymour High School in 1942, possessing one skill that would keep him out of heavy combat in World War II - he could type. Bud knew that after Pearl Harbor he would be going to war. After graduation he went to Lawrence College and was deferred for a year. When he enlisted, he mentioned to his recruiter that he had typing skills and soon found himself assigned to the 72nd Publicity Service Battalion.
The 72nd was not made up of war correspondents, instead it was a support group for the civilian reporters handing the logistical duties. That included everything from making sure members of the press were in the right place at the right time to setting up the transmitters that fed the BBC in London and on to RCA in New York for distribution to the American news networks. McBain spent much of his early war years stationed in London, arriving there in the middle of the Nazi bombing of the city. “That was an interesting time. We were getting ready for the invasion of Europe, planning the coverage and what radio transmitters we would be using.” Bud McBain in WWII.
Preparing for “D-Day”
As D-Day, June 6, 1944, grew closer; his group left London and was sequestered at “Buco West”. This was a small, stuffy, underground dungeon near Portsmouth, England, that was responsible for the coordination of the men and materials across the channel to France. It was the heart of Operation Overlord, the code name for D-Day.
They were locked up there, literally. They knew too much. They had “Operation Overlord” on their desks weeks before the invasion. McBain watched the actual invasion from the hills in Portsmouth. The next day, he turned 20.
A few weeks after the invasion, the 72nd crossed the channel and set up the first press camp in an apple orchard, with a transmitter that, on a good day, could reach London. Those early weeks in Europe were great times, with regular interactions with greenhorn correspondents, the likes of Andy Rooney, Edward R. Morrow and Ernest Hemmingway. The unit eventually found its way to Paris, where the 72nd was headquartered at the Hotel Scribe. The press corps was usually set up in an area’s nicest hotels. Another perk.