It has been 67 years since the end of World War II, but for Turbeville veteran Rev. Julian B. Gamble, the recollections of fighting in the fields of Germany are as fresh on his mind as though they just happened yesterday.
More than 400,000 members of the U.S. military were killed in a war against fascism, a global war that claimed the lives of nearly 70 million people worldwide, and is considered the deadliest conflict in human history. For Gamble, being surrounded by death was a constant reminder of the sacrifices that those who served made.
“We wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for the men who gave their lives so that we could have this freedom,” Gamble said.
Gamble is the son of the late Charleton E. Gamble and the late Marion Gamble (formerly Hicks). His father was a doctor in Turbeville and lived in the same house that Gamble resides in today. Gamble remembers growing up when Turbeville had dirt roads, and patients would bring chickens, eggs and produce to his father, as they had no other means to pay him for his services.
Gamble joined the Army right in the middle of the war. He fought in the European theater for the 95th Infantry Division, serving as a first lieutenant and platoon leader. The division received the nickname of the “Iron Men of Metz,” for their heroic defense of the city of Metz, France, that they took back several times from German attacks.
Gamble was deployed for 22 months. Back then he said, there were no such things as tours, soldiers went over and stayed until the war was over.
“It was a different type of war,” he said.
He said that hand-to-hand combat was common, and that seeing death became a normal part of the experience.
Gamble said that one of the toughest parts of the war was not seeing his wife, Harriett, and missing the birth of his oldest daughter. He said that he was lucky to have made it through the war.
Today at 90, Gamble recollects on his life with a smile. He’s served the Turbeville community as a teacher and a principal. He has also been in the ministry for 26 years. Gamble has three daughters, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
“The Lord’s been good to me and blessed me with a long life,” he said.