Original U.S. WWII Navy D-Day Invasion Seabee KA-BAR Knife Grouping
Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. Taken from an interview published in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze from June 4th, 1994:
Normandy, France June 6th 1944 (D-DAY) Edwin David DeViney NSN 8268962 was a member of the Seabees 111th Naval Construction Battalion in the United States Navy, DeViney saw more than he wanted of the northern French beach.
Seven minutes past midnight on the Juno and Sword beaches. Six silent gliders containing 180 British paratroopers were the first to go in under the orders of Allied Forces commander Dwight Eisenhower, followed by 13,000 Americans from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions and 4,800 men of the British 6th Airborne.
Of the first 180 to land on French soil, 104 lay dead on the shores at the end of the day and DeViney witnessed it all.
As a Seabee veteran, DeViney is very proud of his involvement before, during and after the infamous landing on the French beaches.
"Seabee" stands for "construction battalion" the men behind the scene, building the ships that trans-ported the invading G.Is into the battle that would ultimately end Hitler's Third Reich.
At 6:00 a.m., DeViney landed at Normandy aboard one of the very pontoon barges that he helped to build in England and very nearly became one of the tens of thousands of fatalities during the invasion. "The barges were carrying 60 tanks and three times that many men," said DeViney, "One of the cables broke that guided the tanks off the ramp and struck e right across the head. I went overboard and gained consciousness just long enough to get to shallow water. All of the men in my company thought I was dead. I stayed knocked out for 48 hours afterwards."
Five days later he was rushed back to an English hospital and five weeks later, returned to his native Baltimore, Maryland. "No one can imagine what going in there was like," recounted DeViney, "I saw men floating all around me during that first day. We helped to rescue drowning men and recover the bodies of the others."
Thousands of American veterans are making the trek back to those shores in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, but not DeViney. "I would never go back. I was proud to be part of that effort and I know many other vets are going back this year. But I couldn't. There's too many bad memories. I have two daughters, one in Gainesville and one in Fort Myers. They were watching the movie "The Longest Day" not long ago and asked if I had seen it. I just said 'No, I was there and saw it firsthand." DeViney is a man who doesn't live in the past. "Everybody talks about the 'good old days' but I think that's bad. D-Day was necessary to win the war but it was a horror."
Included in this wonderful grouping are the following items:
- 1943 KA-BAR knife that is marked Edwin De. Viney NAVY Sea Bee in the fuller of the blade, as well as USN on the right ricasso and on the other KA-BAR OLEAN. N.Y. The condition of the knife is excellent the blade still retains a razor sharp edges, the leather washer grip is in excellent condition as are the spacers used at both the top and bottom of the grip. Original USN M2 scabbard is in very good condition.
- 2 large original photos of DeViney in uniform.
- 1 Large original photo of DeViney instruction divers with rigging.
- Notice of Sepeartion
- Original letter dated December 20th, 1945 from Secretary of the Navy Jeames Forrestal congratulating him on serving in the Navy and their victory in WWII.
- Multiple newspaper articles about DeViney including the one quoted above.
- Various wartime patch insignia.
- Seabees Veteran association hats, plaque and other material.All in all a really wonderful grouping from a Seabbe who landed and was injured on the French beaches during D-Day on June 6th, 1944!
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