A WWII veteran tells his story, from Turtle Town, North Carolina to the War in Europe
Charlie Raper was born in 1923 about 2 miles from where he lives now.
"They called this Turtle Town, and now we call it Murphy. They say we live in Murphy. We are about twenty-two or three miles out of Murphy with a Murphy address," Charlie Raper told us.
Charlie's father opened his first store in 1925.
"My daddy bought a store from my uncle, and he run a store there." Mr. Raper said. "He was a farmer and a trader."
He opened his second store in the 1930's. It's still open and has now been in the family for three generations.
"TVA built this road through here, but then he bought this to get on the main road," Mr. Raper told us .
In 1943 Charlie Raper got a draft notice.
"I felt good about getting a draft notice. I felt that I'd go and see if I was able to go. I didn't back up on it," Mr. Raper said.
He ended up in communications and was a teletype operator in England at an airfield. His job was to communicate to the pilots on bombing missions. He said the air base was bombed almost every night.
"We were scared of course, but that was part of it," Mr. Raper said. "In a day or two we got to the point where we wasn't much afraid of it."
He worked at that airfield for most of the war in Europe.
"Later on they took a lot of the boys that was in my position, they took them to Germany and put them on the front lines," Mr. Raper said.
He told us many of those men didn't make it back. Charlie Raper never had to go to the front lines. He got to go home in December of 1945, and He then worked for TVA for a few years around East Tennessee.
"I come home one weekend, and I never went back. I said I'm through. I stayed right here," Mr. Raper told us.
He took over his father's store in 1955. Now his son runs it.
With the exception of a few years in the 1940's and 50's he's spent most of his 95 years on this piece of earth that he still likes to call Turtle Town.
Mr. Raper says his three brothers also served. Two during the war and one during the Occupation of Germany.