Clifford Tenney, a 97-year old World War II veteran recently shared stories and pictures from his time in the service and afterwards. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

FAYETTE — On Monday, August 19 Clifford Tenney shared humorous experiences from his time in the Army during World War II and his life after the war.

Tenney graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1940 and joined the Army in 1942. His father had served during a previous war and his brother, Don also served during WWII.

Tenney first trained at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Later he was sent to Fort Sheridan, Illinois and Fort Bliss, Texas.

“At Fort Sheridan my staff sergeant and I were talking. He asked me where I was from and if I knew how to take down a rifle and put it back together again. After that, I taught all new recruits how to dismantle a rifle, put it together and use it,” Tenney said.

Tenney was promoted to Sergeant before he was sent overseas. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the “biggest transport ship at that time.” On the ship, one of his jobs was to escort the “Guys who had gone AWOL [Absent Without Leave] down into the galley where they worked in the kitchen.”

The ship landed in Scotland where they were put on a train to the southernmost point in England on the English Channel.


“We were told before we got there we were going to land right on the beach. We had to climb some awfully tall sand dunes and watch out for land mines. I don’t remember any mines going off, anyone being injured or killed,” Tenney said.

Clifford Tenney is seen at Fort Bliss Texas prior to being shipped overseas during World War II. Courtesy photo

Tenney was sent to Trier, Germany. It was night when he arrived. He was sent upstairs in a house.

“A gun went off and a guy said ‘I’m sorry!’ He had picked up a pistol not knowing much about it. The bullet went right underneath my seat,” he said.

Tenney also told other stories from the war. One involved female prisoners.

“I was on the very tail end of the truck with a rope across it. They (the prisoners) were giving me a hard time,” he said.

Tenney once stole canned fruits from a lady who had “Lots of them.”


He said his unit traveled all across Germany in half–tracks [a type of vehicle]. He was put in charge of the crew.

“I was supposed to take my men from a little building up to the height and try to take it over. Just when we got so we could see over the top, see the men, they started firing at us.

“We never did take it,” Tenney said.

Tenney’s brother Don also served during the war. The brothers once were able to get furloughs at the same time to visit home.

Tenney said his brother’s plane was shot down during a bombing mission from Italy to Germany. He landed, uninjured in Russian–held territory and had to march 15 miles back to their base.

“My parents had heard he was shot down. It was a month before they heard he was safe,” he said.


He also spoke of an instance that happened after receiving word the war was over.

“Four of my men and I took our rifles. We had heard there was a hospital with a lot of nurses in it nearby so we went over there. After a short time we heard a lot of rifle fire where most of our men were. We decided we ought to get our butts back over there! For all practical purposes the war was over,” Tenney said.

Tenney was discharged from the 54th Armored Infantry which was part of the 10th Armored Division.

He returned to Maine and went to work in the water treatment plant at the old Otis Mill in Livermore Falls.

“There were three great big tanks filled with water I had to clean. I don’t remember how many millions of gallons went through the mill each day. When the new mill was built, I transferred up there.

“It was a heck of a good life for me,” Tenney said.


Tenney’s daughter, Candace Jackman shared the interesting story of how her parents met.

“A cousin had been visiting. Uncle Don was supposed to take her home and meet the neighbor, Marion (she says her mother spelled her name wrong, spelled it the man’s way). Dad ended up taking her home. Marion said, ‘I’ll meet Clifford instead.’

“She worked for the telephone company in Portland. Dad would drive down and wait for her to get out of work.

“It’s fun to hear these stories, have memories to pass down to your own family. There’s a lot of great stories out there,” Jackman said.

Clifford and Marion married in 1948. They have five daughters, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. They lived in North Livermore until moving to Jackman’s home in 2017.

In July Clifford and Marion Tenney picked strawberries at Stevenson’s Strawberries with one of their daughters. Clifford had to show the others how it should be done.


World War II Veteran Clifford Tenney, 97 formerly of Livermore, and his daughter Leda Shovelton of South Carolina picked strawberries at Stevenson’s in Wayne on July 5.

Clifford enjoys sitting on the deck and seeing the American flag there.

“It’s the best flag in the world!” he said.



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