my dad was a navy man during world war II. he worked on a ship, of course. his job was radio man. nothing glamorous like a gunner, i suppose. but the navy needed radio men, too.
he never liked to tell stories about the war. as kids, my brother and i were always so hungry to hear about real live bullets and guns and war planes and stuff, but he very rarely indulged us with any of that stuff. actually, he very rarely indulged us with speaking, at all. he was a quiet guy, until he got angry, and even then it was short and to the point.
on one occasion, he did tell us a story. apparently, the seas were really heavy one day, and the giant waves would take the ships in his convoy up and down, out of sight. one of the war ships in the convoy, the one closest to his, would go in and out of his view with each monster wave. at last, when his ship was low and the war ship was high, he and his crew members saw that the side of the ship had been completely removed. the big, floating city had been hit by a torpedo and had been blown nearly completely apart.
that story didn't scare me when i was young. i thought that it would've been a better story had my dad actually been IN the ship that was hit. and, he told the story with no real emotion, with very little discription, as was his way. he didn't sound scared, why would it scare me?
it scares me a lot more now, thinking about it with a more mature mind. the idea of his countrymen, the poor souls on the other ship, who weren't going to make it. the idea that it could've just as easily been his own ship.
there are a lot of military grave yards out there. in each and every one of them are people who experienced the same things my dad did, and worse. a lot of those people never told a lot of other scary stories, either. stories most of us really didn't want to hear anyway, but should have.