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John McHugh kept a diary of his travels during World War II. (WFOR via CNN Newsource)

103yo Jamaican shares unique WWII story

June 10, 2024

By Steve Maugeri

    MIAMI, Florida (WFOR) — John McHugh kept a diary of his travels during World War II. The 103-year-old grew up in Jamaica.

“My trade was a printer,” McHugh said.” I was a printer for 20 years.”

But, he volunteered to help feed the Americans fighting in World War II as a farmer. Warships escorted him as he sailed to the United States.

He worked at an onion farm in Upstate New York.

“My contribution to America,” McHugh said. “Because America at that time needed help.”

He turned his diary into a book called “The Forgotten Reapers of World War II.” His family helped him put the book together, which included photos and excerpts from his diaries.

John came to the States a day before D-Day, and he arrived when Jim Crow segregation laws were still in effect.

“They would go into places that were deemed not allowable for people of color, they went in any,” said Emily McHugh, John’s Daughter. “And they helped integrate a lot of places that were historically segregated.”

McHugh now lives in Fort Pierce with his two daughters.

Sunday was the official launch of the second edition of his book. McHugh once again told his story of how critical of a role Jamaicans played in the war, by helping feed our troops overseas.

A fitting story for Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

“Wonderful to meet you,” McHugh said to the crowd. “Wonderful, wonderful.”

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