Sunday, July 5, 2009

Letter 80- March 13, 1944

March 13, 1944
(Camp Crowder, Missouri)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I’ve only time to write a short note tonight, I think. Boy is this camp sumpin’. The fellows from Camp Abbot and Leonard Wood are just floating in a sea of amazement. I’ve never seen such a boy scout outfit yet. They don’t carry rifles and their training is a laugh. I found out today that they, and myself, therefore, get ten minutes free time out of every hour all day long. Though life, huh? I don’t know whether I can take it or not. The funny thing about it is that these signal boys think they’re having a tough time. Boy! would the old Camp Abbot boys get a laugh if they could hear them.

Today at radio school we started code work. It’s pretty nerve-racking but in true Camp Crowder style they make up for it by having the radio play nice soft music over the earphones whenever the key is not in use. Some stuff.

I sure have gotten a shock around here as far as prisoners of war are concerned. They’re all over the camp working at various trivial jobs and you may run into ‘em any time. A group of 20 or so will only have one guard. They look and act a lot like Americans and seem to be very interested in us. Of course, we can’t talk to them and it wouldn’t do much good since their English is atrocious. I hear they keep the one’s that speak good English locked up all the time.

Well, I’d better close now. I know my letters have been not too informative of late but it’s the same old story. Nobody knows nuttin’.
Best love in the whole world,



  1. Stephen Ambrose comments that during World War II, if you were a German male born between 1880 and 1925, the luckiest you could be was a prisoner of war of the U.S. They were purposely fed nutritious meals, given good quarters, and allowed to earn money at non-war-related jobs. The photo would appear to be soldiers captured in North Africa. But by March '44 men picked up on Sicily and in Italy were also in the bag.

    Learning Morse code is a far cry from building a bridge across an icy river and marching through mud.

  2. Good catch David. The photo is of captured German Soldiers likely taken in 1943 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Camp Shelby was one of four POW Camps in Mississippi at the time. With the influx of additional POW's in 1944, Mississippi added 15 satellite POW camps.

  3. Regarding Morse Code, we will learn that code is not Bill's forte. A major problem is that the coded messages are encripted and as a result Bill must decode gobbledegook for hours on end. With his active mind this is excruciatingly tedious.


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