Monday, August 24, 2009

Letter 114- August 5, 1944

August 5, 1944

Dear Mother and Dad,

I received my first mail from you yesterday and it sure gave my morale a big boost. The “bee-oo-ti-fool” English weather plus a cold plus the lack of anything to do over here just about had me down and out, but the letter and also the nice day we’re having today has me feeling like a human being again. By the time this gets to you, you should have received several V-Mail letters most of which will have been notable for their lack of information. One is not even dated. The reason for all this is that things were pretty well messed up when we first arrived and no one knew if we could write anything or not. still yet there are a million things I’d like to write about but can’t—the voyage over and so forth.

Living conditions over here can’t compare with the states but things aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. The food we get is good and besides we get certain rations. This makes us very popular among the children. Generally a whole slew of brats will follow a soldier around hollering “any gum chum” and “any lifesavers” and “gimmie this or that.” It gets a guy down. The people over here try to be nice but already I’m getting that “I wanna go home’ feeling. The English countryside is very pretty what with it’s clipped hedges and winding lanes. Most of the houses are very old and it’s obvious that many of them were built without the aid of a straight edge or a level—damndest things I ever saw—quaint though. They’d look like the devil, however, if it weren’t for the beautiful gardens that they are almost always surrounded by.

The roads are good but narrow and are generally made of asphalt. If we go on a hike and it’s hot, (it usually gets warm in the afternoon), we come back to camp with half the road stuck to the soles of our shoes.

I can’t say I was sorry to hear about Gramp’s death. In his condition it was a blessing for those around him as well as himself.

Why did you have to write about that ice-cream, Dad? Over “hyar” they don’t know what the stuff is, and you know me. My tongue is just about draggin’ on the ground.

I did get those last letters you sent me along with the stamps I can use very nicely. The nice thing about those letters was that I received them when I was a day out at sea. I also received a letter from Elizabeth in which she said that it looked as if Gramps was headed for pneumonia.
That’s about all for now. I think my cold is about broken. “Those goims can’t stand dis army life.”

Best love,



  1. Greg, any clue as to what camp Bill is enduring? It must be somewhat proximate to the port where they landed in Scotland.

  2. Bill (or the censors) do an excellent job keeping his location secret, but in a future letter dated Sept. 24, Bill reveals that at his last post he visited Chester, in Cheshire, about 20 miles from Liverpool. In the letter he will give a very interesting description of the historical sights he visits and a "mini" history lesson to boot.

  3. Is Bill in a unit yet or does he still seem to be in a replacement center? Does he have a return address?

  4. Bill's return address throughout his stay in England is:

    210th. Replacement Co. T-8 A.P.O.551
    c/o P.M. New York, N.Y.

    When he arrives in France it will change to:

    Co. A 399th. Inf. A.P.O. 447
    c/o P.M. New York, N.Y.

    In England he goes on bivouacs, performs K.P and other assignments associated with being in a formal unit, but he doesn't describe the unit in any detail that I can recall.



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