Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Letter 133- October 17, 1944

October 17, 1944

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I sure am sorry that I haven’t written to you for so long but everything’s been going so fast that I’ve just let everything go.

I’ve been to London, finally. I thought that I was never going to get that pass but I finally did. I am sure glad that I got to go. It’s the only place in England that’s really worthwhile seeing. I left here about 3:00 PM in the afternoon and arrived at Waterloo Station about dinner time. God I never saw such a mob in my entire life. I never saw so different uniforms in my life either. The station itself is no Grand Central but I can assure you there’s just as many people if not more. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible so I grabbed the “Underground”. Now that is something. It’s the most efficient, fastest, easiest thing in England. Everything is done by machine. You get your change, buy your ticket, ride the escalator, get on your train & zip you’re there. Actually it’s rather paradoxical that the English, who as a rule are so damn slow and who love to do everything the hard way, should have such an efficient transportation system.

Anyway, I got off at Piccadilly Circus to find the main American Red Cross Headquarters and was promptly drowned in the mob. Piccadilly Circus is the Times Square of London, you know. The whole place was packed with soldiers, sailors, M.P.’s, newsboys, peddlers, ordinary civilians, and prostitutes, I might add. Every time I took a step I could hear, “Hello soldier”, or “Got a match, soldier?” Londoners call them “Piccadilly Commandos” and the name is quite apropos. After I fought my way into the Red Cross I found out about getting a bed. They gave me a ticket and directions to one of the multitudes of A.R.C. clubs in London. My place was the Hans Cresent Club, just south of Knightsbridge in the main part of the City. There I got a fair meal and a good bed with sheets and a pillow. I didn’t go very far that evening but went to bed early. I’ll write more tomorrow.



  1. Wow, London. And what a good picture of Piccadilly Circus. That certainly matches other accounts of the great city in '44. I wonder if Bill experienced any of the V-1 or V-2 attacks.

  2. Yes, Bill certainly paints a vivid "words eye view" of the scene at Piccadilly Circus. It must be quite a departure from his humdrum life as a replacement soldier going through his third training program. He must be stationed relatively close to London since he left camp at 3PM and was at Waterloo Station by dinner time. I haven't heard anything about Bill experiencing V-1 or V-2 attacks.


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