Friday, October 16, 2009

Letter 140- October 23, 1944

October 23, 1944

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Due to circumstances far beyond my control but much to my liking, the company doesn’t have to train today. Therefore this letter is being written in the early morning instead of in the evening as usual.

To start off with the weather as is customary—it stinks. An ice cold wind is blowing puffs of equally cold rain in about 8 directions at once. It’s really “mizzleble”. I’m sure glad I’m inside by a nice warm fire instead of battling with the elements.

I got your letter of the eleventh, Dad. You know more about Chester than I ever did. However, about that strawberry and cream complexion; that must have been before malnutrition set in. I did see those timbered houses and cathedral.

I was sorry to hear that Bob Brewer got wounded. The face and neck is a hellova place to get it too.

Boy I’m sure glad to see Hanson get it. That S.O.B. should. When I think of all the guys over here in far worse shape than that rat I really boil.

That’s a “hellova’ note that you can’t get cigarettes. We can get about 7 packs a week, sometimes 10. That’s not bad. Here’s the rub. According to Stars and Stripes there’s god knows how many millions of packs sitting on the docks over here rotting for lack of transportation. Ridiculous, isn’t it? I received the stamps. Thanks a lot.

About that allotment, it’s a $15.00 class “E” allotment. I took it out at Camp Reynolds. I don’t need much money over here—nothing to buy!

I’ll write again soon.

Best Love,


  1. I'm willing to bet that Bob Brewer was a bully at Harvard. Bill's memories of the guy must have been pretty intense for him to express those feelings when Brewer got seriously wounded.

    Bill gives us a couple of interesting snapshots of life in the Army in England waiting to ship out. One is the abundance of cigarettes with the rumor of millions of packs stuck on the docks. Considering the military priorities I don't doubt that this was true. Food, fuel, ammo, and men were at the top of the list. I suspect that Bill's time in England has been influenced by the shortage of transportation.

    And money didn't do the GIs much good so Bill could afford to send a third(?) of his pay home. My dad did the same thing, but mostly out of habit. When he worked at the mill and in construction in Kelso, Washington he lived at home and he routinely gave his pay envelope over to the family. His mother saved the money. When Dad got out of the service, he paid cash for a house.

  2. I believe that Hanson was the bully. It really brings the War home when real people, good and not so good are shown to be hurt and killed. I wonder how Bill and his fellow "Replacements" felt deep down inside about the possibility of disfigurement and death in combat.

    The lack of information that the common soldier faced fueled the rumor mill. This was no doubt exacerbated by an excess of free time for replacements awaiting deployment. Bill's folks were both very heavy smokers. In fact his father died of lung cancer. The shorage of cigarettes stateside must have been a big issue for them.

    Your father no doubt made much more money than Bill who never rose above Pfc. Bill did get a free education at UCLA after the war and bought a house in 1950 on the G.I. Bill


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