Saturday, December 5, 2009

Letter 164- December 24, 1944

December 24, 1944
(France; V-mail)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Yes, it’s the day before Christmas, and I’m still up on the lines. I had some hope for being back for tomorrow but I guess that’s too much to expect. The weather’s become very cold during the last few days but I have enough heavy clothing to get by. I received three letters from you during the last 2 days—I should say 4, dated the 6, 7, & 9 of Dec. and the 21 of Oct. Two letters from you dad, were numbers 21 & 43. You can see how the mail’s coming in. I know you’ll be disappointed but I still haven’t received any packages. Considering how long ago you sent them, it’s a damn shame. I wish I knew whether or not we’re winning this war. The news we get is three or four days old and with all the hush-hush about the big German drive up north it’s getting me down. “The American soldier is the best informed in the world.”----------PFFFFT.


  1. If I'm not mistaken, that photo is at the end of chow. Those gas heaters go into garbage cans full of water to provide cleanup for mess gear. You scrape off the remaining solids into a can (edible garbage), then hook the top and bottom (sometimes called a meat can) and the utensils (which have holes in the handles) onto the handle. Don't forget the canteen cup which sits inside the canteen on your rifle belt.

    You start by dipping the equipment into the first garbage can which has soapy water. There might be a long-handled brush to assist in the washing.

    Next comes the first rinse, just dunk to rinse off the soapy water. Last is the second rinse, really hot water to hopefully sanitize the mess gear for the next meal.

    In the 50s I supped with Dad's National Guard unit and learned the drill from real veterans. The equipment was undoubtedly of WWII vintage.

  2. Edible garbage doesn't sound very appitizing. Did they actually cook that stuff? Maybe that was the "S" on "SOS"

  3. I guess this shows that even on the very front lines routine housekeeping had to be performed on a daily basis.

  4. Regarding "SOS" my father used to make reference to this on the rare occasions we had chipped beef on toast at the Taylor household.


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