14 Sep Across the Roer, Feb 21 & 24, 1945
In his second letter, Dad outlines more of what’s going on in the war, with the continued hope, of course, that’s it’s coming near the end! “OUR BOYS ARE FINALLY ACROSS THE ROER AND ON THE WAY.” I did some research on the net and found several links to what was going on during this time period in Holland and Germany. I am continually struck by the complexity and the number of men and operations that were going on simultaneously during the war. My Father’s story is one person’s account, one window on the war.
21 Feb 1945 V-Mail
Good Evening, Baby – Ah’m still at it! Had my first break last night when the Adjutant (Capt. actually in charge of us men in the Hq. Detachment) insisted we break off and take in a movie – “Saratoga Trunk” – which we did & enjoyed very much. Oh, that Ingrid Bergman! But paid for it by working until 11 PM. We rise at 6:15 AM, and have been scrubbing floors & cleaning the place from top to bottom every morning before eight – but today a Dutchman was hired to do same, so now we’ll only have to clean around our own bunks! ‘S wonderful! We’ve been issued an extra set of D.D’s (which we wear exclusively now) and we shave each day – our DD’s are pressed – regular garrison soldiers! It’s really swell. I have a glass top on my desk & have put the best of your & Karen’s pictures under it where I see them hundreds of times a day. Everyone says what a swell looking family, but the favorite, of course, is my favorite “pin-up” of Karen! Gosh – but I miss you guys – you know I love you sump’ in terrible – no? YES!
24 FEB 1945 V-MAIL
GOOD EVENING, MY VERY DARLING. YOU CAN SEE THAT I’M BACK IN A BIG HEADQUARTERS AGAIN ***TYPEWRITER, SILLY. HAVEN’T HAD ANY MAIL FOR TWO OR THREE DAYS, BUT NEITHER HAS ANYONE ELSE, SO GUESS THAT THE BOYS ARE GETTING AMMO AND SUPPLIES, WHICH, IF SO, IS ALL RIGHT BY ME. IN LOOKING THRU MY UNANSWERED CORRESPONDENCE TONIGHT I DISCOVERED A COUPLE OF LETTERS FROM MOM THAT I HADN’T EVEN OPENED YET!!! WE ARE FAIRLY WELL SETTLED DOWN NOW. WE MAY EVEN TAKE AN EVENING OFF TOMORROW AND GO OUT AND HAVE A FEW BEERS (OR WHAT WE LAUGHINGLY REFER TO AS BEER OVER HERE ***GOLLY, BUT IT IS GOING TO BE WONDERFUL TO SIT AROUND AT HOME AND DRINK SOME GOOD OL’ PABST OR BALLANTINES, ETC. AGAIN!) WELL, THE PAPERS SAY THAT OUR BOYS ARE FINALLY ACROSS THE ROER AND ON THE WAY. WE KNEW IT WAS COMING, OF COURSE, BY THE WAY THE STUFF WAS ROLLING ON THE ROADS. I WENT UP TO MY OLD BN A FEW DAYS AGO TO COPY AN INDEX CARD SYSTEM ON MEMOS, CIRCULARS, BULLETINS AND SO ON, AND DARN NEAR CHOAKED ON THE DUST ON THE ROADS. HUGE TRUCK AND TRAILERS WITH BRIDGE BUILDING EQUIPMENT, TANKS, EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE. QUITE A SIGHT. WE COULD HEAR THE ARTILLERY BARRAGE CLEAR BACK HERE, AND THE PLANES CAME OVER BY THE HOUR. STILL NOT LIKE BEFORE ST. LO, THOUGH, AT LEAST AS FAR AS WE WERE CONCERNED. HAD A LETTER FROM MOM SAYING THAT SHE HAD HEARD FROM YOU. SHE WAS VERY PLEASED TO HEAR FROM YOU, AND SUGGESTED THAT SHE WISHED YOU COULD TAKE A PICTURE OF KAREN IN THE SUIT THAT SHE SENT KAREN AND SEND IT ON TO ME. S’POSE YOU COULD DO? DAD IS HOME AGAIN NOW, AND ANXIOUS TO GET TO WORK, BUT RENE IS HOLDING HIM DOWN AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.
I’M STILL PLENTY POOPED FROM LACK OF SLEEP AND THE GRINDING DAYS, BUT VERY PLEASED WITH THE JOB I’VE DONE IN GETTING THIS THING GOING. I ACTUALLY HAD TIME TONIGHT TO GO OVER AND TAKE A LENGTHY SHOWER, SO FEEL MUCH BETTER. WE HOPE TO GET THINGS WELL ENOUGH ORGANIZED SOON SO THAT WE CAN AT LEAST PLAN WHEN THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DUE IN SO THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO BE TIED DOWN HERE ALL THE TIME.
I HAVE SO DARN MANY LETTERS TO WRITE TO TELL PEOPLE WHERE I AM THAT I HATE TO THINK ABOUT IT. I OWE LETTERS TO PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY, INCLUDING YOUR MOTHER AND AD, WHOM I’LL GET AROUND TO AS SOON AS I CAN. OH, YES, ALSO ELLEN.
NO NEWS AGAIN, MY DARLING, EXCEPT THAT I LOVE YOU TO BEAT ALL GET OUT, AND GET MORE IMPATIENT TO GET HOME EVERY DAY. SAY HELLO TO MERCEDES AND DOLORES FOR ME. BIG HUGS AND KISSES TO YOU AND O’ MIZZ K…. YOU KNOW WHO