17 Jul Holland orchard digs, 9-25 & 26, 1944
So my hunch was correct! He actually says he’s in Holland in this letter! Wonder how that passed the censors? Very poignant that he’s yearning for his own home and has to settle for his cold, damp foxhole and yet valiantly calls it “home sweat home”. Was that a typo or did he really mean “sweat”?
At the end of this post I’ve provided a link (Remember September 1944) to one of many sites which honor the people who fought in one of the major battles of WWII in Holland called Operation Market Garden. How my father was connected to this, I am still exploring.
25 Sept 1944 V-Mail
Hello, honey – two swell ltrs from you yesterday – Sept 7 & 8.If everything is half as nice about the house, garden, cat, Mercedes & NATurally Karen as you say it is – I’ll be more than satisfied! I’m very pleased too about the fact that you now see Karen everyday. Your job sounds more impressive all the time. I still hope we can all manage to make the Seattle trip, however. I know that Mom & Dad are as anxious to see you & Karen as they are me. Finances is a problem, all right – but I hope we can manage. It’s something we’ll just have to wait to decide, I guess, until I get home – HAPPY day. Home. A real home of our own. Sounds mighty good, darling. It’s getting wetter & wetter here in Holland all the time. I drove down to Corps to pick up an officer this morning and got stuck. All our wheels just kept a -spinning. A guy in a 3/4 ton truck tried to pull me out & he got stuck. I finally unwound the winch on the front of my command car (the colonel’s, I should say) and hooked on to a tree to pull me out. Then pulled out my 3/4 friend – picked up the off. & came back. Hundreds of guys all over the country probably doing the same thing. Feet constantly wet. Cold. But we go on, somehow. Strangely enough, I’m fine – miss you – and love you
As ever, Pappy
26 Sept 1944 V-Mail
Mary darling – After about a week of solid rain, the sun finally came out this noon (and is now just sinking through that pear tree – right over there) and we hope will stay out. This orchard is now one big maze of ruts & oozy mud. It’s funny to watch a driver swing the front wheels from side to side & keep right on going straight ahead. They bog down – back a few feet – bog down there – what a time. One big truck hooked it’s winch to a tree to “winch” his way out. Instead just pulled down the tree! Anyway, I’ve found a way to dry my shoes in a hurry. Put them by the exhaust of our generator (for camp electricity) motor. At least I can start out the day with dry feet. Have had two movies this week “meet the People” (quite good) and this afternoon “shine on Harvest Moon” (pretty weak). Just since I started this ltr it has become so dark I have to really scrunch down here to see what I’m writing – and you can feel the cold damp coming up from the ground. Before long I’ll slide & slip and slosh my way to my ol’ “sack” kinda damp around the edges – but right now “home sweat home” All my love to you & ol’ K – Pappy
This website, RememberSeptember44, tells the complete story of this historical operation and is a tribute to all those men who fought and died in September 1944.
“On 17 September 1944 thousands of paratroopers descended from the sky by parachute or glider up to 150 km behind enemy lines. Their goal: to secure to bridges across the rivers in Holland so that the Allied army could advance rapidly northwards and turn right into the lowlands of Germany, hereby skirting around the Siegfried line, the German defence line. If all carried out as planned it should have ended the war by Christmas 1944.
Unfortunately this daring plan, named Operation Market Garden, didn’t have the expected outcome. The bridge at Arnhem proved to be ‘a bridge too far’. After 10 days of bitter fighting the operation ended with the evacuation of the remainder of the 1st British Airborne Division from the Arnhem area.”