Archive for the ‘WWII photos’ Category

Dad says he’s in Bielefeld, Germany and has included this aerial view of where he’s stationed. I remembered that I may have posted this earlier – but this is the correct context for this photograph. He has an arrow drawn to his room! And then later in the letter he tells a funny story about a dance party his buddy’s planned and how it went awry.

7 June

Mary Darling, Your 27 May ltr arrived tonight. Poor little kid, with no packages. Reminds me of my Xmas. But glad that they arrived the next day. Glad that you like the perfume.You know more about what would be good perfume to send Mom than I do, but since I’ve mentioned to her that she has perfume on the way, I agree that it would be a good idea to send her a bottle now, and maybe another for her birthday. Yes, I’m still in Bielefeld, on the outskirts, as you will see from this very fine aerial view that one of our boys got while riding in a cub plane that he smooched a ride in.That is the back of the bldg, and you can see the tennis court (with the holes in the right end, where we play horseshoes) and my room under the arrow. Right under the plane when the pictures was taken would be a hill with woods, and to the right gets to be country right away (what a way I put that all into words! Do you get it?) The other pictures are of the Palace at Versailles, taken by Spalding on his trip to Paris. Remember my telling you about seeing it way back in (when?) September? Re the perfume box again; the dice perfume should be for a girl, I think. Maybe Patty? Yes, “Cagnes” is the Cannes, and the pictures are all made from actual scenes. By the way, have the other boxes arrived yet? I hope so, as I particularly like those wooden pictures. They hold a certain charm for me, and I bet that Karen will really like them when she gets a little older. As to your taking pictures, by all means go ahead and take them NOW. Heaven knows when I’ll be home, and when I do (as far as I know I may start home tomorrow, or next year) I won’t care about pictures — I’ll have you guys in the flesh (ohboyohboyohboy) so take ’em and get ’em to me as soon as you can, as I love to look at you – all. I’ll try to pick up some 620 for you, if I can.

General Ike declared yesterday a holiday, but he doesn’t pack much weight around here so I worked from 7:30 AM until five last night!!! My boys were busy making arrangements for our party last night! We discovered last week that a bunch of ATS (Allied Territorial Service, I think) (we call it the Allied Tail Society—ain’t we naughty?)—they are British, you know— had moved in a few miles from here. So Spalding and Trombly went on over and arranged for them to bring 40 girls over. Well, we worked like dogs yesterday fixing the place up (I handles the MC alone so that Sp and Stolz could crack ice and help on the dozens of odd jobs all day) and the boys really did a swell job, because it looked like a million bucks! Finally took the bus to go over to pick them up (were to be back here at 6:30 because they had to leave at 10:30) and about eight the bus came back and 18 females (I”m not too sure, as a couple of them had simply beautiful mustaches) clumped out and waddled up the front steps!! But dogs! The idea of the card (enclosed, Spalding and my idea ) was that each guy would rush up and hand the card to the girl of his dreams, thus sort of cinching things up for the evening. I’m very happy to send my card on to you, my pet. Spalding and Trombly didn’t do too badly (hell, they drove over and got first pick, didn’t they?) and I finally picked up a little bag and we had a lot of laughs anyway. We were dancing, and she said to me “Have you sentun?” After several “Repeat, please” etc, I got it. I had used my after shave lotion and she had asked if I had scent on? When they left, of course, they all said they’d had a “simply smashing” time! At least, we have had enough laughs today about the whole deal to warrant all of the work we went to. Hey, I’m at the end of the paper, but only beginning to tell you how much I love you—wonder how many reams of paper we have around here? Maybe I better wait until I get home. Would be more fun anyway. But I cer’ny do miss you, sweetheart—all my love—Rol


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Dad’s back to work after his furlough and it sounds like a rough transition. How couldn’t it be? He mentions purchasing a carved picture and sending it to her and this is so exciting to me, as I grew up with these carved wooden pictures and thought my Dad had gotten them in the war, but wasn’t sure of their history. Now I know! I’ve scanned one and am sharing it here.

The second letter is really interesting, as he recounts seeing many German prisoners packed together in box cars and the backs of trucks, and many French and Belgian prisoners that have been released from Germany on their way home. The war is indeed winding down!

13 April 1945 V-Mail
Germany (typed)

Hello, My darling, Well, here I am back in the old stamping ground again. Arrived yesterday afternoon, after a long and dirty trip. Very tired, but worked until 11:00 last night straightening things around. Haven’t had time to get my personal stuff arranged (or even read any but yours of the stack of about 20 letters waiting for me) and the way it looks it may be some time before I do. But it was wonderful to get all of those from you!! Ltrs all the way from Dec 6 to Apr 1st!! Ain’t that crazy? Just to get off a few things that I remember of immediate note, Mom’s birthday is May 2nd! Means that you will be late, but I was thinking that maybe it would be nice to send your and my mas some perfume for Mother’s Day (and birthday, in case of my Mom). What do you think? It may be a little difficult to pick you up some more of the Dutch coins, but I’ll try. Golly, darling, the garden sounds really super. Isn’t it great that Mercedes and you get a kick out of that sort of thing? The picture of you on the porch also arrived, and as you say it is not too good, but you still look good to me even if you are an old hag!! You will be receiving another package from the Riv. I had eleven hudred franc left, so went down to get another one of those carved pictures, but they were closed, so Madeline (M’elle Madeleine Savary) is going to buy it and send it on to you. I think they’re darn nice, and are spots that I’ve seen, making them the more attractive. And now I gotta read my other letters, and write Mom a happy birthday letter. I love ya’ don’t I? Pappy

14 April 1945 V-Mail

Hello, cutie, It ‘pears as how I’m going to be busier than ever for a few days, so I figure that I’d better get in another letter while I can. Just got around to reading all of the other letters I had when I got back and have sent Mom a birthday greeting and told her to expect a present from you in due time. In case you didn’t get the other letter, I think it would be nice if you send a bottle each of the perfume from Nice to your mother and mine for Mothers day, or birthday or whatever you want to call it.

My gosh, but we saw a mess of Jerry PWs loaded on the old 40 & 8 French RR cars!! Trainload after trainload of them. And up here we passed truck after truck with them packed on the back. Also released Fr. and Belg. who were on their way home after 5 years in Germany! They all waved and cheered us as they went past. As in France, some towns are complete rubble, and others (such as the one we are now in) haven’t even been touched. The people go about their business and look no different than those in Holland or Belg, except maybe a little better. At least, the women look better. but don’t compare, of course, with those M’ellse in Nice!! Iee-yi-yi!!! I haven’t got around to telling you yet, my darling, but as everywhere else, I haven’t changed a particle since the moment I left you at Bill and Ellens (none of the guys here can understand how I had such a wonderful time without ever having been drunk or slept with any one the whole trip!) But I know, and you know! I love you, baby. Think nothing of it if letters aren’t too frequent. I’m BUSY!! all my love —Pappy

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By a stroke of good luck, no train showed up and Dad got an extra day of furlough! He had such a great time dancing and meeting girls in the south, it’s going to be tough going back to duty in the 79th! I’m including another photo packet called “La Cote d’Azur”. Some great pictures of the sites around Cannes, Grasse, Nice, Monaco, and Monte Carlo. I wonder how they compare to those areas today?

The second letter is obviously dated incorrectly, but I have to include it here as it clearly says “9 April 1945”. I’m guessing it must be August as it sounds like the war is over and they’re waiting to be discharged.
9 April 1945 V-Mail

Hello, Sweetheart – Ha, are we ever the lucky ones! We were supposed to leave last night, but there was no train, so we have an extra day! I was most fortunate, too, to get acquainted with a Mrs. Thomas, working for Spec. Svc. here. Born in US, now married to a Brit. Friday night she invited me to her birthday party – a dinner in her Mama’s apt. Very good time! Met a couple of awfully nice French girls engaged to GI’s in 7th Army, when they were here. So Sat night I took both of them to one of the hotel dances. Lots of fun. Then last night (Sun) they invited me to their apt for dinner (with still another girl!) So I took all 3 of them dancing!! Oh, me, what a time. By the time I walked them home, & then clear back here, I was crawling. This morning I mailed you box no 2 from here. Full of perfume, & a picture I think you’ll like (not me). Try to get a couple more pics to mail you this afternoon. Saw De Gualle this morning. Probably be a few days till I write next, honey. It’s going to be a long ride back to the 79th – I hope!! But I’ll be loving you & thinking of you all the time, Rol

9 April 1945 V-Mail
Germany (typed)

Good evening, sweetie. It has been a really swell day. Were supposed to be off this morning, but somebody had to be here to receive the stuff, and send the rest off to army, so being the ranking man (harrumph) I naturally took over (besides there weren’t many of us able to get up this morning). This afternoon was our regular day for sports, so we went down to a ball diamond and had our first game of soft-ball. We were pretty ragged, but had a lot of fun. I played third base and didn’t fumble around too much, and got on base three out of four times at bat so felt all right. The large doses f strenuous exercise the past few days has started to catch up to me however, and tonight after supper I was very happy to sit out in our flower garden with a few of the boys and just drink beer – what a life!!! It’s so damn peaceful and pleasant something is bound to happen, life in the army just ain’t like this! When they start treating us so damn nice it makes me think of the wonderful meals that we got at Camp Miles Standish – and then the slop we got on the boat for the next two weeks! We’re really sweating out this damn discharge plan now.

Doggone, I could cer’ney use some mail honey. Isn’t coming through worth a darn. Got a VMail from Freddie D today and that’s all. Golly darling, but I miss you and Karen. I think that it is worse now that it is all over than it was before. Nearer, but yet so far — and always the possibility of the CBI staring you in the face … Well, goodnight my love, give my best to Mer & Dol … and huge hugs and kisses for you & K, Pappy

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Another fabulous excursion to Grasse! LOVE this “Welcome to the Riviera” brochure the Army gave Dad. I’ve scanned in most of it and will share it at the end of today’s post.

5 April 1945 V-Mail

Hello, honey – what a perfectly swell day! Bright sun (I have the beginning of a tan) and up at 8 AM for 2 sunny side up eggs, and down to the Red Cross to catch the “bus” (an ordinary 2 1/2 ton GI truck) for “Le Tour de Grasse”. Grasse is back from the Coast, up in the mts, & it was a beautiful trip there. We had a fine lunch in a big hotel with view clear down to the Sea, then went up a bit higher to a garden where, among others, Napoleons sister, and Queen Victoria spent a lot of time (at different times – yes). Then for a visit at a perfume factory (bit of graft there, I suspect) where we were “allowed” to purchase. I didn’t go for much except some “solid” perfume in 5 small wooden dice, which I will send on to you (200 F for the 5). Then down to Cannes, and back along the coast road through Antibes, Juan de Pins, etc to Nice at 1630. A swell excursion – Peacetime $28.00, me, for free! What a time we could have here on bicycles with Karen in a cart behind mine! I love you guys!!!

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Another delighted letter, this one to his Dad, from Nice, France on furlough. Hard to imagine that the cost of one week’s vacation = $2.00!!!

3 Apr 1945 V-Mail

Dear Dad, Here I am in what was once the finest gambling casino on the Rivera! It is now the Red Cross Club, and being one of the lucky guys from the front, I am on a 7 day furlough in Nice, France, on the blue Mediterranean Sea!! It all happened so fast I didn’t know what was happening until I was on a train in Aachen heading South! We arrived Easter afternoon about 2 o’clock. Are living in the finest hotels, with waiters to serve us, light our cigarettes, etc. And the cost for the whole week, for room, food etc – is 100 francs, or $2.00!!! There are tours & trips such as the boat trip I took this morning in a little fishing smack. My gosh but some of those homes sitting way up on the cliffs are beautiful the Jerries painted camouflage on most of the big apt. bldgs, leaving just the top floor as it was, so when you look at it from out at sea it looks like a one story house sitting up on the cliff. Not much damage done here except the pill boxes, etc, which were blown up after we had captured them. I’m having a swell time, Dad. Cripes, it’ll be tough to go back to soldiering again/Rollin

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Wow, this is not an April Fool’s joke – Dad’s name was drawn out of a hat and voila! He’s on a train heading south for a 7 day vacation! What a lucky guy! Now I understand all the memorabilia that I found from the South of France in his personal effects. These letters are precious, and I have so many little odds and ends to share, that I will post one letter per day with pictures and souvenirs from his journey.

1 Apr 1945 V-Mail

I don’t believe it myself – but here I am in NICE, FRANCE!! The Riviera! Thurs night we were having a meeting, and about 9:30 PM, the (?) came in and sez we have one man going to leave 6:15AM Friday for a 7 day furlough – and out of a hat comes NEIBAUER! My laundry had not come back, I’d sent you most of my money – but I scraped around, borrowed everything from everybody, and here I am in as beautiful a spot as you’d ever see! Rode a truck down through Munchen – Glad – back to Aachen where we hopped a train for all the way here. It was first class, but even so, sitting up for 48 hours was pretty tiring. We came through Marseilles & Cannes (along the Med. Sea) and arrived here about 2:30 this afternoon. We’re in a huge hotel (3 men in my room) overlooking the whole city. Had a bath & shave and went down to a turkey dinner with waiters serving, lighting our cigs – etc! Tonight I went to what was the finest casino here (now the Red Cross Club) to see a French vaudeville show – had a few beers – and now 11:30 PM – home – very tired – to crawl between sheets! Oh me! Golly, but I wish you & Karen were here –  I love you so

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In this letter, my Dad explains the hierarchy and abbreviations of the chain of command from the top down in the field of battle. This give me a much better idea of the complexities of his job. I gather that he’s one of the guys who helps direct mail and communications up and down the chain, top down to bottom up. So a few days after the crossing of the Rhine River, and major forward advances on the battlefield – my Dad and his comrades are playing volleyball! This could be a Fellini film! I’m also including a few snapshots that I wasn’t sure where they fit in, but Dad mentions pictures taken at Ninth Army “Hqs” – and there are pictures of a building that could be just that, along with names he’s written on the back of the pics. I’m hoping that someone else out there is related to one of these guys and we can compare notes!

27 March letter

Good evening, my very darling, As, usual, I’m a very beat chick, with great need of sleep,but I had a couple letters from you the last few days which bucks us up a bit, you know? Especially, the one with the picture of Mary. Doggone, honey, you really look good!!! And that’s a mighty fine looking jacket! The snow all around looks good. You go right along side of Miss K under my big glass on my desk, and you have drawn many a low whistle from Captains on down!!!

I’m sending you some German marks. These (obviously) are worthless, but when you figure that a mark is worth ten cents, you can see that a few of these little old papers were WORTH something once! Also a few more “Huberts”. Do you like him? OH, yeah, I don’t ever remember you acknowledging the pictures that I sent you way back in Dec. The regular “posed” photo for Xmas, a couple of snaps taken when I was working up at Ninth Army Hqs. Did you ever get those? My garish, but you’re dumb when it come to army lingo (almost as dumb as I until I got “in”). What is the difference between a HQ (headquarters and a Gp (group) — indeed!!! Oh me, this is going to be complicated. At the top you have an Army Hq, including the different branches of the service, such as Signal, Artillery, Ordnance, etc. Under that Ordnance Officer (Army) are Gps, such as this 79th Ord Gp Hq. Under this Hq (79th) are Bn (battalion) headquarters, which in turn have Cos (companies) under them. The companies are the only ones who actually do the work of repairing trucks, guns, etc. The Hqs are merely offices that consolidate and break down the paper work that goes up and down “thru channels”. For instance, if the Army Ord Officer decides that he wants to tell Joe blow in such and such a company something, he can’t just write to him and tell him. He writes first to the Gp, who indorse the “document” down to the Bn, who do same on down to the company and finally to Joe. Joes answer goes back up the same way — through channels. You can see that if you want to say something official to some guy in an entirely different army you’d do better to wait until the war is over and call him at home. Is this all as dull as it sounds?

We have had a lot of fun the past few days playing volley ball. Some of the boys strung up a net out in a field, and we knocked off at 4;30 and had several games before supper. The strange part of the story is, that the officers (including the “old man”, who is as good a man as they have on the officers team) knocked off with us and we had an Off. vs EM match — and you must know how it turned out! We beat them four games straight. It was really a hell of a lot of fun and I have a feeling that comes the end of this lousy war (and while we’re waiting for whatever is going to happen to us) we are going to have some very good times playing ball of one sort or another.

Golly, but the war news is really good, now isn’t it? We’re feeling pretty good about it all hoping to hell it won’t be too long now. I must hie me upstairs for a shave before I go to bed and as it is it is 10:30 already I’d better be going. Gee, but I miss you guys and love you with all my heart. Be a good girl and give Karen a huge hug for daddy “in the Ahmy”

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