Greetings fellow historians!

As a young boy my heroes were from books. Fighting men like Captain Horatio Hornblower and Francis Marion “the Swamp Fox” fired my imagination. More than anything I wanted to be like them, strong, brave, and heroic. One day, while rummaging around my father’s closet I came upon a large box. Arranged within the box were 5 or 6 dusty, dirty cigar boxes. Inside the boxes were hundreds of old letters. They were numbered, in sequence and in the original envelopes. I opened the first letter and started to read. From that day on, my hero became not Horatio Hornblower or Francis Marion, but Pfc. William Wellington Taylor, Jr., my father. The letters were his letters home from World War II.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. — Greg Taylor

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11 responses to “Greetings fellow historians!

  1. Greg, I’ve just finished reading your father’s letters and wanted to thank you for making them available, together with his equally engaging cartoons. No wonder he’s your hero! I’m a historian at Rutgers researching a book on the experiences of American service personnel who served with the armies of occupation after World War II. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone else who may have letters or diaries relating to the postwar occupations that they’d be willing to share. (My email address is scarruth@rutgers.edu)
    Many thanks, Susan Carruthers

  2. Susan- Thank you for your kind words. I am so grateful to be able to share these great letters (and sketches) with the world via cyberspace. I look forward to the publication of your book. The Occupation is a part of the World War II story that is often overlooked and it deserves more historical examination and revelation, in my opinion. Interestingly, I remember that my father developed an affinity for many of the ordinary Germans he encountered during the Occupation. He even dated several young German ladies during that time.

    Regards,
    Greg Taylor

  3. Dear Mr. Taylor,

    I am the district archivist of the district of Göppingen (Germany), where your father did his service when WWII ended. His letters are very interesting for us, showing our region through the eyes of an intelligent and reflecting young American. I translated some of his letters into German and will publish it in a book about the ending of WWII in our district. We would be happy to get a picture of your father. Our contact is: kulturamt@landkreis-goeppingen.de

    Kind regards,

    Dr. Stefan Lang

  4. Dear Dr. Lang,

    Thank you for your interest in my father’s letters. I think it is great that you have translated some of the letters into German for presentation in your forthcoming book. As I said in a previous post, Bill had a fondness for many of the Germans he met during the Occupation and I am sure that he would approve of your project.

    Regarding a picture, I have only two photos of him taken during the War- one during basic training and one taken in Paris in the fall of 1944 during a brief leave from combat. All other photos I have of him are post war. I will contact you directly on your email address for more information. I will gladly supply you with any photo that is appropriate to your needs.

    Regards,
    Greg Taylor

  5. Greg,

    Please send me an email. I am working on a history of the 1st Battalion, 399th Infantry Regiment (in which your father served).

    Sincerely yours,
    Tom Harper Kelly
    Progeny of Thomas B. Harper III, HQ Co., 1st Battalion, 399th Infantry

  6. Greg,
    If ever you’re in Neosho, Missouri, or want to plan a weekend trip here, let me know. I can take you around what is left of the old World War II Camp Crowder site, where your dad was for a time. It has changed dramatically since he was there. Not much left but woods and thickets. My email address is cato.uticensis46@gmail.com. I would be happy to provide my phone number. Great site, by the way.

    • Dear Charlie,
      Please feel free to to use Bill’s letters. I have created this website to honor his service and make this information available to anyone who wants to learn more about this history.
      Regards,
      Greg

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