November 1944


Bill sends home an early Christmas present. He wraps it in in a seperate note with a message to the censor saying, “Censor — Please rewrap.”

November 1, 1944

Dear Mudder,

This is just something by way of a souvenir and a minor Christmas present. Hope you like it. It isn’t much but it’s about the best I could do considering the marvelous choice of stuff they’ve got over here.

Well, Merry Christmas and stuff like that there.

Best Love, — Bill


Bill’s unit is moving out. Due to censorship he cannot provide any details saying, “as usual we’re obliged not to say where or when or how.” Bill attends a British vaudeville show he discribes as “so rotten it was pitiful.”

November 2, 1944

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I’m sending this air-mail special delivery in the forlorn hope that it’ll catch up with my last letter. I rather doubt whether or not it will. You see the censoring and mail handling is mixed up now so it’s impossible to get mail through in very great quantity or with any regularity. I have received only two letters from you recently—the last being no. 17. I had letters 18 and 19 several days before.

We’re going to be moved out. As usual we’re obliged not to say where or when or how so there’s not a “helluva” lot if elaboration that I can go into.

Haven’t done much lately outside of the usual routine. I’ve washed clothes and gone to a couple of shows in the evening. The other night I went to a vaudeville show (British). It was strictly from hunger. It was so rotten it was pitiful.

I’ve got to cut this short for the sake of the censor.

Best Love, — Bill


Bill is finally deployed to France. In this, his second letter from the continent he comments, “Podunk would look better.” Rumor has it that “Patton is going at it hot and heavy again.”

November 14, 1944
[France V-Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This is my second letter to you from France. I believe I’ll start numbering my letters too. Things are getting a little more settled here. This place certainly is not my idea of heaven. It could be a “helluva” lot worse, however. These letters from overseas are as informative as hell, aren’t they? There’s one thing I can say though and that is, don’t ever let anyone sell you on a trip to Europe. Podunk would look better.

I haven’t heard any news for about a week now — only rumors. The war could be over for all I know. Fat chance, huh? According to the last rumor that wafted my way Gen. Patton is going at it hot and heavy again. I hope so. The war sure has lasted a lot longer than any of us would have thought possible last Sept. I guess it could last for a long time yet.

Chances are that it’ll be quite some time before I get any mail from you. Sure am getting lonely for some.

Best Love, — Bill


Bill says “It sure is an interesting place where I’m stationed….and you don’t know anything about it.” He sarcastically remarks that, “I guess you’re not interested anyway” as the Captain told the men that the home folks only want to know that the soldiers are well — Baloney” according to Bill.

November 16, 1944
[France V-Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

It’s sure an interesting place where I’m now stationed. Every day I learn more and more of interest and you don’t know anything about it. I guess you aren’t interested anyway. The Capt. said all the people at home want to hear is that the soldiers are well—baloney, huh?

We had a movie here last night. It was “The Impatient Years” with Jean Arthur—very good but the lousy French electricity made the damned thing fail about every 10 minutes. I’ve got to go on K.P. tomorrow so goodnight.


Best Love, — Bill


It’s Saturday and Bill is undergoing “the same silly training we had in England.” The paper says that “the big drive is on with 6 or 7 armies going at once.” As usual Bill is dreaming of boxes from home.

November 18, 1944
[France V—Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Today’s Sat. and we’re supposed to have a holiday tomorrow. So far this week we’ve had the same silly training we had in England. Anything to get a guy all wet and muddy. Then after hiking about 15 miles during a day we came back to a meal that wouldn’t fill a cavity. All of which makes me think more about those boxes. I’ll probably get them sometime next Easter but I still can’t help drooling.

From what we read in the paper it looks like the big drive is on with 6 or seven armies going at once. I’ll bet there are a lot of “Krauts” who wish they’d never been born now. I hear that Wall St. is betting 100 to 1 that it’ll be over after the holidays. Hope so!

Best Love, — Bill

France in 1944


Bill is assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army. He can say no more but hopes to give his permanent A.P.O. with his next letter. He spends his second Thanksgiving away from home.

November 24, 1944
[France V-Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

You see again it’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to write you. By the address you’ll see that I’ve moved again. I’ll be moving again soon but by the time you get this letter I probably will be with a regular outfit. Don’t write this address as my next letter will probably give my permanent A.P.O, etc.

I can say, however, that I’m with the Seventh Army. They’ll probably censor that but I was told it was O.K.

Had a pretty nice Thanksgiving yesterday—no kidding. All the turkey and trimmings I could eat and an orchestra to boot. I also went to church and a movie in the evening. Not bad for France, Huh? Almost a month since I got any mail from you. Sure’ll be glad when it catches up with me.

Love, — Bill


Bill writes on the back of “some French Kid’s homework.” He is permanently attached to Co. A, 399th. Infantry Regiment.

November 25, 1944

Dear Folks,

You can see from the good stationery that I wrote this on the spur of the moment. Those numbers on the other side are some French kid’s homework.

This is really just a copy of a V-Mail letter I wrote early this evening. All I have to say is I’m with an outfit somewhere. My permanent address is:

[Co. “A” 399th. Inf. A.P.O. 447
c/o P.M. New York]

Best Love, — Bill


Bill says “things are moving awfully fast now.”  He is somewhere in eastern France. He cautions that he may not write very often.

November 25, 1944-2
[France V-Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This is my permanent address:

[Co. “A” 399th. Inf.
A.P.O 446]

I can’t say what Division I’m with yet or exactly where. Generally, I am in eastern France. I can tell you where I’ve been recently. I landed at Le Havre. We were some of the first American troops in there. From Le Havre we went to Belgium and finally to Givet. On the border from there we came here. I hope all the above was O.K. They said so.

Lots of love. I’m a little pressed for time so I’d better close. Don’t worry if I don’t write very often. Things are moving awfully fast now.

Best Love, — Bill


In a private letter to Dad, Bill advises that “tomorrow I’m going into combat.” He tells him that “you know better than I how mother would take it.” In closing Bill tells his father, “don’t worry. From now on I’m going to do a ‘helluva’ lot of plain and fancy taking care of myself.”

November 25, 1944-3
[France V-Mail]

Dear Dad,

Tomorrow I’m going into combat. As I gather things are pretty rough in this sector right now. That about covers all I know, but I do want you to know how things stand. You know better than I how mother would take it.

I have already written another V-Mail home and will try and get an airmail off if possible. Don’t worry. From now on I’m going to do a “helluva” lot of plain and fancy taking care of myself.

Best Love, — Bill

P.S. You keep my car running good.


Bill is transported by a “40 and 8″ train to his permanent unit saying,”If I never hear one of those rattletraps again it’ll be too soon.” He gets his first bath in France. He asks, “I wonder where Hitler is? That’s becoming a big question.

November 26, 1944

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I figure I’ll write this so that you’ll be sure and get my new address.

Co. “A” 399th. Inf. A.P.O. 447
c/o P.M. New York, N.Y.

This is about the forth letter I’ve sent with this address. I know damned well that at least one should get through pretty fast. I’ll try and send this one Airmail Special.

Well, things are beginning to speed up again over here. Everyone is talking about getting the war over by Christmas. I hope so, but after the letdown we got in Sept.when everyone thought there was nothing left but the cheering has left me a little wary.

The weather is as bad as ever. It’s too bad because everyone thinks that a couple of weeks of bombing weather would just about wash Jerry up.

I wonder where Hitler is? That’s becoming a big question. I wonder if those dumb Krauts ever think about it.

The other day I got my first bath in France. Wow! Did I need it. Facilities over here are not all that’s desired. There’s at least on consolation. Everyone else is just as dirty as me.

When the war is over there’s one thing I don’t want you to mention and that’s a “40 and 8.” If I never hear one of those rattletraps again it’ll be too soon.

That about does it. I feel well and “stuff like that there.” Please write as soon as possible.

Best Love, — Bill


Bill thinks it’s “swell” that he is finally with his outfit, Company A, 399th Infantry Regiment. He says, “I was getting awfully tired of being a replacement.” The weather is foul as usual but Bill says, “I’m inside a warm building so I don’t give a hoot and holler.”

November 29, 1944
[France V-Mail]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Still a movin’ around and I haven’t the slightest idea where I’m going. It’s sure swell to be with an outfit, however. I was getting awfully tired of being a replacement.

It’s another of those sloppy, dark, rainy days so typical over here. Fortunately I’m inside a warm building so I don’t give a hoot and holler.

I’m all out of touch with the news again and as always when soldiers can’t get news rumor runs rampant. Entire German armies have surrendered. The Wehrmacht is supposed to give up to a man on Dec. 1 etc., etc.

No mail yet. It’s better than a month now. I should start getting it before long. Sure am lonesome for a letter. As soon as I get one or two I’ll be able to write a decent letter.

I am feeling fine. I’ll write as often as possible.

Best Love, — Bill

Though prohibited to give his location in the letters Bill sent home, his unit was heading into the battlefield area of France known as the Vosges Mountains.


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