October 1944

LETTER 128

It’s “another lazy Sunday” and Bill plans to go over to the Red Cross. The morning papers indicate that “Ike is massing some 3,000,000 men on the German frontier.” Bill reports that he has fireman duty and must report to the Messhall at 3:30 A.M.

October 1, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Here it’s another lazy Sunday. It’s a pretty nice day outside but still wet from yesterday’s rain. I should be doing some washing but I can’t seem to get very enthusiastic about the thing. I guess I’ll get cleaned up in a little while and go over to the Red Cross. The mail you’re sending me comes so damn slow that it’s pitiful. You say my letters come in 7 days. Well it takes yours over 3 weeks. After not getting and mail from you for about a week I received one letter yesterday that was dated the sixth of Sept.

Well, they’ve finally got around to letting us be a little more specific about where we are. Now I can say I’m in Southern England. That clears up things a “helluva” lot doesn’t it—to be sure.

I see by this morning’s paper that Ike is massing some 3,000,000 men on the German frontier and that the Jerries are as jittery as the devil. I can’t say I blame them. From what the papers say they’re going to go through Das Reich like a dose of salts. I hope so. You’ll probably know all about it by the time you get this letter. I understand, however, from the infinitesimal amount of Eastern news that the British papers print that China is getting awfully wobbly.

That’s really about all there is, folks. Tomorrow I’ve got to go to the Messhall about 3:30 A.M. and be a fireman, a dirty job. Phooey! The more I think about it the less I like it. Oh hell! “Cest la guerre” and all stuff like that thar.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 129

Bill notes that “just one year ago today I came into the bloomin’ army.” He fires for the record and despite a driving rain makes “Expert” — the highest level of markmanship.

October 4, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

“Why ain’t I gittin’ any o’ thet thar mail”? Don’t answer, I know—it’s the postal service. I’d like to strangle somebody. Grin! I feel meaner than the devil.

You’ll please note the date. Just one year ago today I came into the blooming army. What a lousy, stinking year it’s been. In some ways it seems longer than a year and others shorter. Anyhoo, I can wear a good conduct ribbon now. Oh thrill! Phfft!

I fired for record today. You know a soldier has to fire for record once a year. This time I made Expert although I thought for a while that I wouldn’t. Just as I moved up on the firing line it started to rain like the very devil. All the while I fired bucketsful of rain were being hurled into my puss. And I’ll be damned if just as I stepped off the line it didn’t stop raining. The gods must be in a league against me. I shouldn’t complain though. I made 176 points and only 172 were required to make Expert.

That’s about it for tonight.

Best love, — Bill

LETTER 130

The training “just seems to drag along in an easy but boresome manner.” At the close of the letter Bill hears a ruckus downstairs that “sounds as if a murder were being committed” so he goes to investigate.

October 6, 1944
[England]

Dear Folks,

What’sa matter anyway. The last letter I got from you was mailed September 6 — a whole month ago. Some folks here are getting letters postmarked as late as the 28th—but for me, “nuttin.” I don’t know what’s wrong but whatever it is I don’t like it—not even a little bit, but I guess it won’t do me any good. You say some of my mail comes as quickly as 7 days. That’s pretty good. I wonder why I can’t do as well.

Really there’s not a “helluva” lot to write about these days. Our training just seems to drag along in an easy but boresome manner and outside of that I don’t do much of anything. In evening I generally go to the Red Cross for a “Coke” or maybe take in one of these old shows. In general I live a typical E.T.O. army life “Confidentially.” You know how the saying goes.

By now school must be pretty well underway. Write and tell me how things are; even tell me what you’re having for dinner if you must.

I’ll close now. I haven’t said much but that’s about all there is. Anyway, it sounds as if a murder were being committed down stairs. I’d better investigate. Hope you’re not having colds like me.

Best love, — Bill

LETTER 131

Bill inquires about the estate of his recently departed grandfather, Herbert Leroy Taylor. He is hoping to be the recipient of some historical family documents. He misses not getting news about the Presidential election campaign. Bill plans to put in for a pass to London.

October 8, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I finally received 2 letters from you. It was really a relief. Just to show you what the delay had been, these last letters were both marked #12. Before them the last letter I received was marked # 6. In other words somewhere there are 5 letters floating around. I know my change of address would have something to do with this but just think, all that time for a few letters to travel around in this little country.

I sure wish I was home to follow the campaign. I’ll bet it’s sure interesting. That clipping sure took a rap at the “great man.”

As I say in just about all my letters, there isn’t much to write. This evening I went to the show again. That’s about all a body can do. Soon I’m going to put in for my London pass. Can’t say just when though.

Have you heard any more about the estate Gramps left? I got to thinking about the family records that he always used to talk to me about when we were east. I wonder if they still exist and whether or not I could have them if they do. I’m the only one to whom they could mean much so I wish you’d write and see about them.

I “shure” hope those packages get through okay. Most of the fellows here seem to be getting them all right but just a little slower than regular mail. By the way, yesterday’s letters were postmarked the 28th. That wasn’t so bad.

Hope to get another letter tomorrow night.

Best love, — Bill

LETTER 132

The rain is coming down in torrents and Bill’s shoes are “filled with water to the ankles.” He receives some letters that “must have come over by rowboat” taking over a month to get from Los Angeles to Bill in England.

October 11, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

God, what a day this has been. From early this morning to late this evening the wind blew like a damned hurricane and the rain comes down in torrents. Five minutes after we fell out this morning I was sopped and that’s the way I remained all day long. Cold as an iceberg and wet as could be I felt like a “pore mizzable” drowned rat all day long. My shoes actually filled up with water to the ankles and my pants were soaked all the way to my –er-hips. If I didn’t have a damned good constitution I’d be dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of fellows won’t be sick tomorrow as it is. And you used to bawl me out for going out without a hat on. It’s really funny.

I’m beginning to get some of my back mail now. Some of it must have come over by rowboat. You sent me some of the letters over a month ago.

To top off a perfectly horrible day we’re having a perfectly beautiful evening. There’s not a cloud in the sky and the stars are shining like a million and one jewels. It’s brisk and breezy but not too much so. I just got back from a stroll and its right to make one sleepy. In fact I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open right now. That’s as good a cue as any for me to sign off. Bet you think this is a helluva letter. It is.

Best love, — Bill

LETTER 133

Bill finally gets his pass to London. He rides the “Underground” to Piccadilly Circus and upon getting off is “promptly drowned by the mob.” Bill observes the colorful scene at Piccadilly Circus and then visits the American Red Cross to secure sleeping accommodations for the night.

October 17, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I sure am sorry that I haven’t written to you for so long but everything’s been going so fast that I’ve just let everything go.

I’ve been to London, finally. I thought that I was never going to get that pass but I finally did. I am sure glad that I got to go. It’s the only place in England that’s really worthwhile seeing. I left here about 3:00 PM in the afternoon and arrived at Waterloo Station about dinner time. God I never saw such a mob in my entire life. I never saw so different uniforms in my life either. The station itself is no Grand Central but I can assure you there’s just as many people if not more. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible so I grabbed the “Underground.” Now that is something. It’s the most efficient, fastest, easiest thing in England. Everything is done by machine. You get your change, buy your ticket, ride the escalator, get on your train & zip you’re there. Actually it’s rather paradoxical that the English, who as a rule are so damn slow and who love to do everything the hard way, should have such an efficient transportation system.

Anyway, I got off at Piccadilly Circus to find the main American Red Cross Headquarters and was promptly drowned in the mob. Piccadilly Circus is the Times Square of London, you know. The whole place was packed with soldiers, sailors, M.P.’s, newsboys, peddlers, ordinary civilians, and prostitutes, I might add. Every time I took a step I could hear, “Hello soldier”, or “Got a match, soldier?” Londoners call them “Piccadilly Commandos” and the name is quite apropos. After I fought my way into the Red Cross I found out about getting a bed. They gave me a ticket and directions to one of the multitudes of A.R.C. clubs in London. My place was the Hans Cresent Club, just south of Knightsbridge in the main part of the City. There I got a fair meal and a good bed with sheets and a pillow. I didn’t go very far that evening but went to bed early. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Love — Bill

LETTER 134

Bill receives six letters from home and writes a second letter on this date to acknowledge getting them. It’s another “godawful night for cold, wind and rain and he has guard duty.

October 17, 1944 (2)
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This is the second of two letters I’ve written today. Since I finished the first one and dropped it in the mailbox I received six letters from you. I probably wouldn’t have written this one except for a small phrase at the end of one of them. It was “thanks for the letters last week.” Suddenly I realized what a heel I’ve been. I’ve started out more letters with-“I’ve been too busy to write.” Baloney! The real reason was I was just too goddamn lazy to make the time. Really I’m sorry. I want you to remind me of this note every time I let up on my writing and if I miss a single day you’ll know something really important will have happened.

I was sure glad to get that mail. One was dated September 6 and one was dated October 5. All in all they must cover all the letters I’ve had coming. From the questions and so forth that you asked, I should be able to write a dozen letters.

I’m on guard tonight and is it a godawful night for cold, wind and rain. The weather up here wasn’t half bad when I first arrived but now—Phooey! I’ll be on four hours straight and then I’ll be through.

Well, I’ve got quite some time before I’ve got to be at the guardhouse, but I don’t know what to do. Think I’ll get a little shuteye.

Best love, — Bill

P.S. Mother, you get rid of that cold.

LETTER 135

Bill continues his narrative of sightseeing in London. He takes a free G.I. tour conducted by an old retired English major, “a typical Col. Blimp but without the walrus mustache.” Among the sites he visits are Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Scotland Yard, St. James Palace and No. 10 Downing St.

October 18, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Today we had some more unusual weather—it rained; unusual for anyplace but England. I’m beginning to get that old water logged feeling.

I was telling you about my trip to London, wasn’t I? Well I got up about 7:30 the next morning and went down to breakfast. Funny thing about European elevators or lifts as they call them over here. They take you up but you have to walk down. Anyhoo, they weren’t ready to serve so I decided to go out and buy a newspaper. It was Sunday so the streets were plenty dead at that time in the morning. I no more than got out the door, however, than I was mobbed by 3 bozos selling medals, ribbons and various other uniform decorations. I’m entitled to wear an E.T.O. ribbon and a good conduct ribbon but I wasn’t going to let those birds soak me 3 times what they were worth. Not all Yanks are dumbells and not all Yanks are millionaires. It was a nice day oddly enough—sunny with just a trace of haze so after I bought my paper I started to walk down Knightsbridge toward the center of town. I didn’t go far for fear of being lost, and anyway I didn’t have long until breakfast. As I went into the dining room I noticed that there was a tour of London to start about 9:45. We had potatoes and bacon, bread and butter, and some really good black coffee for breakfast. After that I sat in the lounge reading and listening to the American Armed Forces Network broadcast until time for the tour. Most clubs conduct “taxi tours” but ours was a free tour à la “Shanks mare.” It doesn’t sound so good but it was swell. We had an old retired English major for a guide. He was a typical Col. Blimp but without the walrus mustache. You know, striped pants, gray spats, homburg hat, all the appearances of a conservative gentleman slightly run down at the heels.

Well, we started off—about 15 of us down Knightsbridge toward Piccadilly Circus. The old boy turned out to be quite a card and he turned out to be a damn good guide. He pointed out some of the clubs the old French Embassy and some of the homes of the nobility and royalty—From the outside they looked like nothing at all. Next we went through Hyde Park and to Wellington’s monument. Not much interesting there except the World War artillery monument which is an almost exact replica of a huge field piece in stone. The statues around it were all sandbagged. From there we passed the Palace Guarders. Although the fence is gone they still lock the gate every night at 12:00. British tradition. Phfft! We then walked around Buckingham Palace. It does look like Grand Central Station. The old boy explained the changing of the guard. They still change the guard—no fancy uniforms though (not Sunday). They’re not supposed to change it at all but they figured that they ought to put on some show for visiting G.I.’s so I imagine the guards who have to do the parading love us for it. They hate us anyway so what’s the difference? From there we went to Trafalgar Square. Everything Canadian in Britain, banks, etc. stands on one corner of that square. I noticed George Washington, a gift of Virginia on another corner. I’ll bet they appreciated that. Then we started down Whitehall where we saw the various gov’t. office, war office, Scotland Yard, etc.—No. 10 Downing St., the Monument to World War I’s unknown British soldier and down to the Houses of Parliament and the Abby. I also saw St. James Palace, which looked like Lincoln heights Vail, I believe. Those palaces are the least impressive things of all. I’ll show more details in my next letter.

Best love — Bill

LETTER 136

The walking tour of London continues. Bill sees Westminster Abby, Bond St. and the Houses of Parliament. Upon arriving at the Parliament the famous Big Ben thunders out 12 times signalling the noon hour. Bill promises to touch on a few details of the Abby in his next letter.

October 19, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Over the last two days I’ve received “FOURTEEN” letters from you. Imagine! They dated all the way from Sept. 6 to Oct. 7. No wonder I haven’t got much mail, damn their “ornary” hides anyway. Talk about material for letter writing. Whooee! I think I’ll finish up about going to London first.

I told you about where I went prior to leaving for the Houses of Parliament & the Abbey. I guess it’s unfortunate that I could see only the outside of many of these famous places. No. 10 Downing St. and so forth. From the outside most places look like absolutely “nottinks” at all. There’s so much that is shabby. The famous Bond St. where all the snazzy clothes come from is slightly reminiscent of East Los Angeles St. at home. In fact, all London reminded me of the East Side. You just can’t compare Europe to the United States. It’s just a dump by comparison. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot of interest here.

I arrived at the Houses of Parliament just as the clock in St. Stevens that houses the famous Big Ben started chiming. Then the bell itself thundered out 12 times—really sumpin’. I understand that the bell itself is slightly cracked and that’s what gives it that peculiar sound. We then walked out onto Westminster Bridge and looked up and down the Themes—muddy ditch. We could see just about all London from there. Next we walked around the place. The guide pointed out the ancient Westminster palace and the 19th. century buildings that surround it. Then we crossed over to a small square which lies in the “L” formed by the Parliament buildings and the Abbey. The dominating figure in the square is a large statue of Abraham Lincoln no less. We all had our picture taken there but later when I came to buy one the bloke was gone. It would have been nice with me, Lincoln and Big Ben in it.

Then we crossed over to the Abbey which again doesn’t look like much from the outside. However, once inside it’s beautiful. The first thing one becomes aware of is the high vaulted roof formed by a series of pointed arches. Its 102 ft. from floor to the highest part of the ceiling. It’s rather gloomy and when I mentioned it to the guide he said it was because there’s 700 years of London smoke and grime on the walls. Most people think the place is built of stone but actually its dirty marble. Just as one enters the door he sees the tomb of Britain’s unknown soldier set in the floor—the Congressional Medal of Honor hangs on the wall nearby. In walls and floor are buried everybody under the sun and there’s all kinds of statues and plaques to let you know it. More than once I found myself standing on top of Gladstone or William Pitt. Unfortunately much of the stuff around the alter is sandbagged and out of sight. That’s about all now. I’ll touch a few details in my next letter.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 137

American G.I’s are instructed “not to write anything malicious about our British allies” but Bill nevertheless offers his take on the British. The papers note that the U-boats are again active.

October 20, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

It’s not yet noon but since I’m barracks orderly and I’ve finished my work I thought I’d might as well start anyway. After looking over all the letters I’ve received during the last few days I hardly know where to start at all. Well now let’s see. To go all the way back to Sept. 5 most of the questions you ask have been answered by the time I get the letter. About the V-mail, however, it comes about as fast as the fastest ordinary airmail, and the typing comes out fine. I don’t like it as well as regular airmail by far but according to the Stars and Stripes the approaching winter weather is going to cut down air travel across the Atlantic so that only V-mail will be sure of getting there.

I’m glad to know you got that diamond. It must be very pretty.

Next is dad’s letter of Sept. 9, #6. There’s only one thing that I’ve been intending to write about for a month now but it’s always slipped my mind. I got several letters from you referring to a letter you evidently sent me which Mrs. Ferber was sending this Mrs. Brotherhood. I always thought that I’d get the thing in a few days and then I’d know what’s what . I still haven’t got it, however. Now that my mail is catching up with me I might get it but so far “nuttin’”.

You said you’d like to know more about the people, their attitude toward us, and so forth. That’s hard to say. We’re not supposed to write anything malicious about our British allies but that’s more of at request than an order.

The people themselves seem quite different from Americans. That famous British reserve generally annoys Americans and that doesn’t help matters any. However, one must remember that most G.I.’s don’t make very hot ambassadors of good will. The only thing that annoys me about them is that insular attitude of “Hell we don’t need you.” Actually their attitude toward us is rather derisive. They take us for being rather stupid. It’s easy to laugh at this. Britishers who have ever been to America certainly don’t feel that way. British food is quite unimaginative; however wartime restrictions may have much to do with that—never enough salt.

With letter number 7 comes the first news about the swell Christmas packages you’re sending. Drool! I note by the papers that the U-boats are out again. Dammit, if they sink even one package I’ll murder the whole German navy personally.

I’m having one devil of a time finding out about these language courses. Everything’s mixed up over here and nobody knows anything. I’m going to classes at the Red Cross but that’s all so far.

Yes, Fred Roberts is here. I saw him for the 1st time in several weeks last night. He’s still in the Engineers it seems.

Letter No. 9—“Chow.” I’ll finish this tonight or tomorrow.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 138

Bill sends Mudder and Dad cartoon clippings of “Sad Sack and his erstwhile contemporary Hubert.” He says that the men are jubilant over the news of the invasion of the Philippines. He asks about the Presidential campaign and promises to write again tomorrow.

October 21, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I don’t have a “hellova” lot of time to write tonight. I just got off of K.P. and it’s pretty late. It was an easy day, but I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. It was silly too. There was no reason in the world why I shouldn’t have slept until 5:00 anyway but you know the army “Hurry up and wait.” By the way, have you heard the “daffynition” of a chow line? It’s the man behind the man behind the man, etc., etc. I’ve got a couple cartoons I’m going to put a couple of cartoons. That last sentence shows what the E.T.O. has done to me. Another few months and they’ll send me home a babbling idiot with a section eight. Anyhow I think you’re acquainted with the “Sad Sack” but I don’t know if you know his erstwhile contemporary, “Hubert.”

I have to go over and see if I can buy some stationary before the P.X. closes that is if it hasn’t shut down already.

We’re all pretty jubalent? jubilunt? jubilent? (None of ‘em look right) over the news of the invasion of the Phillipines? Philippines? (Why can’t I learn to spell?) The papers over here with the exception of the ‘Stars and Stripes” hardly mention it, but we understand it’s really big and months ahead of schedule.

How’s the campaign coming? That does it. I’ll write again tomorrow.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 139

It’s a rainy, dark and gloomy day. Bill has spent it washing clothes and plans to go see a movie tonight to “keep from going nuts.” He has spent a week looking for a Christmas card to send home with no success.

October 22, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I promised you I’d write a nice long letter tonight, but sure don’t feel like it now. I’ve been washing all day long and now I feel like a limp wet rag. Washing heavy stuff like fatigues in a pail is no soft job. I plan to go to the movies tonight not that there’s anything worth seeing but I gotta do sumpin’ to keep from going nuts. It hasn’t been much of a day; rainy, dark, gloomy. It’s not unusual but still I never feel like doing anything. To be truthful I ain’t never gonna like this country. I really feel sorry for the British. They’re stuck with it.

I’ve been trying to get some Christmas cards for about a week now but the P.X. seems to be out. I’ll probably be able to get some by tomorrow. Better close now. Not much of a letter but I’m in “sortofa” funk.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 140

Bill gets news from home. Family friend Bob Brewer is wounded in battle. His folks, who are both smokers cannot get cigarettes. Bill say that the soldiers in his company get 7-10 packs a week yet millions of packs are rotting on the docks for lack of transportation. He encloses a Bill Mauldin cartoon.

October 23, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Due to circumstances far beyond my control but much to my liking, the company doesn’t have to train today. Therefore this letter is being written in the early morning instead of in the evening as usual.

To start off with the weather as is customary—it stinks. An ice cold wind is blowing puffs of equally cold rain in about 8 directions at once. It’s really “mizzleble”. I’m sure glad I’m inside by a nice warm fire instead of battling with the elements.

I got your letter of the eleventh, Dad. You know more about Chester than I ever did. However, about that strawberry and cream complexion; that must have been before malnutrition set in. I did see those timbered houses and cathedral.

I was sorry to hear that Bob Brewer got wounded. The face and neck is a hellova place to get it too.

Boy I’m sure glad to see Hanson get it. That S.O.B. should. When I think of all the guys over here in far worse shape than that rat I really boil.

That’s a “hellova’ note that you can’t get cigarettes. We can get about 7 packs a week, sometimes 10. That’s not bad. Here’s the rub. According to Stars and Stripes there’s god knows how many millions of packs sitting on the docks over here rotting for lack of transportation. Ridiculous, isn’t it? I received the stamps. Thanks a lot.

About that allotment, it’s a $15.00 class “E” allotment. I took it out at Camp Reynolds. I don’t need much money over here—nothing to buy!

I’ll write again soon.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 141

Bill learns that his close friend, Horton Grant has died. He laments the irony that “young people who have never done any harm are dying by the thousands all over the world” while scoundrels like Baron Toyama, “the head of the notorious Black Dragon society peacefully pass away at the ripe old age of 93.”

October 24, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I received your letters of the 12th of Oct. and the 14th. I must say that I was shocked to hear of the death of Horton Grant. I believe I was closer to him than anyone else at Harvard. Honest to god, I can’t figure this damned world out at times. A nice kid like that has to die before he even starts to live while the very scum of the earth goes on and on. I noticed by the papers the other day that Baron Toyama, head of the notorious “Black Dragon” society, had peacefully passed away at the ripe old age of 93, I believe. There’s a man who has dedicated his entire life to unheard of violence and terror goes like that at that age. Why he didn’t even have to witness Japan’s coming anguish and destruction. Meanwhile, young people who have never done any harm are dying by the thousands all over the world, some of them like Horton even without the slightest reason. At times I find it difficult to retain my belief in the right.

To turn to happier thoughts—your letters are beginning to arrive pretty regularly now. It’s too good to be true, I know but they’re coming in about 10 days.

The weather was quite cold today but it didn’t rain. I like that better. I haven’t been doing anything spectacular lately as per usual. I went to a show last night—old picture. In the army nothing exciting happens ‘till on hits the fighting, and then it’s too damned exciting.

Well, the bottom of the page gives me a chance to sign off.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 142

The army is conducting a periodic “E.T.O. Roundup”-the picking up of AWOL soldiers, so Bill is on restriction. He says there is a terrific air of expectancy. “Everyone feels it but no one knows what it is.”

October 25, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Well, here I am again. Wot a pest, huh? I’m now going to attempt to write a letter despite a rather noisy poker game being fought out right next to me. If you suddenly find a full house or two in this letter, you’ll know I got a little “confoozed.”

Life is just as boring as ever around here and to make things worse we’re restricted due to the periodical “E.T.O. Roundups”—picking up AWOL’s. so, “as fer usual” there’s not much to write about. Some fellows can think up the most interesting pack of lies to put in their letters but I just can’t do it. T’aint right.

I just went up for a shower and is that an ordeal? Definitely. The night air is cold enough, but in that shower-room which is full of holes and cracks for the wind to whistle through anyway—you can imagine. It’s like a nudist colony in Siberia–I wanna come home. I ain’t never gonna like this war. I wonder how many others share my feelings.

There’s a terrific air of expectancy all over around here now. Everyone feels it but no one knows what it is. The front has been pretty quiet for some time now and there seems to be a terrific turmoil going on inside Germany. I think something’ll pop soon now. Just a hunch—but.

That about does it. Not much news but I try to write a letter every night now. Tomorrow I’ll start answering all those back letters again.

Hope you are all well and say hello to the neighbors for me.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 143

Bill is planning to see an on post exhibit of a captured German 88 mm gun, considered to be Germany’s most deadly weapon. He also plans to go to the cinema with Fred Roberts. It’s foggy but Bill says “that’s better’n rain.”

October 26, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Haven’t received any mail from you for several days. I’ll probably get a whole lot of it at once again. I don’t like it but that’s the way it goes. This won’t be the long letter I promised last night but it’s this way. Fred Roberts is here and wants me to go over to the cinema with him. Also I want to see an exhibition of captured enemy equipment that they have on the post. I especially want to see the German 88 mm gun, which we consider Germany’s most deadly weapon.

The rain hasn’t been so bad of late. There’s a “hellova” lot of fog but that’s better’n rain. It’s still no good, however.

Well, Fred is here and he’s a pesting me to hurry so I’ll have to quit. This is no letter but you said to write even if only a word or two.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 144

War news from the Pacific is good. MacArthur has “returned” to the Philippines and the Allies have defeated the Japanese in a series of major naval battles at Leyte Gulf. Bill is hoping for Dewey to defeat Roosevelt in the upcoming election and laments that he can’t get more election news. Tonight he has a “night problem.”

October 27, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

The army is sure doing it’s damndest to try and keep me from doing my letter writing. Tonight we’ve got a night problem. You know—going out into black night and fogging around with a compass. If I don’t fall in a hole somewhere and break my leg, I’ll be doing okay.

Well, it won’t be long ‘til the holiday season. I know, Thanksgiving is still some time away, but we’re beginning to think about getting cards and so forth. All of which makes the poor mistreated soldier more homesick than ever—if that is possible.

It’ll be just about election time when you get this, from what the papers say Dewey is making some pretty strong speeches. I hope they make some effect. There’s not much known over here, but it seems to be thought that Roosevelt will win by a very narrow margin. I wish that I were closer and knew a little more of what is going on.

Well, (too many wells around here) I seems we’ve won a great battle in the Philippines. Even the British papers give it top billing. They say that it will shorten the Pacific war considerably. I hope so. Maybe then I could get home before I have a gray beard draggin’ on the floor.

I sure hope those packages come soon. I’m getting hungry for some good food and stuff.

We’re going to have to fall out in a few minutes so I’ll close now.

Bestus Love, — Bill

LETTER 145

Christmas packages are beginning to arrive in the Company but Bill has yet to receive one. To cheer himself up he goes to a movie but it doesn’t seem to do the trick. He closes saying “you don’t want to hear any more morbid stuff so I’ll sign off now.”

October 29, 1944
[England]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Today or rather I should say tonight is Sunday. I didn’t write a letter yesterday because I knew they wouldn’t send out the mail ‘till Monday anyhow.

This evening I went out to the movies to see if I couldn’t cheer myself up a little. I didn’t particularly want to sit around and mope either. I’ve got K.P. tomorrow now and that doesn’t make me feel any too happy anyhow.

Christmas packages are beginning to arrive in the company now but I haven’t received any. They’ve got to come soon.

I did receive two letters from you yesterday, however-#18 and 19. They were both postmarked the 17th. You didn’t ask much in the way of questions so there’s not much to answer.

As usual there’s not much doing these days. It’s maddening never to be able to do anything I personally want to do. Really this army gets more and more difficult to stomach every day. Always being told when and how you can do a thing, the boredom, the everlasting inefficiency and stupidity. Maybe I’ve got too sensitive a nature or something but I’m so goddam sick and tired of it. I can imagine how those in the fighting must feel.

I’m going to try and send something home for Christmas. I don’t know how or what but I think it’ll make me feel better.

You don’t want to hear any more morbid stuff so I’ll sign off now. Hope you are in better humor than I.

Best Love, — Bill

P.S. Got the rest of the stamps.

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