Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 25, 2014

Memorial Day 2014, Honoring Dad’s Regiment

In honor of Memorial Day I am posting this chapter of my father’s story. I feel the second letter is the most historical of all of the letters he wrote. It is written ten days after the censorship is lifted and he proceeds to tell my mom in short, what has happened since arriving overseas.

Please join me in honoring the 110th-35th Quartermaster on this Memorial Day 2014, the sacrifices they and many others like them made and continue to make. As long as I am alive they will never be forgotten.

For those who have served, Thank you for your service.

 

The Suitcase, a daughter’s journey through World War II

Dad Tells All

Chapter 82

Notice the stamp in the lower left corner. This is the last one stamped with the censor

Notice the stamp in the lower left corner. This is the last one stamped with the censor

It is now seven days after VE-Day and my dad is hopeful about getting home and meeting his baby for the first time. The 16 May 1945 letter is the last censored letter there is. What will Dad’s letters be like once it is lifted? We don’t have to wait long to find out.

16 May, Hanover, Germany

My Darlings, By gosh guess what I did. I did my wash after 9:30 tonight. Had quite a place to get it done too. A big boiler and washing machine (the hand style) But had to do something. Have been sweating out getting my other laundry from the company and it hasn’t come.  Well if it dries now I guess everything will be ok. According to the paper I can tell you the town I am in. Hannover and not proud of it either. Oh its [sic] not so bad here. Only not going enough. Back at the company we were on the road all the time. And here it isn’t such. Didn’t get any mail today so haven’t much to say. I did forget to tell you yesterday that Madelyn said she was going to try and get up there before she got married. I doubt it though. Although you can’t tell about her.   We had ice cream again for supper and also steak. Last night we had chicken fried. Boy was that good. Eating pretty good right now. Don’t imagine that will last long though can’t say much for the future. But look for anything. You know I have been having stomick [sic] trouble for the last 4 or 5 days. Nothing bad I guess. Went to the medic today and got some pills to take. So maybe I’ll get by. Well honey I’m all run down and its [sic] almost eleven. So I getter go to bed. I love you my Darlings I love you so much honey. I love you I love you Darlings I love you. All my love, Lefty

17 May, 1945 Quartermaster moved to Ascheberg, Germany, 15 miles south of Munster

This is the first letter after the censorship was lifted. Notice the stamp is missing

This is the first letter after the censorship was lifted. Notice the stamp is missing

This next letter is one of the most important historically to the 35th Quartermaster as Dad tells all. It is six pages long and is written in my father’s neat left-handed writing. The first time I found it is was before I started this journey of transcribing the letters. There have been times during writing the chapters when I wanted to bring this information into the story but I feel this way we get a better idea of how it felt when Mom read it for the first time.  So take a few minutes and really read this letter although I know he is trying to say he is telling it all but I still feel like he is guarding Mom from the horrible truth. I get tears in my eyes each time I read it.

18 May, Ascheberg, Germany

My Darlings, Gee Honey no mail again, in fact for about 4 days. And Gosh have I missed it. Boy sure wish they would get on the ball. Course I’m in a bad mood. Mommie I haven’t much to say tonight so I’ll kinda tell you just what we have done here. And perhaps save a lot of talking when I get home. First we landed in England about 25 or 26 of May a year ago. And in France D+30. There was only about 10 divisions here then and by Gosh to look back at it the small post of France we had then, if the Germans had known our strength and had tried they could have driven our whole beachhead into the ocean. We loaded on boats the 4th of July in a town near Plymouth England and landed here the 7th and was committed into action on the 9th North of St. Lo. We were at Lisdon. Well everything went as wars go. The days before the big push off on Hill 122. Bob, Harker Harvey, Sgt. Lance, Reed, myself, Morgan, Edlund, hauled 4 loads of ammunition up to the 134th. This was our first taste of the real front lines. Because there were machine guns all around us and we were under German 88 fire and [there] was also mortar fire all the time.  No one was hit but we sure found fox holes in a hurry. That began the clearance of the 35th.July 25 was the first big bombing the allies had in our sector. It also helped the breakthrough of St. Lo.  3600 of them and they all went over our area. One of them had engine trouble and unloaded his whole load of bombs and they hit all around us some within 200 yards of the area. Also in the same area we were bombed by the German’s but lucky us they missed by about 100 yards. Boy you should have seen some of the foxholes we were digging about then. 5 1/2 – 6 ft deep then we took brush and anything we could find and put them on the top and covered them with dirt until you could hardly see it and then we made our beds in it and there we slept, a moles life it was.

 Foxhole, Courtesy of The Cain Family

Foxhole, Courtesy of The Cain Family

After the break through of St. Lo and the crossing of the river there we were released from the 1st Army and into Patton’s and started following him, but we were stopped at Mortain and were thrown into action again there. Because the Germans had attempted a breakthrough to cut off our supply lines. Of course it didn’t work and we made history. About this time the German’s had planes over every nite and it was about that time Pop Hanson and I had that long black out drive I told you about. After Mortain we went on to Le Mans and then some trucks went to the Inf. to motorize them in the spearhead attack through France. Well we went about 100 miles that day and were just outside of Orleans. Well most of the trucks were there But Bob, Dudley, Harvey, Haviland and Morris were the ones who went and they had quite a time and the next day & nite. The German’s shelled Orleans all the time and have two trucks were hit. Not bad but they still carry the scars. None of the men were hurt.

Dad wrote " Once was a house, probably the town looks the same

Dad wrote ” Once was a house, probably the town looks the same

So about this time the rear echelon was over 130 miles back and had to be moved. So 30 trucks took off to do that. Well within the next 48 hours we drove 550 miles and had them caught up. It was here I burned my face and eyes so bad. You see I was a machine gunner up until the time I was busted and we had them mounted on trucks and had to ride with them all the time. After Orleans we went on to Nancy and a little town some miles south of there.  We were bombed and scattered by our own planes here. And in the pictures I sent home are bomb craters that was in our area. The ones with Bob, Haviland and Howard and the rest in. Wow did I sweat blood that day.

Robert Winter standing in a BIG Bomb Crater

Robert Winter standing in a BIG Bomb Crater

We were in Nancy for about 6 weeks and then came the big push which Metz fell in. We only had a small part to do with Metz. But a little. And this push ended us in Germany at the Saareguemines Well we were pulled out of there and were suppose [sic] to go into a rest Camp in Metz. We had no rest until then. And the same time the Belgium Bulge. So we only had Christmas there. And what was considered a stop over on the way to Belgium, no rest. But we were there for Christmas and even though the Germans again were starting to send planes over we felt pretty good and had a darn good dinner. Then on to the Bulge were we did a damn good job. So they told us. It was awful cold and had lots of snow. After the Bulge we went back to Metz and were still suppose [sic] to get that 10 day rest but it was the same thing and we went into Southern France to the 7th Army. This is where all the small pictures with all the snow on the trailers were taken. By God it was cold there.  On the way down we stayed overnight in one town where we couldn’t even find room enough to house 180 men. The town was so completely torn up. We hit a couple of blizzards worse than some I’ve seen in Nebr. And they were bad there. But they didn’t matter much we had to go anyway.  When we left there we went through Verdun and stayed overnight there and so on up to Holland where we kind of had to waite [sic] until all got there. Stops to reorganize they called it and into the 9th army. In which we ended up. We went into a holding position for a long time and finally things broke loose and we crossed the [unreadable] river and here we had 21 trucks mobilized the Inf.

Dad Wrote "Service Platoon Men in the back of the truck, Duke in seat and Keller on hood"

Dad Wrote “Service Platoon Men in the back of the truck, Duke in seat and Keller on hood”

Again-Dudley and I spearheaded this one with our Machine Gun Trucks. And what a time we had. It wasn’t so cold by this time we sweat it out. We would haul the Inf. up to town and we would move in Venlo, Holland the Inf. took 4 blocks and we moved in with 21 trucks and went to bed. The next morning we moved on. We hauled them about 12 miles more and they rode tanks from there into Rhineburg. Well we were still up for that rest. Which we finally got. They pulled us out of Rhineburg and back to Bruggen for 10 days. We had 6 trucks in Rhineburg and one was hit pretty bad by artillery again. After the rest crossing of the Rhine I crossed on D+1 and boy that night the Germans sent out some planes and tried to bomb the bridge that leads over the Rhine. Man oh Man did the A-A-A do the sky up pretty. Looked like Rose Bowl on the 4th of July (I Think). They again didn’t do any good so we pushed on and were in the Ruhr Pocket for awhile. Then all at once we were pulled out and made over a hundred mile move into Germany and ended up on the Elbe River where the war ended for us. We were pulled out a couple three weeks before the surrender. Since we have moved back to Hanover and swearing out, the ETO-PTO, or home. Well Mommie I guess that’s about all I have for tonight. I have been writing over 1 ½ hours now and it is really time to quit. I love you my Darlings. I love you so much honey. I love you Mommie, I love you, I love you, I love you so much my darling. All my love Darlings, Lefty

Heilbronn, Germany, Courtesy of the Cain Family

Heilbronn, Germany, Courtesy of the Cain Family

I have to end this chapter with this letter for it really stands alone. Dad worked on this letter close to two hours and really told the story. This is the first time I had heard that my dad was a machine gunner. I am shocked as you sure could not tell by the letters. What really gets me is seeing how much danger my dad was in and how little you could tell when reading the letters.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Harker W. Harvey, Charles Lance, Alford Reed, Herbert Morgan, Donald R. Edlund, Reynold G. Hanson, Oswald W. Dudley,  Judson Haviland, Myron J. Morris, Truman “Ben” Howard, Marvin Cain, John A. Keller


Responses

  1. Thanks to all who were there to fight for us and to protect us. Thanks to you too, for sharing the letters of your father with me.

  2. Well, your Dad did a fine job of covering up what he did and the danger he was in mist of the time! A courageous man and a kind husband to shield you Mother from that worry. Here’s to him, his comrades and everyone who won that war!

    • Thank you so much. Your words would have meant the world to him!

  3. Hi Nancy – Thank you so much for sharing your father’s letters. You are so lucky to have them. I told you that my father burned all the letters he wrote to his father when his sister and he were clearing out the home.

    I was very very fortunate to have been given just recently, a letter that he wrote to his good friend on June 7, 1941 – when his unit was still at Camp Robinson. Reading it was like having my father here on earth again for a few moments – this is what he said about what was going on at Camp Robinson:

    “Camp life is about as dull as ever. Everybody wonders if we’ll go to war, when we’ll get out and other minor points like that.”

    This was before Pearl Harbor when they thought they were in training for 1 year and would be finished about Dec 15, 1941……

    Thanks again for sharing the letter today. My father was no longer with the unit then but most of his buddies his buddies from home
    were.

    • Hi Nan! Great to hear from you and how awesome you found such a treasure. I had to see what my Dad was doing on June 7, 1941. As you know he was also at Camp Robinson. It seems they were on a convoy

      “8 June 1941 Home again! Had a very nice trip though. Something to pass away the time with. We went over 800 miles. There were 113 trucks. We were spread over 40 miles. There was one convoy that had a wreck and one guy got his foot cut off and died the next morning. I don’t know which Regt. He was from. I think it was the 161st FA. Tough Luck.”

      Sad story. Dad was also under the assumption that he would only be serving until December of that year. As we now know that year would turn into four, almost five, well at least for my dad.

      Thanks for stopping by

      • Hi Nancy; Really nice to hear from you. My father was in the 161st FA Band – however, I don’t know how they were really associated with the 161st. The unit they left Emporia with, which also was made up of many of his friends was the Company B, 137th Infantry, 35th Division of the Kansas National Guard.

      • Ah yes! Thanks for refreshing my memory! I think now days I would forget my name if it weren’t embossed on my debit cards. lol. It seems the older I get the more I forget! I wonder if since my dad’s QM Reg. was attached to the 35th infantry if our father’s crossed paths?? Maybe we already discussed this???

      • Hi Nancy – We might have discussed whither
        our father’s paths crossed. There were a lot of men there. Where was your father from in Kansas?
        My father was only 17 when they were called up. He played the trumpet in the 161st FA Band.

      • Dad was from Lexington, Nebraska but my mom was from Brookville, Kansas so the whole other side of my family was from Kansas. She would probably been more your Dad’s age AND she played the sax!!!! They would have been Vance, Wikoff, Warta, Schultz……I could go on but then we would probably be cousin’s. lol

  4. I really enjoy reading your website.  Every now and then I will recognize someone’s name you have mentioned from one of my distant cousins family.  Thanks for sharing. Judy

  5. Hey, Nancy…! I hope you had time to relax and ponder during this Memorial Day. I remember this post well… Indeed, I am sure he wanted to write so much more but likely didn’t want to upset your mom too much as you say. He must have kept inside him the ugly sights he witnessed… I hope Lefty was able to keep the demons at bay.

    • We will never know my friend. How amazing were these men who held such horrible secrets. They truly are my hero’s.

      I spent the day honoring Dads buddies by featuring the ones I found family for on Facebook. May they rest in peace.

      I feel blessed to be the keeping of their history

  6. What a wonderful blog you have. Glad I found you.

    • I am glad you found me too. We can never have too many friends!


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