Posted by: notsofancynancy | August 2, 2012

World War II, chapter 23 Barracks Bags

World War II

Barracks Bags

Chapter 23

Our last chapter found Dad at Camp Rucker in Alabama. He is still there training to go overseas. In each of the letters in the last chapter he is apologizing for the fight he got into thinking my mom did not like him any longer because he did not receive any letters from her for a week. He kind of jumped to conclusions and told her to send the ring back. It is nice to see at least he is not saying he is sorry in each letter now.

Is this the fur coat Dad talks about?

5 November 1943

Dearest Vi, Gosh I celebrated double today. Besides getting back to camp I got two letters from you. And was I ever glad. Gee Honey it is so nice getting them. Also the one from Mom was swell, I’ll answer it before long. How many stripped kitties will it take to make that fur coat. Tell you what. I’ll catch them and you sew them together. How’s that?

I have a picture and remember a fur coat Mom had. I wonder if this is the one he is talking about. What I don’t remember is it being made from kittens.

I have Bob down here sewing on my bed roll. We are quilting it tonight about done now though. Have a few knots to tie. Then waite [sic] until tomorrow. Nite [sic].  It’s getting late now anyway. I said my bed roll. I mean the one I am making as a project of course. Even found where I can buy cotton three rolls for $ 1 so I’m using that. Isn’t bad either. We sure had a deal.  We hauled the Inf (infantry) out to see a demonstration in advancing under artillery fire. Also all arms the Inf had were used. The Art (artillery) dropped  one of the shell shot and injured one man and I guess another raised up to [sic] soon because he got shot. Died too. It was a good demonstration though. I really did enjoy it.  I guess they expected a few accidents but no deaths.

I wonder if they knew there would be accidents why they did not do more to make things safer? I like that Bob and Dad are working together to get the bed roll done.

Man was I tired when I got back though. I drove and boy was the road rough. I am going to Tennessee Monday. So in case you don’t hear from me very much next week I’m awful busy. That is I ‘m going if orders don’t change. Guess what the great Sgt Ozanne is now a (unreadable)Pvt (private) He got busted today. We hated to see it because he got a raw deal. Believe me we would have been glad to see him busted if they had had a reason. Lt. Gordon was acting Co Commander and did it. He sure showed his colors then. He says 90% of the non-coms should be busted. We just said go ahead. He has gone to school now though. And when he comes back someone else will be CO. There is not much more to write. Yes I like hard candy cookies & such. But as far as Xmas is concerned don’t you think I have received enough. The watch honey is enough. I don’t need anything and all I want is you so what can I do.  I’ll just say I love you now darling. I see Bob is about ready with some knots to be tied. I also hear call to quarters and by the time he finish taps will be over. I love you very much darling. Very much. Love Forever, Your lefty.

Dad did not like to see others treated unfairly. Maybe this is what made Dad like Mr. Ozanne. I do remember that name from my childhood.  I found birth and death records for Mr. Ozanne on Family Search and found an obit for his son so for now I am assuming he is buried in the same cemetery.

Allen Ozanne in Straw Shoes, Netz, France 1944-45

(You can find his Find a Grave listing here)

6 November

Dearest Darling, Hows [sic] my future wife tonight. In the best of condition I hope.  Gosh have we bit the bull today. I again got riped [sic] out of a Sgts rating.  Guess I should suck a little more ass or laughed at a few more of the Top Kicks jokes. It will be another couple years before an opening is made and by then someone else will be sucking. I’m sure you’ll just have to love a Cpl. Bob will in time get a straight Cpl out of the deal, Right now he is acting Cpl and only a T/5. You said you may quit the first of the year. What’s the catch. Have something else in mind or just getting tired. Wish I could tell you to quit so we could get married but I don’t know just yet. I had to clean up the truck I drove yesterday. Then we came down had early chow and went to the range at 12:30. And believe me the whole company was disgusted at having to go on Sat afternoon. Well we got out there and was firing when up drove a Lt. and driver through the range. Also rifle fire and then did things fly.  Well we found the range officer had taken the guard off and therefore they weren’t stopped. Gosh I would have lost my beep driver. But luck was with them and no one was hit. Although Morris said he heard some whistle by.

Morris is Myron J. Morris from Kearney Nebraska

Myron Morris Somewhere overseas

(See his memorial pages on Find a Grave here)

We came home after that then Bob and I sewed on my bed roll. Gosh its [sic] almost done. Money in my pocket. We had noodle soup for supper. That’s the first time we have had that for a long time. It sure was good too. I wouldn’t mind that more often. If they would take some of these old roosters they try to fry and make noodles with them that would be good, Oh well. I think I have talked myself out of going to Tennessee. Maybe not. I’m not sure. Anyway I have hopes. I’m thinking I’ll see enough of that place before long. God I hate to think of another maneuver. But then it means desert maneuvers and that would at least be closer to you. Maybe we could at least we could see each other once in awhile then. I guess I had better say I love you now. I do darling lots and lots. And believe me I would sure like to see you. Oh yes. Madeline said she would have like to have gotten married after Bob left. I love you honey. All my love & kisses, your Lefty.

The desert maneuver’s he is talking about was here in our desert lead by General Patton. I have seen the remains of these desert camps. In fact one year we took a tour of about four different camps. There is not much left but with a good imagination you can see what these camps were like. When we went it was summertime and I have to admit I opted to stay in the air conditioned truck. It was just too hot to get out and traipse around the desert. I cannot imagine what it was like for the soldiers who trained there.

(You can learn more about Patton’s camps by clicking here)

7 November

Dearest Darling, Guess what? Its[sic] raining here and has been all day What a dreary day too. Back home we could have looked for a blizzard on such a day. But here only wind and rain. It isn’t even cold. In fact darn warm in comparison to what it has been. But I imagine by morning it will be. The boys leave for Tennessee at 4 so they will be darn cold. I talked my way out. A kid in the second Platoon wanted to go so I let him. I figure I’ll see enough of that place before long. Bob and I went to a show tonight. It was the “Iron Major.” Good Too. I like that kind of show. They take me back to my high school days. What days.

I found a 1943 trailer for the movie (click here to watch it) According to Turner Movie Classics “In this true story, Frank Cavanaugh proves himself as a football coach and a World War I hero.”

 I hope honey the next two months go as fast as you say they are going. Gosh I hate to think of going out.(on maneuvers) But we are getting out of Ala. And maybe out west again. Not for long but any little time will help. Do want to get out that way again before I get my furlough. Ozanne is having quite a time. Gosh he does not know what to do. I have told him to demand a Court Martial. But he seems to want to waite [sic] to see what happens. I also told him to see the chaplain. I guess he had done that. But he doesn’t push things hard enough. He thinks it will hurt him later. He hasn’t any future here anyway so why worry about that. Oh! Yes I have finished my bed roll and have gotten quite a few compliments on it also the $5.00. If I had time I could make some more. But I’m getting quite tired of sewing now. Guess I’ll have to try something else. Wonder what that will be. Woe is me. Hope to keep busy to keep my mind off bigger things. Gosh sweet I miss you. You know I have fooled around with that bed roll and didn’t get my weekly laundry done. Man am I going to have a dirty week. I guess I’ll have to do it some tonight. I love you lots honey and will always I guess. Cause I can’t find anything else to occupy my mind. I do love you. All my love, Your Lefty.

8 November

Dearest Vi, Gosh are we all messed up. We have gone all week and sent out all but about 6 drivers from the Co. And then they come out with an order that should have been read about a week ago that our B. Barracks boy had to be ready to go by 7:00 in the morning. And gosh we had to pack the men’s things who were gone. In that bag we are suppose to have everything we aren’t going to use on maneuvers. Gosh and to think they are that close. We did a right fine job of it anyway and all are ready to go.  I am on guard tonight and Bob on CQ so we are both in the orderly room writing. He to Madeline and me to you. Only he got a letter from her today and has something to write. Me I answered the same letter for about 4 days then got mad and tore it up and now I haven’t even that to look at. So maybe I can write one without it.

Oh dear, is this another repeat of the time when Dad asked Mom for his ring back?

One of my men isn’t here tonight so I volunteered to take his place. Of course for the normal sum of $2.00, but being Cpl of the Guard and walking also doesn’t do so good. Bob is taking Sidewells place for $1.50. So I am over $.50 on him. I finally sent my personal things home. Gosh things sure accumulate. It cost me $1.78 to send it. I had everything in it though. From a pair of sheets to a $6.00 set of utensils. Then I had to send my pictures home and that was bad. Gosh I used to look at them lots. Oh well I guess I have enough left. We lose our lockers here. So now all we have is two barracks bags. Gosh its [sic] going to be bad to live out of them. 

I looked up barrack bags and found the site called Olive Drab this is what I found

A formation of soldiers wait with their Barracks Bags before boarding a train for transport to a port where they will be shipped to Europe during World War II.
Courtesy of

Prior to World War II and in the early days of the war, the “Bag, Barrack M-1929” was issued to soldiers. That bag was blue denim material with white cord double drawstring closures. The soldier’s name and serial number were often stenciled on in white lettering.

By 1942 the blue denim bag was being replaced by a new pattern Barracks Bag made with olive drab fabric. Like other World WAr II equipment, early war barracks bags were the lighter Olive Drab #3 shade, then became OD #7 in 1943 or later.

(Click here to read more about barracks bags)

8 November continued

A driver from the 94th Div came in here tonight from up there. He said that we had better take our bed rolls if at all possible. He also said it was colder than hell and that it had been raining for the last three weeks. Gosh what a future. I guess all good things come to an end. So for tonight honey I love you lots and lots. Gosh Darling I sure wish we were going west instead of north. Nite [sic] my sweet. Love forever yours, Lefty

This does not sound good, headed back into the wild during the winter. Although hindsight is 20/20 I know once Dad gets overseas they get into some snow and have several issues because of it. But don’t let me get ahead of myself, all in due time dear readers, all in due time. I just wonder if he will talk about it in his letters.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

This is new and I hope to someday go back and do this to all the other chapters. These are the names of the men Dad talks about in these letters.

Robert Winter, Allen Ozanne, Claude Gordon, Myron J. Morris, (no first name) Sidewells.



  1. we really should bring back the word “swell” – sounds so innocent

    • It seems like I am using it a lot more lately. tehe

      • well, I will start using it here and let us see if we can start a 1940’s trend

  2. Good one!!!! Oh, one more thing, it may become to hard to read your blog post if you continue to get awards…. I’m just sayin… Good work!!!! Take care and God Bless 🙂

    • Thank you! lol It was fun but I think my award days is over.

  3. In a word, “fantastic”! I love these stories dripping with history!

    • That means a lot coming from you, thank you!

  4. Another interesting read! I never knew duffel bags were once called barracks bags…interesting. When I went in search of barracks bags I found pictures of many barracks from WWII…I am a visual person, so now I can really see your dad’s life from those barracks. Your mom looks great with that fur coat…women were so stylish back then. Patty

    • They really were stylish. Grandma was keen on dressing up and taking family pictures at holiday’s. I really think it is swell. lol

      • 😉 I think you just resurrected a cute word…. “swell”!
        Blessings ~ Patty

      • Thanks I think it is pretty swell! lol

  5. How great to have all that history. My parents kept us in the dark mostly. We never knew about health problems or operations. So when out on our own, guess what Doc? We don’t know if there is any diseases or anything.

    • Yea, and who knows what else we will find in the letters. I hope it is not any bad stuff. At least I have found how much my dad really loved my mom. Priceless!

  6. Wew, that took me a couple of days to read. What a prolific writer your Dad was. I’m confused about the fur coat thing. It’s funny to hear how he rips up a letter but then has regrets. Was your dad very young at the time? Thinking about what was ahead of them must of been daunting, really.

    • Dad turned 24 in October of 1943 It seemed to me that Dad was joking about the minks that went to make the coat I think. I am not sure why they had to be striped. It is times like this I wish we had Mom’s letters to hear the other side of the conversation but maybe we don’t have them because Dad kept ripping them up. lol

  7. Reblogged this on Heil World Wars.

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