Posted by: notsofancynancy | December 13, 2012

World War II, chapter 42, Censored

World War II

Censored

Chapter 42

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

My parents were able to spend two blissful months together before Dad was sent overseas. The next letter from him has no postmark on it so I don’t know where he is when it was written. What it does have is an Army Examiner’s stamp on it so his letters are now being censored. I am not sure how much he will be able to tell us so it should be interesting.

1 May 1944, Unknown Place

Darling, I got your letter today and was I glad. Well I was when the second one came. The first kinda gave me the willies. Guess I just then realized that we were really parted. I knew something was wrong the night I called you. But couldn’t let you know. Also I tried to call (the) next day but all the telephones were closed and couldn’t get out. But maybe it was better. I got your allotment made today and am sending the paper. File it with the rest. And waite [sic] You see Honey I decided I would never use that much money so I made it 30 instead of the twenty five I said. The other five you can save for junior if or when he comes. Remember it now. Be sure and let me know.  I have sent some letters home. I’ll write and tell them to send it to you in case you don’t get there. I hope you do though. Of course you have your own choice. So do as you like. Guess I’ll have to say I love you very much Mommie and stop at that. I do love you Darling even though I haven’t said so. Have a good time whichever place you are at and get Mom something nice for mother’s day. Something on me. Only you pay for it. This allotment won’t come until July. It starts June 1. So I’ll send money this month again. I love you Darling. Love always, Lefty

When he says “I knew something was wrong the night I called you’” I wonder if he means the thing that was wrong was he was being shipped out and was not able to tell her.  Also now they have consummated their marriage could “Junior” be on the way?

Next there is another letter from Grandma Susie. I found some of it pertains to what is going on with Dad.

2 May, Pasadena, California

Dear Kids, Got Lefty’s letter today and sure was glad to get it for we have been anxious to hear for the Betty who lives in Barnes house told me her brother in law [sic] who was in the Inf. (Infantry)  in Durham had been sent to a port of embarkation. She said he was in the 35th Div. so we just been worried. So were glad you had a 3 day pass so you could sort of look the country over around there. Sounds like the Co. (Company) party was lots of fun. Finally got a letter from Gerald says he’s OK only took this one 18 days to get there. He said he got a card I had mailed in Jan and he said he got it in March, also got a V mail letter and another letter so I guess most of my letters are getting through. So I just got my ironing done. Well its 12:00 so guess I better go to bed. Lots of love, Mom and Pop

So it seems Grandma Susie is more up-to-date than she knows. Dad has already gone to the port of embarkation by the time she wrote this.

Marvin Cain’s Family sent me a typed timeline given to Mr. Cain, at an unknown time. It is called “Various Stations and areas occupied by the 35th Quartermaster (QM) since it’s entry into active federal service” I will reference it to help us get a better idea of the the progression of the 35th Quartermaster and where they were. Because the letters are censored Dad is not able to tell us where he is or what he is doing. I realized now that it will come in handy to see where, according to this sheet, Dad’s battalion was and when.

5 May (QM) Departed for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

6 May, Unknown Place

Hi Honey, Well how was your trip. I didn’t enjoy mine at all. Anyway I slept most of the way. Did I have a headache from it. And were we dirty this morning. I didn’t get to call you but I said if Mrs. Sill was coming out I wouldn’t She did didn’t she. Remember I told you I won another $30. Well I paid Bob and now we have that settled. Of course I have a little left but I think I’ll save that for a rainy day. So far we haven’t had any mail go out so I haven’t written. I’m not sure this will but you’ll get it sometime. Just don’t worry. You know I’m not much of a writer and it maybe sometime between times. I love you Darling, Be good and tell everyone help for me. Lefty

Not much of a writer? Dad wrote a whole suitcase of letters, I guess he does not realize that up until now he has written two thirds of a suitcase full of letters.

Censored Letter

Censored Letter

7 May, Unknown Place

Dearest Wife, I have been wondering all day honey how are you and where. Gosh if only we had some way of corresponding everyday [sic] then I’d know. You should be almost home now anyway so we’ll get the mail going. I’m still hoping you like the car better than you would have the train. Bob and I are trying to write on one bed and between the things we aren’t thinking of to do we aren’t getting much done. Oh! Yes I made another eight fifty today. Not bad huh! If you aren’t careful I’ll have money to send before payday. Well we are somewhere on the East Coast

Very interesting! It seems as though the censor did not want Dad to say exactly where he was as that part of the letter has been cut out.

…in the not too distant future so don’t worry. There are a few things I could tell you. First in case of an emergency see the Red Cross and have them get in touch with me. They can do it much better and faster than you can in person. I have 10,000 insurance made to you and my civilian insurance is still make to Dad. That is only worth cash value if I’m killed out of the states. In case your allotment checks don’t come through well either write them at the address on the slips or me and I’ll try to find out. Guess they are busy there now so it might be a little late. But anyway you’ll get it. I’m making another Class E Allotment as soon as possible. Don’t know when I’ll get it done. Would probably know but haven’t been in much of a hurry. Thats about the low down on what I know now. I’m closing now saying I love you very much. I received a letter from Cloyd (Mom’s cousin) I’ll send. Also got your card. Love always, Lefty

V-Letter From Cloyd

V-Letter From Cloyd Peterson

That scares me. They have been married almost three months and he is telling her what to do “in case.”  It is a reality of the era a lot of soldiers are probably doing the same thing writing home to tell their families what to do in case they do not make it home.

11 May QM departed Camp Kilmer, New Jersey to Port of Embarkation at New York

12 May QM Departed from the USA

I found a website about the 134th Infantry Regiment that tells a bit more about the trip over.

On 12 May 1944, three transports, the SS Edmund B. Alexander, SS General A. E. Anderson and the SS Thomas H. Berry, carrying the main body of the division as part of a mighty convoy steamed out of the Port of New York.

According to this website my father’s division was aboard the SS Thomas H. Berry.

USS Thomas Berry, Courtesy of Wikipedia

USS Thomas Berry, Courtesy of Wikipedia

15 May, Unknown Place

Dearest Mommie, How’s everything honey. Gosh wish you were here. Sure is a swell moon, and could I ever go for a good talk. I imagine you are either in Nebraska or Kansas. Hope they weren’t too surprised and you have a good time. Mom should be leaving today. Did you let her know you were meeting her there. You know I wish I had told you to write me when you got home. But seeing you didn’t it’s to[sic] late. I’ll have heard now. I was playing Volley Ball tonight and tore that hacked finger nail off. It’s kind of sore but nothing else. I’m so sore from wrestling that another little thing won’t bother. Remember Pee Wee I have told you about. She is in the hospital. Wrecked her car and is in bad shape. I haven’t heard how only Bennett (Harvey L. Bennett) said his mother wrote she was. Sure is some good music on the radio. Sounds good. This is the first time we have had a chance to listen to one since we left Calif. This one is going almost all night and day too. Have I neglected telling you I love you Darling. I do sweet. Very, very much. And wish we were together. We will be soon but just remember I love you until then. I wrote home and told them to send your mail there in case you didn’t get there. So you will get it maybe a little late but for sure. Again I love you Sweet. But I can’t say that enough. You’ll just have to know I love you. All my love, your Husband, Lefty

The moment I have been dreading is now upon him. In the next letter he writes from England. May God be with him and his fellow soldiers.

25 May QM arrived in Bristol, England

 25 May 1944, Bristol, England

Darling, Here we are safe and all that, But then no one had to worry about our safety. I have lost that bay window I have been pushing around for a number of years. I was kinda under the weather for a couple days and didn’t eat. Up and coming now though. Did Mom make the trip. You know I was thinking maybe you didn’t let her know you were coming and she got worried about you. I have been pretty much by myself. God how was your trip. I love you very much Mommie and wish I were there. Only I’m not but I can love you just twice as much to pay for it. I’m OK honey keep in touch with Dad. All my love Lefty.

26 May QM arrived at Scarne Cross Camp located in Launceston, Cornwall, England

Note Censor Stamp in Left Hand Corner

Note Censor Stamp in Left Hand Corner

26 May, Cornwall, England

Darling, I’ll continue the V Mail on this. The last V Mail I had on hand and that wasn’t much. Of course if I can’t find an air mail stamp you’ll have to waite [sic] awhile. We are having our cash converted and its taking awhile. But before you could send any I’ll have it so for now don’t. It’s free here (V Mail) Oh yes I told you how much I loved you, well I can’t. Hasn’t enough room on all the writing paper in England to say that. But I do love you. Bob and I walked over to a baseball game tonight. A bunch of Negros and white boys were playing. Not a bad game but I’m not much for it. How did you and Dad get along? I imagine you have told me all about that though but I had to have something to write again I ask is Mom in good shape and Pop.  By the looks of things honey I could just as well sent you another $5.00 in your allotment. I guess I won’t need it here. I am having a hard time getting this $2.10 spent I had when I came. What will I do with $8.00? I know I’ll save it and maybe—————- I love you Mommie so much I’m about to burst. Believe me I’m thinking of you too. I guess Madeline is sorry she didn’t give up school and get married. I know Bob is certainly unhappy. Mom said something about her not wanting us to get married because it would be harder to part. Well Bob didn’t have to part and he wasn’t married. But I think we are both in the same fix. He feels about as bad. And Mom if you read this or Vi reads part to you. Believe me even if it were hard parting those where the two happiest months in my life. And I knew as Vi knew we wouldn’t have much more time together. I’m not sorry and I’m sure the wife isn’t. Honey I kinda got off the track But it might be months before I get into another mood for writing and I wanted to tell Mom that. Even so I love my Mommie. Bob said to tell you “hi” Did you happen to see Madeline? He hopes you did. Mommie the laugh was on me tonight as we came back from the ball game and I found a cain [sic]. Boy was I happy. Thought I had a fortune. Well at least 20 cents. So I was bragging when one kid gave kind of a silly laugh and said it was a half cent while it is very rare. Well I could have thrown it away but didn’t. Half a cent is better than no sense. I found an air mail stamp so I’ll send this that way. Maybe it will be the V Mail. I love you very much my darling. Be good and keep track of Junior. It’s bedtime. So nite [sic] my Darling. I love you very, very much. All my love, Your Husband.

I can’t tell you how anxious I feel about these next letters. It is now a reality Dad is there to fight for our freedom. He and his fellow soldiers will fight for their lives. I know this will change my father’s life forever.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Harvey L. Bennett, Marvin Cain

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Responses

  1. This is the best historical record of the war to be read…a real personal experience through your fathers letters, just tears my heart out with all thye went through.

    • Thank you. I know my dad is up in heaven smiling at your comment.

  2. Loved what you shared here as well
    Eunice

  3. This is wonderful history! I remember those censored letters–lines, sometimes paragraphs blacked out. So frustrating at times. But we understood and didn’t want our soldiers put in harms way.

    • I find it interesting that they actually cut the censored part out rather than mark it out with a marker. I guess if they had marked it out there was more of a chance the enemy could decipher it.

  4. I’m really enjoying these posts. Isn’t it amazing to think what that extra $5 meant to your mother. A lot.
    BTW I love your header photo.

    • It blows me away at how little Dad has. He can go for a month with just change. Thanks!

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing this treasures with me.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read them and comment. The comments keep me going.

  6. I agree to what lenwilliamscarver has said… one of the best ever war records put together. 🙂

    • Wow! thank you! Dad would be proud!

      • 😀

  7. Your effort to transfer his letters to this blog is wonderful. The tenseness on the home front becomes much more alive than just seeing B&W photos from that time. In addition, the censoring sheds a spotlight on the approaches to protecting the war effort. The US’s depth of censoring indeed saved thousands of lives; the government, of course, could not possibly identify all Nazi spies amongst the population if the letters made it home (e.g., a transport carrying the mail could have been shot down or captured).

    On the other hand, the near absence of front line security (e.g., censoring) by the Japanese military led to enormous Japanese front line casualties.

    • As usual Mustang Koji another very informative comment. The Japanese military did not censor? That is something I did not know. Thanks!

      • Yes. That is one of my top ten reasons why Japan lost the war so quickly. Soldiers wrote what they wanted in diaries. They also wrote letters that were given some cursory review at the mailing point but that was minimal. In the latter case, however, towards the end of the war, very few letters made it out as on top of no writing supplies, their chain of communication was destroyed.

      • Very interesting Mustang Koji! thank you!

  8. Wow – what treasures you have in these letters – and how awful/amazing to think of your dad in harm’s way. I spoke with my dad just yesterday – he had 5 brothers that served in WWII at the same time. I asked he answered – and I wrote down 3 pages of precious family history that I hope to share in the future.
    So wonderful what you’re doing. Really priceless.
    Sue

    • I can’t wait to read the post about your family. I will be watching for the post.

  9. Can’t imagine having to send letters to a loved one that would be censored. And more than that, having two months together knowing that your dad had to leave must have been so bitter sweet.

    • I know, right? My parents met in 1937, they dated for awhile in 1942 when he was stationed in Cali. but they mostly communicated by mail, pen pals. I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to leave only two months into their marriage it had to have been really hard not knowing what the future held.

  10. Great article…it was such a hard time for everyone. Before my son was deployed both times, he sat us down to tell us what to do “just in case”, It was hard enough to sit down with hubby before he left, but while sitting listening to my son it was if he ripped my heart right out. No one should have to do that. I am glad your parents had a happy ending. The other hard part would not be knowing where they are – at least I had an idea where my hubby and son were. Not sure if it made it better but I did not have to hold my breath every time bad reports came in. My heart goes out to your mom. Patty

    • It was hard to read it even though I know how things turned out!

  11. Wow, so young and so responsible. There’s the reason they’re referred to as ‘The greatest generation’. That’s a fantastic photo of them too. Thanks for sharing all these letters.

    • Thanks for the taking the time to read it and leave a great comment.

  12. Notsofancy….., Thanks for liking my recent post. I am still trying to understand much about the whole wordpress thing, but I did want to let you know I appreciate your support, and that I find your site really compelling. I especially love the photos of the letters. Best, Jon

    • Thanks Jon! I really like your blog too!


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