Posted by: notsofancynancy | January 3, 2013

World War II, Chapter 45, Knee Deep

World War II

Knee Deep

Chapter 45

Marvin Cain

Marvin Cain (Thanks to the Cain Family for Sharing their Father’s Memories)

According to the Various Stations and Areas Occupied by the 35th Quartermaster document Marvin Cain’s family provided me, Dad’s Division arrived in Cornwall, England on 26 May 1944 and remained there 42 days until July 9th. They received further training while there.  According to the Combat Chronicle for the 35th Infantry on Wikipedia;

The 35th Infantry entered combat 11 July, fighting in the Normandy hedgerows, north of Saint-Lô. The Division beat off 12 German counterattacks at Emelie before entering Saint-Lô, 18 July. After mopping up in the Saint-Lô area, it took part in the offensive action southwest of Saint-Lô, pushing the Germans across the Vire River,

Once again Dad’s division was not the Infantry but his division was attached to the 35th Infantry overseas driving soldiers, supplies and ammunition for the Infantry.

19 June 1944, Cornwall, England

I’m hoping by now you have heard from me. Someone has said the mail has gone out some time ago and by now you should have more letters than Carter has liver pills and he has been in the business quite a while. Bob is on one side of this table and Judson on another a bag of candy in the center and I can’t think of a damn thing to write. Is that unusual. I think no. We worked rather late tonight. Had nothing else to do so really didn’t mind until chow. Well anyway we had French fries and only got about three little pieces. It made me so damn mad to think we had to work and then get a deal like that. I believe I could have committed man slaughter [sic]and wouldn’t have been a bit of (unreadable) of who it was. Just anyone who would have opened his mouth. There will come a time. Remember Ray Linden. He just said his wife had heard from him. So I guess you will soon. (hear from me I mean.) Red Skelton is on the radio. Sure sounds good.

According to the V-Day Roster I have Raymond Linden was from Los Angeles, California. He passed away in 2006 and was interred at Altaville Protestant Cemetery in Calaveras County.

(Visit Mr. Linden’s Find a Grave memorial page by clicking here)

Raymond Linden and Judson Haviland

Raymond Linden and Judson Haviland

21 June, Cornwall, England

Hello, hows[sic]  everything. Me I’m tired. We worked late again. It’s almost eleven and we have been going since six. So far I haven’t minded. Have been kinda low mood and it keeps the mind occupied. We had a floor show last night. A bunch of GI’S were on the loose. It was good though. I about laughed myself sick. It didn’t last long enough though so I came home. The company had a big party though. Guess they had fun. I was in an awful bad mood then I changed my clothes to go to chow and was in a hurry and left my bill fold laying on my bunk and somebody swiped a pound ($4.00) out of it. I was lucky they left 15 cents. I’m not broke.

23 June, Cornwall, England

Hows [sic] the swellest [sic] person in the world tonight. Me I’m a kinda low. Sun burned my back a little today. Of course not blistered or anything like that, but its [sic] sore. Oh yes I banged my sore finger a couple times and today its [sic] giving me trouble. It’s a little swollen and awful tender but even that will be ok. Sounds like we are going to have a lot of nice things to start with. I was telling Bob what you wrote and he asked if you had reviewed the thing he and Madeline were to give us. Sounds like you and me both could go for a little sleep have been missing some myself lately. Been working. You can come over and do my laundry. I never seem to have time to wash anything more than fatigues and they are really a dirty mess. So you don’t think they pictures were good. Don’t tell anyone and they’ll never know the difference. Hows [sic] that. I thought the proofs were good. I’m glad you sent Dad one. He will really be proud of you. Mom said you also got a card to send. Gee you’re a better Daughter-in-law than I am a son. I wrote him a V-Mail. He probably won’t get it until late. I certainly get your letters at the right time. I get one then live in it a couple days then get in the rough and a couple days after I’ve about given up and here comes another. Then start the whole thing over gain.

26 June, Cornwall, England

Well Mommie how are the ones I love tonight. Good I hope, I am. Gosh I was in hopes I would hear from you today so I knew you have heard from me. I have been busy so haven’t had time to miss your letters. But sure do miss you about every day I get to thinking about you and guess I get damn homesick. Because you can’t get a feeling like that from pancakes. I guess I should tell you my jaw is ok again except when I open my mouth too wide. Then it doesn’t feel so well. Made a band for my watch today. Didn’t have anything to do for twenty minutes. Its [sic] kinda nice. Of course the one I had was good but you know me. New ideas. So now I have a new one. I’ll tell you about it next time.

27 June, Cornwall, England

No letter today. Gosh I sure was looking for one. But I guess I’ll have to waite [sic] Anyway I must write tonight and get things off my chest. Oh yes honey General Eisenhower and Patton were visitors here. Man did things fly around here for awhile. We had been working extra hard anyway but didn’t waste any time then. Guess they were pleased though. Of course we didn’t get anything but a kick in the face for our efforts. But somebody was made happy. I just reread one of your letters and all the things you say we got for presents. Gosh you’ll about have to rent another room to put them in. Bet they are darn nice though.

(Dad Wrote) Haviland, One way to shave notice the wash pan

(Dad Wrote) Haviland, One way to shave notice the wash pan

3 July, Cornwall, England

Gosh yesterday when the mail got here I was so discouraged because there was none from you. I could have done (unreadable) to about anyone. But there was one from Mom and that helped. Well one kid came back during the night and had some more and to my good luck one was from you. God it seemed like 10 years since I had heard from you. But it was only 10 days. The folks heard from me so by now you certainly have. When you don’t hear from me and I don’t from you it makes it bad two ways here. Don’t know what to do. I wanted you to know as soon as possible that I was ok and then the mail doesn’t come through. Well Bob and my luck hasn’t held out so well. We got split up and haven’t seen each other for awhile. With no mail and that is makes one kinda lonesome. We’ll be back together again though.

6 July, QM arrived at Weymouth, England

7 July, QM departed from Weymouth, England for France

35th Quartermaster arrived at Omaha Beach on 7 July 1944. Upon arrival QM departed for de-water proofing area which was near Coleville, France remaining there approximately two (2) hours. Moved to bivouac area near Colombieres, France

9 July, QM moved to bivouac area near Les Landes, France  

According to  a Bivouac is “a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.” It sounds kind of scary to me.

Wikipedia has a great overview of the 35th Infantry which is the unit the 35th Quartermaster was assigned to. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The 35th Infantry Division arrived in England, 25 May 1944, and received further training. It landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, 5–7 July 1944, and entered combat 11 July, fighting in the Normandy hedgerows, north of Saint-Lô. The Division beat off 12 German counterattacks at Emelie before entering Saint-Lô, 18 July.

I know my father’s battalion was not the Infantry but they were the ones who drove the 35th Infantry around, got food and supplies to them. It seems as though my father is now knee deep in the war.


© 2012 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Judson Haviland, Raymond E. Linden, Marvin Cain



  1. Thanks for this latest post, hotting up! Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Thanks I am up today! The first day since I got sick, seven days now. I will hopefully remain up.

  2. Excellent post! The men certainly needed mail from home for morale no matter where they were or what they were doing.

    • It has been ever apparent throughout my fathers letters how important they were. It almost makes me want to write him (if only he were still here)

  3. I’ll say one thing… That is TOO close to being in the thick of things for me! Yikes… And that first image of Marvin Cain. He’s posing behind a Ma Deuce…the Browning .50 caliber machine gun. He isn’t atop a half-track as half-tracks didn’t have grill vents.

    • I do have other pictures of the same truck with Mr, Cain on it and they do have tires. I have seen pictures of both him and my father’s trucks with these on them. In one of Dad’s later letters he talks about being the gunner on it. I wonder if Mr. Cain also was a gunner. Maybe they all took turns. I wish they were here to ask. Maybe Dad’s later letters will explain. I do know Dad mentions in one letter that after a month the information will become unclassified. I guess we will see.

      • Umm… Will you be posting a picture of the complete truck? 😉 BTW, Mr. Cain was in an odd position to be firing that Ma Deuce into the air. My “hunch” is the gun was mounted to shoot at enemy infantry. It’ll be awfully tough to track a Messerchmidt coming down at you from that angle with that weapon.

      • I sent you a personal email. I hope you don’t mind.

      • They are welcomed at any time, notsofancynancy! Sent you some info back on the trucks…

  4. Loving this still.. and so glad you are up and around just don’t do to much to soon and give yourself a relapse! God Speed!

  5. So glad to see a new post! Glad you’re on the mend… wonderful story – you’re bringing history to life with these incredible letters.

    • Thanks it really means a lot to hear that!

      • I’m sure you’re looking forward to digging in to new stuff!

  6. I have to recommend your blog that I know is gonna love it.
    Really nice post

  7. Another great story made even better by the fact that it’s all true! I meant to ask you a while ago, but how is it that you have such detailed and well-kept records? Your parents must have held onto everything and you must have dug pretty deep in your research. Very cool stuff.

    • Thanks Will! Rather than tell the whole story here is a link to the first chapter which tells you how I can to be on this journey.

      Let me know if this answers how I got all the info!

  8. Another great post! Glad you’re on the mend.

  9. It’s so nice of you to include photo’s with these letters Nancy, really puts a face to it all. I can’t believe someone stole money back then. If you only had .15 today, you surely would be destitute. That must have been a pretty pick day when Patton and Eisenhower visited, the Big Cheese, WOW. I’m always amazed at the smiles these men have on their faces in the photo’s, such strength they must have had.

    • I plan on using a lot more of Dad’s pictures now that they are overseas. It should be interesting to see where they fit in. I also am blown away at the smiles the men wear. It is amazing they could smile at all. And yes can you imagine only having fifteen cents and being ok with it? Really blows me away and fascinates me at the same time.

  10. Nice piece and glad to hear you are coming out the other side

    • Thanks I am feeling much better!

      • They say the flu is nasty this year I will hibernate and only hang out at beach were everyone is long gone from if they are sick they are not out exercising OI should be safe

        Good new from you


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