Posted by: notsofancynancy | April 18, 2013

World War II, chapter 60, Brin France

World War II

Brin, France

Chapter 60

Dad wrote "Brin" Mr. Cain wrote "Railroad station, Brin, France

Dad wrote “Brin” Mr. Cain wrote “Railroad station, Brin, France

It is mid-November of 1944. Dad’s battalion was bombed one month ago near Haraucourt, France. Some of these bombs came within 250 feet of my father. He told later how scary those days were. “We dug foxholes as fast as we could and we sweat blood that day” he said. The 35th Quartermaster incurred no causalities during this time.  I will never know what all that my father faced unless we find something in his letters. Maybe after the censorship is lifted he will tell some of the tales but we have quite a ways to go before we get to those letters.

14 November, Brin, France

My Darling Wife, Well honey I have written the same old thing for a long time. But I guess you know I’m at least well as long as I write. And I do enjoy telling you how much I love you. I love you so much my sweet. Wish I were coming home so I would be with you from now on. I sure got in on a deal today. Had a half fried chicken. I guess I just poked my head in at the right time cause I wasn’t really at the right place. In other words I dined out. Wasn’t bad for a change either. But I got soaked to pay for it. It wasn’t from falling down either. I guess I don’t know what I have been writing. I usually get a couple pages filled anyway and here I am stumped on the first. I am taking a rain check on that correspondence course. Almost have Bob talked into taking one too. The first break I get now I’m going to check into it again. But I am almost sure of one now. Bob and I went down tonight and couldn’t see the right person. So maybe tomorrow. Have you heard the news lately. I haven’t personally, but thorough the grapevine. I guess it sounds good. Wish we could get the radio to work. I guess it has just had too much rough handling. If I had a good sledge hammer and crow bar I’ll  bet I could fix it. Oh-la-la. Say Mommie I finally found out what a belly button was for. It to put salt in when you eat celery in bed. Well I thought it was funny. I guess I better stop now my Darling. I love you so much. I love you honey. Is Junior giving you any trouble. I sure hope not. Well honey I am awfully sleepy and have to get up mighty early in the morning. I love you so much my Darling. I love you, I love you. All my love, your husband, Lefty.

With the delay in the postal service I know that Dad’s letters are also sporadic in reaching Mom. She is a little over seven months pregnant with their first child. It really must have put strain on my mother when the letters did not come. We have heard of it in Dad’s letters when hers do not come but what would that have been like for my mom and the other soldiers’ families when they did not hear from their soldiers?

Dad Wrote, "Brin, France

Dad Wrote, “Brin, France

15 November, Brin, France

My Dearest Wife, Hello Mommie. Hows [sic] my one and only tonight. I hope you feel as good as I. Of course I’m a little disgusted. Two mail calls today and I didn’t even get a smell. Bet I will tomorrow though. Its [sic] about time. I sure hope you are getting my mail by now. I know how you feel when you don’t get any. Well I talked to the Lt. [lieutenant] about my I.C.S. Course [I wonder what that stands for) and have to see him again tomorrow. Boy Mommie the course I have decided on is just what I have been wanting. Altogether there are 50 lessons and it touches on everything I want. I hope Uncle Sam helps a little now when I get out. Nope Mommie I’m not telling you yet just what it is. When I’m sure they want me and will let me enroll in the school. Perhaps I’ll have to change. I hope not. I think its [sic] a good one and I’m sure I’ll like it. Say if you had been here this morning I would have taken you riding on that scoop shovel. Boy could have we had fun. Might even find a hill to slide down. I’ll tell you a good one. I found a pair of lined pants and patched the holes in them and then gave them a wash job. Well I hung them a little to [sic] close to the stove and guess what. Burned the whole leg off. Well almost off. I patched it again though. And am now ready to try them. After about 4 days got to ware [sic] them. I hope, trouble, trouble, trouble that’s me. Gosh I don’t know of anything else to say tonight. Guess I’m just not up to my thinking. But someday I guess I’ll get on the ball again. I love you my Darling. I love you so much. Gee honey. Are you getting used to that now. Well honey your [sic] going to have to read it for awhile longer. I just can’t talk loud enough to make you hear. I love you honey. I love you, I love you. All my love, your husband, Lefty. P.S. I’m trying to improve my writing. What do you think of it. Not so good huh!

That is the third time Dad has had a fire get out of hand since he joined the Army in the winter of 1940. Two times while in training Dad tried to burn down the camp and now he is burning his clothes up.  I do remember one time growing up he put the Christmas tree in the fireplace on our patio and tried to burn the house down. I gotta love him for not actually burning anything down. Well, except for the leg of those pants.

17 November 1944 Stationary

17 November 1944 Stationary

17 November, Brin, France

My Darling Wife, Gee honey yesterday I got the stationary and a card and today a letter. Boy was I glad. The stationary is really nice. And the card was good. Well I can’t say how welcomed the letter was. Boy I sure did say like that [not really sure what he meant by that]. I started a letter last night telling how nice the card and paper was, but now I can talk about the letter. Only about 4 came and I got one of them so I guess I’m lucky. I’m sorry about your legs hurting honey. I know how you feel. I hope nothing like that happens again. In fact I hope nothing happens again that shouldn’t. I keep thinking of all the things that could although I know they won’t. I guess I’m just worried about you. Sure had a good bath today. A half tub of water and just the right temperature and did I soak. There was a woman there that would have washed my back too. You telling about the baby shower you went to and you telling of the girl wanting a boy. Wish I could ask her why. I hope she gets what she wants though. And also we get what you want. Me I’m just going to be awful damn proud to be just a father. You know Mommie when Jr. is born there are some papers to send me the same as when we were married. I guess the Dr. knows about that though. And will send them before you are able. I saw the darndest  thing today. A big German Police dog sleeping and a cat lying on top of it just sawing logs. First time I ever seen anything like that. The dog looked like it could have torn me apart limb for limb. I love you my darling. I love you so much. I have been getting your mail fairly good lately. But am quite aways behind on them. I love you honey. I love you lots and lots. Must get ready for guard. I love you. All my love, your husband, Lefty

18 November, Brin, France

My Darling Wife, Gee Honey the mail man is back on the ball. Another letter today. That makes 1-2-3 this month. But all of last month hasn’t gotten here yet. Sometime maybe I’ll get it all. You know I was never so mad at a man as I was last night. We were in a conversation and talking about the married men coming home if the war lasted another year. Well the so named man stated he didn’t think it would do them any good to go home because (quote) he thought by that time the wives back home would have forgotten about the feeling for the husband and so leading to a great number of divorces. He went on to say. Of course I haven’t anything to worry about my wife isn’t like that. All in all it just sounded like his wife was the only one who wasn’t going to be waiting. I got so mad I couldn’t talk and by the time I was over it he was gone. He in the big. I and little you anyway [I have no idea what that means, it makes no sense to me].  Gosh honey I as anyone else have no idea of coming home to anything but a happy future. And well we just kinda hold our wives sacred and then someone brings up something like that. What would you think if a girl who told you that. Its kind of late for Margaret to be traveling isn’t it. I would sure hate to have you running around even now. I mean traveling a great distance. You know when Ruth’s [Dad’s youngest sister] first baby was born I drove her to the hospital. Man was I in a cold sweat by the time I got there.  There was a girl along I had been going with and I guess she just sat there holding her breath. She said the car didn’t hit one bump the whole way. It shouldn’t have I only drove about five M.P.H. I swore then I wouldn’t ever do that again-but sure would like to be there when you have to go. We saw another show today. I had seen it a couple times before but we went again just to pass the time. Can’t sit around or I get to thinking and then I’m done for. This life is getting me. I haven’t heard from home for a month now. I guess they haven’t heard from me for a couple so I can’t complain. Well Mommie I guess I have run out for tonight. You know what the popular song is around here. “Honey don’t buy any coal cause I’m coming home with a load.” I love you my darling. I just ran out of ink so don’t mind the mistakes. Oh! Gee Honey I wish I were home with you and the dog was here. I love you so much. I love you, I love you. I’m awful sleepy and have spoken my piece for tonight. I love you. All my love, your Husband Lefty

Dad Wrote "Brin, Notice the camouflage truck in the foreground." Mr. Cain wrote " RR Station, Brin."

Dad Wrote “Brin, Notice the camouflage truck in the foreground.” Mr. Cain wrote ” RR Station, Brin.”

19 November, Brin, France

My Darling Wife, Another candle light detail of the no mail situation. I did get a couple of V-mails from Rose and Elmer so can’t say I didn’t get any. Only I didn’t get the one I wanted. Gee honey I love you so much. I just hate to even miss your letters one day. Oh! I know I’ll get them sometime or other but sure hate it. Besides that honey I haven’t anything to write when they don’t come. How is Junior now honey. I’ll bet he is making a big showing Huh? Sure wish you would send those pictures. I’m anxious to see them I like pictures. Although I haven’t taken so many over here. But I believe I have some good ones. Talking about pictures did you ever get the two I sent. One of Bob and one of me. They aren’t so good. We had them taken in Nancy. The darn Photographer didn’t do anyone justice. He really didn’t have much to work on though so can’t really blame him. I’ll bet that bed jacket Mom bought was nice. It sure sounded good. My bed jacket is all fuzzy but you would be surprised how the darn thing can make one itch. Its [sic] all wool. You know just one of those damn woolen undershirts. Well they aren’t so bad. Of course I have my shirt and pants on too. Not for warmth either. Wouldn’t you hate to see me running around in my drawers. Rose wrote and told me about an old friend of mine being a Cpt [Captain] now. I haven’t written to him in a couple of years. He is in the S.W.P. [South West Pacific] should be coming home anytime. Also she said George was home and that he hadn’t changed very much. She didn’t say whether he had been down or not. But I imagine he was. You know I have run out of anything to say. Except I love you. I’m leaving enough room to say that tonight my Darling because I love you so much. I sure wish I could tell you just how much that was. But I’m not so good at that. Remember how bashful I was before we were engaged. Well honey I loved you then too. But so much more now. I love you honey, I love you, I love you. All my love, your husband, Lefty

Lefty

Lefty

It seems the 35th Quartermaster is once again on the move and I’m sure this will not be the last time. After all they are still in France and I know that eventually they will go to Germany before they are finished overseas in August of 1945. My parent’s first child will be born in mid-January plus Mom will have to be without Dad for the second Christmas in a row. Last year when they were engaged he was in maneuvers 2500 miles away from Mom with no leave. This year he is across the pond with more than half of the young men from the United States. The German Prisoners are filling in for these soldiers at home. They are allowed to help the mid-west farmer’s plant and harvest their crops in the place of their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers who would be working in their own fields back home.  I am sure that those prisoners ate the lunches which would have been prepared for the men who were serving. What a bolt of reality this must have been for those soldiers.

20 November 1944 Quartermaster moved to Dalhain, France, approximately five (5) miles NE of Chateau-Salins

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter,    

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Responses

  1. I love this story!!!! Now, time for another cuppa coffee…. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  2. The photos do paint a grim picture – thanks for lightening it with the great picture of your dad!

  3. That is a great picture, it captures the true spirit of Lefty. It should be on the cover if you publish.

  4. Fires, bombs, not a lot of reprieve for your pops. Whether it ends up in the title or not, those letters were definitely his lifeline and kept him going.

    • They certainly did! I am so glad Mom kept them!

  5. One thing to comment on before I forget. Have you researched ICS? I remember vaguely back during WWII they had “International Correspondence School”, or ICS. Don’t know if its one and the same, though.

    • Thanks once again Mustang Koji!

      I found this article here: http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/roundup/roundup091444.html

      USAF Institute Classes Doubled In CBI Area

      Education-minded soldiers in CBI made 1,208 applications for courses from the newly-established CBI “A” Branch of the U.S. Armed Forces Institute in the month of August, reports Capt. Casper O. Dahle, Theater Education Officer. At this rate the branch would serve 10,000 G.I.’s a year.

      The figure nearly doubled the 594 applicants in July, and showed about 75 percent of them requesting ICS correspondence courses, 182 applying for the “self-teaching” courses and 51 requests for University extension courses.

      The unusual degree of interest in CBI in the Army’s educational program was indicated some time ago in a research questionnaire, which announced projected plans for a USAFI Branch in the Theater and asked G.I’s if they would be interested. Forty-six percent of those questioned answered, “Yes, I’m sure I’d be interested.”

      Formation of the CBI Education Department in the Special Services office was approved by Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell late last year, and the Theater branch of the U.S. Armed Forces Institute opened at APO 465 (Calcutta) on July 1, 1944, with Capt. E. F. Gerold, Jr., as Commandant, Capt. Don R. Torrey as Registrar, and with an operational staff of nine enlisted men and seven civilians.

      VALUABLE AID
      Valuable aid in setting up the Branch, one of seven USAFI branches now overseas, was received from Base Section No. 2, local SOS unit, but shipping delays of teaching materials and literature sent out from the States have hampered the program. Additional shipments of course materials are now en route, however, from USAFI Hqs., at Madison, Wis.

      Three types of courses are offered, available to both officers and enlisted men. Correspondence courses in 57 subjects, mostly on high school level, are presently available in CBI, the students submitting completed lessons by mail. These are graded and annotated with helpful instructions by selected teachers in the civilian university at APO 465, and by a part-time staff of 35 G.I. instructors now helping in the work. Enlisted men pay $2.00 fee for the first course, either correspondence or self-teaching, with no additional charges for further courses as long as satisfactory work is done; officers pay the full enrollment fee for each course, prices of which vary.

      THE PROCEDURE
      With “self-teaching” courses, the student has all necessary material furnished him in one or two books and takes a final test administered locally by some officer on completion of the subject. Thirteen subjects including English, mathematics, physics, radio, typing, shorthand and bookkeeping are offered.

      Both the “self-teaching” and the correspondence courses, the latter including mathematics, science, business, mechanical engineering and drawing courses may be applied for credit towards Stateside schooling, and certificates of work completed will be forwarded by USAFI to any institution or organization the student may designate.

      University extension courses are offered by 85 colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and Hawaii affiliated with the Institute. Lesson reports in this case are submitted by mail to the school concerned. For enlisted men the Army pays half the contract price of the course while officers pay the full cost.

      In addition, Special Service offices throughout the Theater are encouraged to form classes for local group instruction in subjects desired by sufficient numbers of men. Qualified G.I.’s, mostly ex-teachers, will act as instructors after being approved accredited by the Branch. Course will be offered in the “self-teaching” subjects and an additional subject to be announced later, plus a few foreign languages and a radio code course.

      Details of the USAFI educational program in CBI are contained in an informational bulletin published by the Branch at APO 465.


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