Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 9, 2013

World War II, chapter 63, Details

World War II


Chapter 63

Dad Wrote "Tribble, St Jean Fr." (Herbert E. Tribble)

Dad Wrote “Tribble, St Jean Fr.” (Herbert E. Tribble) This was the first picture in Dad’s album

In the last chapter we found Dad’s Company holed up in a railroad station north east of Morhange, France. On 8 December, 1944 they will move to St Jean-Rohrbach where they bunked down in some French Barracks there. They will spend quite a bit of time at these barracks. You do have to remember Dad was a truck driver and although they have a base camp the 80 or so trucks that were in Dad’s Company made a lot of trips during this time. They must have had some time on their hands though as I have a lot of pictures from their time there.  Someone took a lot of individual pictures of the men. I have been able to come up with full names of these men from notes Dad wrote on them. Comparing the pictures that Dad had with Marvin Cain’s pictures I have been able to come up with names of many of the men.  I have been waiting a long time until this part of the story so I can share these pictures.

7 December, North East of Morhange, France

My Darling Wife, Hi honey another day huh? It sure is getting close now. [Mom is now about 8 months along) Well it seems like it and by the time you get this letter it will be close. I sure hope you have good luck. I can’t be there physically. I’ll do a little walking the floor here. Hows [sic] that? I didn’t get any letters today . But did get two packages. One from Ruth and one from Rose and Harold. Well everything was swell but the animal crackers. They were kinda cracked up. Almost  ground up. In there were two towels and wash rag (white ones). A box of candy and 5 bars of soap a comb two candy bars. I guess that does it. In all now I have about 10 bars of soap. I have two I have had ever since I got off the ship. I’ll use it though. The towels I wish you had they just aren’t what I need. I hate to throw them away, but? Oh Bob got a package too. In it was one of those perfumed balls. A fancy affair. But surly [sic] out of place. We sure have been eating since mail call. We are consuming as much as possible so we won’t have to carry it around. And honey carrying things is a problem now. Say honey wanta know the mystery of how I skinned my nose. No it wasn’t big feet or slipping on wet ground. I wanted to tell you about it but just couldn’t tell the real way it happened. So kind of thought it up that way. Well one night while on guard there was one of the damnest explosion you ever heard and the air was all covered with little sparks of fire. I thought sure the world was coming to an end then. It was a little cold and I had on an overcoat with a raincoat over it. Also I had both collars turned up so the rain wouldn’t run down my neck. The first thing I did was hit the ground. I did but when I straightened out the collars push my helmet down over my nose and I couldn’t be bothered with a small detail like that. The helmet hit the ground and my nose was in it instead of my head. I lost the outer lining of my nose and it was awful sore for awhile. Now the mystery has been revealed it sounds kinda fishy huh. Well this time it is the truth. I have to write Ruth and Rosa tonight so I better stop honey. I love you my darling. I love you so much. I love you sweetheart. I love you I love you. All my love, Lefty

I can’t imagine what that would have been like. These kinds of things had to have gone on more often than not but I am just glad it was just the outer coating of his nose.

Dad Wrote " Dudley, St. Jean, France" (Oswald R. Dudley)

Dad Wrote ” Dudley, St. Jean, France” (Oswald R. Dudley)

8 December Quartermaster moved to the town of St. Jean-Rohrbach, France, in French barracks

Dad has talked about the rules of driving they have which include a strict speed limit and it is not very fast. He talked about not getting out of second gear. You figure getting say 40 trucks all going 25 miles per hour, trying to go 100 miles. Now figure you are one of the last trucks on that convoy. It would have been a long wait to get moving. That would be a long trip. Dad did talk about how much waiting he did in almost every aspect of the Army. It was slow going and there would be a lot of waiting around. My brother told me a lot of the letters may have been written while sitting in the cab of the truck while waiting on these convoys.

8 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Well honey sure am tired tonight. I didn’t sleep so good last night and had to get up early this morning and saddle the old bronc and to ride all day. Besides that I was blessed with two lovely flat tires and had a hell of a time with the first. Then ran out of gas. Well had plenty but I was tired and it was sure a nuisance to stop and put it in. That’s all over and I can look forward to a good night’s sleep??? There isn’t much to write about except of course I love you. There seemed to be an abundance of mail today but I guess it wasn’t my day cause I didn’t get any. Well we have tomorrow. Hows [sic] Junior now Mommie. Say you know I think we should have twins then well [sic] have our two and I won’t have to go through this again. Its [sic] sure making a man out of me. Well that and this damn war. Well honey this isn’t very much. But someone had had to keep knocking my block with a sledge hammer to keep me awake. I love you my Darling. I love you so much. Gee honey if only I could be home now. We would sure do the town. Well maybe we could rest a couple months and then look out. I love you Darling, I love you I love you so much. All my love, Lefty

10 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Well honey I love you. I went to a show tonight “Marriage is a Private Affair.” I thought it was good. In fact I just said that. Saw one last night that wasn’t so mixed up and thought it much better. It was “Conflict.” Of course both were good in their own way. Bob and I have been run out of our blacksmith shop our carpenter shop and the damn sewing machine got a bug and now all we have to play with is a mud hole. Have you ever tasted any of that delicious gumbo pie with a little coal dust put on as frosting. Or some of those nice cup cakes with chopped straw as coco nut. Very good.  (if someone doesn’t chip you behind the ear with it) I think I am going to the dentist tomorrow. I have a tooth that needs filling. If I were sure it wouldn’t take to [sic] long. I think I could manage to have a couple knocked out and have that hole filled up. It takes a long time for something like that and with my luck they probably wouldn’t fit anyway.

Dad has a gap between his two front teeth which is the hole he is speaking of. The story goes like this. Dad and his siblings were playing in the hayloft and somehow my father and his brother took a spin on the rope from the hay loft. I am not sure of the exact details but I know somehow he caught his front teeth on the back of his brother’s jeans and whatever happened left a big gap. Now, one of my siblings had one of those same gaps and never did anything to get it. Now I have to wonder if this was just another of Dad’s “story’s.”

Oh! Yes I ordered some pictures sometime ago. Now in about 6 weeks they might be here. It will be that long anyway. There is so much red tape to get them. Gosh I’ve been trying to think of something to say for a half hour and haven’t even had one little brain storm. It would take a blizzard to get the old noggin really going though. I just wish there was once I could write you a plum good letter. I love you my darling. I love you so much. Gee honey what have you got that gets me. Besides Junior of course. How is he tonight? Ok I hope. Gosh it sure won’t be long now. I love you so much honey. I love you, All my love, Lefty

I couldn’t find much information on the second movie Dad mentions in this letter.  This is the first time Dad mention’s pictures and having ordered some. I have spoken to many of the families of the men Dad served with and they have a lot of the same pictures I do. Dad will explain that in a later letter so I don’t want to ruin the story.

Dad Wrote "St. Jean, France

Dad Wrote “St. Jean, France

10 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Hello Honey. Hows [sic] Jr? Who do you think he’ll look like. I sure hope he looks like you cause I wouldn’t wish a face like mine on the old family cat. I got my tooth filled today. Boy sure was a quick job. I don’t think it took over 15 minutes. It wasn’t such a bad hold to plug up. I guess I didn’t have any more. He just inspected the rest. It was a wisdom tooth he filled. He said that about half of it was being used and until it grew so it wasn’t being used there wasn’t any use pulling it. Don’t know whether you know what I’m talking about or not. I didn’t understand it until I figured it out myself. I really got Bob on the job. He is making coffee. I could say it smells good but he hasn’t put the smell in yet. Well maybe it will be good. Well again there wasn’t any mail. Some should be getting here soon. Boy will that be a payday affair. We’ll bring out the bones knock the dust off the glasses and set down to some good steady loving. Correspondence style. Have I ever told you of the wettest night I have ever been on guard. Well it all started with a fox hole. We dug this so we could get down out of the wind and also put a top on to keep the down pour off. This was located about half way down a gentle slope. Well during the tour of Guard we found the floor of one said hole kinda leaked.  Well one would have thought the darn top would have done that. But this extraordinary hold had to be different. The bottom leaked. No it ran in. During the course of 4 ½ hours of guard I threw 90 gallons of water out of that damn place. I had a 5 gallon can doing it. Its [sic] a good way to pass long hours. But what a wet one. Besides I had on so many clothes I could hardly bend over. I got a good sweat up at times. Well my darling its [sic] time to be stopping. I love you sweetheart. I love you honey. Take care of yourself and the little one. I love you. I love you. All my love Honey, Lefty

What a night! Having to bail water out of your bed all night would not have been a great night. Wait I just realized the significance of this statement. I almost didn’t catch it but Dad is once again sleeping in a fox hole.  I have to wonder how many nights something like this went on. I know Dad said it rained the first six weeks they were in France and Dad has been there a little over five months now.

12 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Oh Boy! Mail today. Got three letters. One from Mom, you and Bob and Norma. Boy was I glad to get them writing was sure getting slim. In fact about three days ago I ran out and just coasted along from there on. I had to get up and do something else and have forgotten all I had to write. I suppose you know by now how the correspondence course is coming. I guess I don’t remember what I said. As I remember I had plenty of money all last month I just hated to use it I guess and was waiting to get paid. I had plans of getting back to town and maybe buying something. Anyway if I hadn’t had the cash someone here would have had and I could have borrowed it until I did have it. Nope Mommie I’m not about to send home for money and don’t send any. I always buy what I want or have to have it the first of the month and send what I have left over home. And about all I need is stamps. We usually buy a couple dollars’ worth and you get the rest.

This clears up another mystery. Almost every letter he sends is owed six cents at Mom’s end. I wonder if he is sending the stamps to make up for that postage at her end.

If I had it I would only lose it. And as long as I’m not with you I’m just as happy without any money.  When I get home we are going to need it. Well honey last night I told you of the wettest nights I have seen now how about the darkest. We were Bivouac in a large grove of trees and the moon wasn’t just right. Anyway you couldn’t see your nose so you couldn’t follow it and had to use your own sense of judgment. I was on guard and had to call the relief that went on after us. It was about 20 feet to where they slept and it took me about 20 minutes to find them. But I thought sure I knew where I had come from. But do you think I could find that post again. I wandered around about 5 minutes and couldn’t ever talk hard enough for them to hear me Finally I found a truck and knew where I was and wandered back. But the best part of it was one tent or rather truck tarp strung up between two trees to keep the gentle down flow of dew off. Well one kid had to do a little job. He got up walked what he thought was a little way off but really he only walked around the tree on one and let go right back on his bed. Maybe you didn’t think the air wasn’t blue for a while. One could almost hear him for a block. One night they started out to check the guard. Well they found one post and all they got done after that was walk circles around it. Each round was a little bigger. Finally they tried to find the C.P. and it all ended up with one sleeping in someone else’s bed and I never did know what happened to the other. You have been somewhere in the dark and seen this phosphorous. Well we took that and lined trails from one place to the next and then it wasn’t bad. It was there I had 85 on one truck at once. That was a load. You know honey I hope Jr’s feet aren’t big. But if they are I’ll sure know who he takes after. Well maybe it would be best. Its [sic] bed time. I love you my darling. I love you so much. Mom said Lucille sent you a clipping from a paper. We have got the same here. I think there should be more of a like nature in the paper. Bob and I missed having our pictures taken because we were to [sic] lazy to walk a half mile down to the place. Well maybe it wasn’t quite a half mile at least a block. I love you honey. I love you darling. I love you so much. Gee honey I love you. All my love, Lefty

Here is another great experience he is able to share with us. It seems I read somewhere it got to where the soldiers were able to talk about some stuff that went on a month after it happened. I have to wonder if that is why he is now sharing those stories.

Dad Wrote "First Sgt. St. Jean, France

Dad Wrote “First Sgt. St. Jean, France

13 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Mommie, Oh!  Mail today. A Christmas card from Mom and two letters from you. They were the ones telling about the box and picture. I’m glad you liked it. One doesn’t have much choice here as to what they buy. That was German silk I sent. I really don’t know what ours are like. I guess some are different. German [unreadable] are most any color. I’m glad you got a bassinette for Jr. I wasn’t worried about his sleeping. He could share your bed until I got there. Then he will probably be big enough to look out for himself. I sure wish I could see all the things you have for him. They sound swell you writing about them. It looks like I’m not going to have to worry about the thing Lucille sent. The package hasn’t gotten here and it looks like it won’t. Of course the mail is all balled up. I have gotten two packages from her and the other was sent the same month. It has been almost a month since I got them. Perhaps. I imagine if you waite [sic] a while Madelyn M. will write you. And then you can answer. But as for Mrs. Johnson she just wanted to send you Xmas greetings and kinda keep in touch with you. You won’t have much trouble writing her. Well what I owe Harold should have been paid. I wrote sometime ago and told Dad to pay him, but he wouldn’t accept it that way. So now he can waite [sic] until I have a little on hand. I’ll get him paid though. It isn’t much and in all he owes me as much and doesn’t intend to pay that. Well honey I guess I’ll have to lay off on that. I can’t think of much to write. I’m so glad to get your letters. They are so nice. God honey I just can’t wait until I get home. I love you Darling. I love you so much. I love you. I love you. I love you honey. All my love Mommie Lefty.

I am always glad when Dad gets letters from home and he has something to talk about.  Because he is not allowed to discuss current things going on around him and having everything censored it must have been hard to find material to talk about. If you have not noticed he writes almost every day. That is a lot of writing when you can’t talk about current events. I do hope he continues to share some of the stories of his life in the European Theater Operation (ETO).

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Pictures: Herbert E. Tribble, Oswald R. Dudley



  1. Great post. Noticed you have 882 followers! Awesome!

    • Thank you so much and welcome aboard! I have been blogging my father’s story for over a year now. I feel blessed to have one person who is interested. 882 blow’s me away!

  2. I’m sure your mom wanted to know everything, but it was probably for the best that she didn’t! I’m sure there were plenty of moments your dad escaped by the skin of his nose – your mom didn’t need the extra worry.

    • Yes Will I am sure there is a lot Mom did not need to know. Some days I am happy for the censor and some I wish I knew more.

  3. Moving is all that I can say … thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Means a lot to me!

  4. I read these letter and think of all the servicemen and women who today have a much easier time of communicating with home than the men and women in previous wars, but they still can’t be there when their families expand with new babies or there are other special moments.These letters are so touching, Nancy. ox

    • Thank you so much. It is amazing to see how far technology has come since WWII.

  5. Notsofancynancy, try doing a search on this: Camp du Ban-Saint-Jean

    This could be the current camp mentioned or the one in Moselle?

    • I wish I knew. I did a search as suggested and everything that came up was in French. I did look at the pictures and nothing was familiar. There was one is Moselle also?

      • There were some current day photos of the remnants of brick buildings. The captions noted they had housed French forces during the war. In your dad’s photos, I spied what appeared to be similar structures off to the left. I’m so pressed for time; otherwise, I’d research to satisfy my own WWII curiosity. 🙂

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