Posted by: notsofancynancy | August 1, 2013

World War II, chapter 75, Busted

World War II

Chapter 75


Courtsey of The Cain Family

Courtesy of The Cain Family

Now in Germany, Dad and his fellow soldiers trudge on doing things Quartermaster do. For Dad that means driving and I mean a lot of driving. He drove all over France, Holland, Belgium, and now Germany. My sister is now two months old and Dad has only known her name for one of those. In all reality we will never know how it felt unless we look between the lines of these letters.

10 March, Straelan, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Hello honey got another swell letter from you today. Boy you sure must have gotten the mail from me. 7 letters in three days. That was some you should have gotten when you didn’t get any. Guess you know how I feel about Mary. Sure do think she’s swell. What you have told me about her sure sounds wonderful. We went to a show last night. First one since the first part of January. Sure was good too. “Hollywood Canteen.” Sure had the stars in it of course the name tells you that. What’s this Red Cross Clinic you were talking about taking Mary too? The book says if you don’t understand the lesson ask questions. If I have any knowledge of girls I know the daughter will have a few more people beside me wrapped around her finger. It sounds like Uncle Gerald was a little worse off than everyone expected. That malaria just isn’t anything to sneeze at. Don’t get over that so easy. (if you do) Sure hope you get to see them when they come out. Say Mommie what do you think about insurance for Mary. And yourself too. If you could we should get something like 20 year pay or at least in that line. Then how about some kind of a savings for her. You said something about Stamps and Bonds. You know I think I can get something like that here. Or send you the money and you get it. They have a 7.50 bond perhaps I could get that. Not a bad idea anyway. Its [sic] bed time honey. I love you both so much. Gee Darling. I wish I could only see you. We could sure talk things over and then see how things stand. I love you honey. I love you so much I love you I love you so much honey. I love you. All my love, Lefty

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

The story about the “Hollywood Canteen” is a fascinating one in the fact that there was actually a real Hollywood Canteen. It operated from October 1942 through November of 1945 in, of course, Hollywood. According to Wikipedia:

Opened as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas. Even though the majority of visitors were U.S servicemen, the canteen was open to servicemen of allied countries as well as women in all branches of service. A serviceman’s ticket for admission was his uniform and everything at the canteen was free of charge.

The driving forces behind its creation were Bette Davis and John Garfield, along with Jules Stein, President of Music Corporation of America, who headed up the finance committee. Bette Davis devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the project and served as its president.[citation needed] The various guilds and unions of the entertainment industry donated the labor and money for the building renovations. The Canteen was operated and staffed completely by volunteers from the entertainment industry. By the time the Canteen opened its doors, over 3000 stars, players, directors, producers, grips, dancers, musicians, singers, writers, technicians, wardrobe attendants, hair stylists, agents, stand-ins, publicists, secretaries, and allied craftsmen of radio and screen had registered as volunteers.

Stars volunteered to wait on tables, cook in the kitchen and clean up. One of the highlights for a serviceman was to dance with one of the many female celebrities volunteering at the Canteen. The other highlight was the entertainment provided by some of Hollywood’s most popular stars, ranging from radio stars to big bands to novelty acts. On September 15, 1943, the one millionth guest walked through the door of the Hollywood Canteen. The lucky soldier, Sgt. Carl Bell, received a kiss from Betty Grable and was escorted in by another beautiful star, including Marlene Dietrich.

A Hall of Honor at the Hollywood Canteen had a wall of photos which honored the film actors who served in the military.

By 1944, the Canteen had become so popular that Warner Bros. made a movie titled The Hollywood Canteen. Starring Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton, the film had scores of stars playing themselves. It was directed by Delmer Daves, who also wrote the screenplay. At the time the Canteen closed its doors, it had been host to almost three million servicemen.

I wonder if Dad ever knew about the real Hollywood Canteen. After all he was stationed on the California coast for quite a while after Pearl Harbor was bombed in December of 1941. I know that the 35th Quartermaster was driving up and down the coast of Southern California until March of 1943. It seems unlikely he ever went to the Hollywood Canteen but it is possible.   You know this history thing can be quite interesting, who knew?

11 March, 1945 Quartermaster moved to Bruggen, Germany for rest period

13 March, Bruggen, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Hi honey hows [sic] the daughter. Well heres [sic] the good news. I haven’t written for a couple days. Been gone again. Had a couple hours work that took two days and a half. Only I got down in the back again and came in last night about 10.  Was up to go again this morning but Bob took my place. He had to go as a mechanic so just went where I should have. I slept most of the time. The back isn’t to [sic] bad. Just having a little kidney trouble and that always gets me in the back. So I guess I’ll even live that over. You know today makes the third day and no mail. Boy sure hope some comes tomorrow. This mail sure comes in squirts and the squirt ran out. Sure hope Mary Lynn is completely over the colic. In your last letters she seemed to be pretty over it but now I hope she is all over it. You know the pictures you have sent sure have given me something to do. Now I can look at them and dream. I sure think they are good. You know I have a bright idea. You’ll have all the money you need. And I have more than I can spend. All the money I can send home. Lets [sic] either buy bonds or put in a savings for Mary. Now maybe I won’t have much to send and it may come a time when I’ll have less. But its [sic] something to think of. Now what do you think of that? Bob was saying the other day that Madeline had gotten a letter from you telling about Mary and if you wrote many more like it he was going to have to have a baby by proxy. Don’t know what she wrote but she sure envys [sic] you. I love you my Darling. I love you so much honey. Wish I could write more but I am about out of time. I love you sweetheart. I love you my Darlings. All my love, Lefty

Murray Combs Courtesy of the Combs Family

Murray Combs Courtesy of the Combs Family

14 March, Bruggen, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Boy got mail today. One letter from you and one from Mom written Mar 1 & 2. Sure seems good to have later mail. And am glad you are getting some mail. Guess all my efforts aren’t in vain. Now waite [sic] until the time comes when I didn’t write. Then you’ll not get any. I hate that honey but there sure isn’t anything I could do. Just wasn’t here.  You said Mary had gained 2# 9 1/2 ozs. Is that what she should have or in other words is that good or bad? Sounds good to me. But I’m looking forward to beating Mary Sue so better work a little more Spinish [sic] in her diet. Its [sic] like spring here. Guess its [sic] that time. Sure smells good. I mean the fresh air and all. And besides that it hasn’t rained for a couple days. Just when I almost had the web feet completed too. Now I’ll have to start all over again. Sure is a good country to be in though. I have made a collection of coins and plan on making some bracelets out of them. Tonight I polished them with what metal polish we had left and does the darn stuff stink. I have enough coins for about [unreadable] bracelets now. If I can find some way of fastening them together. I’ll send some home. Did my wash today. It didn’t get dry and have it on the line. Sure hope this isn’t the day the weather changes and it rains. Didn’t have much but hate to have that outside in rain. You know I sure hope this letter makes sense to you cause I’ve just written on and on and am not responsible for whats [sic] on the paper. Bob is suppose [sic] to come over in a little while and we’re going to have pop corn. Have been waiting for him so he can pop it. Don’t like to myself. Sounds like Mom sure does enjoy having Mary around huh! Sure like to get her letters telling me what she does. Of course I love yours too. But Mom had that certain way of telling that sound just like you. Guess I just like her letters too. Oh be the day when I can come home to you two. Gosh honey I’ve dreamed about a millions things to do and when we have a chance I’d sure like to so some of them. I love you so much my Darling. I love you sweetheart. I love you so much. I love you I love you Darlings. All my love honey, Lefty

15 March, Bruggen, Germany

Dearest Vi & Mary, Hows [sic] my daughter tonight. And you too honey. Sure hope you are in good spirits cause I have something to tell you that may not sound so good. But then it really isn’t so bad as all that. Got my dare up today and before it was all over got myself busted. It was all my own fault. No one had anything to do with it but myself. So now you can write to Pvt. Woodside again. I’ve been telling you perhaps you would be getting $5.00 taken off you one allotment. Well heres [sic] why. The decrease was something like $16 and I was only getting $14.21 So by taking 5 off I’ll still be getting enough to do me. Only I’m afraid Mary’s savings will be kind of slack. I think its [sic] best this way. I’ll know later anyway. Don’t get to [sic] mad. If you throw any dishes be sure its [sic] the old ones. We had some pop corn tonight and are my teeth ever a mess. Have to brush them before I go to bed. The corn was good and I need to brush them so everyone is happy. Gee honey you know I think of you so much. And the more I think of you the more I love you. I love you so much my Darling. And now money has come into our lives you know that’s the setting for a swell little cottage. You know one of those cozy affairs with a little fireplace and you Mary and me sitting in front. It may seem crazy but I’ve been dreaming up something like that. I can sometimes just reach over and almost touch you. But about that time someone has to either wake me or attract my attention and you’re gone. I love you so much Mommie. We have been talking about the furloughs we had and how we drove on went [sic] between. Sure was some wild driving. Sure wish we were doing that again. Bob has two eggs over to his house and I’m to go over at 9:30 and have an egg sandwich. Sure wish I knew where he was today. I’d go there tomorrow. Well honey hope you aren’t to [sic] disappointed about me getting busted. It will all come out in the wash. And even then won’t be bad. Oh yes I got 4 bracelets made today except putting the fasteners on them. I love you my Darling. I love you so much honey. Gee Darling am I looking forward to seeing you. I love you both my Darlings. All my love honey, Lefty

Dad got busted? This is a story I have not heard but whatever was done to get him busted must have been a story he could not tell about. He does start addressing his letters as a private though.

Dad was busted back to a Private

Dad was busted back to a Private

16 March, Bruggen, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, No mail today. I sure hope there will be tomorrow though cause I’m sure needing some morale building. And your letters sure seem to do the job. Gosh there just isn’t anything to write about either. Only the mail I haven’t answered and man I could write pages on that. I only have a couple bags left to empty now. Perhaps when things quiet down I’ll get things started again. It rained a bit here today. Not to [sic] much but I imagine if one had been out in it he would have gotten a little water soaked. But it isn’t so cold. One can stand the rain or cold one at a time. But both together sure makes it rough. Sounds like Kansas got the works. 8 inches of snow is sure a lot. I guess we had that much a couple months, but really didn’t notice it so much. You see the trucks we have just aren’t like the cars. That much snow is just a little bit to them. Although we did have a couple slides and once upset a trailer. Nothing was hurt though. Just a little extra work. Unloading and loading it up again. You know honey I sure wish Mary would get over the darn stomach sickness. Boy I know they all have it and it lasts so long but man it sure seems a long time to me. You know I don’t think I said anything about her birthday. Here she is 2 months old and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t forget it. If I remember I just didn’t write the eleventh.  I love you so much my Darling. Gee honey I’m anxious to see you. I love you I love you so much my Darlings. All my love Darlings, Lefty

George W. Bronson, Calvin E. Wheatly

George W. Bronson, Calvin E. Wheatly

17 March, Bruggen, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Well honey I am now officially a private. Don’t feel a damn bit different but a hell of a lot luckier.  Instead of taking 5.00 off your allotment I took $10 so now you’ll be getting only $20 in the Class E. You’ll get the full thirty this month but starting next pay off. Someday I’ll tell you the whole deal. Its [sic] kind of complicated and I couldn’t write about it. Oh yes the mail came today. Got three letters from you and one from Mom. They were Dec 6-7-9 Also got a couple Christmas Cards. Even if they were a long time overdue they were swell. You said you love me and I guess that’s all that counts.  Gee honey you know the only reason I didn’t tell you I loved you before we were married I was to [sic] bashful. I guess I loved you enough, but didn’t tell you about it. Thought you would think me crazier than I was. I guess like to tell you I love you now though darling. Because I do love you so much. I would just like to set here and write that all night. Just seems when I start I just remember how happy we were the short while we had together and how much fun we’ll have if and when we get together again. And then I just love you so much more. Gosh my Darling I just think sometimes I couldn’t possibly love you another bit. But I do. When the time comes there is lots of room. Oh! Shit honey I’m so damn lonesome for you I just don’t care whether its rain or snowing all I want is you. I saw a picture of Colorado street [Pasadena, California] in the Yank Magazine tonight and in it I could see the little jewelry store where we officially became engaged. Sure brings back old memories. That’s almost two years ago isn’t it. How time does fly. I haven’t seen Mom or Pop since then either. Sure seems a long time. Sure wish I were walking down that street to you tonight. Sure would solve a lot of problems. You know Darling to me you are the most beautiful person I know. And believe me if I haven’t told you I have for a long time. I wish I could send you the flowers too. I love you so much Darling. I hope Mary Lynn is ok. Your letters today were written before she was even born. Sure seemed funny. I am sure looking forward to getting home to you both. I love you Darling. I love you so much. Gee honey I love you I love you sweetheart. All my love Darlings, Lefty

This letter is one of the most heartbreaking ones I think I have read. With Dad being busted down to a Private, no mail, and being so homesick you can really feel the depression in his words. What are the chances he would get a hold of a magazine that has a picture in it of the jewelry store they got engaged in? I have to wonder what Dad did to get himself demoted but we will never know. He has been overseas for ten months now and there is no sign of him going home anytime soon, or will he?

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Calvin E. Wheatly, George W. Bronson, Marvin Cain, Murray Combs



  1. You truly have a collection of photos that would be difficult to beat.

    • Thank you…been on vacation and just got home! Was up in Ventura camping on the beach. I feel blessed to have them and to think I did not think they were all that important when I first found them…. Now look!!! What a story! lol

  2. The reason your father got busted will remain a secret. There are numerous ways it could have happened. Maybe he defended someone in an altercation and got in trouble along with the others?

    • Ah but my imagination has many scenarios! lol But a mystery it will be!

  3. It’s no wonder Lefty’s kidney ached as well as his back. His truck’s suspension would have been worse that riding in my Mustang that has coilovers… and he drives for days. Did his back bother him as a civilian?

    Quite a few guys got busted… Maybe he had a “tussle” with a green lieutenant or something. Old Man Jack frequently talked about “tussles” on the islands or bars. That was his word for fights. 🙂 And I 100% believe him on the number of tussles he had…with Marines. 🙂

    While the repository burned down, have you asked for any of his military records?

    • I do have his original discharge papers issued in 1945.And have been trying to figure out what medals he had so I can replace them. (They burnt in my sister’s fire) Sent a letter out and they of course told me about the fire they had destroying records. I sent them a copy of the original DC Papers and have not heard back from them. If you can decipher them let me know and I will email you a copy. Just got back from a week at the Beach in Ventura. As I watched the waves crash my mind went back to the time Dad was stationed there back in 1942. He would have seen this same ocean. Brought a tear to my eye.

  4. ps I’ve been looking for that statue online when I can with no luck so far…

    • Thanks I have also looked. I could have been anywhere?? Holland, Belgium, Germany, France…Who knows but let me know if you find it.

  5. What a wonderful and interesting read….I find myself drawn into your fathers world….and what on earth he did to get demoted down the ranks…..

    • Thank you so much sometimes the letters leave much to the imagination. There is so much interesting stuff coming up with VE-Day and the end of the censor coming soon so stay tuned! lol

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