Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 26, 2013

World War II, chapter 83, May 1945

World War II

End of May 1945

Chapter 83

Heilbronn, Germany, Courtesy of the Cain Family

Heilbronn, Germany, Courtesy of the Cain Family

This is the last entry on the document “Various stations and area’s occupied by the 35th Quartermaster since it’s induction to federal service.” But that is not where my father’s story ends, fortunately Dad starts writing where he is on the letters. For them the war did not end on D-Day as some would have thought. Although some men may be going home but it is not time for Dad. After all there are a half a million men overseas that are all hoping to be on the first ship home and someone had to drive them.

19 May, 1945 Quartermaster moved to Bockum, six (6) miles west of Hamm, Germany

21 May, Recklinghausen, Germany

Dearest Wife & Daughter, Mommie I can really tell you I love you tonight and not have anyone reading it. They have started letting us seal our own letters now. And will that feel different. Boy oh Boy I love you honey. And you too Butch. Man did I have a trip today. We were over what seemed half of Germany and really only drove 200 miles. Or maybe a little more. But was in Munster. Have been there several times before but never so lost in it as today. Couldn’t find anything. Believe me honey you can be thankful you are in the good old U.S. Because you never saw the blocks after blocks of almost every town torn up. Not really torn up. About all that is left is the memory. They say flattened they don’t mean anything but. I’ve seen people that have been buried and dug out and of all that’s left of about their bodies you could get under a newspaper. Some of the towns you will just have to start all over again. Just as well mark them a mistake and build the whole town again. Hannover, Reckinghouser, Cologne, Aachen and the whole works are something a good drama writer couldn’t describe. Yes honey since we started living in buildings its [sic] been filth like that. Towns with no windows. Such things. Germany has work to do in the future. But now. Before VE day over 5000 people a day were starving and I believe it hasn’t changed now. In some ways (many ways) the people are paying. But not half enough. If they build Germany first they won’t have time to have another war around here for a long time. Just to fill the bomb craters and defense positions will take years. And I guess the POW’s are going to help repair some of the other countries. That sounds good to me. Well Mommie thats all of that sounds pretty good and bad. But believe me you would think the people in France would have been happy to have gotten away from the Germany rule. But when we first landed in Normandy we had both French and German’s to fight. Yes even French woman were shooting at us. We were even ordered to all machine Guns alert and if anyone fired at us to shoot back. If in a building or town but the whole works. After the breakthrough of St. Lo though we didn’t have that so much. But some women were in love with the men The FFI usually did them up good.

The FFI was Freedom Forces of the Interior was a group of freedom fighters who banned together in the later stages of World War II. According to Wikipedia:

The French Forces of the Interior (French: Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France’s status changed from that of an occupied nation to one of a nation being liberated by the Allied armies. As regions of France were liberated, the FFI were more formally organized into light infantry units and served as a valuable manpower addition to regular French forces. In this role, the FFI units manned less active areas of the front lines, allowing regular French army units to practice economy of force measures and mass their troops in decisive areas of the front. Finally, from October 1944 and with the greater part of France liberated, the FFI units were amalgamated into the French regular forces, thus ending the era of the French irregulars in World War II.

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Now let’s get back to this this letter. Finally Dad is able to write a letter and seal it himself. He is finally able to tell what is going on around him and it is not pretty. I mean what was it like to be told to shoot anyone even if it is a woman. I know this is part of war but it was not as real to me as it is now.

Right now Mommie every road leading out of Germany is filled with people going home. They are traveling any way they can. Bicycle, Horse & Wagon, just wagons loaded with baggage and men women & kids pulling them. They are mostly German because we have been shipping the others back by rail or hauling them. But if you could see just how people do in this country. More about it tomorrow. I got your card today and also a V-Mail from Rose & Elmer. Rose didn’t have much to say. Just the usual. She said she wrote you so you probably know it all. She thought the pictures were pretty good of Butch. Yes Mommie do all you can to get healed up. Cause I have an awful good chance coming home as a civilian and soon. But everythings [sic] a chance in the Army. I have 92 points and if the Army doesn’t need me I’ll be home. Sure fixed you. Cut this paper in two so I wouldn’t have to write so much. Good of me huh! I love you my Darling. I love you so much honey. I love you Butch I love you I love you. All my love Mommie & Butch, Lefty

That must have been a lot of people going somewhere all at once. Everyone trying to get home only to find out their home had been blown to smithereens. There is nothing good that comes out of going home only to find your home has been flattened by bombs.

22 May, 22 May, Recklinghausen, Germany

My Darlings Wife & Daughter, Well honey got two letters from you today and boy was I glad to get them. Also was back to the Co. and talked to Bob. We had quite a talk. While I was there I went into the orderly room to sign the payroll and Lt. Sorensen said he wanted to talk to me.  Well I thought I had really done something then. More so when we went into a little room by ourselves. Well about all it amounted to he asked me if I wanted another rating. Everything was going swell honey till he got personal and asked when I turned the others in. The more I told the madder I got and finally just said if that was the kind of chicken shits they were I didn’t want anything to do with them. Boy did he get a long face and looked down his nose at that.  And didn’t say anymore and we both went our ways. Its [sic] a long story honey.

Here is yet another story we may never get to hear.

Say your letter of May 8 sure smells good. Whats [sic] the name of that, Allure or something. I opened your letter in the truck cab and man I had the sweetest smelling cab in the lot. Boy oh Boy. I’m setting here with the letter under my nose now. That’s why I’m not writing so good. I imagine George will get a discharge before long now. He better hurry or I’ll beat him out yet. But I haven’t limited service. Say do you know its [sic] after 1:15 and this is the fourth letter I have written tonight. You know I’m making $8 something more than Bob and I’ll bet I’m not working half as hard. Figured up and have only driven about 6,000 since we crossed the Rhine. That makes over 25,000 miles I have covered over here. Not bad huh. I have seen some country.

Skoda RSO - for hauling heavy artillery Skoda RSO - for hauling heavy artillery  Courtesy of Murry Combs Family


Skoda RSO – for hauling heavy artillery
Courtesy of Murray Combs Family

25,000 miles is a whole lot of miles when you remember that they had a strict speed limit of 35 miles an hour and the roads have been bombed so they are forever dodging bomb craters. Then if we take into consideration they were usually in convoys that could be spread out for 40 miles or more we really get an idea of what he has been doing over there.

Sure sounds like Mary Lynn is getting big. Boy oh Boy maybe you won’t have to feed her that spinach to make 18 in the next couple of months.  Honey I don’t care if you write Dad for my picture album. Only there are a lot of pictures that has to come out of it. To be burned.  You can honey. Suit yourself. Boy honey I’m all run down. I guess I have just written to [sic] much. Besides that I have another try tomorrow. Have to take 25 extra gallons of gas that makes 70 gallons all together.  So I must be going somewhere. Well I like to travel. I love you my Darling. I love you so much honey.  I love you sweetheart I love you I love sweetheart. I love you I love you I love you Mommie & Mary Lynn. All my love Darlings, Lefty

23 May, Recklinghausen, Germany

My Darlings, Well we will have a change of ink tonight. (The only thing I could borrow) Its [sic] sure a good night tonight. Its [sic] about middle between warm and cold. Clark has to go out in a little while to take some German’s home who clean up here so I think I’ll go along. Remember that detail I told you about. It turned out to be a killer. Had to go about 60 miles south of Hannover and that adds up to over 450 miles altogether. It wasn’t a bad trip though. Made it in two days.  Was back about noon today and that wasn’t so bad. Took my time coming. Anyone caught speeding forfeits the chance of coming home. So I didn’t get out of second-well hardly. Got a letter from Bob’s today. Norma told me all about the kids [sic] school program for Mother’s day and I guess while I am on the subject of Mother’s day I should wish that you had a good time. I can’t remember dates very well and I haven’t a calendar so I don’t know those things– So the only mail I got was that letter and a few clippings in it. I guess everyone at home is ok anyway she said so. Clark’s Father died 4 or 5 days ago. Perhaps longer than that. I just found out. He is up here too now. Couldn’t even get a furlough to go home. Boy this Army is all it. His father has been sick for some time and everyone knew it was all. And Clark has been trying to go home for months.

I wonder how often this happened with these men, losing family and not being able to get home. As with the news of my sister being born I wonder how long it was until he knew of the passing of his father. My guess is it was a long time after the funeral.

Well I don’t know what else to say. Bob Winter still has a chance of getting out. Don’t know just how much and won’t for a month. I’ll beat him anyway. I guess I’ll stop now honey and go to bed. I just yawned and changed my mind about going with Clark. I love you my Darlings. I love you so much honey. I love you I love you I love you Mommie I love you sweetheart. All my Love Darlings, Lefty

Mom sent this card to Dad

Mom sent this card to Dad

24 May, Recklinghausen, Germany

Dearest Darlings, Hello Mommie! No mail today. Didn’t have anyone to bring it from the Company. So perhaps there is some there. Boy we are going to have to get someone on the ball.  Saw in tonights [sic] S & S [Stars & Stripes] where the draft board is getting a medal. Boy are they proud. Here I have had 10 months of combat and don’t think I’m entitled to one and they give them one. Man whats [sic] this war coming too. Those guys have enough enemies without causing something like that too. We thought it was crazy.  I’m on guard now and its [sic] about 2:30 all we have to do is listen to the phone and it never rings. At least I haven’t heard it. I’m going to check into this thing maybe the damn thing is broken and if so whats [sic] the use of wasting my time. Its [sic] only shows honey I’m thinking about you this early in the morning. I love you honey. And I think about you lots. By Gosh honey I don’t believe you have been out of my mind for a long time. I got a letter written to Bob’s and Mikes’s tonight and you. Now I’m going to try to write Uncle George and call it quits. I really owe them a letter though. I do lots of other people too. But they are first tonight after you of course. There sure isn’t much news tonight. They are about to give us two more battle stars. Making five all together. We have three now and are suppose [sic] to get one for the Ardennes and Battle of Germany No. 2. We have Normandy, Northern France and Germany No. 1. And have enough of the other two to get them. If they give us them I’ll have 102 points. Boy that sounds good to me. And a lot of others too. That will make Bob out too. He will have 90. Went to a show tonight. Don’t remember the name. It had a 45 on the end and had Eleanor Powell in it. Oh I could look it up. It was pretty good and wasted a little time. I guess I should stop honey. I just can’t think of anything else to write. Have been setting here from some time and can’t think of anything except you. I love you my Darlings. I love you so much honey. I love you I love you I love you Mommie & Mary Lynn. I love you both so much. All my love, Lefty

Found tucked in one of the letters

Found tucked in one of the letters

Eleanor Powell was known as “The Queen of Tap.” Wikipedia says she was known for her exuberant tap dance solo’s.  According to them:

She danced in a giant pinball machine in Sensations of 1945 (1944) for United Artists, but this picture was a critical and commercial disappointment. Powell’s performance was overshadowed by what was to be the final film appearance of W. C. Fields. Powell retired from the cinema afterwards to concentrate on raising her son, actor Peter Ford, who was born that year.

26 May, Recklinghausen, Germany

My Darlings, I just wrote Mrs Johnson and sent her some of the pictures you sent. I got the last one and boy honey are they good. Those three stamp pictures were really good. Man did she think she was big in them. I think the center one for the best. Boy honey I think we have the sweetest daughter. Oh man how much I want to see you two. Boy I got beaucoup of mail from you yesterday honey. Boy 4 letters and one today. Besides one from Elmer & Rose, Harold & Rosa, Mom, and Mrs Johnson. Boy I sure like to get them. Of course I didn’t throw the letters away for a long shot.  I guess Dad will wait until I get home and we can get the pictures we want and send the rest to him or perhaps something can be worked out. They aren’t supposed to be taken off on those censored pictures. If you can’t read this honey Herby is up playing cards and I’m about to laugh myself silly. Boy we get a bang out of him. He is just as funny as that picture I sent of him looks. You know honey it sure seems funny around here. No blackouts no blackout driving or anything like war. Its [sic] just Army now. On long trips you take off and without thinking of getting into a pace where you can’t use lights. In the five years I’ve been here I don’t know of a time when we haven’t been bothered with blackout driving. Oh yes, I finally got to see Thunderhead. I think you said it wasn’t as good as Flicka. I didn’t think so either. It was good though. You were telling jokes. So I’ll tell you a live one. You heard about not being able to fraternize with the women here. Well I think everyone in town passes outside our window every day and there is a grave yard across the road. Well we were looking the other night and all at once from nothing one kid says I guess I’ll have to take a box of chocolate and set it in the grave yard tomorrow. We all laugh and he said. Well you can’t be caught talking with those. Mommie its [sic] late  and I have another long trip to go on tomorrow so I getter get to bed. Around this place you are lucky to get to sleep before 12 and up before 8. Just made it for breakfast this morning 8:30. Guess we are through with that though cause we are going to have revile [sic]. I love you my Darling Wife & Daughter I love you so much. I love you I love you Mommie. I love you Honey. All my love Darling, Lefty

Dad Wrote "Herbie the Medic"

Dad Wrote “Herbie the Medic”

I am not sure if this is the Herby Dad is talking about but I have to believe it is. He looks like he could really make one laugh and we all know with all they are doing, laughing time is sorely needed. It is now a month and a half after D-day and although there are rumors of going home Dad has not gotten any solid leads yet.


Robert “Bob” Winter, Paul W. Sorensen, Harmon E. Clark, Herbert Morgan

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Responses

  1. Hopefully Bob never found out about that $8 difference!

    And 25,000 miles is a whole lot of driving. I’m surprised your pops ever got back in a car again after that.

    • Oh Dear! Never thought about that! lol It was a lot of money back then.

      Surprisingly enough Dad loved driving and when I was young bought a camper and we traveled all over the US. My brother and I saw it from the top bunk. We pretended we were flying! lol Dad would get up to a month off and we were on the road.

  2. You got a very tiny glimpse into the grotesque views of a soldier’s war… When a person’s remains can fit on a newspaper or flattened and pulled out long after death is just gruesome. But multiply that by the thousands…

    • That is something I never knew about the Quartermaster but it was also their job to get their fallen out of the place. I can’t imagine what he saw.

      • Yes… It is one thing to see the grotesque condition of the dead in grainy combat photos but as Jack regurgitated, only those that were there know…

      • So very true they were Man enough to shield us from the truth.


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