31 July, 2011

31 July, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
France
31 July, 1944
My dearest darling –

I got three most welcome letters yesterday evening from you, postmarked 15, 16, and 17 July. It was a wonderful tonic. I also heard from my father and I got a combination letter from Barbie and Steve – so you see, sweetheart – I went to bed relaxed. Your letters, dear, sure do a lot for me. I sit and wonder about it after I’m through reading them. It’s a strange reaction – but satisfying, and to know that you continue to love me is the most important part of it.

I wonder occasionally if all the nice things you say about me are true and if I might not disappoint you, perhaps. It isn’t a complex by any means, darling. I just want to live up to everything you think I am – or can be. All in all – I’m a pretty happy guy and I think my present set-up is excellent. I am not referring to France, darling – but to you and home. I do have something to come back to – you; we’re engaged, there’ll be no reason for us to wait long before getting married. Secondly – I don’t have to look for a job; I have my profession and a city to practice it in – which is a mighty important factor, too. Besides – I’m still on the staff of a Class A hospital – and all in all – you can see why I have a right to be happy, sweetheart. Sure – there’s a war on, but I’ve written you before – I try to consider it as an interlude, perhaps part of the price I have to pay for being happy and fortunate.


I admit, though, it’s difficult at times to consider France as a passing interlude. The less you know about it – the better. When I’m back home – and safe, I’ll tell you a few things, darling, but not until then. I think it will be interesting re-reading some of my letters after the war – just to study my reactions or as much of them as I dared to reveal. Some reactions I’ll never forget anyway, I guess. I have been unable to save your letters since we arrived in France, dear, and I hope you’ll excuse me. I do have all of those prior to that. They’re in my foot-locker – which is now in Liverpool, I believe. We weren’t allowed to bring those with us – space being at a premium in the early waves of the assault. We were all given duffel bags and allowed to take our val-a-pac – and that’s all. As a result – my overcoat, summer suit etc. are all rolled up in my duffel bag. I wonder what they’ll look like when I take them out. Space is still at a premium. I save your letters in my portfolio until it begins to bulge; then I re-read them – a final reading – and I burn them. But the memory of what was contained in them – does not fade, sweetheart.

It was kind of you to try to explain Ruth’s reaction in not writing. I have never held it against her, of course, and understand fully. I’ve told you we were never an expressive family – but I know there exists between all of us something deeper than can be expressed in writing. I know how Ruth feels and that’s all that matters to me. Be sure and explain that to her, dear, and tell her that’s enough for me. I often imagine that you may think that my family isn’t demonstrative enough to you – but I know they love you, darling, and you must surely be aware of it.

I don’t blame Stanley Burns for not being anxious to return to duty. You can take it while you’re in it – but I know how I’d feel if I were home for awhile and then had to return. I’d rather stick it out in one stretch, I think. Yes, I’ll wait for home – with good food, good rest and best of all – your love.

And finally – sweetheart – I won’t disappoint you. You did leave yourself open for a crack at your age and far be it from me to let you down. My oh my – are you ever young! Yes – you did fool me when I first went out with you – by about 1 or 2 years – that’s all. I’d love to see you with your hair up, darling, but don’t keep it up too long a time. It must make you look too eligible to a lot of guys. When it’s down – I’m sure the boys must pass you up as being too young. Oh well – suit yourself – but do be careful, dear!

We tried to see and hear a move last nite – this time a Class B – smellaroo – called “Beautiful but Broke”. Too often – of late – though – we end up just watching the motions. It gets so noisy overhead – that you can’t hear the sound – and it makes things seem rather pointless.

That’s about all for this sitting – We’re in another new spot – and our C.P. (Command post) is at an abandoned farmhouse. We still sleep in foxholes – of course – but we’ve been using the kitchen – for our officers’ mess and eating off Limoges china plates; and there’s plenty of fresh vegetables in the garden, and lots of chickens – too; and oh yes – it’s funny how another cow happened to die yesterday. We had broiled liver for supper last nite. Be sure to tell Mother A – dear, she’ll be pleased.

U.S. troops just back from the fighting front
relax at a French farmhouse on 31 July 1944
This photo belongs to PhotosNormandie's Flickr Photostream

So long for now, sweetheart. I DO love you and my ‘do’ can be as large as yours. It is! Love to the folks
And my everlasting love, dear
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Congratulations from Henry L. Stimson
Following Operation Cobra

[Click to enlarge, Back Arrow to return]
The Normandy Breakout is Accomplished
Dashed Red Line Represents German Position on 25 July
Dotted Red Line Represents German Position on 27 July
Solid Red Line Represents German Position on 31 July

Greg received this message as Commander of the Medical Detachment for the 438th AAA AW (Mobile):

R E S T R I C T E D
HEADQUARTERS
FIRST UNITED STATES ARMY
APO 230

                                         31 July 1944

SUBJECT:  Congratulatory Message

TO:       Corps, Division and Separate Unit Commanders.

    The following message, received from The Secretary of War, is published for the information of all officers and enlisted men of this First U.S. Army:
"WAR DEPT.
TO:   LT. GENERAL OMAR BRADLEY.
I AM VERY MUCH THRILLED AND GRATIFIED WITH THE PROGRESS THAT YOU HAVE MADE. PLEASE CONVEY MY APPRECIATION AND CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL CONCERNED AND GIVE THEM MY VERY BEST WISHES FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS.
                                STIMSON
                            SECRETARY OF WAR."

[Click to enlarge, Back Arrow to return]

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I am writing a story "Pauline and WW2 Floyd Profiles in Courage". Pauline and Floyd were married just on year prior to Floyd going overseas. Floyd was a Tank Commander in Opeatation Cobra. On July 29, 1944 Floyd's Sherman Tank was ambushed by a German Marc V tank. Four (3) of Floyd's Tankers were instantly killed. Floyd was severely wounded and taken to the Normandy beach and then to England. Floyd was with the 4th Armored Division. Is there anyone out there who was with the 4th Armored Division during Operation Cobra? My name is Henry Walli in Schaumburg, Illinois and I am in Facebook. Please contact me as your information will greatly enhance my story about Pauline and Floyd.

    ReplyDelete