04 September, 2012

04 September 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
4 September, 1945
Nancy
My dearest fiancée –

In case you don’t know – I love you very very much and I’ll always be reminding you of that fact, dear. And what makes me love you? Darling – it’s your faith and understanding, your love – it’s you that makes me love you – and that’s good enough for me.

The Labor Day Weekend is over and I came closest to celebrating it this year than since I left home. I went back to Gèrardmer Sunday about noon and didn’t get back until Monday evening. All that was missing to make the weekend perfect, dear, was you. The weather was warm, the lake – calm and I just lolled around doing exactly nothing. It was just what I needed, too, because I’ve been feeling somewhat fed up with this cursed daily routine.

And I was all set to get home here – take a bath and write you a letter – but when I reached our quarters I found an embryonic party already started. I couldn’t understand the reason for it but found out soon enough. Our old Colonel Lane had dropped by on his way from Germany to Paris. He’s on his way home. He knew we were in Nancy and naturally planned to stay over with us. Well you know, darling, it was so nice and natural to see him again. He had left in a hurry back in Germany and we had never had a chance to give him a send-off. We did last night. He certainly was the right man to have taken us through combat. We realized it after he left. Anyway – we drank, sang songs, reminisced etc.

Incidentally – this business of fellows leaving and having send-off parties – is getting pretty trying. We lost two more officers over the weekend and we’re now down to 103 points for officers. I also lost two more enlisted men – they’re down to 96 points for them – and I now have only 11 men left. Things are really changing here and it’s becoming difficult to help rosters of C.Q. – for officers – as well as E.M.

Oh – about Christmas packages – dear – forget about it. I don’t know where I’ll be by then – probably right here in Nancy. But chances are just as good that I may have left for a repple depple [redeployment depot] by then. There’s no point in packing something and have it chase me all over the continent. If I am here Christmas – I’ll know you wanted to send me something – and that will be good enough thought for me.

You mentioned Lawrence – in one of your letters a week or so ago. It’s difficult to analyze whether his move was foolish or not. The fact is, though, that he is terribly point-poor and in all probability he would have had to go over anyway. But it’s comforting to realize that the fighting is over and I’m sure it must be a relief to Mother A.

With interruptions – etc – I’ve been almost two hours writing this, dear – so I’ll have to stop now. I’m waiting just as patiently as I know how, sweetheart, for that happy day when I can leave France and head for home and you. But our love for each other is a wonderful thought and it’s that thought, tenacious and binding that makes everything tolerable.

All for now, sweetheart, my love to the folks – and
All my everlasting love is yours –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Operation Tiderace

General Seishirō Itagaki signing the terms for the reoccupation of Singapore
on board the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex on 4 September 1945

The following was taken from Wikipedia's coverage of Operation Tiderace.
Operation Tiderace was the codename of the British plan to retake Singapore in 1945. The liberation force was led by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command. Operation Tiderace was planned soon after the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Emergency planning was put in preparation for the rapid occupation of Singapore at an early date should Japan agree to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July.

The convoy consisted of about 90 ships, which included two battleships, HMS Nelson and the French battleship Richelieu. The heavy cruiser HMS Sussex served as the flagship. HMAS Hawkesbury was the sole Australian warship during the Japanese surrender, escorting the repatriation transport Duntroon. There were a total of seven escort carriers.

The Japanese naval fleet in Singapore consisted of the destroyer Kamikaze and two cruisers, Myōkō and Takao, both of which had been badly damaged before that. They were being used as floating anti-aircraft batteries. Two ex-German U-boats, I-501 and I-502 were also in Singapore. Both were moored at Singapore Naval Base. Air strength in both Malaya and Sumatra was estimated to be a little more than 170 aircraft.

Operation Tiderace commenced when Mountbatten ordered Allied troops to set sail from Trincomalee and Rangoon on 31 August for Singapore. The fleet was not armed with offensive weapons as Mountbatten had good reason to believe that the Japanese in Malaya and Singapore would surrender without a fight; on 20 August General Itagaki Seishiro, the commander in Singapore, had signalled Mountbatten that he would abide by his emperor's decision and was ready to receive instructions for the Japanese surrender of Singapore. Newspapers in Singapore were finally allowed to carry the text of the emperor's speech, confirming what many already knew from listening to All India Radio broadcasts from Delhi on forbidden shortwave radios.

The fleet arrived in Singapore on 4 September 1945, meeting no opposition. General Itagaki, accompanied by Vice Admiral Shigeru Fukudome and his aides, were brought aboard HMS Sussex in Keppel Harbour to discuss the surrender. They were received by Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Christison and Major-General Robert Mansergh. A tense encounter began when a Japanese officer reportedly remarked, "You are two hours late," only to be met with the reply, "We don't keep Tokyo time here."

By 6pm, the Japanese had surrendered their forces on the island. An estimated 77,000 Japanese troops from Singapore were captured, plus another 26,000 from Malaya. Itagaki had met his generals and senior staff at his HQ at the former Raffles College in Bukit Timah and told his men that they would have to obey the surrender instructions and keep the peace. That night, more than 300 officers committed suicide using grenades in the Raffles Hotel after a farewell sake party.

About 200 Japanese soldiers decided to join the Malayan communist guerrillas, whom they had been fighting against just days before. Their intent was to continue the fight against the British. But they soon returned to their units when they found out that the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), which was funded by the Malayan Communist Party, did not plan to fight the returning British.

Nonetheless, some Japanese soldiers stayed hidden in the jungles with the communists, and when Chin Peng and remnants of the Malayan Communist Party ended their struggle in 1989, two former Japanese soldiers emerged from the jungle with the communists and surrendered.

No comments:

Post a Comment