A Dozen Chickens

Thurs. 27 Dec. ‘45



Dear folks,

Back once more. Not too much new. We’ve been sitting here for two days now watching the convoys roll by toward the harbor. They were running all night last night. Several large ships are in and they expect to clear the boys out by Mon. Then, well that’s something else again. Maybe one of these days they’ll discover us. At this rate, all the 50’s and above ought to be gone by about Jan. 10 or 15 so then — ?

Yesterday I got Gram’s letter mailed Dec. 4 and today the one sent Dec. 17 so they are coming along again in good order. Last night we saw “First Yank in Tokyo.” I didn’t care too much for it personally although it was a fairly good story dealing with the atomic bomb. They must have made it in a hurry to get it out already. I don’t know what’s up for tonight but I may miss it anyway. Our section is having a chicken barbeque down on the beach at about 6:00. It’s probably about our last chance for a get-together. We have a dozen chickens for 12 of us so I think there should be more than enough for everyone. We have a little Portuguese who has done all the work of preparing the food. He’s down there now getting everything ready. I hope it doesn’t rain as we ought to have a pretty good time.

I’m glad you got the pictures. That must be the first ones of me and Norb here and in town. By now you should have some of the others. I have just sorted out all that I have accumulated up to now, made an envelope and got them ready to mail. They date all the way from England to Manila. Some aren’t very good but I think you’ll be interested in them. The one I’m sending in this letter was made in Gloucester in March and I think it’s pretty good. I’d been overseas 3 months then. I don’t know if I’ll look as thin in that one or not. I weigh about 155 which is close to my average. About three weeks at home and I ought to get above 160 again.

I see they expect a heavy enrollment at MSC next fall. I don’t see how they’ll ever care for 9,000 as 6,500 was a heavy load in ’42. Just so there’s room for me. I figure with my tuition & books paid plus $65 a month I ought to get by all right on this G.I. education setup. I can go for the whole 4 years as I believe it’s for 1 year plus as many years as one served.

Well I guess that’s about it for today. I haven’t done much work today. Things are sort of at a standstill and will be until after Jan. 1. So long for now,

Be seein’you,



Christmas 1945



Dear folks,

Well Xmas is just about over for another year and next time maybe the situation will be a little different. It surely ought to be. It has been quite a nice day around here although I had to end it up working. It seems we passed up a report about two weeks ago assuming that we would break up and not have to do it but last night we got orders to have it in by 9:00 tomorrow morning so I had to get it out tonight. Last night we had a rather interesting movie, and [sic] old one but I never seen it, “Enter Arsene Lupin.” It was quite good. After the movie we had a little get together in the mess hall and sang some carols and then had some food, apple and pineapple pie with ice cream. It was real nice and one of the nicest things I have seen in the Army at Xmas time. They had the mess hall decorated up and it made every one feel pretty good I believe.

This morning I was going to go over to the Xmas services in the Chapel but I woke up about 10 minutes before it was to start so I gave it up. I got up at about 11:00 and showered and dressed for dinner. We had a really good dinner and in fact almost more than most of us could eat – turkey, potatoes, gravy, corn, asparagus, pickles, biscuits, dressing, lima beans, iced cocoa, fruit cake, mince pie, and ice cream. When I finished I was really full. Along about mid afternoon we got ambitious and a few of us played about five games of volleyball before supper. It was good exercise and I don’t think it did any of us any harm. We need it after sitting on our whatyoucallits all the time. Supper was about the same as dinner only not so much but I wasn’t too hungry anyway. After eating I came over and got that work ready and then went to the show “Three Men in White” with Lionel Barrymore. I had seen it long time ago but had forgotten how it ended so it was pretty good. Now here I am so that’s Xmas in Manila and number three away from the old tree and what should go with it. There had better not be a number four. Today I finish my three years and start on the 4th tomorrow. Tomorrow I make 5% more than I did today but personally I had hoped that I would never get that far. No mail today so the boys in the post office could have a day off too. Maybe we will get twice as much tomorrow which still may be nothing if it runs as it has lately. The Xmas rush is over now though so maybe it will come through better.

That is about all there is to say and tomorrow it’s back to work so I think I shall stop and head for bed. I hope you all had as good a day as was possible and that the New Year is a lot better for all of us. A lot of things happened in this year. Some very good and some that would have been better had they not happened but I guess that’s what they call life. Anyway good night and I’ll be seein’you


A Waste Of Good Roosters

Monday 24 Dec. ‘45

Manila 2:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

Xmas Eve and it’s been raining almost steadily all day. I woke up at about 6:15 this morning when they announced chow but the rain sounded so good I turned over and went back to sleep. It’s an ideal day for sleeping but unfortunately it can’t be done. Sat. night we had a pretty good movie “Kiss and Tell” with Shirley Temple. It’s the first I believe I’ve seen her since she grew up but she’s a pretty good actress. Last night we saw “Too Young to Know.” It was fair but we had already seen it once. Tonight we have a Xmas picture of some sort, I don’t know the name yet. Yesterday I got up fairly early and went to church here in our chapel. We have a pretty good chaplain now. I’m sending along the program so you can see it. Then in the afternoon after dinner – chicken, etc. plus ice cream (we have it nearly every day now) about 5 of us took off for a couple hours. It started out as a swimming expedition but they gave it up as the ocean near here is filthy. We ran on to an interesting old church which we explored and here is a picture of the bamboo organ in it. It was a lot like the church back in Stratford where Shakespeare is buried and seemed a bit unusual for this part of the world. On the way back we stopped of all places at a cock fight. The people get as excited over it as we would at a football or baseball game and you ought to see them bet. All they do is tie some spurs on their feet, get them a little mad and let them go. It lasts about ½ a minute and one of them becomes roast chicken. Looks like a waste of good roosters to me. We got back for supper and the show and that was yesterday.

Nothing new today. Miller was back yesterday. They were alerted two days ago but he still hasn’t got orders. 2 flat tops are in the harbor and he hopes to get one of them. They make it in 11 days. That would be a break as it takes upwards of 18 days for the average ship. I hope I’m waiting for some sort of boat by this time next month. I should be if things go right. We are having quite a time around here – someone is stealing the place blind. Last night it included a jeep and several carbines.

Well that’s about the size of things folks so I’ll sign off and hope you’re having the best possible Xmas. Next year it will be a little different.

Be seein’you,


Patton Finally Kicked In

Sat. 22 Dec. ‘45



Dear folks,

Back once more at the end of another week. They go fast but still not fast enough. Two or three more ought to bring a few changes. The paper today was a bit encouraging. The score drops to 50 the end of the year making 70,000 more men out here eligible, but due to anticipated increase in shipping they expect shipping space for 170,000 men besides them. They aren’t sure whether the ships will be diverted, or whether they’ll return empty, or just sit out here empty waiting for a further drop in score. That would really make us feel good to know there were plenty of ships but we still were stuck waiting for the score to drop. I doubt if that will happen though as it would create just a little too much resentment. Now, with Eisenhower as chief of staff I think we’ll be on our way just as soon as possible. I hope that’s before another month is clocked off. There was quite a bottleneck in the Repl. Depots for the last 2 weeks but ships are in and they’re moving fast now. Miller called last night and said he might leave today. Naturally I can’t tell what will happen but maybe, despite the confusion in higher headquarters we’ll be able to get started before too long. According to some versions, we might have been in a unit now, ready to leave, if Base X hadn’t messed things up but that’s the way it goes.

Nothing much new today. We just go along everyday doing as little as possible and waiting. Last night I got a card from Sunfield and this morning Gram’s letter mailed Dec. 12. Charles is home on a 90 day re-enlistment furlough as he signed up for a year in the Regular Army. I guess he had about 30 points and decided he’d be in too long just waiting. Personally I think he’s crazy as 3 year men will be out by early spring and he came in a month or so after I did. I don’t know what rank he has now but I still say he’s foolish. If I had wanted to I could have re-enl. as a T/Sgt with $114 base pay, 20% for overseas & 5% longevity (about $145 a month) but I think I have just a little bit more sense than that. But of course it’s up to him & I don’t particularly care. This boy is getting his little self back where he belongs just as soon as possible. In a lot of ways I’m not too happy about being overseas but I’d really be hurting for points if I hadn’t come over when I did. I’d probably had to some anyway but later when no points were to be earned. Maybe when I look at it from all points of view, things turned out just about right.

Last night we saw “Come Out Fighting” a comedy with the East Side Kids that was quite good. Tonight we have a new one “Kiss & Tell.” The play was supposedly pretty good so maybe the picture will be too.

Xmas Eve they have some sort of party planned – a Xmas show, refreshments, Xmas carols, etc. Sounds sort of good. The chaplain has arranged it all. After 2 years they finally gave us a chaplain. If I get up in time tomorrow I think I shall go over as everyone says he’s very good. Guess it wouldn’t hurt me any.

Oh yes, Gramp said he sent a package of some kind but I haven’t received it as yet. I was thinking, I don’t know yet when anything may break but you better hold up on letters after about the 10th or 15th of Jan. I may be wrong, but that’s about as close as I can guess right now. There goes a convoy of boys on their way to the docks. They’re really moving fast now and I am glad to see it.

I won’t recognize the old campus by the time I get back if they keep building on it. I see that Patton finally kicked in. He was a pretty fair soldier I guess but certainly not a popular one. He took over the 15th Army after we left it in Europe.

Well I guess that’s about all there is to say for today. You are probably getting tired of hearing about points all the time but I dare say it makes up about 95% of the conversation out here and is the uppermost thought.

So long then til next time,

Be seein’ you


Coming To A Head So To Speak

Friday 21 December 1945



Dear folks,

Friday afternoon and time I got a letter started. We have a lot of work pending judging by the appearances of things but not much really to do now. I imagine we will be transferring a lot of people in the next few days as things are coming to a head so to speak quite fast now. We aren’t transferring any one with over 45 points to other outfits so maybe we’ll go to one that is going home. Hope so at least. Maybe we can get started sometime early next month.

Not much really new around here. No mail again last night or this morning. Last night we had a pretty good picture at least the acting was very good although it was just a little too serious for me. It was “Mildred Pierce” with Joan Crawford and Jack Carson. Tonight we have some sort of double feature, probably not much good as they usually aren’t. Monday night is Xmas Eve and I understand that the Chaplain we now have is going to put on some sort of party for the boys. I still can’t make myself realize that it is nearly Xmas. I would probably if I were back there now as from what we hear and read you are getting plenty of cold weather and snow too in places. I’d like to give those ice skates some exercise again but I’d probably be stiff for a week afterwards.

We are possibly going to lose a couple of our clerks before long so I’m liable to find myself with an extra job. I can just see myself as company clerk for about 2 companies at once. There seems to be a scarcity of clerks and they are after ours with low points. If we are round here much longer we’ll be hurting plenty.

I haven’t seen anything of Miller for about 5 days now so maybe he is on his way home. I hope so but I sort of think I won’t be more than a month behind him. I haven’t been into town now for nearly three weeks. We have a nice enough place out here that there is really nothing to go into Manila for. We have the movies every night plus everything else. We haven’t been working too hard lately storing up a reserve I guess. Except for a couple reports today I haven’t done anything.

This probably sounds not so good but there is nothing much to say or talk about. So before I just run down I had better call it enough. So long until next time,

Be seein’ you,

Things Are Too Easy Now

Wed. 19 Dec. ‘45



Dear folks,

Wed. afternoon and not much doing so I will get started on a letter. I don’t know just how far I’ll get. Today I finally got a letter, Gram’s postmarked Dec. 10. I guess the mail is slowed up a little due to the Xmas rush or something. Yesterday I got a package from Edna and today one from Aunt Marie so I guess all the counties are heard from now. Today we shipped out all the rest of the men with 50 to 54 points so now the highest point man in the Battalion has 49. It is hard to tell when any more will go but it is one consolation that I ought to be in the next group unless somebody decides to stop before they get to 46. The battalion is shrinking every day and if it holds together until the 45’s leave there won’t be very many men left. Personally I don’t expect them to drop for about another month but I hope that I am wrong. It doesn’t seem possible that Xmas is only about 5 days away but yet it is. Except for a couple Xmas carols I have heard there is nothing to remind one of Xmas and even they sound awfully out of place here. From what we read you must be having a real winter back there now and I’d really like to be feeling it. I can’t get used to this sitting still and sweating in Dec. which is just what I am doing now. Last night we had a big treat, a double feature. As is usually so, neither picture was very good- “The Bull Fighters”, an old one with Laurel and Hardy, and “Three’s a Crowd” a fair mystery story. I haven’t heard what’s on for tonight but about all we have had lately are old pictures.

Things are too easy now. Something must be about to happen if everything holds true to form. The 1267th Engr. that has been with us all along is going home in early Jan. but I guess this outfit has just about reached its end. About one more week and it will be just a bit of history. If I get stuck in a higher headquarters after we deactivate I’ll be kicking myself for not going when I had the chance and a gift promotion to boot but maybe it will turn out better this way. I thought it would or I wouldn’t have stayed. It shouldn’t take much longer to find out that’s for sure.

Well there isn’t much else to say so I’ll sign off for now and go back to work for awhile. I hope you all have a nice Xmas and the New Year ought to be better for all of us than the last three have been,

Be seein’ you


A Nice Little Lump

Monday 17 December 1945

Manila 9:30 pm


Dear folks,

Just got back from the movie so I’ll bat out a sort of a letter. Not much to say for things today. I guess that is getting to be a standard line with me but it seems to be true most of the time. No mail today again. Nobody seems to be getting very much. Maybe the Xmas rush is holding things up a little. Last night after I wrote to you I went to the show and was really quite surprised at it. It was by far the best I have seen in a long time. They had a Philippino band with a couple girl singers and one man that were very good. It was the best band that I have heard since the Fort Sherman band in Panama last July. They were able to play everything from semi-classical stuff like “Tales from the Vienna Woods” to real hot American music. The singers didn’t have the native accent that most of them around here have either. I think all of us enjoyed it more than any sort of program they have yet gotten for us. There was one thirteen year old boy that played a violin who was the best I believe I have heard anywhere. After the show we had a movie “The True Glory” a picture put out by the army showing a full story of the war in Europe. It was very good and while it is for showing only to troops I think it would be a good thing for the civilian population to see also. Maybe they won’t forget the war quite so soon. A lot of them have forgotten it already particularly those who had no one in it. All they had to think of was rationing and inconveniences and now that most of that is all over they don’t care to hear any more about it. I hope this time the lesson will take because if I thought I or any of the ones that mean anything to me were to be exposed to this sort of thing again it would just about make life and any sort of planning a farce. The way the world is right now it could easily happen all over again and not take 20 years next time. If there ever is another one I don’t think any of us need expect to get through it. This probably sounds pretty odd coming from me but don’t think I don’t thank God for my getting through this one OK. When I think of what would probably have happened had I stayed in the 99th, well I just quit thinking. Those boys were cut to ribbons practically in the bulge last winter. I never heard how the 393rd came out but the 394th was practically wiped out. That has been plenty of food for thought. Well enough of that.

Today nothing very important has happened. It looks as if in a week or so we will lose our 50 pointers. I hope so as I may be able to get something for myself when they leave. As for deactivation, we are just waiting for approval from Washington. I have my fingers crossed hoping it will hold off until the first of the year. By then we will be pretty close to the time when we can count of [on] going home before very long.

Tonight we say “Cowboy and the Lady” with Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. It was a pretty good comedy and I enjoyed it a lot.

I’ve been doing a little figuring the last few days. Oh, I suppose I’m counting my mustering out pay before I get it but it still gives something to do. I expect to be discharged either in March or April depending on whether or not we are furloughed before we are discharged. Personally I’d just as soon get a 45 day furlough first as I could take it easy for a month or so and still draw pay and ration money besides. Anyway I’ll probably get about three months pay at one time because I don’t expect anything but part pays from here on out. In addition I’ll get $100 per month for 3 months after I get out so it should add up to about $500.00. That would be a nice little lump to start off on. I intend to discontinue my $50.00 dollar allotment the last of Jan. so you should get the last check about Feb. 5. That will make it come out even with 14 months of it. According to my calculations that should make a nice round sum starting with a 2. Am I right? Then with this GI bill of education I’d get $65.00 a month while going to school so I ought to be able to get along with plenty to spare. Of course everything is still in the thought stage but I better be back in school by next fall. My old class will graduate in June and I hope to be there to see it but I don’t imagine any one that I knew will be in it unless it is some girls or maybe Dick Hollingsworth. The rest of us have been slightly detained. We’ll see.

Well that is about all there is to say for tonight so I’ll be heading towards the mattress. Be seein’you,


It Doesn’t Seem A Bit Like Xmas

Sat. 15 Dec. ‘45



Dear folks,

Sat. afternoon and things are fairly well cleared up for the week once more. This month is ½ gone already. They roll along fast now.

Not much new. We are to deactivate in about 2 weeks as near as we can tell. We are waiting for the orders. That will mean plenty of work for us and we’ll probably be here quite awhile after the others leave finishing things up. I just hope by then that we can catch an outfit heading for home. There is quite a tie up of troops out here now. The depots are filled with nearly 20,000 men but no transportation. They expect it to break in about 5 days.

Today I finally got the 2 Xmas packages and in good shape. Everything came through swell and even the cookies were quite soft yet and very good. It really made me feel good to get it. I’m going to enjoy the dates, raisins & that stuffed fruit. Thanks a lot.

Last night we saw “You Can’t Take it With You” a picture about 5 years old with Jim Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and several others. It was by far the best we’ve seen in a long time and I really enjoyed it. Tonight we have another Roy Rogers picture. Also tonight the battalion is throwing a dance on the basketball court. It might be quite nice if some of the hoodlums don’t mess things up. They have a band from the 86th Division and have invited several American nurses and Red Cross girls. At least we’ll have some music and I can practically see the court from my tent. It probably will be the last thing of this nature the Bn. will do as it won’t be together much longer. The last one we had was in Maxey. They had a dance & party all set back in Gloucester. It was for a Tuesday night & the Monday before at about midnight we were leaving for Germany.

In my last letter I mentioned a picture and then forgot to put it in the envelope so if you are wondering where it went, well here it is.

From what we hear you are getting real winter back there. It doesn’t seem a bit like Xmas out here. This morning it felt more like April or May than Dec. It would seem good to see some snow again but we’d probably freeze to death.

Well that’s about it for today I guess. Thanks again for the packages. So long till next time,


Sort Of Confused

Thursday 13 December 1945


Dear folks

Just came in from a movie so I’ll write a little before I go to bed. Tonight we saw “On Stage Everybody” with Peggy Ryan and Jack Oakie. I had seen it before but parts of it were pretty good and I didn’t mind seeing it again. Not much new today. Things are still sort of confused but the outfit is definitely going to deactivate and it isn’t very far away by the looks of things. As near as we can tell the men with 50 and more points will go to units ready to return to the US around the first of the year and the rest of us will be around someplace until it is time for us to be sent back I hope in mid January. We should know for sure in a day or so. I had another chance to get a transfer today, this time to the Engr Section of Basex to work on a classification team to inspect records of units going home. I turned it down and have turned all of them down for the same reason. I could get a Staff and maybe a Tech before leaving this outfit but I’m not taking any chances of getting stuck out here for an extra month or two just for another stripe which I would have for [so] short a time. All I want to do is get home and staying here looks like the best bet to me. If I’m wrong about it then that’s something else but I’ll take a chance on it. I tried to put a little deal across here but couldn’t make it. There is still one rating open that no one has been put in for but it is in another section and out of reach so to speak. One can never tell what might happen before things finally break up.

Today I got Gram’s letter & Xmas card and a card from Edna and yesterday Gram’s letter of Dec. 2. The mail has been pretty slow lately but maybe I just don’t have any coming. That would be no surprise because I seldom write to any one but you anymore anyway. I sent out some Xmas cards the other night and told them not to write to me out here after Jan. 1. I may be here quite awhile after then but I don’t want a lot of letters chasing around after me. It might take a couple months for them to reach me and then probably after I was already home I hope. Miller hasn’t been back since he left but the boys who went to another depot on the same day expect to leave in about 2 days. So they should be back in the US about the first week in January. The other boys with less than 55 points expect to leave about Xmas. That’s about the picture of things.

I’m glad you are getting my letters in pretty good speed now. I didn’t think that sketch looked too much like me but Miller thought it was quite accurate. Maybe I am a bit thinner although I am up to about 160 pounds now. If my eyes look tired that’s understandable too I guess. Three years is enough to make anybody tire. I think some of these snaps we had taken show me a little more naturally. Here is one of the section as a whole. I am not in it though as I took the picture. It is always that. I have another one that was taken by the photographer that show all of us but it is pretty dark.

I still haven’t seen anything of those Xmas packages but surely they ought to be coming in pretty soon. No one seems to have gotten any yet. I have three on the way according to latest reports, two from you folks, and one from Edna.

Well this seems to be all for tonight so I’ll call it off and get to bed,

Be seein’you


The Proverbial Chicken

Wed. 12 Dec. ‘45

Manila 3:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

We’ve been bustling around like the proverbial “chicken” today but right now there has developed a lull so I’ll get a letter out before something comes up. Everything seems quite confused and pretty much up in the air. Latest dope says we may break up Sat. or thereabouts. That’s pretty short notice and makes a lot of work for us if it does happen. We’ve been making rosters and reports of every description all day so it’s pretty definite something is in the wind. We ought to know within a day or so. It sort of upsets a few plans some of us had but so what I guess is the proper expression. I’ve been working on a certain officer all day but he’s leaving tomorrow for home so he can’t do me too much good.

If we do break up, our section will probably remain behind to take care of administrative details and I hope by then we’ll be eligible to head for home. That would be the ideal situation.

Other than all this there’s nothing else happening but I guess that is just about enough. It has been raining nearly all day – rather unusual lately. We have a movie for tonight but if it keeps raining I guess I’ll be missing it. I believe I’ve seen it but I probably will go again if weather permits.

Here’s a group picture of Voth, Miller & myself taken last week and also a rather “different” Xmas card I thought you might enjoy. [picture is not with letter, card is a local village scene by Louis Sylvia, printed by 955th Engr. Topo. Co. Avn.]

That’s about all there is to say for now and I’d better get back to work so I’ll be on my way,

Be seein’you