There Aren’t Many Pores Or Air Holes

Thurs. 28 Dec. ‘44

12:35 noon


Dear folks,

Hi again. I’ve got some time on my noon hour so I’ll start a letter. Something must be wrong as it’s developing into a nice day. The fog has cleared away and believe it or not the sun is actually shining. I got to bed at about 10:00 last night and was up at 7:00. I’ve been averaging 9 hrs. sleep per night lately which is good. We have regular reveille every morning now and it’s really cold out at about 7:00. It’s colder than at night. We hear it was 26 degrees below zero in Chicago last week & that Detroit had a big snow so you must be having some real winter there. There’s no snow in sight here, only white frost on everything.

Back at 7:35 p.m. The days are pretty routine now – reveille, breakfast, work, dinner, work, supper & then here I am. Let’s see: the menu today was – breakfast – hot cereal, milk, apple fritters, syrup, butter, & stewed apricots. Not bad at all. Dinner was beans, creamed carrots, salad, bread, butter, corn bread and cookies. Supper – spuds, sauerkraut, bread, butter & pears. We get a good variety of fruits, canned naturally. So far we have plenty of butter – some canned but mostly fresh lately. The bread is good but a bit more solid than American bread. There aren’t many pores or air holes. Our vegetables are mostly green leafy, that is the ones not canned. We get canned string beans, etc. and fresh vegetables like cut cabbage, brussells sprouts, plenty of cauliflower & carrots & spinach occasionally. The meat runs pretty fair with a few too many pork chops so far as I’m concerned but all in all the food is doggoned good so far and a lot better than I expected to find over here.

When I got to work this morning I learned that the other boys worked last night so I got on the ball and batted out my pay roll in a hurry this forenoon. She’s all done and nearly all signed now. Once that’s in we’ll have less rush in our work. It warmed up a bit today but is cooling off plenty. One of the boys found a 2 day cleaners in town so I sent my O.D.’s in with him for a cleaning and pressing job. They really need it. After getting lost last night I believe I know the way to town and I have the 3 theaters lined up in case I want to go. The shows are sort of old but still something to see. I guess we’ll be getting a little better deal here in camp pretty quick. They are going to get us movies at least twice a week. Also the P.X. opens in a couple days. All P.X. stuff is rationed. Each of us gets a card good for 8 weeks. Some items you get every week, some every 2 weeks, some every 4 and some every 8 depending on the scarcity. We get a weekly ration of candy, soap, cookies, etc. Every 2 weeks we get peanuts & a few other items. I don’t have my card yet so I’m not exactly sure how it all runs. Anyway we’ll have a chance to buy a few things. Stationery comes every 8 weeks so here’s a new request. Send me – some stationery, light weight air mail would do as we use but one side anyway, find me a steel shaving mirror, put in a couple pairs of wool socks, and fill up the rest with candy, cookies, gum, peanuts, raisins or anything else you have. This is the second request. Now you don’t have to send this out as soon as you get it. The idea is you have to have a request from me to be able to send me anything so I’m making sure you have plenty of requests on hand. See. I got 20 air mail stamps today so I have a few but don’t hesitate to send some as I can always use them. Cover the expense from the allotment. There’s plenty there to cover it all O.K. No mail for us today – 4 letters for the entire Bn. Some day there’ll be a whole barrel of mail (we keep telling ourselves).

Well that’s about all there is to say tonight I guess. I don’t imagine you’ll get any of my letters for a week or two yet. You’ll probably get V-mail first if it works like it has here. All we can do is wait. There’s still something out for every day. So for another day I’ll say so long,





Mon. 25 Dec. ’44 Xmas

Somewhere in England

10:45 a.m.

(5:45 a.m. in Lansing)


Dear folks,

One more Xmas is here. It’s a rather hazy, damp and pretty cold day here. I wonder if you have snow there. Last night I wrote some V-mails to Gramp, Elmo, and Amelia just for something to do and to give them my APO number. I got to bed at about 10:00 I guess. They called us out for reveille this morning at about 8:00. Breakfast was bran, milk, scrambled eggs, bread, butter, and grapefruit juice. After eating I got my work out of the way and then got dressed & picked up my pass. It’s good until 11:00 tonight but I’m staying here for dinner and I expect to be in before then tonight as there isn’t much to do in town I suspect. I got 7 pounds for my money and still have some shillings and pence coming as they ran out of change. Probably most stores will be closed today – Xmas. I hope I get some mail tomorrow. It will make up for Xmas a lot if I do. I dug out my long woolen snuggies yesterday & I’m plenty warm except for my feet. They’ve been cold ever since I’ve been in England and I can’t seem to get them thawed out. There were a lot of turkeys visible in the kitchen this morning and there was a very pleasing odor there but I’d rather have smelled it in your kitchen like Sun. Oct. 15. Remember that? Well I’ll sign off now and wait for dinner which will be on before too long I hope.

Back at 9:25 p.m. It was a long wait for dinner but it was worth it. We didn’t get to eat until nearly 2:30 – turkey, a big slab of white meat, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, cauliflower, salad, cranberry sauce, bread, rolls, butter and pineapple cake. It was plentiful and really tasted good. At about 3:30 Buck and I took off for town. It’s quite a place.

Tues. 26 Dec. ‘44

12:15 noon


Dear folks,

Back again. I’m doubling up on my letters to make the stamps go farther. I had to quit last night when the lights went out. Now it’s 6:30 so I’ll start in again. I’ll finish this tonight and mail the 2 days in one. We walked in to town yesterday. We didn’t know the way exactly but we just went in the general direction and ended up in the center of town. It’s about like one would expect. The houses are small apartments very snug looking. They all look alike to me. You can go for a couple blocks and see only one kind of house. The streets are a bit narrow and curve all over so that it wouldn’t be hard to get lost I’m thinking. We wandered around and saw what we could of the town in daylight. Then we went up to the Red Cross Service Club downtown. It’s a nice place patterned after our Service Clubs but it was pretty crowded. Everything was [closed] yesterday due to Xmas probably. They have places for fellows on pass to sleep, a small dance floor, a few ping pong tables and a place to eat. It was pretty crowded so we left and found another place where we got some free cake & sandwiches. It’s useless to try to eat in a restaurant so far as I can see. The civilians deserve it anyway so if I do any eating in town it’ll be at Service Clubs. After eating we walked around a bit and came back to the Red Cross. They have a big log book there where fellows sign according to states. I hunted through it and found about 10 men from Lansing none of whom I knew. Then we got on the end of the line or queue as it’s called over here and got supper. We got a fair meal – potatoes, gravy, roast beef, bread, & fruit cake for 1 shilling, 3 pence or about 25 cents. That’s cheap enough and a better meal than one could get anywhere else. After eating we headed back for camp and got back about 9:00. It really was foggy last night as usual. I started to write a little but the boys were sleepy so the lights went out. After 6:00 or so town is blacked out and you can’t find anything except the “pubs” which I wasn’t hunting for. It’s good there isn’t much traffic. All the stores were closed Xmas, the 26th & 27th for the Holidays. Today is Boxing Day, whatever that means.

We were up at 7:00 today & out for reveille. Brr. It was very cold out today. We had quite a frost last night and everything from the trees down to the weeds & spider webs was all white frost and it was really pretty if only there could have been a bit of sun to shine on it. It’s been so foggy all day you can see only a few feet away. As usual they say its way colder than normal. It’s the same old story that you hear everywhere. Breakfast this morning was good — hot cereal, milk, bread, butter, scrambled eggs and grapefruit juice. I went to work today and worked all day believe it or not. It was about time I guess. We’ll be on a payroll pretty quick. Dinner was stew, potatoes, brussell sprouts, fruit salad, cookies, bread & butter. Supper – spuds, corn, bread, butter & pineapple. That’s the dope on today. We got 13 V-mail letters for the whole – none for me. I’ll cut this off so it won’t be too heavy. This cleans out my stamps. Here’s your first request – send me plenty of air mail stamps. Also send a pkg. of non-perishable food when you can. Cover the expense from what I send. You can get the dope on size of pkg. etc. from the Post Office. Stick in a couple khaki handkerchiefs & single edge blades. If I think of more I’ll mention it another time. This should serve to satisfy the postal clerk as if it goes past the censor it’s O.K. with the C.O. So for now I’ll sign off and call this it for tonight at 7:15.

Love to all of you,


Somewhere In England

Sun. 24 Dec. ’44 – 11:20 a.m.

Somewhere in England.


Dear folks,

Tonight is Xmas Eve but it surely doesn’t seem like it. I remember when Xmas fell on a weekend before and we used to like the long holiday it made. I didn’t like last year but it was a lot better than this one probably. I don’t know what sort of meal we’ll have but with things the way they are the meal is all there is to the day. I can just see our old time Xmas and I wish I could – chicken, mashed potatoes, good gravy, sage dressing, hot biscuits & all the cakes & pies & the olives and little things that went along too. A rumor just wafted up from the mess hall that there’s turkey aplenty for tomorrow so that’s good. I know you don’t have a tree this year. I’ve seen but one so far – a little one on the boat. I’ve been sort of wondering if Julius might get home for the holidays again like last year. I hope he did.

I got to bed quite early last night at about 9:30.

Back now at 4:35. I wrote a short letter to Marie last night before I got to bed. I was up at about 8:00 and off to breakfast. It’s a long process to wait in line but it was O.K. – scrambled eggs, bread, shredded wheat & milk. The milk is powdered but it tastes O.K. to me. After breakfast I went to work but nothing was doing so I came back and started this letter. I quit for chow at 11:30 and it was after 1:00 by the time I got back but it was a good meal – roast beef, potatoes, string beans, cabbage salad, bread, butter, & cake. We went exploring for awhile this afternoon. There are some big hills nearby which we climbed – myself, Buck & the 3rd member of our trio – Staff Sgt. Everett Haines from Warsaw, Ind. – our mess sgt. The view from up there was pretty good. The sun was shining for some strange reason and even then it was sort of hazy and hard to see too far.

They had a Red Cross “Clubmobile” down here for us awhile ago so I went down and got my 2 doughnuts. They had it all decorated with wreaths & stuff & even had a little Xmas tree there by the truck. That’s the second one we’ve been served by in 3 days so they are around. I ate about ½ dozen doughnuts in nothing flat the other day. The Red Cross seems to be doing a pretty good job over here. They gave us cards with the name of the truck so I’ll send it along to you to see.

Now I’m waiting for supper. I turned down a pass for tonight and I’m glad I did as our money hasn’t come yet that we turned in for conversion to English currency. Time out for chow.

Back at 6:45. Chow tonight was O.K. I hit the line twice and really got filled with spaghetti, cooked cabbage, beets, bread, butter, and pears. The showers were hot tonight so I took one and then shaved. I’m scheduled for a pass for tomorrow so I think I’ll take off after dinner. I’m not going to miss Xmas dinner if I can help it. I was on for C.Q. tonight & tomorrow but Kumins took me off when I told him I had a pass. I haven’t collected by English money yet and I haven’t sent that $50 to you either. I probably won’t need much money as there isn’t much one can buy. It’s practically useless to try to buy food and just about everything else is rationed. Probably once in town will be enough for me. There are a few theaters but they’ll be pretty crowded I imagine.

I’m wondering what you are doing tonight. I know you haven’t had any mail from me for about 2 weeks and I figure it will be until the first week in Jan. before you do get any. I wish I could sneak up and pop in on you believe me. There’s not a bit of snow in sight here and naturally I don’t know how it is back there. I’ll always be about 2 weeks behind you.

Well I guess that’s about all the dope for today so I’ll be closing. No mail for us until Tues. due to the holidays so I’m hoping to hit the jackpot then. Anyway I’m wishing you the best possible Xmas & maybe next year it will be different (or did I say that last year?)

Good night (Good afternoon to you – 2 p.m.) & Merry Xmas

Love to all of you


They Really Do Drive On The Left

[date has been cut out by censor]


Dear folks,

I’ll start you a letter now and write until I’m able to mail it sometime. I think its O.K. to say our trip is nearing its end. [section cut out by censor]…we left the states. I got a fair night’s sleep last night. There isn’t very much I can say right now. This will probably be cut a lot as it is. Food is a wonderful subject, I’ll start with it. Breakfast – oatmeal, milk, bread, jam and a boiled egg. Supper – potatoes, beans, bread, butter, cold meat and an apple which I saved for the rainy day. I got one of those big Hershey almond bars from the canteen today along with a bunch of life-savers. I’m storing up a little for the day I’ll need it. I never ate life-savers until now but I find that they are sort of good to have to eat from time to time. We were issued “K” rations today and I guess their content is no secret. They come in 3 boxes, one for each meal. Breakfast has coffee & eggs, dinner – cheese & a fruit drink, supper – meat loaf & bouillon. In addition each has biscuits, gum, candy & cigarettes. It isn’t bad stuff to eat, its compact but really fills you up. The cheese is best.

It’s a beautiful starry night outside. A light is occasionally visible in the distance. To me that light is beautiful but I don’t suppose many people see anything in it. What happens each day from now in becomes more & more and uncertainty. One thing sure, if I never knew there was a war on before I do now. A [cut by censor] flying overhead is a beautiful sight. Well it’s nearly bed time so I’ll sign off for today and continue this when I can again. I think I’ll go see what I can and then get to bed. Good night or I should say good afternoon as it’s only about 4:30 p.m. for you.

[cut by censor-date?]

I’m back for a few more words. I’m taking the chance of saying that I’m somewhere near England I think. I couldn’t prove it but the fog is thicker than any I’ve seen even at San Francisco so I take that as an indication. Not much to write as we’re sort of just waiting. It’s a little colder but otherwise, except for the fog blanket it’s O.K. Naturally we don’t know for sure where we are and we have no idea where we are going. Time will tell that. We missed our little candy snack this afternoon. Breakfast was fair – oatmeal, milk, prunes, bread & jam. I’m waiting for supper now. Old mopping detail comes up again tomorrow. Well its chow time so I’ll sign off and see what delicacies are in store for us tonight. Back at 9:30 after supper. Naturally – spuds, bread, butter, sauerkraut, & rice. I almost feel like a civilian on a cruise tonight. No blackout. Instead of stumbling around in the pitch dark, its’ light enough for me to write this out on deck. I can see as far as the rail and then fog. It’s really swell to see the lights and I’m not kiddin’. The fog lifted this afternoon but she’s back now. Right now I’m listening to Harry James play “Two O’clock Jump” as I write. Well its’ bed time so I’ll sign off and head for my hammock pretty quick. Good afternoon to ye.

[cut by censor-date]

Hiya. Well here I go again. I may make our friend the censor unhappy but I can’t see anything wrong with what I’m about to say. First of all I’m here. “Here” for the time being I’ll call “somewhere in England.” Last night I stayed out until 10:00 but it was so foggy you couldn’t see anything. I dug into breakfast pretty heavy as these meals are kind of far apart with no extra candy & stuff in the middle. Let’s see, it was oatmeal, bread, butter, jam & potatoes. I got up on top as soon as I could this morning.

Back again at about 7:15 p.m. Now to begin where I left off. I was on deck from breakfast until mid-afternoon except for a time when I did my mopping. I had a very interesting time and saw a lot [of] things I’d like to talk about but guess maybe I shouldn’t. Anyway I never saw so many or so many different kinds & sizes of boats in my life as I did on the way in. Now let’s see what else can I say without giving any info. Trees & green grass surely looked good again to me. The first thing I noticed on the skyline were several church spires. They are very numerous. Two things impressed me – the tall steeples and so many domes on buildings. The jockeying into position at the dock was quite a thing. Naturally all of us were at the rail to see what we could of these strange new people. They gave us quite a welcome but why shouldn’t they? You already know my attitude toward the British in this war and I haven’t changed any. They had a pretty sharp looking band out to greet us. They played several marches & slow tunes & then reorganized & dug a little “American” jive or tried to. That made a much better hit with the G.I.’s naturally. I stayed up and took in all I could before coming down to shave & clean up a bit before chow tonight. I was just up on top again but there’s no one around this area now naturally. I was surprised to see that there is no blackout. Evidently the Luftwaffe doesn’t come around anymore. I think its O.K. to say I saw no evidences whatever of any bombing which also surprised me. Now let’s see what else I can say. The people ah yes the people. One word could describe them – “tired.” They look like they could use a good long rest & vacation. They are a bit smaller than Americans – are slim faced & a bit longer nosed. Their clothing is what we’d call a little worn & old fashioned – what I saw. Still they seem to have quite a bit of spirit. The bicycle seems to be the chief means of individual transportation. I couldn’t be sure but I guess they really do drive on the left side of the road here. Naturally I couldn’t see too much as I’m still on the boat but I saw a couple right-hand drive vehicles. That’s about all I can safely say I guess about what I saw. To me the place looks very interesting and I’m hoping I can get a pass pretty soon to see the most I can of what’s to be seen. I want to hit a post office or whatever they have at the first chance & buy one of every stamp they have. I’ve way too much cash with me any way so I’ll advance my hobby.

Well that’s about all I can say. We are pouring over maps to get the situation in mind and see where it is we’re headed. Anyway I believe I’ve covered it & this is getting long enough so I’ll sign off from Southern England “somewhere” and write again next time. I’ve still written every day as usual. Good night & good afternoon (its 2:50 your time).

Love to all of ye’