I’m Not Looking For A Dose Of Livestock

Thurs. 12 April 1945 5:15 p.m.

Somewhere in France


Dear folks,

I’ll start this tonight & maybe finish it tonight or in a day or so just depending. This is the first air mail letter since last Fri. April 6. Since then I’ve been writing a V-mail per day. Sat. & Sun., 7 & 8 were mailed in England. The next 3, Mon., Tues., & Wed. were mailed today along with a 2 page V-mail for today. I hope this ink photographs O.K. & that both pages get there at once. From now on until such time as we get a bit more settled, if we ever do, I’ll write V-mails and then toss in air mails whenever I can. I told you something of the situation in the V-mail letter. We are temporarily set up in a tent camp here in France. It is a fair setup for the field. We have canvas cots and are to get sleeping bags today. It is plenty hot here and we can’t complain about the weather. It has sprinkled a bit now and then but not much. Naturally we don’t have many conveniences. The place where we wash and shave is our steel helmet which we also have to wear all the time outside. It’s about 7:30 now. We got our bed rolls and they are O.K. If everything could always be like this it wouldn’t be bad at all. Incidentally the V-mails I wrote today will be pretty well cut up I guess as I have learned some things I said weren’t permissible. From now on I’ll be strictly with Personnel instead of with the Co. so our officer here will do the censoring. So from now on address my letters to H & S Co. instead of C Co. I’ll get them faster that way. I’ll get a new APO eventually but so far we are still using 518. It will reach us but slower. So that’s what I know now. I’m not getting very far very fast with this. From what I have seen of France I like the countryside. It’s the closest to like “home” that I have seen lately, broad level green valleys with occasional hills. Everything is reaching the height of color now. I places it seems hard to realize there has been a war, but others bring it back to you in a hurry. Some of the sights aren’t pretty. England was pretty bad in spots, but much differently. Of course, England has had a different view of the war, all from the air, over here it’s from everywhere. But we still haven’t seen it as bad as we will before very long. The farther we go naturally the worse it will get. Well enough of this for now.

I find I have now received all your letters up thru Mar. 29 except 26 & 27 so that is pretty good. We probably won’t get any now again for quite a while and I expect the service to be more intermittent than before. I also have letters here from Gram postmarked Mar. 19 & 26 which I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before. It’s getting a bit dark now so I shall sign off and continue on this tomorrow. I’ll start to answer these letters and see how far I get. I quit before with Mar. 21 but at that time 15, 17 & 18 and 20 were missing which I now have. That’s the picture now. I’ll be back again next time and see how far I get. So long for tonight.

Mon. 16 April 1945 – Germany – Well I didn’t get on with this very fast, did I? I’ll finish it off tonight and mail it in the morning. The 2 page V-mail I wrote the 12th came back from the censor because I said too much so it had to be changed. I mailed it again but it will be a bit marked up. I have written V-mails on the 13th, 14th, 15th & today the 16th so you know what to expect. From now on I’ll try to get in a V-mail per day and air mails when I can.

Well I imagine that word Germany didn’t make you too happy and it gave me a slight shiver too, when I found out where we were headed but it’s all O.K. here and believe me I’m not complaining.

It’s been swell summer weather lately and we had an enjoyable trip over to here. I guess its permissible to say we crossed France and went through part of Belgium but naturally I can’t mention towns, yet at least. France and Belgium are really beautiful countries, in a way even more so than England. They are much more like the U.S. – broad, rolling plains, some hills, good roads, attractive cities. Some places showed signs of a lot of activity, others where the Germans pulled out fast last fall were O.K. There is quite a bit of German & naturally some American equipment burned out along the roads in spots. It’s hard to believe people can exist in some of the places but they do and they really show gratitude in their faces to the Americans. The English aren’t very well liked but the Americans are tops. All the way to the German border, in every town, people were out waving and shouting to us. In France & in Belgium nearly every house has a flag out tied with black ribbons in mourning for F.D.R. I got some ice cream in one town in Belgium. It wasn’t bad at all. From my observation, the people in Belgium are a bit better off than those in France – more merchandise in the stores, better clothing & etc.

One could have told the German border even without signs, I believe. If every German could be made to realize the destruction we have seen, this war would be over. I can’t mention names but one city was practically level, nothing but rubble and for miles you can’t find a single untouched structure. You know we heard this or that city was leveled but still we didn’t realize just what it really meant until we saw them. It’s horrible. But still they asked for it and believe me they got it. The Germans I’ve seen are a beaten people. There aren’t too many civilians in this city, mostly women, children, and a few old men. They look pretty docile but I guess I can see why. I’ll confess I don’t see how or where they live. We have all the decent buildings and there are no shops or industry left. This has been total war and a whole lot more than they ever bargained for. Some attempt to be friendly but even if we wanted to, we are forbidden to fraternize. I don’t know enough German to get me far but if we stay very long I expect to broaden my knowledge rapidly.

Right now we have a very good setup. We are living in what once was a sort of county courthouse. It was pretty much of a mess because they evidently left in a hurry. Records, etc. are scattered all over the place but it isn’t badly damaged from shell fire. There are enough ration coupons around here to last a year. Evidently this is the collection point from local merchants. All the vital statistics of the county were kept here. We found thousands of cards with the pictures, fingerprints, & life story I guess of every resident. Americans who preceded us must not have stayed long because they didn’t clean out any of the junk. I haven’t snooped much because I’m not afraid to admit I’m just a bit afraid of things but it’s all O.K. here. If it weren’t we’d have had plenty of casualties by now. The souvenir hunters have made their raids. There are hundreds of books and a few nice paintings around.

We have a very nice room, facing the west with plenty of light. The electricity is on & one of the boys found a bulb somewhere so we have light also. It’s a large room with very expensive oak paneling. We fixed that up swell with a few oversize spikes to hang our clothes on. We have a table, 3 chairs & the other 2 boys have makeshift beds. I don’t trust these mattresses. I’m not looking for a dose of livestock myself. I have a mattress cover & my shelter half on the floor under my sleeping bag and I’ll let it go at that. It’s a beautiful setup if it lasts. Hqs. is set up in another building and it’s really nice. We’ve been fairly busy today and it will be even more that way from now on. I managed to get a bath this afternoon and also a shave. Was I dirty! Yi. I found a place in C Co. where the water was running yet so I bathed in my helmet. It was cold water but it sure felt good to get into clean underwear, etc. I still should clean my rifle. It’s pretty dusty. That baby goes with us “everywhere” from now on, so does the steel helmet. If you are caught without them its “rough.” The food lately is alphabetical – K, C, D & 10 in 1. They have some new varieties of C rations so that helps a little. I had beef & noodles for supper tonight, cheese for dinner & hash for breakfast this morning.

That’s about all there is to say this time I guess and this is getting heavy anyway. You know when I look down here into the garden at the fruit trees in blossom, etc. it’s hard to realize that all this can really be. Well it’s about 7:30 by my watch. That’s London time. I don’t know if this is the same time over here or not.

Now as I said before don’t let that “somewhere in Germany” get you too worried, as this is O.K. now. Six weeks ago I’d hated to have been here but time flies. Don’t worry. Well I’ll sign this off for tonight and maybe get some letters answered next time. We won’t get mail for a long time now I expect. Take it easy

My love,


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