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WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.

Article about: The letter was written by Byron Pelan who served with 243rd Signal Operation Co. “Saturday Evening May 5th, 1945 Dear Dad and Mother ; It is Saturday. I wonder what is going on at home? Be

  1. #1

    Default WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.

    WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.
    The letter was written by Byron Pelan who served with 243rd Signal Operation Co.

    “Saturday Evening
    May 5th, 1945

    Dear Dad and Mother ;

    It is Saturday. I wonder what is going on at home? Be going down town tonight? I rather like to be getting ready to go myself. Well, guess most of the excitement here in italy is over. All of us were, of course, very busy during the drive. And, of course, even though we didn’t hear a gun go off…

    *Next page*

    there were some things that have still lingered even after the day has passed, like a desolate, shattered and shell marked battlefield and the smell of the unburied dead, or the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay, or their rifle which lay shattered at the stock, shattered by a bullet, or the crude shelter of the Americans and the Germans; if any one scene could…

    *Next page*

    be more vivid than another it would be that of a small outpost on the top of a small knoll, it was, of course, sandbagged, around it lay the torn bits of a blanket. As I think back on it all now, I think that Ernie Pyle was right when he wrote, “War to an individual in the line is hardly ever bigger than a hundred yards on each side of him.” Words are so futile- and it all is such an unpleasant thing to write about.

    Bye,
    Bryon.
    WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.
    WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.
    WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.

  2. #2

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    Hi JB.

    Another fantastic letter that brings home the realities of war. Thank you for sharing it with us.


    Byron John Pelan in the U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

    Name: Byron John Pelan
    Race: White
    Age: 20
    Birth Date: 5 Jun 1921
    Birth Place: New York, New York
    Residence Place: Plainfield, Union, New Jersey
    Registration Date: 14 Feb 1942
    Registration Place: Plainfield, Unoin County, New Jersey, USA
    Employer: Calco Chemical Co. Bound Brook N.j.
    Height: 6 Ft. 2"
    Weight: 163
    Complexion: Light
    Hair Color: Blonde
    Eye Color: Gray
    Next of Kin: J. S. Pelan
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.   WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.  


  3. #3

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    Byron Pelan in the 1940 United States Federal Census

    Name: Byron Pelan
    [Byron Pelon]
    Temporarily Absent: Yes
    Age: 18
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1922
    Gender: Male
    Race: White
    Birthplace: New York
    Marital Status: Single
    Relation to Head of House: Son
    Home in 1940: North Plainfield, Somerset, New Jersey
    Map of Home in 1940: North Plainfield, Somerset, New Jersey
    Street: Jefferson Avenue
    House Number: 240
    Inferred Residence in 1935: North Plainfield, Somerset, New Jersey
    Residence in 1935: North Plainfield
    Sheet Number: 62B
    Attended School or College: Yes
    Highest Grade Completed: High School, 1st year
    Weeks Worked in 1939: 0
    Income: 0

    Household Members
    John Pelan: 45 (father)
    Elsie Pelan: 43 (mother)
    Byron Pelan: 18
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.  

  4. #4

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    Byron Pelan in the U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-2016

    Name: Byron Pelan
    Estimated Age: 16
    Birth Year: abt 1923
    Yearbook Date: 1939
    School: North Plainfield High School
    School Location: North Plainfield, New Jersey, USA
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.  

  5. #5

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    Byron J Pelan in the U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-2016

    Name: Byron J Pelan
    Estimated Age: Abt 20
    Birth Year: abt 1929
    Yearbook Date: 1949
    School: Rutgers University
    School Location: Newark, New Jersey, USA
    Yearbook Title: Scarlet Letter
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.  

  6. #6

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    New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 for Byron J Pelan

    Name: Byron J Pelan
    Gender: Male
    Marriage Date: Apr 1950
    Marriage Place: Plainfield, Union, New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Shirley A Beekman
    Certificate Number: 11485
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW2 Era Letter written by Soldier in Italy. “the dead Italian soldier, his arm outstretched, held there by the gases of decay”. 1945.  

  7. #7

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    His wife Shirley passed away in 2017 and they had two children.

    Obituary -

    Shirley Pelan, 89, passed away peacefully Saturday (February 11, 2017) at her home in North Plainfield. She was born in Mineola, NY to Walter and Gertrude Beekman, both of whom descended from the early Dutch settlers in this country - her father from those settling in early Manhattan and her mother from those settling along the New Jersey Shore before the American Revolution. Shirley began teaching in Cranford shortly after graduation from Trenton State Teacher's College. After her marriage to Byron Pelan, they moved to Easton, PA while he did his graduate studies at Lehigh University. Later, they returned to North Plainfield where she taught in several North Plainfield elementary schools until her retirement in 1987. Additionally, she taught Sunday School at the United Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, where she was a longtime member. Surviving are her husband of 67 years, Byron; her daughters, her son-in-law and her granddaughters.

    Obituary information for Shirley Pelan

    ---------

    * Although the dates mentioned in the years books do not match up, I am sure that it is him. For example, in post #4 it talks about a chemical engineer course and if you cross reference this with his occupation for post #2, it does match it.

    Kind regards,

    Will.

  8. #8

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    Hey Will!

    Great info! Thank you! It’s always cool to be able to find out other information about the person. Especially to see photos of them. I appreciate it! And I’m glad you enjoyed the letter!

    Good day,

    JB

  9. #9

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    My pleasure JB and I agree with what you say about finding out about the person who wrote the letter too.

    Kind regards,

    Will.

  10. #10

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    At 6' 2" Byron would have been an imposing GI on the battlefield, from his letter he sounded like a vey thoughtful, intelligent young man. An interesting letter, pulling no punches about the violence of war. Good to put a face to the words on the page. Thanks for posting once again.

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