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WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.

Article about: This letter was written by a Lt. John B. Murray. He served with the Hq. & Hq. Sq, 312th Service Group. This one is a long read, about 8 pages in length, but worth it if you want to trave

  1. #1

    Default WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.

    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    This letter was written by a Lt. John B. Murray. He served with the Hq. & Hq. Sq, 312th Service Group. This one is a long read, about 8 pages in length, but worth it if you want to travel back in time and through his words experience the Journey through Europe of a U.S. Serviceman during WW2. The letter reads:

    “Halloween
    October 31st 1944

    Dear Nelson,

    Since they aren’t celebrating Halloween in the E.T.O. , I can’t be out shoving over those well known houses, so I might as well break down and answer your letter.

    I was undoubtedly back in Normandy when I last wrote to you. After answering your questions etc, I will tell you a bit of what has happened since.

    I know that Ann enjoyed her visit with the Hoffmanns as much or more than they enjoyed it. A couple of her letters were all about that visit. I hope that before too many months I can join her in a visit to your house.

    I wrote to Wally Ammon on Aug. 14. I haven’t heard from him. We had rather pleasant weather during July and August instead of the hot weather you had. There were only a few days that I didn’t wear my heavy woolen undershirt. My health wasn’t affected by sleeping in the ground. For France we had rather dry weather at that time.

    *Next page*

    I didn’t have colds back there. Now that we have moved into houses I seem to have a cold most of the time. Of course it has rained a good majority of the days since coming here. The first week or two in Normandy it was a bit rainy, but after that it cleared up.

    D-ration is a concentrated 4 oz. (600 Calorie) chocolate bar containing chocolate, sugar, skim milk powder, cocoa fat, oat flour, artificial vanilla, and, B, (Thiamin Hydrochloride) 150 I.V. It takes the place of one meal and is to be consumed slowly- about a half hour.

    K-ration is the best uncooked ration in my opinion. There are breakfast, dinner, and supper units. A unit will contain a can of meat or cheese; two packets of crackers; a package of coffee, cocoa, or lemon powder; sugar, candy, malted milk tablets, or a fruit bar; a stick of chewing gum; four cigarettes; and in some cases- toilet paper. All that comes in a water proof container and cardboard carton measuring approx. 7x3 1/2x 1 1/2.

    Either of the rations are good for one meal - or the K even for a day or two. After that it becomes monotonous and unappetizing.

    Those signs in your washrooms are amusing. Do the workers take…

    *next page*

    them in the proper spirit, or do they scowl at the management?

    I suppose that by now the people at home realize how over-optimistic they were about the end of the war. There was a lot of the same optimism around France. Flyers were coming back saying they were sure it would finish within a month- that was in early August. It seems that everyone thought the Germans would give up when we reached their country- because they did in the last war I suppose. During that big push we had very beautiful weather- the planes could fly most of the time. Now if we see the sun one day a week we are lucky. It makes flying very bad and useless a lot of the time.

    And the Siegfried line is a tough nut to crack. The Germans have also had a pretty good defense around Holland and Belgium. But one of these days there will be a breakthrough and perhaps swiftly- but the going won’t be as easy as it was through France. We were traveling through friendly country then. When the next big push comes our boys will be traveling through enemy territory 100%. Instead of the friendly French you have people around ready to stab a knife in your back or take a shot at you. They won’t tell the truth about where or if the enemy soldiers went. They will be there…

    *next page*

    to perform acts of sabotage to our equipment and to bridges, rails, and roads. Morale is bound to go down for any of the non-fighting troops. They will have to be on guard all the time and, will have no place to go. They won’t be able to talk to the people. They will have to do their own laundry. Some of their buddies may be killed by German people.

    Looking at a more optimistic angle, we can hope that the coming winter will bring such hardships to the German people and army that they can no longer stand up.

    And to sum it all up 99.99% of the people know so little about it they can’t accurately predict the end within two months of it, such is the case with me. When it does end there will be a lot of “I told you so” that hit it luckily through fate. It is all over but the fighting.

    I am enclosing some franc notes. Unfortunately some dope came through two or three months ago that foreign (to U.S.) monies cannot be sent in excess of $1.00 at a time. Therefore I can’t enclose anything over a 20 franc note. I will make a record of what I send and will send you some more sometime. Please accept them as a gift. Since all English notes exceed $1.00 I can’t send any of them. If you desire coin I may stumble into some someday. The Banque de France notes I am enclosing may have been printed…

    *next page*

    by the English, French, or Germans. The dates don’t mean too much.

    Since I never tried buying any fruit in London I didn’t notice the prices. Fruit is rare over there now- or was at least when I was there.

    Yes, i guess they have hay fever over here. There has been no great amount of it though- so far as I know.

    Thanks for the clippings. I noted on an Indiana ballot. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I last voted in Cincy, my last residence was in Dayton, and my home address in Connersville.

    After the election and then after the war in Europe we will probably know more about demobilization. Point plans have caused a lot of interest and comment over here. Everyone tries to present an argument why he should go home first. Personally I feel that the boys who did the front line fighting- the ones that fired and were fired at most- should go home first. Then they should take it on the basis of service and need. I don’t think much of points for dependency unless the dependency existed prior to the draft. It is impossible to make a ruling that is fair to everyone.

    On one of our moves we passed through many towns all torn up by war and others that were hardly…

    *next page*

    touched. All along the way the people smiled, waved the v-sign, and threw fruit and kisses to us. We smiled, waved, and threw candy, cigarettes, gum, and parts of K or C rations to them. I imagine that for those whose homes were rubble it was hard to smile, but they did. St. Lo is just rubble. They might as well start a new town somewhere else. But it seems the French take the pile of stones and rubble and rebuild right on the same spot with most of the stones their homes formally contained. Caen is almost like St. Lo. Except a couple of blocks of shape remain on one street.

    I had the fortune of visiting Paris the night you wrote your last letter. The M.P.s weren’t in yet. We had to go blocks before seeing a G.I. When we stopped in the jeep we were thronged with people wanting to shake hands, ask for cigarettes, and even kiss you. The French use a short snappy handshake. They clasp hands, raise the clasped hands a bit, then come down with a bang and unclasp. Drinks were pretty much on the house at that time.

    We were stationed along a main road leading into Paris. All day long beautiful girls rode by on bicycles- shirts flying high. You can imagine how much work was done. It seemed nearly every girl in Paris had a bicycle.

    *Next page*

    Along the avenue de champs-Elysées on Saturday or Sunday there was a solid stream of bicycles about three abreast going both ways. Watta sight. The Parisian girls are really beautiful. They know how to make up and dress. They have plenty of natural beauty too. The French kids are cute as they can be. I shall have to pass on a couple of remarks from one of our married with children officers and one of our men. (1) “If I was gonna stay around here I think I would turn Baptist. I would hate to confess all my sins.” (2) “No wonder the Germans were easy to run out of Paris. If I had been here for years I wouldn’t have much resistance either.”

    Oh yes I also saw or visited Norte Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Garden of Tuileries, the Obelisk, the opera, the grand hotel with its famous sidewalk cafe the cafe de la Paix, La Madeleine church, the arch of triumph, Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero, Napoleon’s tomb, and a lot of public buildings. The Seine, with many bridges crossing, is rather beautiful. It is a very beautiful city with handsome buildings and many trees.

    I have seen the famous cathedral at Chartres, Reims, Laon, and Lyon. I think the Reims cathedral is the most…

    *next page*

    beautiful I have seen- as far as architecture is concerned at least.

    It is about time for the lights to go out, so I think I had better close. Give your mother and father my regards.

    As ever,
    John.

    P.S. I have flown 2 3/4 hours over France in a Cessna C-78. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to see France from the air. I was amazed at the amount of timber. It was a chance to combine business and pleasure. I have also seen Mont Blanc, the highest peak of the alps. “
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by U.S. Serviceman. He writes about his experiences in the ETO(Normandy, The War, Destruction of Cities, Defeating Germany, French Girls, Visiting Paris etc.

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    *Im still researching John and will update the post if/when I find more information*

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