Dickinson County

Capt. Kenneth Owen




Capt. Kenneth Owen in letters to Spirit Lake friends has written of living conditions in India where he is stationed and also some of the details of his duties.  The following from his letters will be of interest to his many Spirit Lake friends.

“I was relieved from mess officer.  The middle of July I was assigned Squadron Utilities officer.  Now I am base utilities with five squadrons to look after.  Water systems are my specialty.  I have an office in a bamboo shack.  Also a 7 passenger army vehicle with the seats out for a truck effect.  This affair has been appropriately named, Kidney Buster, over the roughest roads in the world.  I dread having to make a drive in it.

I built a rest camp in the mountains in November for the boys in the group.  It is a hunting lodge more or less.  Fishing is good for mountain trout and there are plenty of deer and buffalo to hunt.  I liked this assignment but it didn’t last long enough.

We have three movies a week.  I haven’t attended for a long time.  It keeps me busy keeping up on my correspondence.  The last I saw was,
“For Me and My Gal.”

I am now living in a tea planters bungalow.  We are quite comfortable.  There are about 12 of us here.  We have our own club with bar, a fireplace, bamboo furniture, a radio and a phonograph.  We built this place ourselves.  With these comforts, I don’t feel inclined to see a picture or to go visiting with the local British planters.  Food is good, but comes exclusively from tin cans.  The individual who designed some of this stuff in cans should have the Distinguished Service Cross for sure.  There are many Chinese restaurants in the area.  I patronize these “holes in the wall” to get fresh vegetables in Chow Mein.  I get my vitamins this way to keep my teeth from falling out.

Weather is good, hot in the day, cold at night.  I need four blankets to keep me warm.

I was well remembered by the dear people in the old home town, with cards and letters and I appreciated all of them very much. I had a very fine Christmas as guest of some tea planters whom I have known for a long time.  In spite of the food shortages here, we had a very nice dinner of chicken and squab.  I didn’t receive many packages as they are being held up until January sometime for all of us in the theatre.  I did get a fruit cake from my mother-in-law.  That is a rare delicacy in the jungles of India.

Just returned from spending New Years eve and New Years with some tea planters as their guest.

I received a picture of the Spirit Lake Honor Roll for a Christmas card and I was proud to see my name on it.  Also received a card from the Methodist church.”

Source: Spirit Lake Beacon, February 10, 1944