WWII Letters from the Men & Women In Service


Wheeler, Lt. Richard, letter dated June 15, 1944

Our Men and Women In The Armed Forces

Mr. and Mrs. Lisle Wheeler received the following interesting letter from their son, Lt. Richard Wheeler, in Europe after several weeks of waiting. He has been transferred to the 3rd Army, for the present:

June 15th.
Dear Dad:
This is the first time for a while I’ve had an opportunity to write. I have been bouncing around all over Germany in a box car on the back of a train load of tanks. Ask Colin Anthony, he’ll remember those 40 men to 8 horse box cars. They were held over from the last war and are they ever wrecks. It rained all the time and water just ran in. I got the tanks here, in a small town in southern Germany, in the 3rd Army. I don’t know what is up, think maybe we’ll be the army of Occupation for a short time and turn our tanks in. Another alternative is to come home for a thirty day leave and then onto the C.B.I. or straight to C. B. I. from here.

I haven’t heard the fate of the 3rd Army yet. The 9th Headquarters left for the U. S., and most of their troops shipped south to our occupation territory. This town is real swell, the name is Margetshockhein, close to Wurzburg, Germany. I have three campaign stars, 15 points, one bronze star, five points, and time of service only adds up to 49 points, not many.

I hope your crops are as nice as here. They have beautiful crops of all kinds here in the Saar Valley. The German people are great farmers. I will say that for them. I think many of these people are o.k., but Hitler and his gang took them in before they knew what had really happened and then it was too late.

Many of these people speak French and English, so by talking to them you can get sort of a cross section of how they feel. They detest the British, and are deathly afraid of the Russians. We are absolutely forbidden to fraternize in any way, they really raise _____ with you.

When I came down here the freight trains were loaded with Germans, French and Poles, all nationalities going home, some of them the most pitiful sights I’ve ever seen. German soldiers by the thousands are being released to go back to work, they sure a beat-up looking outfit. One poor fellow was looking in the car door watching me eat yesterday. He looked half starved so I invited him in and split with him. You’ve not supposed to give them anything but I felt sorry for them now the thing is over. They are half starved, I guess, and no on should have any sympathy for them. I sure didn’t have a few months ago.

Any town of any size with rail facilities or manufacturing are leveled, but lots of small towns are untouched. These people feel like thy have been liberated by us, from Hitler. It’s a crazy deal, I can’t figure it out.

Best regards and love to all. Haven’t heard from you for some time. My new APO is 403.


Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, July 5, 1945, Page 1 [Adams County]


Williams, Col. Norman Paul, letter dated December 15, 1944


The editor of the Register-Tribune is in receipt of the following letter from an old-time Akron boy, Norman Paul Williams, now a colonel, Q.M.C. Hq. Fifth Army, U.S.A., on the Italian front.  Col. Williams lived in Akron with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. J. Williams, during his boyhood days.  His parents moved from here to near Syracuse, N. Y., a number of years ago, where his father recently passed away.  Col. Williams served in the U. S. regular army for a number of years before the present World War broke out.  He served with the Fifth Army Corps in the North Africa campaign.  His letter dated December 15, 1944, says:

Dear Ray:  I want to thank you for the copy of my old home town paper, just received, and also for the nice write-up on the front page.  It has been a long time from the carefree days at Akron to the battle front in Italy.  I still count Aon as my home town and hope after “this” is over, to come back and renew my friendships.

I have a real job, as I am the supply officer for the Army, which is a lot of people wanting a lot of things.  So far, we have managed very well, even if jerry does try to stop us by blowing up the bridges and bombings.  The country is lovely, but you can’t eat it, and a good old Iowa corn field would be a grand sight to me.

Thanks again for the paper.  I still know a lot of the names; and best regards to you and all my friends.
Sincerely, Norman P. Williams, Apo 464, Hq. 5th Army. Col. Q.M.C.
(Col. Williams enclosed in his letter a few souvenirs, including a piece of paper money, 1 Lira, Allied Military Currency, Issued in Italy.)

Source: Akron Register-Tribune, Akron, Iowa, Jan. 20, 1945 [Plymouth County]


Wyatt, T/5 Harvey J., letter dated June 4, 1945

Our Men and Women In The Armed Forces

The following letter is from T/5 Harvey J. Wyatt, well known in this community, written to his sister, Mrs. Paul McFarland, of Stanton:

Belgium, June 4, 1945

Dear Letha and all:
I received your letter some time ago so thought I would write you a few lines. I haven’t been so busy lately so am kind of catching up on my letter writing.

It’s been pretty nice here this summer except we have a few rains; but it never gets very warm but of course we are pretty close to the coast. It gets pretty cool in the evenings.

I’m in Antwerp, Belgium, now and was in Lille, France before that. I’ve been stationed in Chester, England, Burton-on-the-Trent, England, Le Mans and Riems, France, and in Luxumberg  (sic) and now in Belgium. I was on a trip up in Germany and Holland but don’t get too far from home anymore.

I got a letter from Lefty and he is in Linz, Austria that is on the Danube. He got through without a scratch and I consider he a pretty lucky boy because he has been in some pretty hot places.

I’m going to send you a few pictures that I have taken. I’ve sent a lot to Ruth so suppose you did get to see a few. I’ve taken quite a lot of pictures here and guess I’ll take a lot more if I can get the film.

If you will notice I have a new address and guess maybe this will be the last I have maybe. I’m driving a colonel and when he transfers he takes me along so I get around quite a lot that way. I’ve got my fourth car now and it’s a Lincoln. It’s the first American car I’ve had since I’ve been here. The last English car I had I drove over 13,000 miles. I’ve sure got to see a lot of country.

Well I suppose you are all quite busy back there. I see by the paper that the weather hasn’t been so good this year. The crops here look pretty good and everybody seems like they are trying to raise everything they can so as to have plenty to eat this winter. About all they seem to be short on is coffee, sugar and meat, but I think everything will be better for them, except meat. They have plenty of beer and ice cream and all kinds of liquor.

They used every thing to farm with this year. A lot of farmers put in their crops with milk cows and oxen and they use a lot of dogs to deliver things in town.  They have a three wheeled cart made of bicycles with two wheels in front and one behind. Then they hitch one or two dogs on each side of the hind wheel and then peddle it and the dogs pull and they sure haul some big loads that way. And then some have two wheeled carts with one of two dogs hitched under it and the man pushes and the dogs pull, just like a horse. They have very good street car service and there are quite a few cars and trucks running also, so things are not so bad here.

The buzz-bombs broke a lot of glass and killed a lot of people but they didn’t knock down so many buildings.

We are living in a college and we have some nice quarters and good food. I may get to come home after a while, you know I’m over forty and they are going to let us out. I could volunteer to stay in but they might want me to go to the South Pacific, and I’m not crazy about going there. I wouldn’t mind staying here until it’s finished but I don’t want to go over there.

Well, Sis, I don’t know much to write but I will send you a few pictures. Tell Paul and the girls hello from me. Love, 
Your Brother, Harvey.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, July 5, 1945, Page 1 [Adams County]



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