My Father’s WW II Letters

| January 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

Bill and Helen Black, June 14, 1952

Thanks to my amazing cousin, Bob Black, the Official Black Family Genealogist, I have come into a priceless stash of letters from my father to his sister, Ann, during World War II.  The letters run from July, 1943 to July 1945 when he was 25 years old.  I spent yesterday working my way through them chronologically and was transported.  It seems his original posting was Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.  Then, he went to San Antonio and, from there, overseas to England.  He got the job he wanted as a machinist and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force Service Command Base Aircraft Assembly Depot in England.

I may blog more about these letters as I process them mentally and emotionally, but two excerpts really struck me.  The first one had to do with his arrival in France.  I have a memory of him telling me that he landed at Normandy some time after D Day, but I have never been able to document the fact.  Well, I now have documentation.

Here’s what he wrote on July 22nd, 1944, about six weeks after D Day.

They have eased up on the censorship enough so that I can say that we came to France the hard way – landed on the beach.  It was quite a thrill tho as we approached the beach head to think that we were landing in another foreign country.  I kept thinking of how Peter [his brother] had come to  France + comparing the circumstances.  As for the beach itself, at high tide, it might have been any part of the Cape [Cod]. Boy, how it reminded me of it.  Of course, at the Cape, you wouldn’t see a lot of destroyed barges laying about.  For the next four or five days, it was kind of rough.  I lived in the truck + ate K rations….

And then, his letter written May 9, 1945,  the day after V-E Day.

Even with VE day, there still isn’t much to write about from here.  It would be just our luck to [be] stuck out in the country when the end came.  It’s almost not fair to have to just carry on when you know that everybody that can is celebrating.  I’ll be they are still raising hell in Paris.

Here’s what my father was missing.

V-E Day, Paris, May 8, 1945


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Category: Personal

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