June 3, 1944

Dublin Core


June 3, 1944


A letter from Johnny to Geraldine written June 3, 1944, describing his Atlantic crossing and first impressions of Great Britain.




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June 3, 1944

Dear Jerry,

This reminds me of that song 'When You're a Long, Long Way From Home' or words to that effect. It certainly is true enough in my case.

We had an uneventful crossing but it sure was monotonous after the first couple of days. All we did was eat, sleep and read pocket books. An orchestra composed of G.I.s helped to pass the time a little each evening. Also a religious service was held each afternoon for Catholic and Protestants. I was in charge of obtaining supplies for the men during the voyage (a s/sgt helped me or probably more correct I helped him). Anyway, he took charge of the money while I handled the goods. You'd be surprised at the amount of candy, soap, tobacco and the like that our company alone consumed. In one day alone they bought over seven hundred bars of soap. They should all be able to keep clean over here at any rate.

We passed through some beautiful country during our trip to this camp from the boat. It reminded me very much of the Cherry Valley section of good old New York State.

I've never seen such changeable weather as that which we have to put up with here. As the captain told us when we first arrived, "When you can see the hills, it's going to rain. When you can't see the hills, it's raining." There's more truth than fiction in that statement.

The thing with impressed me most upon my first glimpse of the country was the preponderance of brick construction in the homes, factories and all the other buildings. We've covered a good many miles of the country already and I've only seen about two non-brick structures. The style of the homes is lousy from an architectural point of view. I don't know how architects over here even sell their plans. Maybe I'm just prejudiced. You can't imagine how much better the U.S. and Canada are, as compared to this place. It's too bad that the entire population of both countries couldn't visit for a couple of weeks. Believe me, they would really appreciate North America afterwards.

As far as girls are concerned, they don't curve in the right places. There is another matter in connection with girls which we aren't allowed to mention, but I never heard of anything like it before.

This past week we've been sleeping in our pup tents with one blanket and raincoat under us and two on top. It's not too bad except for the bugs. They are very aggravating sometimes.

They're setting up six man tents for us now so we'll have it a bit easier soon. There will be canvas topped cots to sleep on so it will be like living in the lap of luxury.

We have a good setup here. We work nights, having the days free until 3 P.M. A pass can be obtained every other day. So far I haven't been to town, but I hope to make it to church on Sunday.

I forgot to mention a very strange thing in regard to daylight over here. It stays light until after 11P.M. There are no more than three or four hours of darkness. Later in June they say there will be only two hours darkness. So when I say we work nights, it isn't actually true.

I'm doing an entirely different job here to the one for which I was trained. It's a case of doing the most essential job. If it hastens the end of the war we don't mind. If I get married and have children I hope they're all girls as it's darn hard on parents to raise children and then have to send them off to the army. The trouble is that at the rate things are going now they'll be drafting women in the next war so a guy just can't win. We've got a job to do anyway, and we're going to do it.

Don't mind me if I've griped throughout this letter. A guy gets that way every once in a while in the army. It reminds me of a letter I received from a friend of mine. She had been married just about a year when her husband was drafted. In the letter I mention she had just said goodbye to her husband as he was leaving for overseas. She sure sounded in the dumps. About a week later she wrote again & apologized for being so gloomy. That's how it is up and down.

Well, I have to get ready for work again so I'll have to sign off now. I hope you and yours all well. Hoping I'm back on your side again soon, I remain,

As ever,


P.S. If you see Susy give her a pat for me. My Unc tells me she's a bit down in the dumps now Ruth is gone.


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