About this blog

As the author of this blog, Karen L Garner Martin Messick, I am the daughter of an American soldier, Wilbur (Bill) C. Garner, Sr. and Women's Royal English Navy service woman (British Wren) Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins, who met and married during World War II. They lived and loved for over 50 years before Mother passed in 2000. When she did I helped Dad with every day chores when I could. One day I was helping him clear things out and I lifted a plastic bag out of the seat of Mom's piano stool, asking Dad, "Whats in this bag?" to which he replied, "Just some of Mary's old letters." Mary, his older sister, was still alive at the time, residing in an assisted living facility, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I put the letters back in the piano seat thinking he did not want me to open the letters.
When Dad passed two years later, I inherited Mary's letters.
When I began to read them, I found they were mostly letters from Dad to Mary while he was in World War II ("The War"). I could not put them down. I wished I had opened them the day I first saw them so that Dad and I could have had conversations about them, but that was not to be...so as I read through these "Letters to Mary" I began to get a glimpse into Dad's young years when he met Mom and his time as a soldier. I have researched events during World War II to enhance my understanding of what was happening in the war as each letter came to broaden my understanding of what he might have been experiencing. I knew he landed on the beaches of Normandy, France D-Day plus 1 as he recounted his memory of that day to me when he was dying from Leukemia. It was horrifying. There were also letters from a companion Mary had met while in Minneapolis, he had been deployed overseas. I have entwined them chronologically with Dad's letters as it gives a greater dimension to the war itself. I intend to editorialize as necessary to explain personal relationships and situations as the story unfolds through the "Letters to Mary." I welcome any questions, comments and feedback. As the "Greatest Generation" fades away, I felt compelled to share these letters and story in hopes of continuing the legacy they left for the world. Let us never forget the untold years and lives that were sacrificed for freedom!
If you have stumbled upon this blog I have added a blog archive at the bottom of the blog page. Continue to scroll down to access the Blog Archive. The posts are chronologically listed and to follow the story it is best to start with the first post in December 2013.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Letter #33 from Henri Romieux 3 September 1944

Assigned to TG 32.17, she sailed from Guadalcanal on 8 September, arriving in transport area one off Peleliu on 15 September. She sent her troops ashore in boat waves 11-16  that afternoon and then spent the next five days unloading cargo as required and using boats to retrieve casualties. On 22 September, John Land got underway for Hollandia, New Guinea, with 34 casualties embarked and arrived alongside Comfort (AH-6) in that port on the 26th. She then received five days of power plant repairs alongside Aquarius (AKA-16).

H. Romieux, SK1c USNR
c/o Fleet P.O.
San Francisco, Calif.

Mary Garner, SK2c USNR
U.S. Naval Air Station
Wold-Chamberlain Field
Minneapolis, Minn.
c/o Supply Office 

3 September

Mary Dear,

Thanks for your faithful letter writing. Received one today and I was a bit down in the dumps but after your letter all seems fine again.
Sam was surprised to hear you were out of Disbursing and into Supply. You sure did a heap of work then on Transportation - I know. Hope you like your new work and believe it will be quite a snap compared to your other work.

You know it's a funny thing but as you know - I have been in Supply here since I came out West and I sure hope I never have to get back in the Disbursing again. Supply is so much more interesting and varied and as little red-tape as possible. As I told you before we have had a swell Disbursing & Supply officer - he is one out of a million if you know what I mean. Well damn it - he has his orders and will be replaced by some USNR. I don't know but I expect the worst and at least I am positive he won't be nearly as good a fellow as we have now. Will let you know more later at any rate.
Say hello to Bessie please - does she still run around with that stores from the campus? and by the way I sure enjoyed hearing of your conversation with the "Madame". That one is sure curiosity itself.

You sure seem to be going through quite a shake up out there. Sure would be swell if you were transferred to the West Coast and I could get back there somehow. We sure would have some good times I assure you. Keep your fingers crossed at any rate.

Well Mary it is about time for that old sprinkler system to say- Lites Out - yes - just said first call and here I am down in one of the GSK storerooms writing - it's cooler here than in the office. Have been sleeping here lately too - just throw my sack on the deck and have a nice big electric fan over me - almost deluxe!
Take good care of yourself and keep the letters on their way please. Goodnite-dear- 

Love Henri

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