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.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

World War II European Timeline May 1943 to February 1944

By the time of  the recent "Letters to Mary" the USA is fully engaged in "The War" and as Bill heads off to England from Camp Polk, Louisiana in December of 1943 and Henri is about to embark to places unknown, on the USS John Land, in March of 1944, I have added another timeline of events for World War II in the European Theater, which takes us to the point in time when the boys are leaving the USA to enter active duty in "The War."
The timeline below will give you an idea of what had been happening in Europe as Bill was heading to war.

Courtesy of TheHistoryPlace.com
May 7, 1943 - Allies take Tunisia.
May 13, 1943 - German and Italian troops surrender in North Africa.
May 16, 1943 - Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto ends.
May 16/17 - British air raid on the Ruhr.
May 22, 1943 - Dönitz suspends U-boat operations in the North Atlantic.
June 10, 1943 - 'Pointblank' directive to improve Allied bombing strategy issued.
June 11, 1943 - Himmler orders the liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in Poland.
July 5, 1943 - Germans begin their last offensive against Kursk.
July 9/10 - Allies land in Sicily.
July 19, 1943 - Allies bomb Rome.
July 22, 1943 - Americans capture Palermo, Sicily.
July 24, 1943 - British bombing raid on Hamburg.
July 25/26 - Mussolini arrested and the Italian Fascist government falls; Marshal Pietro Badoglio takes over and negotiates with Allies.
July 27/28 - Allied air raid causes a firestorm in Hamburg.
August 12-17 - Germans evacuate Sicily.
August 17, 1943 - American daylight air raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt in Germany; Allies reach Messina, Sicily.
August 23, 1943 - Soviet troops recapture Kharkov.
September 8, 1943 - Italian surrender to Allies is announced.
September 9, 1943 - Allied landings at Salerno and Taranto.
September 11, 1943 - Germans occupy Rome.
September 12, 1943 - Germans rescue Mussolini.
September 23, 1943 - Mussolini re-establishes a Fascist government.
October 1, 1943 - Allies enter Naples, Italy.
October 4, 1943 - SS-Reichsführer Himmler gives speech at Posen.
October 13, 1943 - Italy declares war on Germany; Second American air raid on Schweinfurt.
November 6, 1943 - Russians recapture Kiev in the Ukraine.
November 18, 1943 - Large British air raid on Berlin.
November 28, 1943 - Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet at Teheran.
December 24-26 - Soviets launch offensives on the Ukrainian front.


January 6, 1944 - Soviet troops advance into Poland.
January 17, 1944 - First attack toward Cassino, Italy.
January 22, 1944 - Allies land at Anzio in Italy.
January 27, 1944 - Leningrad relieved after a 900-day siege.
February 15-18 - Allies bomb the monastery at Monte Cassino.
February 16, 1944 - Germans counter-attack against the Anzio beachhead.

No comments:

Post a Comment