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, February 6, 2014

Letter #41 from Henri Romieux 31 October 1944

After taking on additional stores and fuel, the troopship embarked troops from the 2d Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32d Division, U.S. Army, and got underway in formation for Leyte on 9 November 1944. On the night of October 13th the task group was attacked by a lone enemy aircraft, which dropped a torpedo that missed Catskill (AP-106) before the plane was splashed by anti-aircraft guns from multiple ships, including John Land.

H.C. Romieux, SK1c, USNR
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif.

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

31 October 1944

Mary Dear, 

Just received your letter today and am sitting right down to answer it. Thanks for the clipping - yes that is about how stupid some of those things are and especially the people that are instructing, if you know what I mean. Now you have me all curious as to whats in the box - thanks a lot and I hope it gets here before long. Now about what you were betting on- I don't think it will ever happen aboard ship. Yes I have been eligible and recommended for a long time now but- you know our Brain twisting bureau has practically closed the chances, unless someone drops dead or gets discharged—there just ain't a chance. Yes its pretty disgusting, but about all that can be expected from such an outfit. Enough for that , now I guess you know.

From the sound of things that outfit of yours is sure undergoing changes. Yes I agree with you about Foreign Service, I don't think you would like it and if you have a chance to get out of the service in February, when your two years are up, I would not blame you for doing so—especially if your folks need you at home. What with your brother in the service — Uncle Sam has enough from one family, let them take some of those 4-F's to do your work.

As for me here all is fine. I guess I am lucky at that when I think of some of those fellows from the University stuck on some of those Pacific Islands — No I would never trade with them. Here the work is interesting and just enough to keep ones mind occupied. However if I ever get back to my old job in the Chamber of Commerce and have to do some real thinking fast and for myself I'll be lost, cause you just don't do such things in the Navy that's done by another chosen group-you know.

Well dear, I guess I had better say good nite for this time, as my mood don't seem too good. 

Write again soon and thanks.

Love and more love,

No comments:

Post a Comment