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.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Letter #43 from Henri Romiuex 7 November 1944

Anchoring in San Pedro Bay on the 14th, her boats unloaded all troops by that afternoon and the transport retired to Manus, arriving there on 20 November.

H.C. Romieux, SK1c USNR
C.O Fleet P.O.
San Francisco, Calif

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

7 November 1944

Mary Dear,

Just received your letter which as usual was most welcome. No need to worry about the likes of me cause as you know I'm always fine and not a thing will happen to me. I appreciated your little narrative regarding the fifteen cows, and have come to the same conclusion as you — how about the cost of the cows? All sounds good though with but a few exceptions. The price of milk might drop by that time and only bring in $2.50. Then what would we do? And why the 25% discount by that time? Please let me hear further in this regard. Well at last, sounds to me like your working in an old folks home, or just about at any rate if that is what has become of the Naval Air Station. Sounds logical though. Do you plan to stay there or are you going to get transferred? Better stick around don't sound like such a bad place after all.

At long last the Navy Censors have become a little more lenient in what we can converse about now so here goes.- Have seen quite some of the Pacific by this time. We participated in the invasion of Saipan and Tinian. Have been on the Marshalls also Guadal Canal and New Hebridies. 

We also participated on the invasion of Palau and later on the Phillipines at Layete. So as you can plainly see, the war has progressed in a large way since yours truly took an active part in it, how about it? 

However in all my wanderings have not had a decent liberty, so might just as well be stuck on any one of these desolate places as far as that goes. These invasions are really like a picture show and hard to believe. One can just look out and see the battles going on step by step and still be almost an outsider in a way, or at least a spectator. Those capital ships of ours sure did throw in the works at Layete. It is hard to see how a single thing can survive after such a shelling.

Well dear you know I sure am getting homesick or something and hope that maybe some way or another I'll get back to good old U.S.A. for a little spell before too long. But at that I would not have missed all this for anything.

Will say good nite for this time and go get in my sack, as it's about that time.

Much Love

Forgot to tell you but we carried the Phillipine President and cabinet to Leyete also saw with my own eyes Doug. MacArthur go ashore.

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