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 13, 2014

Letter #47 from Henri C Romieux 22 November 1944

Again assigned to Admiral Barbey's assault force, the troop ship steamed to Aitape, New Guinea, where she loaded elements of the 3d Battalion Landing Team, 172d Infantry Regiment, 43d Division, U.S. Army. Getting underway on 28 December 1944, John Land rendezvoused with other warships in Leyte Gulf and proceeded through the Philippines to Lingayan Gulf (DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER 805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060)

H. Romieux, Sk2c USNR.
C/o Fleet P.O.
San Francisco, Calif

Mary Garner, SK2c USNR
C/o Supply Office
Wold-Chamberlain Field
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

22 November 1944

Mary Dear,

Just received your letter and of course as usual was looking forward to it and am now happy again. And for your information and guidance I will tell you — that I am not going to worry about 'from that point of view' as you say, and what ever gives you the idea that I will ever want you to forget ma any way? I guess I at least will have something to say in that regard, or won't I?

Yes I too am damn glad the election is over and now maybe, the politicians will leave things alone and the war can go forward without them very nicely. Since in the service especially - I find politics in these days most disgusting to say the least. Would say more but I know it would never in the world pass these censors, so that will have to do for the present - but just you wait till this thing is over and the enlisted man can put some pressure on politics. (yes the enlisted women too, of course- I did not mean to slight you all.) 

Had a letter from Mother at the same time as yours too and she has been visiting my brother in Scarsdale, NY but by now is back in Ontario with her niece and believe she will stay there through the winter, which I believe is the best place for her and where she will be the happiest I know. 

Yes I can just see you doing the shopping for the baby things and getting a big kick out of it. So your mind is really made up and you don't plan to get out if you can in January - well if that's the way you feel that's the thing to do, otherwise you would not be content with yourself. You speaking of the first snowfall and I know you don't like it a bit - but I wish I was there as that is just what time of year I really do like in Minnesota - guess its just born in me, but I never could live where there is snow all year - I really like the cold too, if I don't have to stay out in it too long, of course.

No your guess is wrong about November, but I still have hopes before too long. Thanks for offering to get Mom something for Christmas, but as she is in Canada and there is always the nuisance of customs duty, I thought best to send her a money order which I did a week ago. 

Well dear, just in case you don't get any more of my mail till the holiday time - here is wishing you the Merriest Christmas of all and I hope you have a nice time with your folks at home. Keep those letters coming along - cause I just thrive on them - really -

Loads of love and then some,


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