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 15, 2014

Letter #49 from WIlbur C Garner 7 December 1944

S/Sergent Wilbur C. Garner, 33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, U.S. Army 

Miss Mary W. Garner
2425 Calverton Heights Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 16

Christmas Greetings written from Bill to Mary, addressed to their parents home in Baltimore, as Bill expected Mary to be home on leave for the holidays. On a card designed by one of the members of the 62nd. Engr. Topogaphical Co., Mac Millan, he simply wrote Bill and Gwen
The printed information inside the card reads as follows:

The Meuse River was the last obstacle between us and Germany.
Maastricht is the oldest town in Holland. It,like Trier, was an outpost of the Roman Empire. On the site of a Roman wooden bridge, "ponsMosae", the foundations of the present "Massbrug" were laid in 1280, it was restored in 1683; altered in 1932, destroyed by the Dutch Army on May 10, 1940 to slow up the German advance; repaired in 1942; blown up by the Germans on 13 September 1944; and repaired as shown by XIX Corps on 30 September 1944.

The Tomahawk Insignia of the Corps was encircled by a wreath of Holly inside with a simple
"Christmas Greetings" message

Bill and Gwen

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