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, February 16, 2014

Letter #50 from Henri C Romieux 4 December 1944

John Land began Operation "Magic Carpet" duties, loading some of the hundreds of thousands of Pacific veterans headed home to the United States. With some 1,733 passengers embarked at both Wakayama and Guam, the transport sailed for home with all possible speed, arriving at San Pedro on 21 October. She sailed again seven days later, this time loaded with 1,006 Construction Battalion (Seabees) troops, who were brought to Guam on 12 November. Taking on 1,828 passengers at Tinian on the 15th, she sailed home for the last time the following day, arriving in San Francisco on 29 November.

John Land made three more "Magic-Carpet" voyages to the western Pacific over the next six months. The first, begun 14 December 1945 when she sailed for Noumea took her to the South Pacific, where she found no passengers available, before moving on to Manila to pick up troops on 15 January 1946.

On December 15, 1944 U.S. troops invade Mindoro in the Philippines.

Henri Romieux, Sk1c USNR
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif

Mary Garner, Sk2c USNR
C/o Supply Office
U.S. Naval Air Station
Wold-Chamberlain Field
Minneapolis, 6, Minnesota 

4 December 1944

Mary Dear,

Not much of interest to write about but just a line to let you know all is fine by me. The new supply officer is taking over since the first of the month, so had a little more work than usual- but outside of that things have been going pretty easy. Really it is best to be busy as the time goes by more rapidly.

The mail service has not been so good the past couple of weeks - your last letter was dated 7 November - just think almost a month ago. And I have not heard from Mother since the later part of October- oh well- some, one of these days I will really have lots of it from you all.

This is the rainy season in these parts now so it has been quite comfortable - days are hot but nites quite cool - as a matter of fact I had a blanket over me last night and was none to warm. It really feels good after all the hot weather we have been in.

Well dear its hard to believe tho that it is so near Christmas - just don't seem right for some reason. Hope you have a nice trip home and a real good time. Be sure and write and let me know all about it. What do you hear from your brother in Europe?
Goodbye for tonight, will write more shortly-

Lots of love- Henri

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