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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wilbur C Garner's last Furlough to England before returning to the states. August 1945

In August 1945,  Bill was granted a furlough to England before departing for home and returning to the United States on 14 September 1945.  

14 September 1945, was also Bill's 25th birthday! What a birthday present, but I am sure it was with mixed emotions when he left Europe for home, leaving his wife and beautiful baby daughter in England, uncertain as to when they would be reunited again. His furlough in England during the month of August was captured in these happy images. 

He arrived back on US soil on 23 September 1945. He was separated from service in the US Army on 28 of September 1945 at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. He served a total of 23 months, achieved a grade of Staff Sergent and his Military occupation was Administrative Non Commissioned Officer (502). He returned to live in his parents home at 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Md. He was reemployed by The Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Baltimore, Maryland. 
Having been an employee of the The Baltimore Gas and Electric Company before the war broke out, he was guaranteed a job upon returning from "The War".

He received the following awards for his service: Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 1 silver service star (Indicating five Campaigns) : World War II Victory Medal; Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII: Sharpshooter Badge with Carbine Bar with Machine Gun Bar.

From the French Government he received The Croix de Guerre with bronze star.
Number 8 Ty-r-sarn Road, Cardiff

Bill and Kate Hudman Wilkins
Bill, Carol and Gwen enjoying the English summer.

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