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, March 23, 2014

XIX Corps Moved to Bad Nauheim after Germany fell 9 May - 2 August 1945

  XIX Corps moved to Bad Nauheim, down by Frankfurt, but the work for the Corps Staff wasn't over. The Surgeon's Section had to take over and administer 40 German military hospitals with 45,000 wounded Germans. The Artillery Headquarters had to take over the running of a big area. G-5 still had thousands of  DP's (Displaced Persons) on his hands, and the trains carrying the Russians left Wetzlar every day. G-2 had to run down war criminals and Nazis, and set up Document Centers to process the papers we found. G-3 started an Education Program, and everyone wondered about his points.  

All images in the Blog Post were captured by Wilbur C Garner while in Bad Nauheim

Wilbur (Bill) C Garner


There were no more letters from Bill after April 19, 1945, in the bundle of letters Mary saved from the war. While I am sure he continued to write Mary, and Gwen until he was sent home, the letter dated April 19, 1945 is the last surviving.
He sent photos on to Gwen who kept them in her "Garner-Wilkins" album where she labeled and kept all the photos Bill sent back to her from the war and from the time they me
t in the late winter of 1944.

Bill and C.Q.M.S Saunders, Germany

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