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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bernard Shelbourne Garner after "The War"

Often in the "Letters to Mary" that Bill wrote when he was overseas in "The War" he mentioned Bernard and Jane. Bernard was his youngest brother and the last of the five children of Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner and Souil Wade Garner. Though he was of age when "The War" broke out, he was born on 20 September 1923, Bernard never served in "The War" due to medical issues. Bernard had been physically challenged since childhood by a leg which he almost lost at the the age of 15 months. He was just starting to walk well when he fell to the floor one day and cried. His mother picked him up, consoled him, and set him on his feet again - but once more he fell to the floor. His mother then noticed that he felt feverish and summoned the family doctor, Dr. Walter Grempler. After examining Bernard, he immediately called in for consultation a surgeon, Dr. Johnson. Bernard's illness was diagnosed as streptococcus infection of his right knee, which required immediate surgery if his leg, and possibly his life, were to be saved. He was rushed to Union Memorial Hospital for care and was hospitalized many weeks by this illness. They were able to save the leg, but he never had full use of it.

He graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic School and after trying several lines of work, he finally embarked on his own business of interior decorating, specializing in custom made draperies.
He married Margaret Jane Durding, the only child of Benjamin Francis Durding and his wife, Anna Legg.
Left to right: Bernard Shelbourne Garner Jr, Jane Durding Garner, Bernard Shelbourne Garner Sr, Patricia Lee Garner.
Bernard and Jane produced two children, Bernard Shelbourne Garner, Jr born 13 January 1943 and Patricia Lee Garner born 13 May 1950. Bernard and Jane raised their children to adulthood and then divorced.

Bernard remarried and his second wife Vivian R. Garner predeceased him.

Bernard, in his later years, lived with his daughter, Patricia, until he became ill and passed away on March 23, 2011 at the age of 87.  He was laid to rest in the Garner family burial plot, next to his brother Souil William Garner, Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, Md. He was the last of the five children born to Souil Wade Garner and Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner, to pass away, and so with the passing of Bernard, ended the "Greatest Generation" of the Garner family.
Mary Willis Garner, Souil William Garner, Bernard Shelbourne Garner, and Wilbur Cecil Garner
(Joseph Randolph Garner Absent)

Wilbur C Garner and Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner life after "The War"

After their  reunion in February 1946, when Gwen arrived in the United States for the first time on the Queen Mary, Bill and Gwen lived on with Bill's parents at 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue, Baltimore, for one more year, until their second child, Wilbur C. Garner, Jr, was born in February 1947.
Gwen on the steps 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue
Bill on the steps
2425 Calverton Heights Avenue

Shortly after Wilbur C Garner Jr's birth Bill and Gwen purchased a small row home in Hampden, Baltimore, City, Md. They moved their growing family to 1418 Berry Street.
Gwen and Carol Betterton Beach, Maryland 1946
Gwen on the steps 2425 Calverton Heights Avenue circa 1947
with Carol and Wilbur Jr.
Gwen became a naturalized citizen in 1951. The years passed and it wasn't long before Gwen and Bill were welcoming their third child Karen L Garner into the world in August of 1952. They stayed on at 1418 Berry Street until they could afford a larger home for the family and in 1956 they moved to 3800 Elmcroft Road in Randallstown, Md where they spent the rest of their lives.
Wilbur Jr, Gwen holding Karen and Carol looking on
1418 Berry Street circa 1952

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Souil William Garner life after "The War"

Souil William Garner
Souil the first child in the Souil Wade and Phoebe Emma Garner family, was often referred to in Bill's (Wilbur C Garner) "Letters to Mary." Souil's service during WWII was represented by one of the four Blue Star's on his Mothers Service Flag, which hung in her window.

Souil took basic training with the U.S. Army Air Force at Miami Beach, Florida and attended Army Finance School at Fort Benjamen Harrison, Indianappolis, Indiana. In January 1944 he was assigned to the Finance Office at Buckingham Army Airfield, Fort Myers, Florida, and served there until June 1945, at which time he was assigned to the Finance Office at Fort Dix, Trenton, New Jersey, from which point he received an Honorable Discharge on September 10, 1945.

Souil returned to Baltimore where he and his wife Harriett Kimpton Garner set up residency. He spent his post war career at The Maryland Casualty Company until he retired.
Harriett, during the war, served as a volunteer worker with the American Red Cross as a Gray Lady, sewing and knitting in the Production Department. She was also a volunteer worker with Civil Defense helping care for children in convalescent homes.

Harriett Kimpton Garner and Souil William Garner Clifton Park Baltimore 1955
7000 Brompton Road 1959 Souil and Harriet's marital home.
Harriet became a homemaker and was active in her church. Harriet and Souil had no children. Because they had no children and because Souil had a rewarding position at The Maryland Casualty Company, they could travel for vacations. They drove west through Colorado and New Mexico and enjoyed spending time on the road in Florida. They made their home in the neighborhood of Woodmoor in Baltimore, Md. at 7000 Brompton Road and lived there for the rest of their lives.
Harriett Kimpton Garner, Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner and Souil Wade Garner enjoying a road trip on the
Blue Ridge Parkway Ravens Roost 1959
Harriet passed away at the age of 79 in 1985 and Souil passed away at the age of 82 in 1988. They both were laid to rest alongside each other in the Garner family burial plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.
August 1966 Blue Ridge Parkway
                                                       Wilbur (Bill) C Garner, Souil's brother as Executor of Souil's will, dissolved their marital home and estate.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Joseph Randolph Garner life after "The War"

Joseph Randolph Garner
Joe, one of Bill's older brothers, who was mentioned in Bill's "Letters To Mary" was always in trouble. Having been dishonorably discharged from both the United States Marines and The United States Army: he just could not fit in.
After the war in 1945, he set up residence in the state of Florida. He resided in St. Petersburg and was estranged from the family until late in life. He was absent in family gathering photos.
Garner Family 1949 (Absent Joe Randolph Garner)
From Left to right standing back row: Bernard Shelbourne Garner, Jane Durding Garner,
Souil William Garner, Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner, Jessie Mae Kimpton,
Harriett Kimpton Garner, Mary Willis Garner, Wilbur Cecil Garner.
1st seated woman Eva May Stansbury Kimpton, Seated 2nd from left Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner, 3 rd from left, Kate Hudman Wilkins, 4th from left Anna Catherine Durding,  Boy on man's lap, Bernard Shelbourne Garner, Jr, and man Benjamin Francis Durding, Man in chair, Souil Wade Garner, holding Wilbur Cecil Garner Jr. and Carol Ann Garner
 He took random jobs such as driving taxi cabs and school buses. There are no pictures of Joe in either of his military uniforms from his "service" in the Marines or The Army Reserve. His service in the The Army was represented on his Mothers Service Star Flag.

Joe fathered one child from his marriage with Alice Barham Garner, Joseph Randolph Garner, Jr.
His wife Alice Barham Garner divorced, remarried and moved away to Massachusetts. Her second husband with the sir name of Rushton, adopted Joseph Randolph Garner Jr. and he assumed the last name of Rushton. Joseph Randolph Garner Rushton fathered three children.

Joeseph Randall Garner, Sr. passed away in 1993 at the age of 81 and was laid to rest next to his parents in the Garner family burial plot in Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Henri C Romieux's life after "The War" ~ 25 April 1945 - 8 March 1980

From the 1922 Zenith yearbook, Central High School, Duluth, Minnesota
Henri C Romieux, was born 23 January, 1904 Superior, Wisconsin, the last of three children. His father, Julien taught high school French and Spanish. Julien immigrated to the US  leaving from Bordeaux, France on 1 May 1889.  He became a naturalized citizen 6 Aug 1898. 
His mother, Delphine was born in Quebec, Canada.  Delphine and Julien were married 21 July 1890 in Saint-Felix-De-Kingsey, Quebec, Canada.

Henri enlisted in the Navy on 20 December 1941 when he was 37 years old.  He was released honorably from service on 26 September 1945 at the age of 42, five months after he wrote his last  "Letter to Mary." 
He returned to Minnesota after the war and was employed by Cargill, Inc in their Cargo Carriers Division.
Henri was abducted in 1957 as reported in The Austin Daily Herald, and The Tuscon Daily Citizen. The article below must have been syndicated as it appeared in several remote states papers with slightly different versions.
Herve John Romieux and his brother on the right Henri C Romieux

14 Nov. 1957 – The Austin Daily Herald   “Pair Hunted in North Dakota”  Mill City man tells of kidnapping.  Dickenson, ND
North Dakota lawmen today hunted for two men a Minneapolis businessman said kidnapped and took him on a wild, three state ride.  Henri Romieux, 54, assistant secretary of Cargo Carriers, a Cargill, Inc. subsidiary walked into the Dickenson police station Wednesday and nervously told a story that began after he left a movie in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday night.  Forced into car Romieux said his abductors, one about 23 and the other about 40, forced him into his 1957 model car, then drove west to Willmar, MN.  There, he said, they took $ 20.00 from him and used some of it to buy gasoline.  Romieux said the nighttime ride took them over some highways, some side roads and at speeds occasionally over 100 mph.  Phoned home when they reached Bowdley, SD Wednesday morning.  Romieux said abductors became rough and threatening.
The Tuscon Daily Citizen Reported the account on 14 November as follows:
Gunmen Kidnap Insurance Man - DICKINSON, N. D.
A Minneapolis businessman said today he believed two men who kidnapped him at gunpoint and dumped him near here were bent on robbery and car theft. Henry C. Romieux, 55, insurance manager of Cargill Elevators in Minneapolis, said the abductors jabbed a gun in his ribs Tuesday night when he emerged from a Minneapolis theater and got into his car. They drove an erratic course westward across three states at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour at times and freed him yesterday afternoon when the car ran out of gasoline east of Sentine' Butte, N.D. Romieux described the gunmen as about 25 and 40 years old. He said they robbed him of about $20 all the cash he had with him, but generally treated him well. At one point yesterday, Romieux said, the soft-spoken abductors stopped at a service station in Bowdle, S.D., so he could telephone a nurse in Minneapolis who cares for his aged mother to assure her he was all right. The abduction of Romieux, a bachelor, was not discovered until he walked into police headquarters at Dickinson late yesterday and related his harrowing experience. Authorities at first investigated, the possibility that one of the abductors might have been wanted for killing two policemen in North Carolina. However, a description of the killer sent police here did not match either of the two kidnapers. Romieux said the two men demanded all his money and used the $20 he turned over to them to buy gasoline. He said he believed the gunmen wanted only his car to flee the Minneapolis area and his money. After freeing him, Romieux said, the men thumbed a ride in a car leading east and left him standing on the highway. 

Henri was one of three brothers:

Charles J. Romieux  Born 1897, the first of Henri's brothers passed away in 1957
Charles was a Sales Manager for American Cyanamid Co., Plastics and Resins Division.  He was a member of Harvard Class of 1919.  He has several US patents for plastic technology.  He lived in quite a few places in the US:  Elizabeth Union, NJ; Scarsdale, NY, Rochester, NY; and Philadelphia.  He also traveled to many foreign locations.  
In fact, he died in Brussels, Belgium in a hotel of a heart attack. 
Charles was buried 17 April 1957, age 60, in Holy Sepulchre  Cemetary, Rochester, NY
Herve John Romieux (aka Harry)Born 4 October 1900, the second of Henri's brothers passed away in 1967 
He attended the State Normal School, Duluth was in his third year 1910-1911. He served in WWI.
Died: 1967, Amhurst, VA (Monroe Co.) Buried: Holy Cross Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA His relatives migrated to NC.

Henri's Mother, Delphine B. Prince Romieux, passed away on 29 of October 1958 in Hennepin County, Minnesota at the age of 86.

Henri's Father,  Julien M. Romieux, passed away on 29 Mar. 1937 in St. Louis County, Minnesota, at the age of 73.
Henri's passing was the last of the three children born to Julien and Delphine Romieux. 
He passed away at the age of 76 on 8 March 1980 in Ramsey County, Minnesota and was buried in the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota. 
Henri died a bachelor.  
Henri had no children. 
Henri never married Mary.

*A substantial amount of the information in this blog post on Henri C Romieux and the Romieux family was researched as I was posting the "Letters to Mary" blogs and provided by my sister Carol Ann Garner Clements.

Carol's research led her to contact Marilyn, a daughter of Herve John Romieux. Marilyn shared with Carol a few memories of her Uncle Henry. 

Marilyn, now 80,  wrote in an e-mail dated February 24, 2014.........
"It is good to think of my dear uncle ..........

Herve John Romieux and his brother on the right Henri C Romieux
Images courtesy of Joesph K Freeman (grand nephew of Henri C Romieux)
Henri never married.  When my grandmother (Delphine Romieux) could no longer take care of herself, he maintained a home for them in Minneapolis until her death.  It was during this time that his abduction took place. Henri was a darling.  He was always upbeat and visited our family in Virginia annually during his later years.  We all loved him.  I have five children and they remember him well, especially the youngest.  Before retirement, Henri worked for Cargill and I think he was in the insurance end of things."  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner a "War Bride" departs England for the United States 2 February 1946

Telegram sent from Gwendoline's parents upon her departure to America on the Queen Mary.

Six months had passed since Gwen last saw Bill, when Gwen finally boarded the Queen Mary for the United States. 


Christmas passed and Bill missed his  Baby's First Christmas, but finally the day came when the US would transport thousands of British GI War Brides with their children to the United States. In Washington, D.C. the War Brides Act (Public law 271, 79th Congress) was passed and signed into law on December 28, 1945 by President Harry Truman. After passage, alien spouses of citizen members of the armed forces were officially "deemed to be non-quota immigrants" and would not need a visa. Application for admission to the country under this act had to be filed within three years of the date of it's passage. After being "medically examined," these war brides could enter the United States as soon as transportation was available. The application for transportation must have been filed by the husband.
Very soon after Christmas 1945 a conference was held in Washington, D.C. by representatives from the War Department, Public Health Service, Department of State, Justice Department, American Red Cross, Immigration and Naturalization Service, War shipping Administration and several domestic and foreign steamship lines, and a coordinated plan of operation was drawn up. Over time more than 70,000 women and children would be transported by the US Government to their new homes in the United States. The first official GI Bride ship departed on 26 January 1946 amid a blaze of publicity when the Argentina left England with 626 U.S. dependents aboard. It was soon followed by the Queen Mary carrying 2,340 passengers.

Gwen wrote about those days crossing the Atlantic in her memoirs ~ dated 1999

"The next big event in my life took place the day I walked up the gangplank of the liner R.M.S. "Queen Mary", carrying Carol in my arms, destination New York, U.S.A. By now it was February 1946. My dear mother and father journeyed to Southampton to see us depart and I have often wondered just what thoughts were going through their minds and what their feelings were as they watched their only child and grandchild on the deck of that ship and become but a memory as each successive wave from the wake of the "Queen" increased the distance between ship and shore. Thus ended a 22-year era of my life --happy, yet unhappy. happy because I was starting out on a new adventure, but unhappy in the knowledge that I was leaving behind two very dear people who had made my journey through life to that date the most pleasant experience.
And so we journeyed on across the stormy Atlantic, sharing our stateroom with three other British girls, each with one child of their own. And what a challenge that journey was!  Washing diapers and getting them dry in time for their next use; warming up bottles of milk and thin oatmeal; elbowing each other as we maneuvered in that tiny space to get our babies clean and presentable. The trip was rough-- but I have always loved the sea and I made the most of every minute of the time spent on board. 
After 5 1/2 days we docked in New York and I will never forget my first night and morning in America. It was close to midnight when I was told to get ready to  leave the ship to be taken to the 7th Regiment Armory in New York City where I was told my husband would be waiting for me. However, after waiting for several hours and watching the many joyful reunions that took place that night (but no Bill), an elderly couple who had befriended me gave me sufficient American money to enable me to place a phone call to Baltimore to find out what had gone wrong! Well, it turned out that the Red Cross organization had told Bill to stay in Baltimore and to meet me at Camden Station.......and the Red Cross in New York had told me he would be at the Armory in New York! Any rate, after eventually being taken to the American Hotel to try to get a little rest, we were put on board a train the following afternoon for Baltimore, arriving some 2 1/2 hours later --and there was Bill waiting at the station. It was sheer ecstasy to finally be with him to live what I hoped would be, and what has turned out to be to this moment in time, the rest of our lives together.  " 
Gwen and Carol on the right on board the Queen Mary.
Even the AP guys misspelled Bill's name, it's Wilbur!

The Queen Mary was the second transport ship to arrive New York, New York 8 February 1945. On board daily mimeographed newsletters were produced to keep the brides informed of daily goings on, meal times and cartoons. 

This is a reproduction of a drawing found in one of the on board newspapers.
Both the women and their babies were tagged when boarding to keep things straight.
This is another image reproduced from the daily newspapers on board the Queen Mary
while transporting it's precious cargo of War Brides and their babies to America.
Menu from the Queen Mary while transporting the War Brides and their babies.
Seems by the hand written comment, Gwen was very  happy with the menus!
After six years of war time food supplies in England.
Image from one of the daily new sheets produced on the Queen Mary February 1946

Gwendoline was interviewed as she arrived by train in Baltimore by reporters of The Sunpapers.

Arrival in Baltimore...seems the paper got Bill's name wrong again! February 1946
The British Newspapers ran headlines "The Petticoat Pilgrims."
This paper clipping was sent to Gwen in the US, in a letter by Kate Hudman Wilkins, Gwen's mother.
(Notice the TAGS on all the coats of the women and babies)

Many books have been written over the years about the War Bride phenomenon of WWII.

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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

VJ Day England 1945 15 August 1945

The United States atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by aircraft-dropped atomic weapons took place on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively. Two cities were totally devastated by the atomic bomb, killing tens of thousands of people in a matter of seconds within a radius that stretched for more than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers). The number of casualties in the months after the war is estimated to range from 150,000 to over 200,000.

In 1945 the End of World War II was celebrated on Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.
There was much joy and celebration around the world when on 15th August 1945 US President Harry S. Truman declared the day as Victory in Japan Day, at a White House press conference.
President Truman announced that the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of Japan.
To crowds gathered outside the White House, President Truman said: "This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor."
The end of war was to be marked by a two-day holiday in the UK, the USA and Australia.
At midnight, the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee confirmed the news in a broadcast saying, "The last of our enemies is laid low."
Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner (back right) sits in Celebration alongside her mother Kate Hudman Wilkins

Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins Garner smiling (first left side of table)

The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to Britain's allies, in Australia and New Zealand, India, Burma, all countries occupied by Japan and to the USSR. But special thanks went to the United States "without whose prodigious efforts the war in the East would still have many years to run". The following evening King George VI addressed the nation and the Empire in a broadcast from his study at Buckingham Palace.
"Our hearts are full to overflowing, as are your own. Yet there is not one of us who has experienced this terrible war who does not realise that we shall feel it's inevitable consequences long after we have all forgotten our rejoicings today."
Historic buildings all over London were floodlit and people crowded onto the streets of every town and city shouting, singing, dancing, lighting bonfires and letting off fireworks.
But there were no celebrations in Japan - in his first ever radio broadcast, Emperor Hirohito blamed the use of "a new and most cruel bomb" used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for Japan's surrender.
"Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilization."

What the Emperor failed to mention however, was that the Allies had delivered Japan an ultimatum to surrender on 28th July 1945.
When this was ignored, the US dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima on 6th August and Nagasaki on 9th August, the day that Soviet forces invaded Manchuria.
The Allies celebrated victory over Japan on 15th August 1945, although the Japanese administration under General Koiso Kuniaki did not officially surrender with a signed document until 2nd September.
Both dates are known as VJ Day.
If VJ Day marked the end of World War II, what of the six long years of bitter conflict that would ultimately lead to these celebrations?

Monday, March 24, 2014

"30" for the Tomahawk July 20, 1945

This blog entry text is from the Memorial Edition of the "Tomahawk" the XIX Corps weekly newspaper, which was published in Bad Nauheim, Germany July 20, 1945 
Front page, above the fold of the Memorial Edition of The Tomahawk
Tomahawk Now Silent: It's Name Will Live
 by Cpl. Ed Essertier

To say that anyone in his right mind really enjoyed serving in the XIX Corps or in the Army is sentimental tripe. Circumstances, not choice, put most of the men in Corps, and they leave it for the same reason.
But XIX Corps did a job, and the men who sweated out the lousy, filthy, muddy mess can be proud of their record. When XIX Corps returns home and disintegrates on paper, the men who wore the famous Tomahawk on their left shoulder will remember it, and its history will live.
Above the fold back page.
 "Our Last Resting Place"
  Article reproduced here, by Pvt. Roy Hubbard
  Bad Nauheim --- While the world was celebrating VE Day, XIX Corps convoys were beating their way over a couple of hundred miles of dusty dirt roads, macadam and autobahn ---- leaving behind the Elbe River area where the month preceding Germany's capitulation was spent, and heading south for Hessen to take up temporary occupational duties. 
  Corps Artillery and its attached units stayed in Friedberg, a quiet residential city, while the bulk of Corps headquarters set up offices and living quarters in some of the many hotels in the international health and vacation resort of Bad Nauheim.
  It was pretty good living while it lasted, especially after Corps Special Service got to work. The Stadtisches Schwimmbad was converted into the Tomahawk Swimming Pool (open daily from 10 to 10), almost a dozen tennis courts were rejuvenated and opened to troops serving with Corps, boats which had seen assault duty on the Rhine were provided for fishing in the local lake, and movies were shown nightly in the lavish theater known as the Kurhaus (Cure House).
  Men who had fallen a little behind on their bath schedule during long months of war got a chance to catch up on that function, with the luxurious mineral baths, formerly patronized by rich old gout and rheumatism cases, being opened for GI's. every day 6x6's from the outlying towns trucked in detachments of men who wanted to bathe and relax in the enormous wooden tubs of Nauheim's Badhaus.
  By night the trucks were still cominig, but now laden with pleasure seekers who wanted to dunk a few sinkers in the Red Cross Dugout here and go for walks in the naturally beautiful parks of Bad Nauheim. Not the least among the beauties of the parks were the frauleins -----blonde, brown, black and red-headed-but nobody paid too much attention to them until last week when Ike issues his long-awaited pronunciamento that the de-Nazification of Germany had progressed far enough for the soldiers to be allowed to fraternize with civilians. 
  Word is going around now that Fifteenth Army is going to take over Bad Nauheim. But when that will happen, and where we will go, and how long it will all take, is something that even the brainy Information Please team was unable to answer when it appeared at the Kurhaus this Wednesday and Thursday. Our only advice is to  keep on playing golf and tennis, swimming in the Tomahawk Pool, and spazieren in the park as long as the good-thing lasts.

 XIX Corps "Tomahawk" Uniform Shoulder Patch
To Those We Left Behind

Greater love than this has no man....than he lay down his life for his brother. ~ Christ

We have reached the mid-point in our fight against militaristic terror and oppression. As we pause a moment before taking our places in the concluding half of the war ------ some of us still in the ARMY, others back on the home front----- we can't help thinking of the fellows who won't be going home with us, who won't be there on the final V Day.

There is no denying Winston Churchill's words, "Victory is being paid for in blood, sweat and tears."
We have all sweated-----some more-----some less-----but nothing compared to the sacrifice of our many comrades who laid down their lives in the struggle.

To  make possible the XIX Corps' smashing successes in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, thousands of men made the supreme sacrifice. Brothers, relatives, friends, strangers, -----all have made the greatest offering a man can make along the march to victory ---- a victory which these valiant dead will neither celebrate nor enjoy. There is no way we can repay our friends for their lives. But we can all do our part to make sure that the fruits of their victory will justify their sacrifices.

 by Cpl. Ed Essertier Pvt. Roy Hubbard, editors

Thirty in newspaper parlance, means "The End." It goes at the bottom of stories to tell linotypers and proof readers there's no more to read. This issue of The Tomahawk is our "Thirty" edition. Like munitions factories we're going out of business.

XIX Corps' Europe Push averaged 2 1/2 MI. Daily

From early June 1944 to VE-Day, the XIX Corps was operational for 326 days, and drove more than 800 miles from the Normandy beach over the Elbe, averaging close to two and a half miles a day. This average takes into account long weeks of waitiing before stubbornly defended barriers like St. Lo, the West Wall, and the Roer River ---- and fast drives such as the three day race across France in which Corps hurtled the Seine and the Somme Rivers and entered Belgium on three consecutive days (September 1 to 3, 1944), and the mad dash through the heart of the Reich itself.
The following are a few highlights of the Tomahawk Corps accomplishments in Europe: 

Prisioners of war taken................................................... 249,125
Enemy airplanes shot down ..........................................         297
Bridges built...................................................................         422
(with a total lenght of 37, 083 feet)
Major Rivers crossed....................................................              8
(Vire, Seine, Somme, Meuse, Roer, Rhine, Weser, Elbe)
Battle Stars......................................................................           5
     Northern France
     Central Europe
Armies Served with........................................................           3
    First US Army
    Ninth US Army
    Seventh US Army

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