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, January 2, 2016

Letter to Pfc. Souil W. Garner Ft. Myers Florida April 18, 1944

This letter to Souil was written by Bill while stationed in England....

S/Sgt WIlbur C. Garner, 33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, C/o Postmaster, N.Y.
13 April 1944

Dear Souil,

I'll start this letter now and finish it later on. I've got to work tonight. Just one more night. I've been working day + night until about 10:30 or 11:00 about 4 or 5 days out of the week.
I received your letter of April 7th yesterday. That was really good time. Thank you for the letterhead.
Gwen (Gwendoline)  is saving them. Well so you want a description. Light hair or dirty blonde, height 5 ft 7 inches weight 135-140 and she has a lot of personality. I got a letter from Harriet today telling me to be careful of these English girls. I'll see you lata. I got to go to work now. 

14 April 1944

Dear Souil,

Well I finished work last night at 11:00pm. Boy I've seen enough figures to last me a life time. What a life. I hope that is all for a while, but I doubt it. It seems like every night there is something else to do.
I guess you have been working hard lately. I imagine your hours are a little more regular than mine.

17 April 1944

Dear Souil,

You see how I have to write a letter. I've made up my mind that I shall finish this letter at this sitting. Well I went to see Gwen yesterday. I told her that I had described her to you as a pleasingly plump, dirty blonde. She said that she was going to have to write you  and put you wise. Well I guess you'll get the low down if she does that. I think she has written yo Mary. 
There is no more news now so I'll close and make sure that this letter gets out in the mail today. Be good and don't work too hard.
Lots of love and luck from your little red-haired brother,

No comments:

Post a Comment