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, January 6, 2016

Letter to Pfc. Souil W. Garner Ft. Myers Florida May 1 1944

This letter to Souil is from his brother Bill (Wilbur, Will) while stationed in England.....and is the last of the recently found 14 "War" letters....The original transposed letters continue on the Blog until April 1945, the end of "The WAR" where Bill found himself in Germany as S/Sgt G-1 Section, Headquarters of the XIX Corps, and married to Gwen who remained in England at the time, with a three month old daughter, my sister Carol.
He fought with the XIX Corps through out Europe during "The WAR." The letters from "The WAR" make for interesting reading and are identified on the Blog Archive chronologically, by year as I entered them at the bottom of this page.
S/Sgt Wilbur C. Garner , 33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, c/o Postmaster, N/Y.

27 April 1944

Dear Souil,

Well how are you doing today Pfc? It seems as though I forget that you were promoted to Pfc. In fact, I think I still addressed your last letter as Pvt. Oh well someday soon I guess I'll be addressing them as M/Sgt. In the Finance branch, the promotions often come very quickly or overnight as to say. I guess Uncle Sam is keeping you very busy these days with paying the boys off. Well that is surely one thing that keeps the morale up.

I imagine this is a bit of news which will sorta take you by surprise, but you should know me by this time. Today I submitted application to the CO for permission to marry. Of course, over here it takes two months after the submission for the application before one can get married. I don't know where I'll be in two months so there is nothing definite about it. Merely contemplation, of course along the serious channel. It is the little WREN that I have been telling you about. She is very nice and very eager to learn the American way. I've got her saying Bath instead of Bawth and lots of other things along that line. Until I met her I wouldn't have given you two hoots for the English that I have seen. She is much different. Oh well that is life for you.

I haven't heard from you lately, but I have a few minutes and thought that I would write you. How is Harriet these days? I haven't heard from her lately but I imagine she is at the last out again. I'll bet that almost killed her being cooped up in that apartment for a couple weeks.
Well I'll close for now and hope to hear from you real soon,
Lots of Love and Luck,

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