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Oct 12

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 28)

Yes, I am still transcribing the letters my dad, Herbert Miller, wrote home while in the Army, stationed in Germany during WWII and the occupation period afterward. His family saved a lot, if not most of his letters and my goal is to transcribe them all. Posting them here is a good motivation for me to finish that project. And I am nearly finished!

Pfc Herbert M. Miller

These later letters do not tell a lot of information, just an interesting tidbit here and there, but I am sure the family was excited whenever they received a letter from him. By this time my dad had been in Europe for quite some time–16 months by May of 1946.

Today’s letters begin in February 1946. The war was over and my dad was serving in the Occupation Force in Germany, serving until he had enough time and points to be honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. He was stationed and working at an Army post office in Heidelberg, Germany. [1]

These letters were written to my dad’s sister Em, her husband Norval “Jack,” and their little son Ron.

17 Feb 1946
Heidelberg, Germany

Dear Em, Jack & Family,

It’s Sunday morning 11:30, just about time to go to chow. We eat over with the WACs today. One of them said we have steak, ought to be a pretty good dinner then.

They are closing up two of the theaters today and opening up a new one. The new one is in the auditorium of the American wing of the Heidelberg, just around the corner from the house we billet in.

I guess I’ll start farming as soon as I get home.

How are the automobiles selling now? Pretty high? I would like to buy a nice one but the demand will be so great for them I imagine, they will really be high.

How is the Plymouth holding up? Pretty good? I’ll be glad when I can be able to drive my own car again.

I guess about four or five months will do it and boy will I be glad to be out of the Army.

Do you still go to Celina on Saturday nights? Did mom get the movie projector I sent home? Or the watches and other things? How about all of the perfume. Did you get the two bottles? I think I sent mom 4 packed the same way. Maybe it was only 2.

I can’t think of any more to write so I’d better close for now.

Love,
Herbie

[I wonder about the Plymouth my dad mentions. He let one of his sisters drive it while he was overseas. I wonder if he let her keep it after the war and if he got a different car when he returned home. Maybe one of my uncles knows.]

Orientation Class, 84th Division, Germany, WWII.

Orientation Class, 84th Division, Germany, WWII.

23 Feb 1946
Heidelberg, Germany

Dear Em, Jack & Family,

It’s Saturday morning and since I’m not working today I decided to write a few letters.

How’s the boy coming along? I heard he is really growing. Does he know he has an uncle in the Army? That really makes me sound old, doesn’t it?

I guess I start farming as soon as I get home. Anyway, that’s the way it looks. I would sort of like to go to school or college but I know I wouldn’t or couldn’t get down and study like I would have to.

I imagine most of the guys are home and out of the Army aren’t’ they? All except me and a few other ones.

The last couple of days it has been pretty chilly. It will snow for about a half hour and the ground will be white and then the sun comes out and melts it. This is about the coldest weather we have had so far.

Guess I’d better close for now. Am feeling fine and hope you are the same.

Love,
Herbie

Shower time for the 333rd, 84th Div, Germany, WWII.

10 March 1946
Heidelberg, Germany

Dear Em, Jack & Family,

It’s Sunday afternoon and everything is dragging along. Even the time.

Just came back from chow and ate dinner with the WACs. They had potatoes, beef, carrots and cake, no ice cream.

I haven’t written many letters. Last week was petty busy. I wrote money orders about all week and then would have to go out again after supper and make the report. I still have two day’s money and stuff to turn in, about $15,000. A quite a bit of money.

How is everything on the farm coming along? And Chatt? I it still as quiet as it always was?

How’s the family coming along? OK I hope. I haven’t received any mail for about two weeks again. I hope it breaks and comes through better pretty soon.

[That was likely the first page of a two page letter, but it is the only page that survived.]

84th Div. Generals, WWII, Gen. Alexander Russell Bolling, in doorway, far right.

84th Division Commander, Gen. A.R. Bolling, WWII (right). Bolling was also the Commander of the 3rd Army 1952-1955.

[In the next letter my dad says that he often writes his letters while he is at the Red Cross. The letter was written on American Red Cross stationery.]

16 March 1946
Heidelberg, Germany

Dear Em, Jack, & Family,

It’s a nice quiet Saturday evening and I stayed in my room until 9:00 sewing on patches and then decided to come to the Red Cross. I feel more in the mood to write if I’m down here drinking coffee and having donuts.

I’ve got a half hour to finish this letter before the club closes. So I may have to cut the letter short.

The situation in Russia sounds worse all the time, doesn’t it?

The weather has never warmed up yet. It never did get real cold, but just cool enough to make it nasty out. It has been raining almost every day in Heidelberg. I guess that is natural, the way the people say. Especially in the spring.

Guess I’d better sign off for now. Am feeling fine and hope you are the same.

Love,
Herbie

[I will post transcriptions of the few remaining letters soon.]

 

[1] My dad, Herbert Miller, trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944, arrived in Europe in December of that same year, and was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division. The 84th was known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxembourg, Germany, and France.

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