My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944 and by the end of that same year he was in Belgium fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He had been assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters.
I continue with the letters he sent home during that time, letters that his family lovingly saved all these years. And I am so grateful that they did.
The soldiers were not allowed to write about any information that would give their position or battle plans. Their letters were read, censored, and approved by and army examiner. As a result, the letters say pretty much the same things again and again. He wanted to know about the farming back home and was very appreciative of the packages with food items. It is no surprise that the home baked goods he received were so tasty because my aunts were all very good bakers.
Many of the letters from early-mid 1945 were the small V-Mail letters. My dad mentions his siblings Em, Vernie, and Ann, as well as Em’s husband Norval. The letters below were all written in Germany
Envelope postmarked 11 April 1945, from Pfc Herbert Miller, to Mr. & Mrs. Carl Miller, RR #1 Willshire, Ohio. Inspected and passed by an Army examiner.
1 April 1945
Dear Mom & All,
The mail just came in so I decided to answer a few letters.
Today is Easter Sunday. Went to church this morning. The chaplain really had a good sermon.
The other day I received two boxes of candy bars from Em and Norval and today received another box from them, cookies, cake, popcorn, candy and nuts. They sure were good.
I imagine school is almost out by now. Say, Kenny is doing pretty good in school, so are Ann and Vernie
Tell Vernie and Kenny that if they work real hard I’ll try and bring them a present or send them one.
I never did get to send the flag or knife home. I’ll send them as soon as I can.
Well, it won’t be long until chow. I’m getting pretty hungry. We had creamed chicken for dinner and fried eggs, sunny side up, for breakfast.
The Red Cross comes around every once in a while. I sure am glad to see them come. They have donuts and coffee and the Red Cross girls are the only American girls I’ve seen over here.
Has the preacher’s house been started yet? That sure was a tough break for them.
Can’t think of any more to write so I’d better close for now. Am feeling fine and hope you are the same.
Note by kmb: This letter contains some information and gives a time period concerning the parsonage at Zion Chatt. The parsonage was a frame structure that apparently burned in the spring of 1945. A brick structure was rebuilt and is the same house occupied by our minister at Zion Chatt today. From this letter we learn that it was probably rebuilt in 1945 or 1946.
V-Mail, envelope postmarked 3 May 1945, from Pfc Herbert Miller, to Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, Rockford, Ohio. Inspected and passed by an Army examiner.
20 April 1945
Dear Em & Jack,
I’m sorry I haven’t answered your letters sooner. I have been pretty busy.
I imagine you have the spring work well started and on the way. How does Norval like his John Deere tractor? I never had a John Deere. Maybe he can show me how to drive one of them when I get home.
I’ve been receiving packages and letters regular. But the newspapers aren’t coming through. But I can’t expect to get all of my mail just now.
I sent mom a double bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. I didn’t get to send her any for Easter. I sent Dorothy some for Easter and that was all I could get then.
Must close, will try and write more later.
Note by kmb: Below is a photo of the bouquet my dad sent to his mother for Mother’s Day 1945.
V-Mail, envelope postmarked 6 May 1945, from Pfc Herbert Miller, to Mr. & Mrs. Carl Miller, RR #1 Willshire, Ohio. Inspected and passed by an Army examiner.
26 April 1945
Dear Mom & All,
I just came in from the holes [?] and they said we could write letters, so I’ll try and write a couple tonight.
The weather is getting pretty nice again. It was pretty rainy here for a while.
I received the box youins sent and the one that long fruit cake waas in. Boy, that was really good. The best I ever tasted. Could you send another just like it. All the guys in the squad thought it was delicious. Those crackers and dried beef and cheese were good. The K-rations have crackers in them but very seldom do you get any salted crackers. I’m going to put in another package. I don’t know why, but everybody over here likes fruit cakes. I used to crave ice cream but I don’t even care for it any more.
Must close for now. Am feeling fine and hope that you are the same.
P.S. Please send a package.
Note by kmb: My dad eventually got his taste for ice cream back. As long as I can remember he absolutely loved ice cream. We always had some in the house and he and I enjoyed experimenting with creative toppings.