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.
I am transcribing the letters in the order they were written and I am now to May 1945.
The next letter, a V-Mail letter to his sister Emilene and her husband “Jack”, was typed and is easier to read than the hand-written letters.
V-mail envelope postmarked 26 May 1945, from Pfc Herbert Miller, to Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, Rockford, Ohio. Inspected and passed by an Army examiner.
16 May 1945
Dear Emilene and Jack,
Decided to write a couple of letters this morning. There isn’t more to do. I received your letter that you wrote the 7th of May. That was the day before V-E Day. I also received a letter from Dorothy yesterday, the first letter I’ve received from her in about three weeks.
We can tell a little more about our location and some of the battles we were in. Did you see the German paratrooper knife that I sent home? I got that off of a paratrooper at a town by the name of Haerte [?] coming from the Ruhr to the Rhine River. That German flag has the name of the town on it. The German rifle I picked up on the other side of the Elbe River the day we set up with the Russians.
So Norval really likes his John Deere tractor. Dad said that he put in for a new John Deere tractor. I was wondering if he has it yet. I imagine it will take quite a while for the papers to come through. I imagine by the time you get this letter it will be about time to set out the tomato plants. Tomatoes always take a lot of work but they really pay off good if the weather is good.
The way your letter read you are going to quit your job and become a farmer. Can you drive the tractor yet? I would like to see you plow corn. I’ll bet you could really plow is out.
What are some of the names of the songs on the Hit Parade? Are there any good movies out now? I sure would like to see one. It has been quite a while since I have seen a show.
Guess I’d better sign off for now. Am feeling fine and hope you are the same.
P.S. Please send a package of candy and [?]
Below are photos of some of the things my dad mentioned in this letter.
The Nazi flag, from the town of Dulken. He wrote the names of his Army buddies on the flag. I assume they were from Co. L, 333rd, 84th Division. Dulken is located in north Rhine-Westphalia, part of the municipality of Viersen.
Army buddies’ names on the Nazi flag:
S/Sgt. Larry Broderick
Pfc. Tommy Towbridge
Pfc. Dick Timmons
Pfc. Matt Trefun
Pfc. Herb Miller
Pvt. Frank Bailey
Pvt. John Groves
Pvt. John Proctor
Pfc. Ira Terry
Pvt. Max Trigillo
Pfc. Carrol Ketzenbuger
Photos of some 84th soldiers and Russian soldiers at the Elbe River:
The paratrooper’s knife. I could not locate the town of Haerte, where my dad said he got it:
V-E Day was 8 May and after that time he was able to write a little more information in his letters home. The division he was in, the 84th, the Railsplitters, was to be sent to the Pacific next and he probably would have gone there to fight had the war with Japan not ended.