War Letters

Here I share another of my dad's war letters written during World War II. These are fascinating and bring history to life in ways my school textbooks couldn't hope to achieve. I have just a very few of these, and each provides a glimpse at what life used to be like versus what it is today.

Following is a scan of the letter. Afterward is a transcription. 

The letter is dated January 15, 1944. Its written to my dad's brother Bill, and it reads as follows:

Hello Bill
I hear you have been promoted again. What does your new job as a investigator consist of? How is the wage situation at Willow Run coming along, is it any better? Bill I sure wish I had your auto over here in England because it seems whenever I go to town I miss the last Liberty run and have to walk about 8 or 10 miles and buddy that isn't any fun. These English girls have a very distorted conception of distance because when they say down the road a piece it usually ends up that you have walked about 5 miles. Bill you talk about the women at Fords but they have about 50% in the army and the other 50 work all over the railroads, factories, ships, docks, in fact all over so just imagine what you would have in your hair over here. 

The reference to Willow Run is to a large manufacturing complex that was rushed to construction during the war and produced B-24 Liberty bombers at a rate of a bomber per hour. My uncle was an engineer and part of the team designing the bomber line. He remained proud of that work his entire life. I have good memories of how his face would light up whenever he would recount the story of his involvement during my childhood years. 

A very interesting facet in the letter are the comments at the end about women in roles more typically at the time filled by men. Wartime forced the issue of women in the workforce, and today we don't even look twice at seeing women in factories, ships, docks, or anywhere else. 

The headline image on this post is from a series of photos with different family members that appears to have been made just after my father entered the service, and before he deployed overseas to Britain. (Many families no doubt take similar photos today). The older man in the photo is my grandfather.  

Have you enjoyed this glimpse into history? Then be sure to read my Memorial Day post on Remembering My Father. There you'll find another letter with an interesting tidbit about winter conditions in the camp.