D-Day, June 6, 1944

This post is from another blog of my family history that I have rarely posted in – here is the link: https://wordpress.com/post/thoroglove.wordpress.com/144

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I am reblogging this post from my family history blog above.

D-Day June 6 1944My mother told me that on June 6, 1944, after hearing the news about the invasion of Normandy, she was worried and scared. She was a young wife and mother of a 21-month-old child, and 7 months pregnant with another. She knew from her husband’s letters that he was somewhere in the English channel on a minesweeper.D-day newspaper headline

Since she couldn’t sleep, she called a close friend, who I believe was also pregnant, and the two of them went out for a walk at 2 am! They walked and walked and talked.
Although Dad wrote home nearly every day, I do not have a letter dated June 6, 1944. However, his letter to my mother on June 9 says that he hadn’t had time to write nor anywhere to mail a letter if he had. It must have been a tremendous relief for my mother to receive Letter #36, which was added to and mailed several days later!

Below is that long letter, written over the course of several days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My darling –
.
I wrote & mailed #35 to you last Saturday (June 3), and haven’t written since – I haven’t had time & haven’t been anywhere where I could mail letters. When we get back to such a place, I hope I can cable you, so that you will not be worried about the gap in my mail – this will be mailed at the same time. Last Saturday I also sent a V-mail to Mother. And later in the day I received your #39 (air mail – 9 days) & the article about U.S.N.R.
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M.S. – was much interested in the latter. I should get a baleful of your letters when our mail catches up to us again.D-Day invasion map

Your guess is right – we are at the Normandie [sic] beach-head and have been from the start. Have been under way since Saturday night, sweeping over here for the past four days. It has been an experience I shall never forget so long as I live. We have had a couple of bad scares, but so far are untouched. We have swept some mines but been involved directly in no action ourselves. We have, however, been close to plenty of action. Cannot see the details ofwhat’s going on on the beach, and get most of our news over the radio, as you do. But we are getting a good “view” of the naval bombardment & the entrance of all types of naval vessels into the area. Although there is almost constant shelling, it is not so noisy as I expected, and we really have seen less activity than you would think. Of what I can tell you, the thing that impresses me the most is the size of the operation. On the whole, from our point of view, the weather has been good.D-day invasion naval force

Have no idea when we shall leave this area (you will know we have when this letter is mailed, even if I cannot cable), but it can’t be too soon. It is not just the noise, to which

D-day naval bombardment-USS Nevada
D-Day:  USS Nevada

we are getting accustomed, but the rugged character of life on board here. The first couple of days we got practically no sleep at all & were really pooped out – that has improved lately, though sleep still comes in snatches. Since I now feel more rested, the most annoying thing is personal hygiene – last night I took my first shower & shave since we shoved off – in fact it was the first time in five days that I had taken off my clothes at all – my old ideas of frequency of showers & changes of clothes are certainly going by the board!
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But we are getting along fine really, and everyone’s spirit seems to be holding up well. We keep busy, & get good entertainment out of our radio. So, darling, please don’t worry – I’ll be all right. What worries me most is that you will worry yourself into an unhealthy state and endanger yourself & L.L.
(Transcriber’s note: L.L. stood for Lester Llewellyn, a highly improbable name for the baby my mother was expecting! Until my second sister was born, my parents affectionately referred to him (her) as Lester Llewellyn.)

 

Since I have told you about all I am allowed to, there isn’t much more to say. One of our crew exhibited a fine bit of timing – he got appendicitis & had to be transferred of the ship the last day before we left the United Kingdom!
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Did I remind you about the people to put on the birth announcement list? I guess I did. Don’t forget the Kuhns & my other cousins & aunts. Don’t forget Geo. & Eleanor Thomas – you say you saw George – is he contemplating moving back to Janesville soon?
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Tell Judy thanks for her letter – I really enjoyed it. She certainly has learned a lot of words & other tricks since I saw her. I sure do miss her something awful.
.
Swell that your Mr. Rauch is so good – I hope you can keep him and that he will work for you enough to get done what is necessary.
.
Sure glad to hear that Mother was getting better – hope she is fully recovered by now. Maybe I shall hear from her soon.


You seem to be working awfully hard – darling, don’t get yourself too tired – you know what it did to you in Boston, when the nervous strain was less than it is now. You should get some relief when the maid starts, which I hope is by now. You don’t say anything more about having the baby restored to upright position again & whether it will stay there – what about it? – I am a little concerned.
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Well, I’ll close this temporarily and keep adding to it until I can mail it. Darling, just remember that I shall always adore you.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sunday, June 11, 1944 – 1:30 p.m.

D-day mines sweptWell, we are still here, and are still keeping busy sweeping, etc. No sign or indication yet as to when we shall get away from here. We are getting a little more used to it, and life does not seem as rugged as it did. We have had another scare or two, but we really in very little danger and less & less so as our forces progress. But we shall still be glad to get away from here whenever they give us the word!
d-day-invasion-omaha-buildup
That’s about all I can tell you – we get our news over the radio, as you do, and so know very little more of what goes on than you do. We see only a very, very small part of the activity that is making news. But from all reports the boys are doing a swell job in there – hope they keep it up. And isn’t the news from Italy good? I expect a big offensive on the Russian front soon, and possible other invasions – but I really know nothing about it (if I did, I couldn’t say anything at all!).
D-day painting
Wish we could get to wherever our mail is, because I wonder about you & Judy & Mother – & especially you – how you are & what you’re doing. If I told you a million times, darling, you’d never know how much I miss you. But I hope you can read between the lines, sweetheart, for I really love you, love you, love you with every gram of strength & feeling within me. So take good care of yourself – for me.

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June 12, 1944 – 9 a.m.
Just got off watch a few minutes ago, after learning that they are going to pick up our outgoing mail in a little while. So I want to get this off to you. With it I shall send a V-mail to Mother, so that you will hear as soon as possible that we are all okay. Have no idea whether they will bring incoming mail to us, nor when I shall be where I can cable you.

No more news – it has been relatively quiet lately. I guess the fighting is pretty fierce inland, but the boys seem to be making progress. The weather is beautiful today – only the second clear day we have had since we got here.

Must stop now.

Loving you always –
Bob

Note: All pictures and diagrams in this post were downloaded from Google Images.

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