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18 October 1944
Off the Shores of England
Love of my life,
It’s remarkable, it is, we are having one hell of a swell time. Right now I’m sitting in the Officers’ Mess Hall & writing this letter. We’re stationery [sic]—not moving because of rough weather. The truly remarkable thing is that I can write to you each & every day and I’m happy that I can.
I think that this is as good a time as any, darling, to give you some of my observations of England. One of the most charming scenes is the little children of England shaping their little fingers in the V sign for victory. Little tots, some not more than 2 years of age making the sign as American troops ride by.
Then there are the children of 5 to 10 yrs. of age who shout at the American soldiers “any gum, chum?” The children are thin and pale. Milk has been a very highly desired but little received commodity.
One thing that hits you in the face is the numerous baby carriages. The soldiers must have done O. K. by the English women. Fact of the matter is many of the American army & navy personnel have married English women.
The thing that burns the hell out of the southern element of our American soldiers is the strict equality of all races despite color. It’s a great institution and the southern boys mutter and say that’s [sic] the day of reckoning will come. This may or may not be an issue in the post war era. I sincerely hope not.
Another physical difference which one notices immediately is the lack of billboard signs along the highways. It’s a little lonesome not to see a whole series of signs with the last one revealing “Burma Shave.”
Darling, although all this new country is so interesting and exciting it would be a thousand fold more so with you at my side—our arms inter-locked strolling down the village greens.
I have become very conversant with the pound, florin, half crown, shilling, 6 pence, 3 pence, 1 pence & farthing. It’s a little strange to begin with but one learns quickly. You should have seen the expression on the men’s faces when they were paid in English money. They were actually flabbergasted! You see, the men are paid in the exchange of that country you happen to be in at the time.
If this letter is to go out with the mail boat it is necessary that I close the letter toot suite.
Au revoir ma plus belle Cherie,
Your ardent lover,