Major Robert F. Burns

90th Division, U.S. Army

 

War Letters from Europe

Normandy to Germany

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Letters from France

June 22, 1944
June 29, 1944
June 29, 1944 (2nd)
July 6, 1944
July 17, 1944
August 10, 1944
August 14, 1944
August 25, 1944
September 1, 1944
September 2, 1944
September 3, 1944
September 3, 1944 (2nd)
September 14, 1944
September 16, 1944
September 16, 1944 (2nd)
September 17, 1944
September 28, 1944
October 2, 1944
October 14, 1944
October 22, 1944
November 2, 1944
November 12, 1944
November 24, 1944
December 2, 1944
December 27, 1944

Letters from Luxembourg

January 9, 1945
January 16, 1945
January 20, 1945

Letter from Belgium

February 7, 1945

Letters from Germany

February 9, 1945
February 21, 1945
February 23, 1945
February 26, 1945
April 5, 1945
May 5, 1945

Letters from Czechoslovakia

May 10, 1945
May 16, 1945

Letters from Germany

May 19, 1945
May 20, 1945
May 24, 1945
June 3, 1945
June 22, 1945

Letters from France

June 30, 1945
July 3, 1945

Letters from Germany

July 14, 1945
July 27, 1945
July 30, 1945
August 3, 1945
August 14, 1945

Letters from France

August 26, 1945
August 28, 1945
August 29, 1945

Letters from Germany

September 9, 1945
September 11, 1945
September 13, 1945
September 15, 1945
September 17, 1945
September 23, 1945
September 27, 1945
October 1, 1945
October 9, 1945

Letters from France

October 13, 1945
October 15, 1945
October 22, 1945
November 5, 1945
November 17, 1945
November 17, 1945 (2nd)
November 23, 1945
November 30, 1945
December 17, 1945
December 17, 1945 (2nd)
December 18, 1945
December 26, 1945
January 2, 1946

Letters from Belgium

January 14, 1946
January 15, 1946
January 17, 1946
January 17, 1946 (2nd)

Letters from France

January 21, 1946
January 24, 1946

France

August 14, 1944

Dear Mom,

This has been a wonderful day. I had my first bath in a tub since I came to France. True, the water was cold, but it was a porcelain tub and the water was clear and blue.

Then I had some dinner which consisted of my "K" ration can of Amer cheese, dark French bread, fresh red tomatoes and crisp celery and white French onion. For dessert I had the caramels which came with the candy and Gracie's box of candy which came most opportunely last night.

For a long time I have intended to write about the houses where we have stayed on occasion but as each got progressively better I kept putting off describing it. Now, however, we are in the best we ever have been.

This is an enormous chateau and - like most others we have been in - was formerly a German headquarters. One of the current big shots stayed here for a few days only a little over a week ago.

The place beggars all description. Like all others of its kind, it is set back in a woods of enormous firs, spruces, elms, oaks and other trees with a winding drive up to the house.

I don't know how many rooms are in the place. Each master bedroom has an enormous bathroom as large as our kitchen there at home and across the hall servants quarters for each set of guests.

There are at least five floors with marble staircase and hall. The house has its own elevator, not in use at present. Walls are nearly all padded cloth covered and everywhere is a profusion of pictures, some lithograph prints, some engravings, but mostly original paintings, many of them very fine though the artists are none of them known to me.

The lighting system is still on, which is unusual for us to find.

Much of the house is denied to us for being occupied with refugee French from a town the Germans bombed. He has another house in Paris and must be a man of considerable wealth. Both he and his wife speak excellent English though I have had no personal contact with them.

In rear is an enormous stable with ten race horses. There is also a garden several acres in extent which has everything you might need; peaches, pears, plums, apples, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, celery, etc. in addition to many striking flowers. The garden is quite formalized and the vegetables are set in like flowers in the beds.

The man had several automobiles, several of which the Germans took with them when they left.

The house is relatively young for Europe, being only 50 years old. Bathroom fixtures, however, are all of fairly recent type.

My continual emphasis on bathrooms stems from the fact that until recently we were convinced the French never took a bath or went to the toilet in the conventional manner. We have found large chateaus almost the size of this one completely devoid of plumbing fixtures of any kind.

As we got farther down we finally found a bathtub and some portable toilets. This place goes all out with numerous tubs and flush toilets.

Whenever we get into something pretty good our stay is relatively short so we make the most of it in ease and comfort. Tonight I will sleep on a bed again, and I suspect I'd better get on with it for I'll be going on duty pretty soon.

Love,

Bob

Thanks for the candy and your letters which came the last several days and today. I don't want any Christmas presents other than to be home at that time.

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