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 25, 1944

Dear Mom,

If this letter take some peculiar turns, attribute it to the bees. Never have I seen so many or such persistent one. They are everywhere indoors and out. (These people never use screens so all sorts of insects & bugs wander through the houses without restraint.)

These bees are really yellow jacks, but they have a terrific sting. One caught me on the finger the other day. Favorite hiding place is to get in your pocket & when you reach in they stab you.

At meal time they are a real nuisance. A half dozen of them will get on your chow and they just won't leave.

We've had a couple day's rest and are at a farm house which is the cleanest place I've seen in all of France. The house itself is just a two-story stone cracker box but the rooms inside are cheerful and exceptionally neat. Everything is scrubbed to the grain.

The room where I am has a cream ceiling and the walls are covered with a gay flowered paper in yellow, orange and brown pattern. There are two double beds, one with a thick orange comforter, the other with a rich yellow comforter. The fireplace is slate blue marble with an off-white plaster lead-in trimmed in gold metal around the opening which is covered with a slate panel when not in use.

On the mantel is a tan & cream marble clock quite modern with a bronze dog lying on top.

There are two wash stands - one of white marble with a gray velour skirt and the other of a light gray marble. Both have the enormous round washbowls very common here. The chairs have the straw bottoms found everywhere we've been.

Both large windows have a single lace curtain, more of a drape, which can be pulled aside and of course there are the proverbial shutters.

There is a large clothes cabinet and another with a full length mirror. Closets, as such, are not typical here.

On the wall are two large framed lithographs of sacred subjects. One shows Christ and the little children. The other shows the Virgin & Child and is a lithographic copy of a Murillo painting which formerly hung in the Louvre. In between is a large wooden crucifix with gold figure. These are ever present in all French homes along with holy pictures of many shapes and sizes.

Along the roads are the crosses or Calvary. Strangely enough I have never seen one touched by war. The churches have not been so fortunate.

The living room of this house where we have our HQ is a cheerful room of brown wainscoting and red plaid wall paper. There is a large oak cabinet and sideboard and a gate-leg round table.

On a small table in the corner is a potted palm and the walls are hung with excellent hand painted plates.

The fireplace here is again marble, this time a warm blend of many colors, predominantly pinkish with a blue plaster lead-in. The opening is covered with a board on which is pasted the same plaid wall paper as in the room.

Surmounting the fireplace is a large gold frame mirror in front of which a slender-leaf fern. Flanking it is a tiny pottery vase with bright fresh flowers and on the other side a brass vase with stalks of yellow grain.

Yesterday afternoon we had mass by the artillery chaplain. Our own chaplain was injured in an accident, and is gone from us.

This priest is a Belgian and was a prisoner of war of the Germans for a year. After he got away he came to the States, and joined our chaplain's Corps. He speaks English with a delightful accent. Of course he speaks fluent French and German.

Like some others he wears robes made of our camouflage parachute silk from the numerous ones we found shortly after we arrived in the wake of the paratroopers who preceded us. Trimmed with gold it make a beautiful robe.

I have taken time out to do some laundry French style - down at the brook. The bees seem to resent it fiercely. I got stung four times before I quit with everything not washed.

Nearly every farm has a water hole where the family does laundry, but they are so green and stagnant that it is beyond me how they ever get anything clean.

Love,

Bob

August 30, 1944

Sure having a time with this. We moved before I could get this mailed. Now my envelopes are all stuck together.

Bob

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