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

September 16, 1944

Dear Mom,

More about the goatherd. I find now that he takes all the goats in town out to pasture. Our corner is the main assembly point. When he blows his horn the people open their gates and their goats trot out to join the flock. Apparently the Nazis have disciplined them too, for they come marching out in columns of twos. In the evening the old man brings them back. At our corner he halts, blows his horn, and about half of the goats take off for their own yard. Meanwhile the goatherd's able assistant, a strong, alert, red haired dog watches the flock to close up stragglers and keep those in line who have to go on. Eventually they move on after much shouting by the old man at those who are speeding to their homes.

A kid who is rubbing himself ecstatically against the rough stone of a house is ushered along by the red dog and off they go. The goatherd, slightly lame, hobbles along in front, followed meekly by the brown ewes and white goats. I watch until the limping figure in his shabby blue coat and trousers and his soft hat disappears behind the moldy green stone of the houses at the bend of the road.

After a while eight or ten geese stomp along the street, necks craned and heads upraised like sightseers on their first trip. They make a most loathsome racket. I could cheerfully strangle them all. The colonel volunteers to chop off their heads if I will hold them by the head and feet. Then he adds, laughingly, that in case I don't know, being a city feller, they'd probably beat me to death with their wings while he was doing it.

Not wanting to seem preoccupied with food, but for lack of any other activity, I must tell you of our other two meals today. For dinner we had baked rabbit, fried potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, bread, jelly, coffee and stewed plums for dessert. Incidentally, the French, like the English, are great rabbit eaters. But here, I believe it is not something that came with the war. These rabbit hutches on every farm and chateau are many years old and rabbits are numerous. The rabbit today was delicious. Far superior to that which I paid $2 and $3 for in England. The meat was tender and not greasy.

Tonight we had another fine meal: lamb chop, scrumptious mashed potatoes, brown cream gravy, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bread, butter, jelly, and coffee. We have electricity here and with the black night shut out and the warm stove, the kitchen was quite cheerful and relaxing. One of our officers got promoted today and we had him to dinner and then sat around talking over all sorts of things. It was hard to believe we were at war and not at someone's house in the States.

I took a hot bath of a sort today (about as well as one can out of a dishpan), washed my hair and some socks, so am in pretty good shape again. Now if I could just catch up with some clean underwear again I'd be OK. I expect to have some before too long.

Love,

Bob

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