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 28, 1944

Dear Mom,

It was quite a surprise to get your letter with news of Johnny's trip to Nebraska. How did he like it? I have just vague recollections of stopping there for a few minutes while chasing back and forth to the coast.

We have a new major with us now whose name is Chandler. Actually, he is not new in the regiment but he is new with us. I learn now that he lives in San Francisco where he works for an advertising agency as a chief copy writer.

This letter is going very slowly as I had my sergeant improvise a fly swatter - they seem to be unknown here - and have been having myself a hey day, but it interferes.

We are enjoying almost unprecedented rest - over ten days of comparative inactivity. Results from my unit being reserve of one sort or another. We didn't mind it a bit except the weather, which has been something nasty and having to change locations. We had one fine spot: electric lights, running water, no shelling (most extraordinary!) and the men got a chance to see a few movies and take a hot shower under real showers. Perhaps I mentioned it before but one factory turned over its shower section to any who wanted to use it.

Now we are in an old cafe and bar - but a pretty clean place. Its redeeming feature is a kind of French bottle-pool pin-ball table. It's a small pool table with pockets set like a pin ball machine. You play with five white balls and a red ball and regular billiard cues (except these have lost their tips and the table is "dead"). The idea is to keep hitting balls into the holes without knocking over the bottle. It counts if you knock the cue ball in a pocket too, unlike regular pool. This makes us a great success at the game for I invariably did that in regular pool. The red ball counts double for any pocket it goes in and you keep using it for a cue ball as long as it is off the table. One thousand points to the game, but if you knock over the bottle you lose all you've made. A Frenchman showed us how to play, but no one seems to know what the game is called. We forgot to ask him and haven't seen him since.

This place is not so interesting as the other town. There we had a Town Crier who came around with a school bell at odd times. He read off his piece in a cascade of French. No one seemed to pay a great deal of attention and he read it but once. Yet soon the town buzzed with activity over the announcement.

There was a delightful routine. Every morning the villagers went to the bakery to get their round and long loaves of crusty, dark bread. (No one seems to bake his own.) They got their milk in thin necked bottles. Some of them went to church. About mid-morning the goatherd came by to take them all out to pasture. Cows would be taken out. In late afternoon, the cows would wind back through the streets, the goatherd returned and usually the fog-voiced geese would strut about for an hour or so. Villagers would gather in small knots of conversation until darkness sent them in doors. Finally, only the church bells sounding the hours, the challenge of the guard and the thump of artillery punctuated the stillness.

Yesterday, the general presented us with our Silver Star Medals and I'll send it on to you. I have also been awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service but these medals are not available for issue as yet.

I spoke too soon. Just received my Bronze Star Medal ribbon. The medals won't be made until after the war.

Love,

Bob

EXTRACT

September 16, 1944

GENERAL ORDERS

No. 65

AWARD OF BRONZE STAR

VIII. Under the previsions of AR 600-45, the BRONZE STAR is awarded, for meritorious service, to:

ROBER F. BURNS, 0-384203, Captain, Infantry, United States Army. For meritorious service rendered by this officer in connection with military operations against the enemy.

By order of the COMMANDING GENERAL:

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