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

Cannes, France

July 3, 1945

Dear Mom,

Our flight was cancelled again for the second time so I am having a second extra day. Apparently the weather away from here is bad although here it is still fine. Yesterday was very windy, however.

While I was writing to you the other day I had word that Col. Stilwell was here. I went to look for him but did not find him until evening when we had quite a reunion.

I didn't get to tell you much about Cannes itself. It is having quite a renaissance as a resort town. Every day more and more shops are re-opening and some of the smaller hotels. The largest ones are already in use by the Army.

There is a surprising number of French people vacationing here and many civilian automobiles.

Everywhere you go you find French girls diligently studying English. Not all are quite so naive as one I talked to who said quite frankly "I fish for the Americain". Most of the girls who work at the information desks are French who speak English well, though often with an English accent and nearly all the older shop keepers and bartenders speak fluently - I suspect from the old days.

However, I find there are many Italians here, usually as the hired help - waiters, chambermaids, bar men, entertainers, etc. Because of this I can usually make myself understood by speaking Spanish or a mixed Spanish and French. After eight or ten years it is quite a task to rack my brain for Spanish phrases and I daresay some of my expressions sound odd or misfire completely. Sometimes I have to reword what I say two or three times but I finally get an understanding.

We are staying in the Hotel Gonnet, which is older and not so nice as some of the others. The hotel apparently had just opened before we arrived and is badly in need of equipment. They say the Germans took everything with them when they were driven out. The meals were particularly poor, but they seem to be getting in the swing of it, for now they have been excellent for several days. However, it could be worse. Our room faces the Mediterranean and we have a bath which many of the rooms do not.

You can do almost anything in the way of sport and recreation without charge. There is excellent swimming (except that I started to get burned and gave that up) or tennis, sailing, dancing, movies, etc. However, to go out at night still takes about $20.00 although the Army controls the prices in several of the night clubs. They still are high however, and the civilian places even higher. The average drink costs about $1.50 to $2.00.

The best part about this place is that you don't have to stay dressed up. Only one place requires you to wear a tie at night. No hat is required at any time. The common day time costume is a "T"-shirt and trousers or bathing trunks. At night everyone usually puts on a shirt as it gets rather cool.

You can eat breakfast from 7 to 10, lunch from 12 to 3 and supper from 6 to 9. The night clubs are open from about 10:00 PM to 1:30 or 2:00 AM but you can stay up all night if you feel so inclined.

Because the water is polluted, you cannot swim here at Cannes although the French people do. You have to go to the nurse's beach at Juan-Lea-Pins (about six miles away) or to a beautiful place called Eden Roc just beyond. The water here is clear as a bell and by arranging in advance you can eat dinner or supper or both at this place. There is an outdoor plunge or you can swim in the sea itself and you can rent fat cushions for sun-bathing for 20 cents.

However, I haven't tried to be too active, preferring to stroll around the town and look at the decorative shops or at the lovely villas on the upper terraces.

The average American's idea of a vacation is to run themselves ragged with activity and they go back all worn out. For myself, I feel very rested.

I've even made a couple of stabs at water color painting without much success. Brushes are scarce and the only ones I was able to buy were not too good. I got a pretty good set of colors, however. Paper is just not obtainable except some tiny pieces on which I despise working.

Coca-Cola and drinks are about the only things not rationed here. As usual there is a terrific black market, in food stuffs particularly. This does not concern us as we eat Army food at the hotel, but if you want anything late at night a small piece of steak (about the size of the palm of your hand and not so thick) and French fries costs $4.50 per person.

I forgot to mention earlier that we pay three dollars for our hotel room for the time we stay her. That's not bad is it?



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