Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas 1945



Happy holidays. The Clarke archives has 25 collections with some mention or documentation of Christmases past. Remembering our troops, here’s one from a WWII soldier.

Pvt. Harley Whelpley served as a private in Company C, 167th Engineers Construction Battalion in France and Belgium in 1944. He may have been from Mich. No further information is available on him.

The collection (1 folder) includes V-mail correspondence from a soldier in France and Belgium during World War II, Nov. 30, 1944-Feb. 18, 1945, to friends, Mr. and Mrs. (Pearl) John Riegle of Gobles (Mich.). Whelpley wrote about receiving correspondence, Christmas packages, and Valentines cards; sleeping with other soldiers in small rooms and in a cubbard he turned sidewise; and trying to find a church to attend for service. The letters include one original (Nov. 30, 1944). The rest of the correspondence are photostatic copies.

Vmail and envelopes


Dec. 7, 1944
Dear Pearl & John,
Received  two letter from you this week  Was sure glad to get them. We are beginning to receive some of our Xmas packages. They don’t last long but they certainly do taste good. …Mud is our big problem & it makes plenty of work! but every foot is closer to the good old USA so we don’t mind it.  We are eating well & sleep pretty good. … Yours truly, Harley

Dec. 11, 1944
Dear Pearl & John,
Received your swell Christmas package tonight. It was the only one in our squad & we sure had a lot of fun opening it. I needed all the things except the cigs and I suppose they were the hardest to get. The fudge was the best we ever had. At first I read the labels on the cans & everybody thought it was some kind of vitamin product. We all enjoyed the food and thank you very much.
We’re in a different place every couple of days. Right now we have two nice rooms. It’s a[sic] triple crowded always is so don’t mind that. Well must sign off.  Thanks again for the swell package,
Yours truly, Harley

Nov. 30, 1944  from Harley letter showing cut from censors

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