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  1. #1
    John B's Avatar
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    Default US Army, Christmas dinner, 1944

    My dad was a WWII Army veteran who spent most of his tour (Feb. 9 1941 -- Oct 9, 1945) fighting in Europe.

    He kept quite a number of mementos, one of which was a Christmas dinner menu from 1944 and a short Christmas note given to all soldiers from their commanding general, George Patton.

    I thought that many would find it interesting to see, particularly our WB members who are veterans.

    (Above the menu my dad made the following note: "Ate Christmas dinner in Metz, France, moved into Belgium that afternoon and the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge (the Ardennes offensive.")

    (Above the note, my dad wrote the following: "Christmas greetings from General Patton and prayers for good weather as we moved into battle. Weather was terrible as snow and ice were everywhere."

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  2. #2
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    That's really cool. I've got some of Dad's old WWII stuff, too, but nothing like that.

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    Furlough's Avatar
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    That is very special. Thank you for sharing.
    In my 23 years in the Army, deployed or at home, I never received anything like this from those in Command. Certainly different times. Brokaw was right, that was the greatest generation for a wide variety of reasons.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

  4. #4

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    PERSONALLY signed by General Patton.... Woah. Greatest generation is right! Saved the damn world, they did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    PERSONALLY signed by General Patton.... Woah. Greatest generation is right! Saved the damn world, they did.
    It's a great piece of memorabilia - however, it isn't personally signed. The signature is part of the printing. 250,000 +/- soldiers were under Patton's command in late 1944, and there are a lot of those exact same letters/cards in circulation. It was also found in a longer version with a prayer as well. Still a really nice memento though.

  6. #6
    John B's Avatar
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    Definitely not personally signed. It it about the size of a business card.

    Here is a pic of the prayer and the way both are in my dad's scrapbook.

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    Definitely not personally signed. It it about the size of a business card.

    Here is a pic of the prayer and the way both are in my dad's scrapbook.

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    Your Dad wrote some numbers on one of the cards and I was wondering if you know what the significance of those numbers is. Thanks for sharing.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

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    double d's Avatar
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    Very cool-thank you for posting your father's letters from WWII! I teach history for a living, its a great job, so its great to see a true, WWII document like this because it connects historical events to individual personal lives that lived through those events!!! If you don't mind me asking, is your father still alive?
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

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    John B's Avatar
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    About the number on the card, no idea at all what it means and why he wrote it.

    He died in 2007. Cleaning out his house, I found his uniform, service medals and dog tag. a scrape book that contains random stuff (quite a few pics; coins and paper money from England, France, Belgium; discharge papers and other documents; an engraved letter opener with a note saying he found it on the ground in Venlo, Holland; telegrams he sent to his mom; and other small things) Also a Nazi swastika attached to what looks like a red armband that looks like it was cut away from a shirt sleeve. Also a small New Testament bible that seems almost army issue, so to speak, because the cover is tan. He kept in touch with many fellow soldiers in the same company and every so often they would have a reunion until most were dead or too old to travel.
    About the time the WWII memorial was being constructed, I know that pretty much all WWII vets were contacted and asked to write down and submit a statement about their experiences and send it in to ???? . He did that and I have that statement which was interesting to read.
    He was neither obsessed with his military service nor was he averse to talking about it -- he seemed to have the attitude that the US was attacked and at war, it was a duty to serve and he never considered not enlisting, and once it was over, time to get back home and go to work, which he did.
    That's about all I know.

    Edited to add 3 pics of a knife he carried in Europe. The sheath is leather. It's quite heavy.
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    Last edited by John B; 12-27-2019 at 18:48.

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    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    John B, thanks for sharing. What a fantastic piece of family history.
    nous défions

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    Very cool. I wonder what the cocktail was.

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    How funny for this topic to come up.

    I was always the history nerd in our family, and had talked with and learned a lot about my Dad's service in Europe. As such, I [quite happily] have inherited the project of archiving the hundreds of letters he & his family wrote during his time of service.

    The past several weeks, I have been transcribing letters he wrote exactly 75 years ago to the day, and emailing them to my siblings -- who, in their adulthood, have become much more interested and appreciative of dad's service story. The other day I sent them the following letter from our dad, written Dec 26th, 1944 (his unit was in the UK, and would head for Belgium within the next 10 days):

    (I sure hope this copy & paste turns out)

    "Christmas was cold but not much like*home. There was some snow, but mostly it was gray and damp. Many of the men were sick -- which was not very surprising at all because it seemed we were always cold and wet. All of our clothing was woolen, and it always took so long to dry out if it ever did. Our hutment sure did smell awful.*

    Because so many men had fallen out we did not have any of our usual trainings or even inspections. We liked that at first, but the time soon became boring. I was very glad to have my bicycle as it gave me the chance to get out of camp and see some of the countryside.*

    Christmas Eve seemed like gloomy time, as the weather was so bad and not much mail had caught up to us yet, but some of the fellows made decorations from cut up playing cards and old magazines. It wasn't much to look at but it sure did give us a lift.**A few of us went in to town for midnight mass. There was no religious service in camp as our chaplain was sick with the influenza.*The officers did their best to make things as nice as they could -- they even relieved the married men who were on guard duty.

    On Christmas Day we had a swell turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and we had about fifty children come from the town to eat with us. That was really something -- they were only five or maybe six years old, and most I think were from London who had been sent to live in Trowbridge during the blitz. They sure did enjoy that dinner. Our cooks had done a fine job of making breads and cakes and alot*of pies, and there was even candy that Captain O'Connor got from his wife, but they all just really loved the fruit -- the apples and oranges and even our usual old canned fruit cocktail.

    I think folks back home really have to be in a place like this to realize there is a war and what it is like. Things are really scarce. I have seen several bombed out homes and talked to the people -- they all just seem to take it as a matter of course, though. Those children were all just as polite and well mannered as could be, and we sure did get a kick out of them."

    And just to make this even a tiny bit hiking related: when I read about the "little hikes" he went on -- 20 & 25 miles with full equipment and in those wicked boots (which I have, so I can tell)...well, it inspires me and reminds me that I can at least try to do at least a fraction of that. And be grateful that I can.


    Thank you for indulging me.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  13. #13

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    That is cool. I wrote a story about a guy that served under Patton in North Africa. Tom Rogers is his name, he has since passed away.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for sharing guys. I have enjoyed reading this thread and the memories that your dads put in writing. Very cool stuff.

  15. #15

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    The numbers on the card, you mentioned you also found his dog tags. Compare those as perhaps those numbers on the card was his service number. Or some way to route the mail so each member of the Third Army got the mail from Patton.
    Very nice mementos and you are smart to figure out as much about it all as soon as you can.

    My dad became a USAF Fighter pilot during the cold war and served in Vietnam. He kept a detailed diary in Nam, down to the flying weather, the mission, the plane tail numbers even. He did that his first six months as he was attached to the USArmy as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) for the 1st of the ninth Air Cav (I love the smell of napalm). His last six months was spent flying out of Thailand doing work for some agency based out of Langley VA. His notes for that become "Sparse". Shoot, he wasn't flying with any rank, insignia or identifying papers. He's written a few books for his other USAF buddies and transcribed his time in Nam into a book also. Some of the missions........He was in contact with a army Recon team who were trapped in hand-to-hand combat. They wanted air strikes called in on their position. He refused. He called in air strikes 30 meters off of them asking the strike pilots to be as accurate as they could as they were trying to keep the men alive. Once he got the enemy away from them, then called in a Huey whose pilot had a "we all gonna die sometime" attitude. They got half the team out alive, all very wounded and I think a few died later, but they got out. Tough stuff to read. He's 87 now and still mists up and gets a far away look when talking about missions, buddies lost......
    The look on my mom's face 20 years later when she found out the KIA ratio for FAC's, was 50 percent (worse than his fighter pilot years).......
    Last edited by rhjanes; 12-30-2019 at 13:02.
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