The Lavigne Letters
Chapter 8
Somewhere in Germany

Lt. Col. C.T. McEniry writes:
The paralyzing hand which unfavorable weather clamped on the entire northern front during November had its effect also on the 197th. Not since D-Day had such a static condition lasted so long for the battalion. Only one move was made during the month, with B Battery moving to reinforce D Battery's defense of ASP No.127, near Aachen.

     A few brief bits of action were noted during the first week and hardly a day passed without a number of buzz bombs reported over the area. A few fell near some of the battalion installations but, with the exception of a few windows knocked out by blast, no casualties or damage to equipment resulted.




Dear Sis,
Yesterday I received from you a couple of VMAIL letters and also two from the girl in Paris and one from Yolande.  
Tonight my turn to be on guard,  hope it isn’t too chilly out there.  
I am feeling alright, hope you are the same.
Today’s another day in Germany.  I attended mass this morning and also received holy communion.  
Well,  did you go to the Topsham Fair this year?
After I get through writing this letter, I think I will write one to the girl in Paris,  every time we get mail call I usually get a letter from her.  Well so long here’s wishing you lots of luck, “au revoir”.     Valmore


Somewhere in Germany

Dear Claudia,
Here I am again to say hello and how are you,  as for me I am feeling fine.

I received a postcard from the girl I met near Paris today,  that’s two cards from her already and she writes me a letter every day.  I am going to send the cards home to you,  for some reason or other, she always calls me Lou or Louie.  I don’t know why.  When she addresses her letters,  instead of putting Joseph for my middle name,  she puts Louie.
I asked her time and time again why she calls me Lou and she just laughs.  
In yesterday’s letter she said she went to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to say a few prayers for me and that while there she got me two medals and that she has already mailed them to me.  And she said she mailed another souvenir and didn’t say what it was though.  God knows I will never see her again.

I don’t know how church services are going to be here in Germany,  you know how they hate religion.  I do hope we can attend mass and receive holy communion often.  Before I came into Germany,  I used to received communion every other week,  hope I can here.

Here is a list of article I would like to have,  first a pipe and some smoking tobacco,  some cigars,  a fruit cake,  some cough drops, some Lava or Lifebuoy soap,  toothpaste or powder because I am already out of it,  some writing paper, envelopes,  pen and pencil set,  woolen gloves and woolen socks and that’s it so far.  

I see that Nellie had another baby,  this time a boy,  sure did weight plenty the little rascal.  
I hope he doesn’t look like his father, eh!  
I see that Woodie was in Rhode Island that lucky boy,  maybe he’ll be stationed there for the duration,  never can tell you know.  
Well,  so long,  lots of luck, keep your fingers crossed.   Au revoire


Somewhere in Germany
October 12,  1944

Dear Claudia,  
Here I am again to say hello and how are you, as for me I am feeling fine.  I have been getting quite a lot of mail lately, in the last two days I have received twenty one letters.  I hope by now you have received the Cross of Lorraine which the French girl that I met gave me, she writes to me every day,  yesterday I received from her ten letters, can you imagine that and the day before I got two letters from her.  She doesn’t live very far from the city of Paris,  in her last letter she said she had a package already mail for me and a photo of herself.  I will try to send one of her pictures home to you.  
I have met many many French people all of whom have given me their address,  I guess I must have hundreds of addresses.  If I ever get back home it will take me days in order to send each and every one of them a letter.  I have met many beautiful girls, but they can’t beat the girls around home,  no siree.  

Who would have ever think that a year ago today I would be on German soil,  the land of the Führer  (the fewer the better),  Now I can say I have taken a good GI SH_T on the land of the Third Reich.  HA HA
I wish the darn Gerries would give up so we could all return back home.
Oh I forgot, there are rumors going around that after this campaign is over,  that all troops will go to the South Pacific,  I guess you must have read it yourself in the newspapers.  
I only hope it never comes true.
I received a Christmas card from you today,  the boys got a great kick out of that seeing that today is only the twelfth of October.
In my next package please send me a pipe and some smoking tobacco.  
Well so long,  lots of luck to you all.

** What is the Cross of Lorraine?
Lorraine, a region of France, has hosted many wars and battles. In the Second World War, when Hitler took control of the region, General de Gaulle chose the cross as a symbol of French resistance against Germany. The cross was used as a symbolic reference to Joan of Arc, who was from the Lorraine and is considered a national heroine of France, as she led the French army against foreign invaders.


 Somewhere in Germany
November 15th,  1944

My Dear Miss Lavigne,  
All the members of Battery “D” join me in wishing you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS,  and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.  
Our wish last year was for a victorious New Year and victory has indeed been ours.  We are proud of the part we played in the liberation of Europe.  
It is our prayer that the New Year will give us complete victory and return us to our homes and loved ones.
Sincerely Yours,
Capt. Thomas O. Chappell e


November 19,  1944

Dear Claudia,  
Hello again and how are you,  fine I’m sure.
Remember in one of my letters I said that the girl from Paris had given me a prayer which she said to carry it on my person at all times,  well,  I made another copy of it and today I am sending it to you,  it’s a very nice prayer.  All the masses and communion I attend,  I offer them up to Mother.  
Did I tell you I received a letter from Lawrence Brown?  Yep,  he said your sister Claudia ate a dozen crabs on Sunday, boy how she loves them he said.  He says the Rileys keep kidding you all the time,  is that true?
I wonder if they are going to have midnight mass this year at home,  think they will?  
You can send me some magazines,  any kind will do,  just go to Nortons newsstand and pick a few out of the wide variety they have there.
Well until next time,  good bye and good luck.


Undated  (Oct. or Nov. ?) 1944

Dear Claudia ,
Here I am again to say hello and how are you as for me I am feeling fine,  hope you are the same.  Well,  pretty soon Thanksgiving and Christmas will be rolling around,  the quartermaster corp. has promised every soldier in the European Theater of Operations turkey for the holidays,  how true that is remains to be seen.  
How is Daddy these days?  Is he still working for Julien?  Tomorrow is Saturday another football weekend I am going to miss,  boy I’d love to see a good game right now.  Please send me some more pictures of yourself and the rest of the family.
The girl from Paris keeps writing to me all the time,  so far I have received from her twenty five letters and a photo,  seems like she writes me a letter a day.  
Patiently waiting for my Christmas packages,  we will have fun when we start unwrapping them.  
Raining out today,  sometimes it evens snows and it sure is muddy,  but we’ve got ourselves through.
Well, got to say good bye,  wishing you lots of luck,  here’s a big kiss to you you.
So long.


November 20,  1944

Dear Claudia,  
I received a swell letter from you today,  glad to hear that everything is fine at home.   I see you haven’t as yet received the Cross of Lorraine I sent you.  You may get it later on,  let me know when you do get it.  

The girl from Paris is still writing to me,  so far from her I have received 37 letters and a few postcards.
She sent me a card with the picture of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur,  she says its the prettiest church of Paris.   So today I am sending the card to you as a souvenir and also I wanted you to read what she wrote on the other side,  you’ll get a great kick out of it.
While I am at it I might as well tell you a little about her background (and I don’t mean her figure either).   She weighs approximately 135 pounds,  brown hair, blue eyes, she’s about 5’ 7” tall.  She’s a telephone operator and typist in Paris and she is twenty one years of age.

Say did you ever receive the medal I sent you from Belgium?  Quite a while back I sent home the citation for being the first crew to knock down an enemy plane in this outfit,  and as of yet you haven’t mentioned a single thing about it.  Also last Christ our Captain sent home a letter to every GI Joes parents,  but you still didn’t mention a thing about it.  I’m asking you again,  please, please tell me if you received all those things.   When you get anything from me,  mention it in your letters,  will you do that now?  You sent me a picture of  Lt. Williams F.  Mudge Jr.  and asked me if I knew him.  Heck yes I know him,  I saw him play football and hockey in the year of 1940.  He was a darn good hockey player, tough and rugged boy he was.  Three planes to his credit so far,  lets hope he gets ten times more than that.  He flys a P-51 Mustang,  those planes whizz over our heads almost daily.  

Please try to send me the SUNDAY newspaper and a few more daily records and some sport magazines.

The war in the South Pacific is doing good progress,  General Douglas McArthur keep true his promise that someday he would return to the Philippines and this time the Japs are going to catch hell.   

I was thinking the other day about the time when Theresa was at home talking to you about the football game she saw between Bowdoin and some other college.  She said this feller took the ball and raced over the goal line for a home run instead of a touch down.  Me and Ralph were sitting near the stove in the kitchen and boy we got a kick out of that.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud,  it sounded so funny the way she said that.

Yes I have received the pictures you sent of Old Orchard Beach.  Say, by the way,  who is the guy in the picture,  to me he looks like Mr. Pomeroy who used to own the candy store.

You also can send me the Sunday funnies.  And just go to Mortons newsstand and pick out any kind of magazines,  do that once in a while will you?  Thanks.  
Well got to leave you now,  good bye and good luck.   May God bless you.   Au revoir


Lt. Col. C.T. McEniry writes:

Under a new First Army policy, one-day passes were inaugurated to nearby cities, and it was possible for one officer and
14 enlisted men to visit places like Liege, Verviers, Arlon, Malmedy, Eupen and Spa each day.  It was the first opportunity for passes since D-Day. Thanksgiving; brought turkey for all.



November 22,  1944

Dear Claudia,  
Well the quartermaster corp kept their promise that every soldier would get his share of turkey for thanksgiving and Christmas.  Tomorrow is the holiday and we have a big turkey on which to munch upon and fill up our belly’s, but there will be two things missing on the table us boys rigged up,  first is cranberry sauce and second, as if you didn’t know,  is the good old macaroni papa always makes,  how delicious.  Tell Dad to eat a heaping plate full of macaroni for me will you.

Today I received four more letters from the girl in Paris and also a postcard from the grave of the unknown soldier,  it’s very pretty and I am sending it to you.  She says she has a marvelous collection of cards like that and that she’s going to send them all to me.  In all I have received about fifty letters from her,  she writes every day and sometimes even twice a day.  
Boy am I writing crooked on this letter, god,  I can do better than that.
I see Fibber Magee and Molly are back on the air waves again,  bet you really enjoyed their first program.
The Christmas packages are starting to come in now,  expect to receive mine any day now.
If I am not mistaken,  Ralph can not buy too much liquor nowadays because it’s rationed isn’t it?  So you did beat me at having champagne,  I never knew that on holidays the Riley had some and that you always drank a glass with them.  (why don’t you tell me those things? Ha Ha)
Oh,  I still got quite a lot of hair, I am not losing enough to worry about,  but I’m losing em no kidding.  Golly,  Bill Charon must not have much, he hardly had any when he left for the Army.
I told Geneva Wellington about the French girls especially the ones in Paris, keep this under your hat and promise not to mention it at all,  but in her letters she puts (My dearest Valmore) (Love and Kisses) and all that sort you know.  I get a great kick out of it,  she is a good little girl alright.  She told me she sent me a package,  ought to get it soon.
Oh yes,  I got a letter from Yolande today,  sure misses Henry,  I haven’t heard from him for a long time.  
Please send me plenty of smoking tobacco, and also a tobacco pouch and pipe cleaners.  And send me some magazines and some boxes of cookies.
Well, got to leave you now,  good bye and good luck,  may God bless you.
So long,

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************Lt. Col. C.T. McEniry writes:

During the first part of December there was no movement by any of the batteries, and there was scattered air action. On 11 December, the operations section moved to assist Batteries B and D in perfection of the air-ground defense plan near Aachen. On the night of 15 December a "dry run" was held with all adjacent corps troops participating.  The problem was concluded successfully.


Dec. 6, 1944

Dear Claudia,
Today I received a package from you,  thanks a million,  hope to get another one soon.  
In this letter I am sending you some more German money and another post card which the girl in Paris sent me.  She’s still writing steady,  she set me two pictures of herself a while back.
Oh yes, received a letter from Dad too, boy was I glad to hear from him, tell him that pretty soon him and I are going to take long walks together again and every Saturday night we’ll eat some of those delicious Maine lobsters and Sunday afternoons we’ll attend the baseball games.  
Yes it must have been quite a surprise for you when I told you I was somewhere in Germany.  Yes the Huns are pretty tricky at that,  I’m being careful.  I don’t hardly look at the civilians,  they are sort of queer looking people.  Anyway, if you get caught talking to any of them,  they fine you sixty five dollars,  so that one way to keep the boys away from them.
Oh by the way,  here in my wallet is a picture which a man in Belgium gave me,  their his children.  I am sending to you because I know you will like the looks of the little kid on the donkey,  isn’t he cute?
Tell Dad the fountain pen he sent me sure writes swell and I want to thank you for the jackknife.   
I just come off guard and what weather it is outside today,  it’s raining to beat the band and darn cold.  Sure will be glad when my time is up.  
Got a letter from Myrtle the other day,  sad she had sent me a fruitcake and told me the twins we’re getting along fine.  She also asked me if I could send her a little souvenir so I sent her some German and Belgium money.  
I wonder if Daddy listens to the Boston Bruins hockey games on Tuesday night and Saturday night?
I am in need of more handkerchiefs,  tooth powder.  Don’t send anymore soap because I’ve got plenty of it now.  Please send me some more smoking tobacco and cigars.  Well guess that’s all for today,  good bye and good luck.

**The usage of the term "Hun" to describe Germans resurfaced during World War II, although less frequently than in the previous war.


The December 6, 1944 is the last letter I have from my Dad in December,  his next letters will bring in the New Year, 1945,  and later that year he will finally be going home.