Sunday, May 28, 2017

Letters From Ray: A World War II Army Private's Letters Home - Pt 8

"It snowed that night of January 20, and the long lines of vehicles - not as long now - moved slowly down the black streets, through the black Alsation towns....

....And it was a bitter grating night, that night, a night of tears in the soul, and it snowed."


December 24, 1944

Dear La Verne, Donna, & Kathy

Well for it is Christmas Eve and I haven’t sent out Christmas greetings to my sisters as yet.  I’m sure you’ll forgive me when you realize that I’ve really covered a lot of miles since Thanksgiving.  I’ve left Italy and am now in France.  I’ve been moving continuously since Thanksgiving stopping only a couple of days in different Replacement centers.  I’m still in a  ? Rapple Depple but it shouldn’t be long before I hit an outfit and then you can write.

I hope Santa Claus was good to you kids.  I’d have liked to send something but it was impossible, believe me.  If possible take a picture of the tree and send it to me That would cheer me up a lot.

I’m closing let me wish you the merriest of Christmases and the happiest New Year ever.  Maybe I’ll be home for next Christmas.  By now.
                                                Love your brother Ray [SM1] 

 [SM1]Page 12.  So sad to think that this is the last letter he sends, the timing, whom he sent it too, when the war ends.  Damn.

Last Letter from Ray. 
Killed January 13, 1945: Rittershoffen, France
Buried US Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France 23 miles east of Metz, France
Ray returned home January 1949 three years after his death

(end of letter)

Observations by Opa Fritz

Tomorrow we'll post the epilogue to our series.

1) Rapple Depple is slang for 'Replacement Depots' defined by Merriam-Webster as: "a military installation usually in a theater of operations where replacements are assembled and then assigned to fill vacancies in military units."

2) After reading his letters and observing that he appeared to have moved around or been transferred to several different positions I wonder what he was really like. Was he a rabble rouser or is that simply the way the Army operated???

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