Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Dear Issy & Mac, Sunday May 23

I am writing this in Alabama before my 14 day bivouac. I received your last letter and wondered how you came out on the doubles bowling tournament.

A couple of days ago I was on KP. I had to get up at 3:00 am and report to the mess hall at 3:15 am. I had to be real early because our company had to leave early for a firing range quite a distance away. I worked from 3:15 am to 8:00 pm at night washing and rinsing dishes and wiping counters. I set some tables, peeled potatoes and swept and scrubbed the floor. I felt like an old dish rag. I came back to my hut and found out inspection of our equipment was tomorrow. So more work to clean rifle and wash my mess kit. It doesn’t matter because the sergeant says everything stinks.

I started this letter Sunday but I’m continuing it Thursday, May 27. Our big hike is just a few hours off. It will be 25 miles to a place called Morrisville and we will stay there 14 days. It’s a good think I told mom and Harry not to come as this bivouac will start soon. Right now it is 2:20 pm. At 4 pm we will eat. At 4:35 pm we’ll have to fall out with our equipment and get into marching formation and be on the road by 5 pm.

I have just been told the hike will be 16 miles but shift to different places every four or five days and adds miles. Hike will be at 5 pm and probably stop at 10 or 11 pm.

Could you ask mom to mail, three dollar bills? All I have is 30 cents. I may be able to use the three dollars during bivouac. It must be cash. Also a couple of packs of cigarettes and some candy to arrive about five days after our bivouac begins. Don’t make the package too big or it may not be delivered until I’m back. Could mom airmail me a small mirror three inches square? I can’t get at the PX and I forgot to buy one in town.

Tell Gertie and Gende I’ll try to answer them during bivouac. It is hard to say how long I’ll be here after bivouac, so visits here may be best not done.

Love Ed

P.S. Harry’s idea to quit is a good one. Maybe in six months after the war I’ll decide to quit!

Harry's letter - farm looking May 24, 1943

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