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My Dad was on the Omaha Beach in Normandy for the D Day invasion. This is the letter my Dad wrote to his sister, Claudia, a year after D DAY.
THE LAVIGNE LETTERS
JUNE 6, 1945
Today is June the 6th, a dreadful reminder of what I went through this day a year ago.
Now that our letters are not censored, we can tell about the campaigns we've been through. I landed on D-Day at eight in the morning, I never was so scared in all my life. I had to stay in a fox hole till seven at night. German artillery and mortars were landing right and left, the sight and smell of the dead soldiers made me sick. What scared me the most was that if they started a counterattack, it would mean the end for me, my rifle was so full of sand that it wouldn't fire. I lost my bayonet and all the ammunition I had was 16 rounds. The closest German shell landed only four feet away from me. I didn't get hit by any shrapnel, but Claudia, it hurt my stomach something awful. I thought I had been blown clear out of my fox hole. I could hardly eat or drink for two days. I had a burning pain in my stomach all the time. But the pain went away.
In this letter I am going to tell you what I've been through ever since I left New York Harbor. What will give you a big surprise, on my way to England, I sailed on the luxury liner the Queen Elizabeth, we made the trip in six days and by the way, I didn't too sea sick. We landed in Glasgow, Scotland, from there we went to a little town by the name of Codford where we took a bit of training. I rained every single day and being out in the kind of weather it didn't do me any good and I got stricken with rheumatic fever and was sent to the hospital where I stayed two months.
The hospital was in Salisbury. One night the German Air Force bombed close to there and don't think a minute I wasn't scared, I was. From the hospital I went to a place called Weston Super-Mare, to join the 197th again, where we prepared ourselves for the D-Day landings. From that place we went to the English Coast to an area called D-12 and every night the German planes would come over. I did a lot of crying while I was there, especially when they told us we were going to land on D-Day. I still remember the letters I wrote to you before the invasion, I cried all the time when I wrote.
Don't think that I didn't mean it when I told you in that letter that your've been just like a mother to me ever since Mama died, I did mean it and still do.
I took part in the capture of Cherbourg, from there we went to protect P-47 airfield near Saint L'O. One night the Germans came over and bombed we were also shelled by artillery there too. I came through that without a scratch. From there we went to protect a communications dump at Saint Sauveur Calvados and from there we went to Coubert near Pairs to protect another ammunition dump and that's where I met the girl from Paris. From Coubert we went into Belgium to a place called the Liege, that beautiful city has been almost completely devasted by German buzz bombs, or in other words, VI's.
I'd like to have a nickel for every buzz bomb I saw, I would be a millionaire by now. Two of them fell near our gun position in Aachen --Aachen is another place that we really got shelled by the Germans, that was the wettest place I ever saw. I woke up one night and thought I was in some river, water was almost clean over me. From there we went back to Belgium because of the German break through and boy, were they sending those buzz bombs over then, seems like they were sending them by conveyor. Then we crossed the Rhine, that big American Offensive. I also went through Bonn.
Now that the war is over, we are in the military government for awhile. We are all hoping to return to the States soon. Right now it is eleven o'clock, I go on guard duty at twelve since there is only a hour before I go on duty, I decided to write a letter. At two I will be coming off duty and boy will I hit the sack and how! Well, have to close now, think I'll grab myself something to eat before I go on duty. Saying goodbye, wishing you the best of luck. Here's a big kiss X.