Army Life – Dan Writes to Grandpa About the American Red Cross – March 27, 1944

 The following article appeared in The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Conn., on Monday, March 27, 1944.

Daniel Beck Guion

Red Cross on Call for All Servicemen in London, Corp. Guion Tells Family

The American Red Cross in London is “a composite Travelers’ aid, shopping guide, nursemaid, companion, entertainer,  tour conductor, encyclopedia, Dorothy Dix and hostess, all at the beck and call of any G. I. in uniform”, according to Corp. Daniel B.  Guion, of Trumbull, now stationed in London.

“Because it occupies such a prominent place in my mind today, I am dedicating this letter to the ARC (American Red Cross)”, Corp. Guion recently wrote to his father, Alfred D. Guion, of Trumbull.

The clubs in London have been a Godsend to every American serviceman who has come to London,  wanting to get the most out of his visit, the Trumbull soldier continues. “Maps, accommodations, education, information, entertainment, all are the daily diet of the ARC.”

Rooms and meals, he says, are available at minimum cost. “But nicest of all, a new ARC club has just opened quite near the place rather different from the downtown London clubs, more like a USO in that there are no overnight facilities to attract the Grand Central Terminal crowd, that prevails in the regular clubs, coming and going at all hours of the day and night, unkempt from travel, gas masks and musette bags drooping from weary shoulders as they lineup for lodgings.”

This club, designed for men stationed in the area rather than for transient servicemen, appeals strongly to Corp. Guion’s sense of the historic and dramatic.

On Site of Old Palace

“This local ARC is housed in a building built by Christopher Wren for Queen Anne, in the early 18th century,” he explains.  “It is built on the site of an old palace,  which, causes it to fairly reek of atmosphere and tradition, despite the modern comforts that have been added for its present function.”

Great figures of Britain’s past, who have stopped there, or played their parts in the immediate vicinity, include 21 Kings, four queens, Chaucer, Woolsey, Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, Spencer (“he read the Faery Queen to Queen Bess”) and Dean Swift.

Open Fireplace

“There is an open fireplace in virtually every room. Library, music room, dining room, information desk, all contribute notably to our comfort indoors, while spacious lawns, secluded bowers, gardens and aged walls lend an aura of romantic antiquity to the grounds around it. Glimpses of barges and boats can be caught through the trees that line the further edge of the lawn past which a river flows.

“By fortunate coincidence I am able to take advantage of this club during the daylight hours all this week, because I have begun working on a shift job which changes hours periodically.”

Corp. Guion is not new to world travel. As a U.S. government engineer, he traveled through a good bit of South America, spending some time working in Venezuela, and before entering service, was given an assignment in Alaska. He had his early education in Trumbull schools, attending Central High School, and was graduated from the University of Connecticut. He has been overseas with the U.S. Army for several months.

Mr. Guion, Sr.,  is an enthusiastic volunteer worker for the Trumbull branch, Bridgeport chapter, American Red Cross, which he serves as director of public information.

“We all know the Red Cross is doing a grand job, here and abroad.” he says. “But it gives an added boost to your morale to hear directly from your own boy how extremely well the organization is serving our men overseas.”

Tomorrow,, a letter from Elizabeth (Biss) to Ced, one of her older brothers, then a letter from Grandpa to finish out the week. 

Judy Guion

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