Lad sent this V-Mail to Dan five days after Dan and Paulette’s wedding in Calais, France. Lad returned to his Base in southern France and discovered that the Battalion had left without him. More on this story later.
S. France – July 20, 1945
Dear Dan: –
While I was gone it happened and I’m part of the rear detachment, so you had better not plan to try to see me. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do about it. Better luck next time. Will probably see you after this is all over. Had no trouble getting back at all.
I think Paulette is swell, and I really had a lot of fun even if it was a little bit hectic.
Hope you get a chance to go home before long and that Paulette can follow you soon. I think she’ll be able to adjust herself in a few months, but will probably miss France for quite a long time. She will be well liked at Trumbull, anyhow, I know.
If you get a chance will you drop Marian a line? She’d be interested in knowing about Al’s plans, at least as much as you know.
Give my love to “Chiche” when you see her and I’ll be seeing you both sometime soon. Be careful. Lad
This is the last communication from lad. The next letter I have in sequence is a letter dated September 2nd from Grandpa addressed “Dear Benedicts and Bachelors”. During this time frame Lad came home to Trumbull. There is no letter explaining how this happened so I’m going to let Lad tell you in his own words, which I recorded on one of my trips to California.
LAD – Dan and I were both in France in 1945. I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day, I’ve forgotten what it was, I think it was in mid-summer. I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris. That was as far as I should go. So I went to Paris and checked into the (Hospitality) Hotel. I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with a toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb, too. I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married). I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, north of Paris, up on the coast. I got a ticket on a train and the train went about 5 or 6 mph for about 10 or 15 minutes, then it stopped. It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little further and it stopped again. I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked. I beat the train by a day. I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking. An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go. I told him Calais. He said, “That’s not far. I’ll take you up there.” So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais. I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother’s house, her mother and father’s house. He was a pharmacist. It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there. I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day. The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back. I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty well. I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out. I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseille, but by this time, I was one day over my pass. When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields. Everything was gone! I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened. He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday. I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah. They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.” So he told me where to go and what to do. I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me. There was another fellow there, Bob Marks. I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th. He had been left behind to gather all the equipment. I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.” So Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the 149th Battalion. We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa. I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard. We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York. After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix. I didn’t know how many months, a couple or three months. They didn’t know what to do with me. I went home every weekend and came back on Monday. Finally they said to me, “We don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.” So that’s what finally happened.
For the rest of the week I will be posting Grandpa’s letters to the Benedicts and Batchelder’s.