Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

SUPER HELEN

April 30, 2017

helen-in-cape

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I came across this cape. I discovered it when I unrolled an Army sleeping bag. Helen did not like the Army’s fashion sense. More than once, she got in trouble for not wearing her helmet or her cap.

Who could blame her? Here’s how the Army described the clothing for Army nurses:  Cape, Olive Drab, Nurses’ – Stock No. 55-C-5910
Wool Barathea Cape in two layers, with newly designed collar and buttoned tab closure, in Olive Drab Shade No. 51      Jacket, Wool, Olive Drab, Women;  Skirt, Wool, Olive Drab Dark; Trenchcoat, Wool . . .

Adding insult to injury (as Mom used to say), nurses had to pay for their own uniforms–plus their nurse’s uniforms! Not many of my frugal parents’ uniforms survived because as soon as they were out of the Army, they re-purposed coats and jackets so they could wear them in civilian life.

WITH LOVE…Before and After

April 21, 2017

2 Franks

War changes everything, including warriors. Lt. Frank R. Daley, M.D. is in both photos. In the first one, I think he looks so young and eager, still stateside, but about to travel and see the world. In the bottom photo, he’s on his way to Alsace-Lorraine, a stopover before pushing into Germany with a battalion unit. He’s seen a lot, too much. He knows that the railroad car he’s traveling in was purloined from the Nazis. And he strongly suspects that the train had been used to carry captives to concentration camps.

I discovered the second photo in one of Frank’s letters to Helen. At first, I wondered at his odd expression from the box car. Then I read the letter. He explains that he was sucking on a rare piece of hard candy when the picture was taken.

WITH LOVE. . . In War

April 18, 2017

 

Imagine being crazy in love, marrying in haste because you might not be together until the war ends, then being shipped overseas to the front, but to different countries. With nothing but their letters to keep them together for months at a time, Helen and Frank (aka Mom and Dad) wrote each other 2-3 times a day, often signing: With Love, Wherever You Are. Delivery of those letters was unreliable, with no word for days and days, and then a flood of 14 letters.

These V-mails were supposed to travel faster than letters. Both Helen and Frank hated the V-mails because there was never enough room to say all they wanted to say. I had much the same reaction to the tiny V-mails, though for different reasons. Their handwriting had to be so tiny that the letters are hard to read. Thankfully, they discovered that the infamous V-mails traveled no faster than their regular letters, so they went back to writing letters.

Food ration stamps, mail stamps, and even matches bore war slogans. Frank wrote his bride: “War gets into every corner.”

WITH LOVE…In Rennes, France

April 15, 2017

Rennes 3

Helen eventually got to Rennes, France, where she cared for Allied soldiers with everything from trench foot and amputations to shrapnel and gunshot, rare diseases, and victims of shell-shock. She also cared for German prisoners of war and survivors of the horrible concentration camps. Frank moved from France to Alsace-Lorraine, then on into Germany, where he set up a battalion aid station. I love the picture with both of them on a rare rendezvous, the light from above shining down on them.