Christmas Day

Somewhere in England

Dec. 25, 1944

Dear Folks,

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you! I had no thought of spending the Christmas here, but so go the fortunes of war.

I arrived here a few days ago after a series of delays which seem to accompany my shipment. To begin with, the latter part of the original list of officers was deleted because of lack of space on the boat, so we got to stay around the camp awhile longer and was granted a 12 hour pass each. It was during the time that I called you. Well, we finally shoved off and landed her in the British Isles to be delayed again. At one time during our trip here to camp we crossed on a ferry; loaded in that boat we were told to stay with our baggage and equipment until called for. Well, we landed on the opposite shore of the body of water and began our waiting. Finally after everyone else had left the ferry, someone discovered us, some forty minutes after our train let the station. We stayed in a Transient, Camp, operated by the allied armies, that night and got lodging and two meals for 1 shilling, six pence (about 32 cents.) The food wasnít so very bad but not anyways near equal to our usual meals, Here we became acquainted with the Scotsman. There was an old 1st Lt. (Scot.Army) who managed the tansient camp and who became the center of attraction to us, He wore the regulation O.D. British blouse and for trousers he had material of a dark blue plaid-some combination, His sense of humor was very good as was that of the others we met. From Scotland on down to this camp we rode an English train-five compartments to a car, three first-class and two second-class. I talked awhile with the brakeman of the train (called "guard") and with the Scot who replaced him later. The people are really friendly there and strive to make you feel "at home," even taking real pains to speak so we could understand, A little paper boy of whom I purchased a paper, seemed to talk anything but English. More fun!

Most of our train ride was during the day or early evening so I got to see a good deal of the towns and countryside. The farms are really interesting - if you find a good looking one, itís tops, just like a story book, but if itís dirty looking, itís almost horrible. Wherever we made a stop we were served coffee or donuts, or both, so our stomachs didnít suffer much, what with the help of "K" rations previously issued to us.

After arriving at the station where we were to catch trucks on into camp, we found no trucks waiting - another delay of an hour or so. Finally, despite all obstacles, we arrived here and went hurridly to bed. Our quarters are of brick, two stories high, divided into apartments with about four or five rooms, a toilet, and a bath to each apartment, Unluckily there are few fireplaces so some of us sleep in the cold-and I do mean just that. Last night I slept in my long handles with four blankets and my overcoat over me - and still I caught cold. I plan to go the infirmary tomorrow to get my throat painted - nothing serious, Iím just not taking chances,

This camp is in what is called the Midlands of England and is not so very far from Stratford on Avon where Shakespeare was born-and it is foggy!!! If you strain your eyes you can discern the outline of the fence around the officerís lounge, where I am, and thatís only about 30 or 40 feet. Everything else is surrounded by a huge, white blanket. As yet I havenít seen the sun since I arrived in camp, and only for a very few hours since I got off the boat. Ali, for the sunshine of Oklahoma - and the warmth of a fire. Coke is used here instead of coal, and you can actually feel warmth if you come to within four feet of the extra small fireplaces.

We had the traditional turkey today - plenty of it so Iím not the least bit hungry now. Iíll close now so Iíll have something to write next time. Itís impossible to say when mail will catch up with me but keep writing. Also, notice the new return address.

Love,

J.Clyde