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Letters from the Front, Part 4

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions were extremely important to servicemen serving overseas during World War II. It was just such an important occasion that prompted Corporal Dillon Summers to write the following V-Mail on June 18, 1944. He was still undergoing training in England with the 391st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Armored Division. (Their respective patches are shown here.)

To put this particular letter in broader context, one must understand that Dillon wrote it 12 days after the D-day invasion of Normandy, to which he refers ("the big day") in the letter. In two more days, he himself and the 391st would hit Omaha Beach. In six days after writing the letter, he would be in combat, and his letters would be even less frequent because of the battalion's almost constant advance through France and Belgium and into Germany itself. Of course, none of that was implied in the letter.

Hello Dad.
Especially on this occasion. I am thinking of you today. Fathers Day. Wishing You the very best of health. I am well my self.
As you know, the big day came around at last & every thing is looking pretty good.
We hope to be back in the states maby by the first of 1945.
Havent heard from there in several days. Guess You are hearing from me before now. How's Your farming coming along?
Is Verlon doing any better since he left Kingsport?
Well write when You can.
Sincerely Your Son

One can readily tell that he was eager for news from home and impatient when he went for a time without receiving letters from home. However, he was himself saying little of substance because of both the limited room on the V-Mail form and the strict censorship imposed on all outgoing mail.

Such was the life of a front-line soldier in World War II.

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