WAR LETTERS: CONDITIONS - 1944 Naples

LETTERS HOME FROM SOLDIERS AT WAR

In this section, we present letters written by soldiers who describe
non-combat situations and the living conditions they experienced.

1944 Naples

First Lieutenant Lucille Backemeyer wrote this letter to her Lincoln friends, Doris and Marv Weber, who were then stationed in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. In her cover note to us, Doris says,

"Lucy was one of two dieticians with the 36th General Hospital in the army medical corps, attached to the Fifth Army. At the time she was on temporary duty in Naples. My husband, Lt. Marvin C. Weber, shipped out shortly after the letter was received. He was with General Patton's Third Army. He made it through the bloody Battle of the Bulge, but was killed in Germany, March 3, 1945, weeks before the end of the war in Europe. We were long-time friends of Lucille's. We attended the same church and all went to school in Murdock, Nebraska. Lucille is now a resident of Fallbrook, California."

July 20, 1944, Naples, Italy
First Lieutenant Lucille Backemeyer

July 20th, 1944

Dear Marv and Dory:

You write the "newsiest" letters I get — wish there were more of them. My own answers to my mail always sound so dull to me. I marvel that any of my friends bother to answer.

Your husband's in a fine division now. Tell him to be proud of it — and if the 20th goes through as much and as well as some of the earlier divisions of the same type that I have known here in Italy, they have a high record to shoot at.

Speaking of hovels and homes, since I have been in the army, I have lived in regulation army barracks; (one and two story types); in pyramidal tents (with and without floors); in and out of mud; in a former insane hospital (part of the patients still there); a French villa with a personal maid; Italian prisoner barracks (with rats); prefabricated houses; a sulfur bath resort; and a bombed-out building with no roof — no beds — no blankets — just the floor and stars (take it back, no stars, that was in the rainy season). My recent acquisition is a transient hotel that I'm helping run. We have either private rooms (only ten to a room) or double rooms (with 18 people sharing the floor space). The outstanding feature about our hotel is that we have bigger and more fleas than anyplace in the city, and that our location is in the center of the most flourishing red-light district!

I have easy access to a large outdoor market, so typical of Italy. I buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables for the hotel mess, and seem, as a general rule, to keep the little chicks fairly happy.

It's 11 o'clock, and my bedtime is past due. Long, hard day tomorrow. So good nite.

Love,
Lucy

 

HOMESICKNESS

CONDITIONS OF WAR

1944 Naples          1945 Nagasaki
1945 Okinawa          1990 Saudi Arabia

LEVITY