Larry was a sergeant with the 513th Airborne Signal Company, Message Center
Group. The following are excerpts from some of his letters home to
February 8, 1945: “Censorship will make it hard to write long letters.
You might want to re-read the letters my Uncle Oliver Brenden sent home
from France in WW-I. Many things have not changed in France.
My uncle talked about railroad cars that would hold 40 men or 6 horses.
We rode in those box cars yesterday. The toilets haven’t changed much
February 27, 1945: “The barracks we are now in were used by the Germans
when they were in France. The Germans wrote things on the walls like
– ‘The Truth is our greatest Weapon!’ Some joke, heh. The poor
French kids are always begging for cigarettes and chocolate. There
is a terrific black market here. A pack of cigarettes = $2.00, a gallon
of gas = $40.” [In terms of today, the $2.00 = just under $20.00 and the
$40.00 just under $400.00]
April 17, 1945: “The French are really rough on the women who ‘Collaborated’
with the German soldier. I saw one woman get all her hair cut off.
Another woman was put in an old card [sic] and dragged around town, with
people jeering her.”
June 21, 1945: “Today we went through the Maginot Line, built by the French
at enormous expense. It is about 100 feet deep and is like a city
under ground. Elaborate tunnels all over. I will never forget
how proud our French guide was of the Maginot Line – one of the biggest
military failures of all times. The Germans went over it and around
it! Today the farmers are haying on top of it.”
July 27, 1945: “The 13th Airborne Division is on its way home!!”
University Archives, 701-231-8914
Published by the University Archives, NDSU
Last Updated: 8/27/04