Letters from Clarence F. Miller: Btry C 535th AAA Bn 1943 - 1945 - Page 8




 
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December 4th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwenthold
[Paul's comments: the war in Europe is over, but he is concerned about Japan; I think he is concerned that he is going to be sent there; I don't know if Bill ever got sent overseas]

Hard to say whether he served overseas or not but his obituary has plenty of information about him...

WILLIAM ‘BILL' MILLER
William V ‘Bill' Miller, age 83, of Poplar Bluff, MO, died Thursday, March 11, 2004, at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center.
Mr. Miller was born Oct. 24, 1920, at Neillsville, the son of Frank and Louise Miller. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He worked hard in life, being the first in his family to graduate from high school and college. A man of several careers, he served as Superintendent of Schools in Hillsboro, as well as West Frankfort, IL, where he also taught school.
In 1956, he moved his family to Poplar Bluff, where he continued his teaching career at Poplar Bluff High School. For 20 years he operated the A&W Drive-In with his wife Alice. He also sold insurance for the Modern American Live Insurance Do.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he served during World War II as a chemical warfare instructor. He was a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus.
Mr. Miller enjoyed Notre Dame football, reading, history, collecting antiques and most of all spending time with his grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.
On June 19, 1949, he married Alice Capaul, in Alma Center. Surviving ‘Bill' are his wife Alice, three daughters, Arla (Clyde) Franklin of Kennett, Mary (Stan) Buffington, of Poplar Bluff and Kristie (Joe) Hatley of Overland Park, KS; one son, Michael (Kim) Miller of Poplar Bluff; one sister, Jeanette (Frank) Zank, of Neillsville; two brothers, James (Shirley) Miller of Osseo and Donald (Caroline) Miller, of Evansville; 10 grandchildren, Beth Johnson, Amy Franklin, Traci Franklin, Stacy Rommel, Ryan Buffington, Kayla Miller, Alexa Miller, Evan Hatley, and Camden Hatley; and three great-grandchildren, Zakary Johnson, Kyle Johnson and Nik Hollywood.
Preceding ‘Bill' in death, are his parents, a sister Angeline Braumacker; brothers Clarence and Francis Miller and one granddaughter, Sherry Franklin.

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/wi/count...a/16/16014.htm
December 5th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
I realized I misread the postmark on this. It's March 31, not May 31

Cpl Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
APO 230 c/o Postmaster
New York, NY
Postmark: US Army Postal Service Mar 31, 1945
Passed By US Examiner 31657 (signed by Lt. D Christiansen)
Germany
Mar 25th, 1945
Dear Friends
Just received two letters form you one dated Dec 9 & the other Feb 26th. They were a long ways apart but they were welcome anyway.
I have had others that only have taken 11 & 12 days to get here. Received some Xmas cards this week a little late weren’t they but they all welcome anyway.
I see by the letter dated Dec 9th of what happened to Henry’s Dad. That sure must have been a awful way to die but no one knows who & how we are going when the time comes. I suppose it was a big shock to you all.
Yes that is good news to hear that my mother is feeling better.
I can remember old Ed. Huinker & most of the kids but I suppose the kids have changed a lot since I went to school with them.
I remember when Ed was hurt in blasting stumps on his farm. I think it was in 1921 or 1922. I maybe wrong in the dates but it was along in the early twenties. They had there share of tough luck to haven’t they?
I see by your latest letter that there are lots of men being taken out of your state that are going to the service. There can’t be many left are there?
How is your weather back there now? Is the good old spring weather got there yet?
Over here the weather has been swell so far this spring.
Every thing seems to be growing nice over here.
Well there isn’t any more to write about so I will close.
Best of Luck to you all.
As ever
Clarence


[Paul's Comment: Henry's father was my Great-Grandfather. I'm verifying the information, but I THINK he was gored by a bull, and that's how he died. Grandma apparently mentioned it in one of her letters, Dec or Feb. I don't know his exact death - my information says before 1945, but I don't know if that includes early 45.]
December 5th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
Cpl. Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
APO 403 c/o Postmaster
NY NY
Postmark: US Army Postal Service Jul 3 1945

Rothenbach Germany
July 2, 1945
Dear Friends
Received your welcome letter so I will answer right way. I see you were busy getting your crops in & hope you have a good crop this year. Because America will have to feed about half of the world or more. So it is going to take lots of food. Well your letter won’t be returned to you because I am still in Germany and don’t know for how long. I feel pretty good today my brother Jim & met about a week ago in the Alps mountains & he told me that if he could get a pass he would come to see me & the Sat. night about 5 o’clock he came with a 3 day pass to spend with me & I sure enjoyed having him with me. We sure done a lot of talking & he got to know a lot of buddies of mine & on Sunday afternoon Jim and I went to Nurnburg to hear Glenn Miller & his band & then came back to my outfit & he spent two nights and 1 day. He is about 170 miles from me. The folks were always wishing that we would meet over here & I was to. It was funny to find him in the Alps mountains buy I was down there looking at Hitlers summers home & happened to see some fellows from his outfit & asked where I could find him and they took me to him & he sure was surprised. I been bust since the war ended and don’t have much time to write & I must close & back to work. Hopeing you all the best of Luck & hope to see you before long.
As ever
Clarence

[Paul's comment: Wonderful that he got to meet up with Jim, and the story of how they found each other at Hitler's summer home in the Alps]
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December 9th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
The 99th ID ended the war somewhere around Landshut in Bavaria which would have put him about 150km (90 miles) from Berchtesgaden.
December 10th, 2014  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwenthold
Cpl. Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
APO 403 c/o Postmaster
NY NY
Postmark: US Army Postal Service Jul 3 1945

Rothenbach Germany
July 2, 1945
Dear Friends
Jim and I went to Nurnburg to hear Glenn Miller & his band


]
Should have been "Glenn Miller's Band, not "Glenn & his Band", considering Miller disappeared in '44.
December 10th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
Step back in time: Found the letter from the end of May.

Germany
May 26 1945
Dear Friends
I received your letter & sure was glad to hear from you again. How are all of you?
Hope you are all well & getting along with your work OK. I am OK but still busy taking care of these Germans. You have to watch them & check there passes. They aren’t suppose to travel unless they have a pass from our Military Government. There has been several Nazi leaders caught in civilian cloths. Some seem to think that Hitler is dead but I don’t. I may be wrong but it seems funny that his body never was really found. One of the bodies that were supposed to be have been him turned out to be his cook. So no one is sure that he is dead. But time will tell.
Yes I was lucky to come through this war OK but there is still one left to go & I suppose I will be in it.
There isn’t a future for most of us fellows, any way the ones that aren’t Married. So I got disgusted one day & told my girl friend that I wanted our engagement broken & that she should find some else to start a future life. I figure it is no use of the two of us wasting our young life just waiting for something that is to far away. May be I made a mistake but I don’t think I did. Any way one makes a lot of mistakes in life.
My folks & her folks didn’t like what I done but if they would just think it over they could see that I am right.
Well the grain over here is sure doing well. It won’t be long & it will start getting ripe soon. It has been good weather for grain & hay but not for corn.
I suppose your corn is up & you are busy taking care of it.
Well we are living better since the war is over but we had a little trouble in one of the buildings we got into. It had lots of bed bugs so the army gave us some stuff that really got rid of them in a hurry.
The people over here have lots of bed bugs & lice. I guess it was because to many people live to close together.
Well I must close for now. Best of Luck to you all.
As ever a friend
Clarence

[Paul's comment: This is probably the most important letter to me. He talks of his break up with Marie; note that she will be married a month after he sends this letter. His discussion of dealing with the Germans is fascinating, describing Nazi soldiers in civies and the rumor mill about Hitler's death; and the problem of bed bugs. Put this back in it's proper place in time and the narrative is great]
December 10th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
[no envelope]
France July 13, 1945
Camp Phillip Morris
Dear Friends
Well here it is the 13th of July already & I am at LaHarve France that is right on the coast & when I look at the water I just think to my self well a little over 3000 miles is home it is good to think of it & all we have to do is wait till the Army gets ready to send us back home how long it will be no one knows. We are all hoping for the best & hope to spend a Christmas back at home. I missed 3 already & sure don’t want to miss any more. Well I surprised to hear about Marie & I well I am glad it happened & over with it was the best thing to do. Now she can do what she wants & I can do what I please. The Army has changed me and [my plans for] the future so I know planed to be bachelor [….] life. Maybe it isn’t the way to look at life […] & I do hope Marie is married and happy by the time I get back. Maybe she is already I haven’t heard. It is my fault not hers so I haven’t no one to blame by my self. You were right about the guess that you figured out but I will never go back to her & ask forgiveness. Well I have seen my brother Jum as I may have told you before & he is ok. I traveled several thousand miles the last two months & saw most of Germany & part of Austria & Italy & now I drove back through France to LaHarve. It is about 30 miles from where we landed on the beach when we made the invasion & people back here don’t treat us like they did when we were here before. I guess they have forgotten what we have done for them & how many of our buddies died to make them Free and now they try & rob us on what ever we want to buy.
The German people where we came from were good to us they would send there kids to ask us if we had any thing they could wash for us & they would do a big washing for a package of cigarettes or candy bars & they would be done good & also pressed. I don’t know if they wanted to get on the good side of us or not but I do know they were scared when we first got there. They would come up to us crying & we asked what they were crying about & they told us that they were told by the Nazi soldiers that we would cut there heads off or shoot them. But we are to easy on the Nazis SS troops, we are doing some work with them but not enough but not enough for what they have done to the prisoners they were keeping just to starve to death & work them till they couldn’t work any more.
Well I have been […]it really is a beautiful city. I have [….] about four times all together & each time I see more it really is a beautiful city.
I guess I will have to close for now & Best of Luck to you & all.

As ever
Clarence
M
PS My new address is no
Cpl Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
Camp Philip Morris
APO 562 c/o Postmaster
New York, NY


[Paul's comments: this is a very emotional letter. He's still thinking about Marie (and she is married by this time). He is feeling very unappreciated in France, and laments that at least the Germans were good to them. Very striking comments about the German children and what the Nazi soldiers told them. I interpret "we are doing some work with them" to interpret how they are treating them, and not anything about collaborating or anything. Mostly he is anxious to get home. We'll see more of that frustration coming up; unfortunately the mice got to this one and so I don't know for sure what is the beautiful city, but I have to figure it's either Paris or Berlin]
December 10th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
Cpl Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
APO 562 c/o PM
New York, NY
Postmark: US Army Postal Service 1945 Aug 8 204

Le Harve France
July 30 1945
Dear Friends
Well it has been some time since I last wrote to you so while I have time I will write a few lines to let you know that I am OK & hopeing you are all the same. I am now back at LeHarve France. How long we will be here no one knows yet. You asked what the AAA stood for well it is Anti Air Craft Artillary that is a gun used to shoot air planes down & (AW) stands for Automatic Weapons. That means the gun works automatically & Bn is as you said. We were just army troops most of the war till the Germans made there brake through then we were assigned to the 99th Div. for pertection of German planes bombing the men and trust & etc. I hope you can figure it out it is the best way that I can explain it. We are not with any Div. now. We were with the first Army till about 4 weeks before the war ended, then we were sent to the third army & we are still with it.
Well I haven’t points enough as yet to get out but points aren’t turning many out or any way not very fast. It looks as though we will be going to the Pacific & I don’t believe we will go by the way of the states. I sure would like to see Mother & Dad if it was only for 15 days. I would be well placed. Then I would be willing to go.
Well I suppose you have your hay all in & busy with your Grain. The summer is nearly gone & soon it will be getting cold. Time sure goes fast. I will be old before I know it. I will be 30 in Dec. But one can’t stay young forever as you all ready know not saying your old yet.
Well must close for now. Best of Luck to you all.
As ever a Friend
Clarence
M
PS New Apo 562

[Paul's Comments: two weeks later and still in LeHarve. Some information about the outfit, and it's consistent with what we thought, them providing AAA support for the 99th. The war in the Pacific is still waging, and he expects to go there next]
December 10th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
Cpl. Clarence F. Miller
Btry C 535th AAA (AW) Bn
APO 562 c/o Postmaster
New York NY
Postmark cut off

Le Harve France
Aug 29 1945
Dear Friends
I received your welcome letter so I will answer it right away.
How is every one there at your place? Find I hope. I am OK & still waiting for the time when I can get on the boat to come back home. The Army isn’t giving us a brake they are send a lot of low point men home & the higher point men are still over here. I know that lots of low point men are going to Japan but I know they aren’t going to take all of them. Most outfits & this outfit I am in, what made the invasion on D day and D one are still over here & we don’t think it is fair anyway when we made it safe for the troops that are going home now. But I guess we will just have to hope for the best.
If I get back to the US by Xmas I will be well pleased. There will be lots that won’t be back in time. Yes there will be lots of fellows that will be disappointed for Xmas yet this year. But this world is full of disappointments. The Army sure makes a fellow so he don’t care what happens & I do think I will go through life alone & the army is to blame for that because it spoiled my plans & as far as Marie goes it isn’t her falt & I think she is a good girl & I didn’t want to have her wasteing her life waiting. So now that I am going on 30 yrs ol I think it is to late try & make a start like I had planned. Maybe I will change my mind but once when I got my mind made up I very seldom change my mind. Stubborn ain’t I?
Well I don’t know of any more to write about so I will close for now. Best of Luck to you & all.
As ever a Friend
Clarence

[Paul's Comments: more not feeling appreciated. Although I'm not sure his interpretation is necessarily right; the low points guys might go through the states, but then again, maybe they are just going to the Pacific? Maybe the fact he isn't getting shipped out is a good thing? However, he has become pretty cynical and blames the army for a lot. He also provides more insight into his break up. The war has certainly taken its toll on him.]
December 10th, 2014  
pgwenthold
 
[no envelope]
LeHarve
Sept 20 1945
Dear Friends
Received your welcome letter & was pleased to hear from your again.
So you don’t think the boys are coming home very fast well I don’t think so either. They sure take there time getting us out but it didn’t take long to get us into it. Jeanette wrote me & said her husband landed in New York so I guess she is one happy girl & I glad she is you know I think a lot of her. I know she is the best sister I have. Her & I use to go to dances & have a swell time. I would rather take her then a lot of other girls I know. Yes you guessed it right about the invasion. We were the first Anti Air Craft guns on the Utah Beach on Normandy France & we were also surrounded on the German brake through Dec. We were surrounded for 2 days & that is one time life looks very short to all of us, but the good Lord was with us.
The Germans came out with there air power & we had good shooting. Shot down 13 in those two days & half of the fliers never got out of there burning plance. It was an awful way to die but they shot a lot of our planes down. People will never know how much we lost. It was plenty in men & supplies but thank god it is all over with now. It seems funny to travel with no one shooting at you but it OK. Our Battalian is giving us a map of our traveles & where we were on dates throughout the war. Well it will be some thing that people can look at but it don’t interest me any. There are a lot of things I want to forget & never will talk about.
Well it is time for lights out so I will close for now. Best of Luck to you & all.
As ever a friend

[Paul's comments: Whoa. Knowing our history, we had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but here it is. The realities of war. And by now he's pretty much had it. He doesn't care any more, and just wants it behind him. I do like his comments about going to dances with his sister. Jeanette Zank died in 2011. ]
 


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