Charles F. Bruns lived in the East Central Illinois town of Champaign. A local athlete, ‘Chick’ joined the Army in 1941. In October of 1942 he was sent to the European Theater. During his tour he was able to keep is daily thoughts in a journal that is presented here. Additionally, photos, letters written to home, news paper articles, and historic references will be shared.

Chick Bruns

Christmas during the War

A couple of years ago, I was part of a Church Christmas program, ‘Christmas through the Years’. Church members presented a number of vignettes portraying what it was like during Christmas for different time periods in history. The time period I shared was World War II and how my dad, Charles Bruns, handled being overseas for Christmas during the war.

My part was well received and many commented that they hoped I would do it again sometime. With that in mind, I decided to record it for friends and family to enjoy.

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WWII Veteran Charles ‘Chick’ Bruns dies at 98

Chick Bruns Charles ‘Chick’ Bruns who kept this WWII diary, took all the photographs, collected post cards and shared loving letters with his parents died today at the age of 98.

Chick was a lifelong resident of Champaign and graduated from Champaign High School where he was a recognized athlete. Chick played in the Corn Belt and EI (Eastern Illinois) baseball leagues as a young man and even had a 2 week tryout for the Chicago Cubs.

Chick served in the Army during WWII, was a Sergeant in the 3rd Division, 10th Combat Engineers and participated in 5 invasions; Africa, Sicily, Italy, Anzio and France. He was awarded the Purple Heart, French Croix De Guerre with Palm and 2 Presidential Unit Citations.

Upon returning home after the war, Chick married Rita Marie Fleshner in 1946 and had 2 sons Charles, Jr.and John (editor of this site) . Chick worked for the New Gazette where he retired after 39 years in 1984. He also served for 35 years as the Secretary/Treasure for the local 444 International Typographical Union.

After Rita’s death in 1995, Chick married Marian Edgar Ingerrsol in 1999 at Scottsdale, AZ, where they spent winters. After Marian’s death in 2009, Chick continued to live in their University Ave. apartment in Champaign.

During his life, Chick served as a cub scout and boy scout leader. He enjoyed hunting and golfing with his sons & grandsons. He was an active member of the Holy Cross Church congregation where he still served as an usher. Chick was a Life Member of the Knights of Columbus since 1945; Life Member of the VFW #5520; Life Member of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) .

Chick was preceded in death by both of his wives Rita Bruns & Marian Ingersol Bruns; a daughter-in-law Lucinda Bruns and a granddaughter Cassandra Bruns.

Chick is survived by his 2 Sons: Charles & Patricia ( Champaign, IL ) and John & Suzanne ( Cissna Park, IL ); 7 Grandchildren: Jesse, Nicholas, Margaret, Jason, Kelly, Jessica, Justin and 9 Great Grandchildren.

Chick is also survived by his 3 Stepdaughters: Julia Ingersoll Wall ( Williamsburg, VA); Alice Genevieve (Genie) Vuagniaux & Earl ( Edwardsville, IL ); and Carroll Ingersoll Cranch & Thomas ( Chesterfield, MO). Additionally, Chick is survived by 22 Step Grandchildren and 26 Step Great Grandchildren.


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Closing Comment

Chick - JohnYesterday, after almost 3 years, my father’s WWII Diary came to a close and my daily journey with dad concluded;  but my journey with his experiences will continue.   My hope is to continue to publish photos, video and audio that I have collected and share more about his adventure on his website, FaceBook, twitter and through public presentations.

I can’t express my heart felt thanks to all who contacted & encouraged me throughout this project.   It has been a honor and pleasure bringing this to you.

John Bruns

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Home Coming

Francis (dad), Chick, Johanna (mom)

Francis (dad), Chick, Johanna (mom)

Bernadine Bruns (sister-in-law) Esther (sister),  Chick,  Geneva (sister)

Mildred Bruns (sister-in-law) Esther (sister), Chick, Geneva (sister)









Girlfiriend Rita Fleshner & Chick

Girl friend – Rita Fleshner & Chick

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August 18, 1945 – Saturday

We turned in our sheets. Had a council. Drew our clothes. Got paid and had our final talk. Received our discharge. Now I am a civilian. I walked out the gate to meet Harry. He was the last person I saw when I left the States and the first one I saw when I came back. Now that my army career is over I will bring this to a close.

The End

Geneva Barber (sister) ,Johanna Bruns (mother),  Chick Bruns, Francis Bruns (father)

Geneva Barber (sister) ,Johanna Bruns (mother), Chick Bruns, Francis Bruns (father)


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August 17, 1945 – Friday

SONY DSCWe sweated out all morning of getting our names on the roster. Finally after dinner or I should say at 3 pm I got on the roster. We got a talk and then a Physical exam. I called Es and told her to come pick me up tomorrow.  Wilusz, Butts, and I went to a show, had a coke and came home to bed.

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August 16, 1945 – Thursday

A4P92-7-600We were on our way again last night, but Wilusz and I fixed some bags up so we could go to sleep. We are traveling through Pennsylvania now, next Ohio, the Indiana, and last we are pulling into Chicago. We got there at 4:30 pm and laid over until 9:15 pm. We messed around in the yards from the south side over to the north side. We got out to Ft. Sheridan at 10 o’clock. We started our processing right away and by the time I got my shower taken it was 2:30 am.

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August 15, 1945 – Wednesday

SONY DSCWe walked over to the PX this morning to waste time. We took our bags over at noon and left at 1 o’clock for Chicago. We make good time up until we hit New York. Then we had a layover for a few hours. We were out in the Yards but could see the lights of the city.

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August 14, 1945 – Tuesday

SONY DSCWe were treated swell last night in Watersville, Maine. The whole town turned out to give us sandwiches and milk. Then about 12 o’clock at night the Red Cross was waiting with milk and doughnuts. We pulled into camp about 7 o’clock. Ate breakfast and went to a welcome home speech. We drew a suit of sun tans. Went over to the PX. Slept all afternoon and in the evening we went to the show. During the show they announced that the war was over with Japan. We talked to some people. Got my first milk shake in 3 years and went home. Called Pat on the phone. First time I gave the wrong address. But I got her the second time.

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August 13, 1945 – Monday

A4P108-6-600I laid around all morning. Ate dinner and laid around till 3 o’clock. We took our bags over and got ready to go. We went by trucks to a small town and boarded a train. We are going to camp Myles Standish in Massachusetts.

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