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

Then and Now, Saint-Hippolyte School

As a result of this WWII diary, dad and I have developed some new friendships.    One such friend, Alban Bagy whose home town is Saint-Hippolyte in Alsace, eastern France.

The post on December 25, 1944 showed Chick and fellow soldiers with their Christmas Tree.   Alban recognized the building in the background and forwarded pictures he took of the building as it is now.   “As you can see, it has’nt changed too much since Christmas 1944.” Alban said in his letter.

Uttick, Brueing, Oliver, Swanson, Wellman, Chick

Uttick, Brueing, Oliver, Swanson, Wellman, Chick

StHippolyte-School 1 StHippolyte-School 3



StHippolyte-School 2








As the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe approaches, the community of Saint-Hippolyte plans to host an exhibition for the V-E Day holiday, May 8, 2015.




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February 1, 1945 – Thursday

SONY DSCNot much to do. It has warmed up and the snow is all melting. It even rains a little now and then. Couldn’t sleep last night as there was artillery all around us. And they fired all night. Played a little cards and wrote some letters.

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January 31, 1945 – Wednesday

SONY DSCThe infantry is still moving but they are flanking Colmar. The company has been putting up a lot of foot bridges as there are plenty of canals to cross. We moved this morning to a new area. For the first time this winter we are out in the woods. There are no towns left standing around here as they are either destroyed by artillery and bombs or the Germans burned them when they left. The town of Ostheim was completely burned out.

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January 30, 1945 – Tuesday

SONY DSCDon’t know how the attack is coming. Some say the French are going to take Colmar and we are going around it. Hope they get Colmar soon so we can move in.

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January 29, 1945 – Monday

SONY DSCWe had to get some more boats today. The attack starts at 9 tonight. The artillery starts at 8:30 pm. We had to go after another load of boats and take them up to the canal. God the artillery is sure letting everything fly. Haven’t heard anything like it for some time. The roads were all jammed with traffic, and as usual the French had everything jammed up. We saw a lot of prisoners coming in. Got in about 12 o’clock.

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January 28, 1945 – Sunday

SONY DSCJoe Pryz and I went to mass this morning. Then worked on boats all day loading and blowing them up. They are going to make another attack tonight. So we have to be ready. They called the attack off for some reason. Listened to the radio.

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January 27, 1945 – Saturday

SONY DSCToday was about the same as yesterday except for the trip to battalion.

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Letter Home – January 26, 1945

19450126-Lscan-600Dear Mother & Dad,

I have a few letters here from you dated Dec 28, Jan 2, 6, 7th. Ha, ha. Mother I have to laugh when you tell me not too visit these girls over here. What do you take me for a baby, don’t worry about me. You can tell the good from the bad. Yea, the mail here is just as slow as it is at home. The weather here is really terrible. Last night it snowed about a foot again. What do you mean by the laws being too radical? As for going to church, I go when I can. Well dad I am feeling pretty good, but as for standing the cold weather, that’s another question. I just can’t keep my feet warm, but we only have a couple of months to go, and I have stood it this long, I guess I’ll make out Okea. You wanted to know how things are going, well sometimes they get pretty rough, but I don’t think it’s as bad as the other fronts are getting it. I doubt if you and mom really know where I am. I’d just hope the Russian keep going. Maybe they will bring an end to this war are. Guess I’ll say goodbye to you both, and love you from the bottom of my heart.

Your Son,

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January 26, 1945 – Friday

SONY DSCThings are pretty quiet today, not much activity going on. Had to make a trip to the battalion. Listened to the radio and went to bed.

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January 25, Thursday

SONY DSCThe attack isn’t going any too well. It’s pretty tough going. Dead G.I.’s and Germans are laying all over the place. A few prisoners are coming in. One of the fellows in our outfit was on a truck and the truck was hit by a shell. Cut his head just about off.

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