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

December 20, 1944 – Wednesday

SONY DSCFinished loading our truck as we are leaving tomorrow. Boy, it’s going to be hard to leave this place. Went over to Margo’s and told them good-bye. They all cried and wanted to know if I was coming back. I told them maybe some day I would. Boy, but I hated to leave.

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December 19, 1944 – Tuesday

SONY DSCToday we loaded most of our supplies on the truck. Not much to do. Took a shower. Went out tonight.

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December 18, 1944 – Monday

SONY DSCThe same old rumor is up again and this time I think we are going for sure. It’s really been swell here and I hate to leave. The people have treated us swell and we were to have a great Christmas. Did a little work around the supply room and that’s about all. Went over to the Willisecker’s for a while.

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December 17, 1944 – Sunday

SONY DSCWent to mass this morning at 9:30 am. In the afternoon Margo, Janie, and I went for a walk and took a few pictures. Went over to the house tonight, but didn’t stay long.

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December 16, 1944 – Saturday

SONY DSCDon’t know how long we will be here, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed so we might stay for a while. We are on the alert to go up as infantry, don’t know what will happen. Went out tonight.

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Letter Home – December 15, 1944

19441215a-Lscan-600Dear Mother & Dad

Well I have quite a few letters from you before me so I have put off answering your questions long enough. Now that I have a little free time I’ll try to answer as many as I can. The letters date clear back to July 3rd, and up to the present date.

Joe Watters was transferred to Headquarter Company of the 10th. It’s a much better deal for him as he was so nervous. I had to laugh at your letter when you said that the Nelsons had received a letter from Bud and from the way it sounded that he was in action. The only action he will see from Headquarters Company in a signal outfit, is the sound of the big guns in the distant, and then he will be so far back that they are faint to him, ha, ha. Yes I will have to talk to him some day and see how close he really did get.

19441215b-Lscan-600You told me that dad had the car painted and paid for it out of his own pocket. Now, how many times must I’d tell you any time you have use for my money please use it. I can never repay you two for the enjoyment you have given me in life. Tinnies outfit is in the 5th Army in Italy so I probably never will get to see him. You ask if I had ever received the Mexican Heat Powder. Yes Mom, have most of it left. Oh say while I think of it will you send me the Chicago Herald and Tribune funny papers every week. Yes I still get the Champaign Paper. It’s a little old but there are a lot of things I read in the paper that you don’t tell me about. I have a couple of letters from you dad in these also so don’t you think it’s about time you write your old son, ha, ha.

No Mom I never see Herman anymore. For all I know he could be out of the Division. You wanted to know if V-mail travels faster than regular mail. Yes coming from you the V-mail travels faster. I think my letters get home all about the same no matter how they are sent.

So Dale Trees is going into infantry. Boy that stuff. But he has had it easy long enough. But to the infantry! I’m glad Harold funny passed, he has waited so long for it. Poor mom, I wish you wouldn’t worry about me drinking the whisky. I’m still the same boy I was when I left, and I’ll be the same when I get home. You said Ormand was foolish. Well maybe he was, but if it made him happy that’s all that’s necessary. I had a letter from him today telling me that he was wounded. I always told him to stay out of combat but he wouldn’t listen to me. He lasted just 18 days of combat before he was hit. He should have it made for some time though. Received the orange cookies, and boy were they ever good.

From the looks of the clippings you sent me, you must have did pretty good on your district convention. Yes I hear from Eddie Hart all the time. He is in the 35th Division and in the 3rd Army. Yes I knew that VanWerven boy will. He used to work in Champaign, at the University. From the way you and dad wrote it, you wouldn’t think that you liked Roosevelt. Well I know he should’nt have ran but he was the best man for the job and if I would have voted I would have voted for him. I think he is doing a pretty good to job of it. I see where John Murry’s folks received a letter from some Italian people, and they had to take it to the University to have it translated. Well you may have to do the same thing one of these days, but it will probably be written in German. These people that I have been visiting said, that if I didn’t write to them they were going to write to you and find out whats what about me. They are really swell people treat me as a son. Ha, ha, I told them that you and dad came from Hanover when you were 20 years old. Most of these people have German blood in them and it always helps to snow them a little. It’s a shame that I told the little fib to these people as they think I’m about it. They have a nice daughter. One like I would like to marry, but it’s impossible. So don’t worry about me, ha, ha, but I guess there are too many girls in the states. But I say she is one girl, or should I say a girl that I would like to find in the states. Oh well maybe I will be able to keep in touch with them. Well I guess that about winds the questions up.

Did I tell you, I went to mass and communion Sunday morning. It’s so nice to go to mass in a church. It’s a beautiful church, and they have a wonderful choir. I was the only soldier in the church that went to communion so I could sure feel the eyes looking at me. I have some pictures that I’m going to send home to you as soon as a I can get them censored. Well I guess I had better bring this to a close. I’ll try and not get so far behind in my letters to you now, and I think I will answer your questions as you ask them. By by to you both and dad I’ll be looking for a letter from you.

ALL MY LOVE
YOUR SON
“Chick”

Here are some pictures that another boy gave me

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December 15, 1944 – Friday

SONY DSCPacked a few things on the truck. Outside of that there was little to do. Went out for a while but came in early.

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December 14, 1944 – Thursday

SONY DSCAbout the same as yesterday. We are supposed to move so I went over to Margo’s for a little while. They sure are nice people and they all treat me swell. They gave me a picture of Strasbourg and a pen and pencil set. It’s a shame I’ll have to leave. But it can’t be helped.

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December 13, 1944 – Wednesday

SONY DSCWellman left for Paris so I am in charge for a few days. Had to make a few trips to the Battalion today. Went over to Margo’s.

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December 12, 1944 – Tuesday

SONY DSCDid my usual routine and then went over to see the Willisecker’s. Jamie was there, and everyone was happy as Margo’s mother didn’t have to go away. They had saw a French Commander and he approved of her. We talked quite a bit and I didn’t get home till 12 bells. God I was sleepy.

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