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

July 24, 1944 – Monday

Chick

Chick

I issued stuff out all day today. The time is getting short. We have loaded part of our stuff on ships. We were issued four bottles of beer and 2 cakes today. Not bad. The beer was from America for a change. I was pretty tired so I wrote a couple of letters and went to bed.

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July 23, 1944 – Sunday

SONY DSCI messed around camp all morning and then Steve and I took off for Naples. We went to a show and then to Madison Square Garden’s to the Prize Fights. They were pretty good. Drank a little “Vino” and came home. We were hungry so we went over for some potatoes and eggs again.

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July 22, 1944 – Saturday

SONY DSCThere’s plenty to do around here now, and the landings can’t be far off. Half the company gets to go on pass today and the other half tomorrow. Steve and I went over to some Dago’s house to get some potatoes and eggs to eat. They were sure good.

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July 21, 1944 – Friday

SONY DSCThe company came down at noon today. I was issuing things out all afternoon. We went to a show in the evening.

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July 20, 1944 – Thursday

SONY DSCWe heard rumors that the Company was coming down. I hope so. We have a lot of equipment to issue out. Went to a show in town tonight.

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Letter Home – July 19, 1944

19440719a-Lscan-600Dear Mother & Dad

Your letters are stacking up here so I had better answer a few of them so I won’t have so much to carry around. I don’t know whether I have lost some of the letters or not but I have most of that dates here.

May 17, Glad to hear that you receive my package with the bracelets in it. I have sent two other packages home since then so let me know when you get them will you.

May 28, the way this letter sounds you must have had a good deal of Ray dean at home. I guess it’s the same 19440719b-Lscan-600every year though. You ask about that Gene May, well if it is the same May boy that I knew, he wasn’t worth much.

June 2, So Mary Hart took over Dale’s apartment did she. I had a letter from Eddie the other day. He is in England.

June 6, Well mom the day you were confirmed, we went to into Rome. My what a beautiful city that was, I’ll tell you more about it later on in this letter. So Pat Marmon was your partner. I wish I could have been there for the occasion.

June 14, yes I know Mrs. Fleshner works too hard and it looks as if Rita could see it that way but I guess she never will. I’m afraid that little girl will have to change if she wants this kid.

June 15 & 17 & 18, There was very little too these letters that I had an arty answered before. You and dad just can’t find time to rest, can you. You always find something to do around the house to make it look prettier.

June 20, Yes I saw john Murry on the way into Rome, He has been with the French most of the time that it is the reason why it we haven’t been able to run onto one another. I didn’t get to talk to him very long as the move traffic was to bad. We kept hollering back and forth to each other as the convoy moved along. But that didn’t last long either.

June 21, It seems as if you and your conventions are going pretty strong, ha, ha. Well whatever you like mom you do, because you should get all the enjoyment you can out of life. By now you should know what happened to me. I guess I was very lucky, but that’s all that counts. I was just shaken up a little, and I thought if I wrote you about it you would think it was more than it really was. But I guess I did wrong.

June 23, You mention of them putting something in the paper about me, but then you never gets they whether it came out in it or not. If you have a clipping send it to me I will send it back.

June 25, I think I wrote you about Joe. He was in the hospital for just a couple of weeks and then came back to the outfit. He has been here ever since. Joe and I are pretty good friends. And for gosh sakes mom don’t believe what someone else tells you about fellows coming home from over here, because they don’t know what they are talking about. Look if I came home look at all the sites I would miss. I’ll be home one of these days so don’t worry your head about me, and don’t pay any attention to rumors.

June 27, It was ashame Dan was too old, but anything can happen these days. You are just as safe one place as another. When your time is up, it’s up, and you can do nothing about it.

June 29, I hear quite raid early from pat Smith and Betty McCole I wish Rita could do the same, but that’s asking too much. Pat’s now working and Hartford Conn.

July 1, I couldn’t understand how come it took so long for you to get the pictures, but as long as you receive them that’s all that counts.

July 4, Yes I still remember the time I blew the pants off of dad. Ha, ha, if those were the days. The 4th was pretty quiet here.

June 6, Yes mom Rita could be a fine girl if she wanted to. She is thoughtful in some ways, but then falls down in others. She always did like both of you, and gets a kick out of dad, every time she tries to kiss him. She wrote and told me how he tried to get away from her, ha, ha, I would have liked to have seen it.

June 8, I’m afraid Herman Osterbur was a little mixed up in his letter as he goes every place I go. Well I guess this is all of this letter.

I told you some time ago, that when I could I would tell you all about Rome. It’s pretty hard to do, but I will do my best. The pictures I sent home will tell you a better story. First I will tell you a little about the people. they are much cleaner than most of the Italians that I have seen, and they keep the city clean to. The funny part of it was that most of the people could speak a little English so we could get along pretty good. About the first place I went to see was Saint Peter’s Cathedral. It is really too beautiful to describe. It is very large, in fact you don’t realize how large it really is until you get on the inside of it. You look up at the dome, and sees some gold lettering around the top of it. To you it looks to be about two feet high but come to find out it is over seven foot high. The statues and paintings are so pretty and all of the statues are made of marble, and it comes from all over the world. The altars are kept in flowers all of the time. The Pope says mass only twice a year there. I was able to get to see the pope, after waiting about 2 hours. But I guess it was worth waiting for. His servants or guards carried him into the room we were in, and as he came by he blessed all of us. He speaks English very well, and can also speak 16 other of different languages. The Vatican City was closed to any personnel, so I didn’t get to get in two see it.

The coliseum wasn’t much but a lot of ruins, but still it was interesting. I don’t know how to explain that to you, so let the pictures speak for themselves. The next place we went too was the a victor Emanuel but a monument. It was very beautiful also. It is made of white marble and the statues are of gold coloring. At night they have different colored lights shown on it and it’s very pretty. There are many old ruins left in the city, but like I have said before you just can’t explain them and words. The only thing I hated about the city was that there wasn’t any food to be had so you went hungry.

I went to the opera house, and saw Irving Berlin’s “This is the Army”. I enjoyed it quite a bit. They had some good comedy acts in it. The opera house was something itself. We sat on the fifth balcony and it looked as in if the stage was a mile from you. I can now see why they have opera glasses. The king and Queen’s thrown was on the second balcony. You have seen the pictures of the big drapes hanging out over the Kings seats, well it was the same way there. They were of a bright red coloring, trimmed in gold lace.

I think I have said about enough for one night now so I had better bring this to a close. We have just had a mail call so now I have another letter of yours to answer.

July 9, Thanks for burning a candle for me I’ll be needing it some day. Well this is all for now goodbye to you both and I’ll write again soon. I love you both from the bottom of my heart.

Your Son,
“Chick”

PS. The picture is suppose to be me, and the negatives Posk gave me to have you give them two his mother.

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Letter Home – July 18, 1944

19440718-Lscan-600Dear Mother & Dad

I went to see Paul yesterday and what a time we had. Saw a good movie and I had a couple of meals at his outfit. He’s a he is a swell kid. I would like to tell you more about it but I don’t think it would pass the sensor anyway. He gave me some negatives to send home for him so when I write a regular letter I will put them in it. You give them two Mrs. Wilson.

I’m going to be pretty busy so if you don’t hear hear from me don’t worry. I’ll write every chance I get you know. I had a letter from Snook today. I guess he didn’t receive my last letter as yet. Guess this is about for now. I am well and in good health. Of course I could stand a little home cooking, ha ha. By by.

Your Son,
“Chick”

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July 18, 1944 – Tuesday

SONY DSCAbout the same as yesterday. Received a couple of packages from home, and a few letters. Got a truck and went to a show.

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July 17, 1944 – Monday

SONY DSCLaid around most of the day, it’s so hot. Wrote a few letters and slept a little. We had some P.X. and I got my Rations and then went to a show.

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July 16, 1944 – Sunday

SONY DSCWell, I went on pass today in Naples. I went down to see Paul. We had a good time and took in the city. Went to a show, down to the Red Cross, and listened to the 3rd Division band. Came home and went to bed.

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