T hank you for visiting the WW2 Letters of Private Melvin W. Johnson. We'd like to know that you were here so be sure and take a couple of seconds to drop us a line below.
20 August 2004
I went to your sight and enjoyed it, thank you for the opportunity to have this content of history available. Lukus Traverso
Lukus Traverso | USA
14 August 2004
S/Sgt Ernest L. Barber
I just got through checking your site out. What a great site!! My father never talked much about the war. The men who fought in World War II were very modest about their roles in the war. We knew there was a book with a write up on how he won the DSC and had searched for years for this book. My father just passed away 6/23/04 and it made me determined to find this book. I finally found it, but I wish I had found it before my father passed. The book is The Combat History of the Second Division in World War II. Originally, he got a book when he was discharged, but it was just for the 23rd Regiment so we were looking for the wrong book. Apparently after he was discharged they combined the history of all the Regiments into one book and it was just re-published by the Battery Press, Inc.
I attached a copy of the write up of my father.
S/Sgt. Ernest L. Barber
2nd Inf. Div., 23rd Regiment, 2nd Battalion
He received purple heart with cluster, bronze star with cluster, distinguished service cross.
I try to inform people about the books on the different divisions in World War II that were published originally by the Army/Navy and that Battery Press, Inc has been re-publishing. There are so many people looking for information on their family members who fought in World War II and tracing their steps through the war. Some of the divisions even have videos available. Maybe you could put something on your site about this so the information would get to more people. Linda Plonski, Erie, PA
Linda Plonski | Erie, PA USA
12 August 2004
3rd Canadian Division
First of all, great web site. My dad was with the 7th Recce Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Division in WW2. He is now 82 and just as reticent about his war experiences now as he was 10 years ago. I had the honour of attending the regiment's 57th reunion in Montreal on June 5th 2004. I looked about the veterans, very proud of their achievments, with a certain degree of amazement. This was the ultimate generation! I am very proud of my old man ( geez, i just turned 50! ) and his buddies and all the other vets who fought long and hard to free Europe and Asia. We must never forget.
R. Klein, Toronto Canada
R. Klein | Toronto, Canada
4 August 2004
A Fighting Perth Remembers
Hello. I just got your address off the Canadian heroes web site, and have saved your own site to my favorites. I'll print it out later. I prefer reading off paper than off screen. It looks like you have a very nice site. By way of introduction, I live in Windsor, Ontario across the river from Detroit. I served in a Canadian infantry regiment in the Italian Campaign and was wounded twice. I am also a writer , but nowhere near the class of Hemingway or Stephen Ambrose. If you can somehow find my book titled NOT ALL OF US WERE BRAVE, you will learn more or less something of the life in war of an average Canadian Private. Then maybe you won't because I don't think I was average. And by saying this I'm not suggesting or hinting that I was another Audie Murphy. Like hell I was!
I've written many short accounts, essays and whatnot, and if you don't mind, I could send you something every so often. Here's a piece I wrote for my legion newsletter of which I 've been the editor ever since Christ was a cowboy and Moses wore bulrush trousers. Or so it seems. I wrote it for a Remembrance Day newsletter.
I¹ve taken the liberty of describing the last moments in the life of one inordinately young Canadian who represents the hundred thousand and more other Canadians who laid down their lives in War. I have done this for a reason, that reason being that it is much easier to focus the memory onto one individual than it is onto a faceless multitude. In remembering one. . . you remember all.
Stan Scislowski | Windsor, Ontario, Canada
4 August 2004
My Grandfather Fought in the Royal Air Force
Dear sir, I like those letters. I did a research paper on WWII for my advance class this past year. Even though the course is over, I am still interested in the war. My own grandfather fought in the Royal Air Force. I am from Jamaica, and so was he. He is now in his 80s, and still works. I am interested to hear more of this.
Annaliese Anderson | USA
3 August 2004
Very, very nice site. Incredible story. The gaps must be even more interesting. Really brings home the sacrifice of your grandfather and others. Amazing. Grover Laye does not remember Melvin, but also said that he transferred into the 79th from the 75th right before d-day and didn't have much of a chance to get to know too many guys. He led an assault platoon and has lots of interesting stories. He was wounded 3 times. He is definitely a character. I appreciate your sharing this site with me and wish you luck in finding more information. Have a good day. Jeff Mang
Jeff Mang | USA
3 August 2004
Private Clifford Keenan
Very impressive to support the texts of your grandfather's letters with all of that background material. I have edited the family letters from and to my older brother Pvt. Clifford Keenan, a paratrooper, who was killed late in the evening of D-Day, outside of St. Mere Eglise. He was in service from 1942 through part of 1944. Your letters and his have common topics such as the domestic details, emphasis on food, details of basic training, the development of a common bond among soldiers. They were at Camp Wolters at the same time in 1943. He was from the South; yours from the West and Mid-West; but their experiences were much alike. You did an excellent job of presenting these letters for a broader public.
Hugh T. Keenan, Professor emeritus, Georgia State Univ., Atlanta, GA
Hugh T. Keenan | Atlanta, GA USA
2 August 2004
335th Infantry, 84th Division
Dear Mr. Ketchum,
Thank you very much for contacting me with reference to your web site. I browsed it this morning, read some of the letters, and will certainly return to read them all. The site is beautiful, impressively done, and you are to be congratulated for developing and maintaining it. As one who served as an infantryman during WW II and spent several years researching and writing a memoir of my unit (Company K, 335th Infantry, 84th Division) I can easily appreciate the information presented at the site and its contribution to the history of the war and its era.
Again, many thanks and if you have any questions about my service or my memoir I would be honored to try and answer them.
Allan W. Howerton
Allan W. Howerton | USA
2 August 2004
Til' We Ran Out of Gas
Dear Sir: A very fitting memorial. Thanks for sharing this with me. I was south of this outfit. 20th corps artillery. 282fabn 105 howitzer. I was a forward observer radio operator. We were attached to many divisions but mainly the 90th, 5th, and 95th. We were the southern flank across France till we ran out of gas. We carried the infantry on our trucks to make that dash. A jeep was put in front and any opposition, we stopped and the infantry advanced as we set up a position. Usually it only took a couple hours. I am 79 so I can also relate about the depression also. It was years before I could eat navy beans again. LOL. Tom and Rhoda Hollingsworth
Tom & Rhoda Hollingsworth | USA
19 July 2004
For Each Piece of Shrapnel
Mr. Ketchum, I have visited your site in the past, but I will come back to it. My Grandmother Lindsey kept all of my Uncle T.J.'s letters and I was able to read them circa 1965 when I was in my mid teens. She had kept his letters from the time he enlisted in the fall of 1940 until he was killed in action in early 1945. She still lived in the old log house that they lived in when he joined up. It was what is called a dog trot style house here in the South and was built about 1840. When she moved to live near on of her daughters, about 1970, she burned the letters.
I can recall that he wrote about the cold and snow and that he was armed at least part of the time with a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun. He mentioned that he had killed a deer with it for some fresh meat (perhaps that was another name for some Frenchman`s steer). He was wounded before he was killed, and in one letter he said he had killed a German for each piece of shrapnel that they removed from his body. I would often look at a picture of my uncle, that my grandmother had over her fireplace, and wonder what he was like. To me he was a soldier, an infantry platoon Sgt., and someone who was an older brother to my father. And now I am 54 years old with a wife and children. He had just turned 23 when he died. I wish I had my uncle's letters. Thanks for your site dedicated to your grandfather.
Mike Lindsey | USA
8 June 2004
John C. Rebarchek
I was going through MSN to find out about the name Rebarchek. I came across your website and saw my dad's name. John C. Rebarchek. In our small town in northern Minnesota, he was a hero back then. He wouldn't talk much about the war but we have newspaper articles about him and what he did at Cherbourg. After his death in 1995, my sister obtained metals from the government that he never received when he was alive. I have these articles if you would like copies of them.
Thanks so much for honoring our WWII veterans.
Janie Nuese (Rebarchek)
Janie Nuese (Rebarchek)
31 May 2004
Great site. My uncle served in the 314th infantry regiment, 79th division, during World War II (believe he was in company F from going through his letters). He was declared missing in action 11/19/1944 and dead on 12/10/1944 and is buried in the Lorraine American cemetery in St Avold, France. I have tried to understand more about what happened to him without much success. Thank you for your time.
Regards, Chris Blanch
Chris Blanch | USA
31 May 2004
I Can't Imagine
I wanted to thank you for posting the story of your grandfather, Melvin W. Johnson. My Dad also served with the 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. He was assigned as a replacement to E Company, 2nd Battalion and landed in Normandy about three weeks after D-Day according to his recollection. The story of your grandfather's that you have shared has given me a great deal of information about my dad's experience. My dad survived the war after being captured Jan. 19th, 1945, liberated April 1, '45. Surely they shared some of the same situations and circumstances. I personally cannot imagine the sacrifices that your family has made for the freedom that we all share. I can thank you for sharing your grandfather's personal memoirs. My father died Nov, 4th, 2002 six months after having surgery to relieve complications. unbelievably, that he had from suffering frost bite during the war. I had been searching for more information on my dad's regiment when I found your web site.
Thank You, David Byley
David Byley | USA
15 April 2004
Patriotism and Understanding
Dear Sir; I appreciate the amount of work that has obviously gone into your web site. I have shared it with everyone I know, in an effort to promote patriotism and and understanding of what has been given for our freedom.
Thank You. Dennis Buckman
Dennis Buckman | USA