Wwii Letters & Photo, 34th Infantry Division, Italy. Wounded, Won Silver Star.
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Wwii Letters & Photo, 34th Infantry Division, Italy. Wounded, Won Silver Star.:
This isa very interesting grouping of three original WWII letters and one postcard photograph. The photograph, which was printed in Italy,is a portrait of the soldier who wrote the letters. The letters were written by a companyFirst Sergeantin the35th Infantry Division. This sergeant was wounded three times, and was awarded the Silver Star for valor.
*** Sergeant Joseph P. Edwards of F Company, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, was awarded the Silver Star, General Order No. 76 (1944).
The letters were written to themother of a soldier who had been killed in action at Monte Cassino in early February 1944. The soldier who was killedhad been aclose friend of the sergeant who wrote these letters.
*** The letters were written by First Sergeant Joseph P. Edwards of Detroit Michigan. Joseph Edwards wasfirst sergeant of F Company, 168th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 34th Infantry Division. Sergeant Edwards fought in thecampaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He was wounded three times, receiving the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He was also awarded the SilverStar for valor in 1944.
The letters were written to the mother of Pfc. Owen N. Lawson of Pennsylvania. Pfc. Lawsonhad beenkilled in action at Monte Cassino on the 5th of February, 1944. At the time of Pfc. Lawson's death Sergeant Edwards had been his platoon sergeant, and was also hisclose friend.
There are three original letters in this grouping, all written by Sergeant Edwards in Italy in 1944. There is also a photograph of Sergeant Edwards, which was enclosed with one of the letters.
*** When he wroteone of theletters in this grouping Sergeant Edwards had just learned that his own brother, a Navy pilot, had been killed.
The earliest letter is a V-Mail written on the 27th of July, 1944. Sergeant Edwards explains that he had recently been made First Sergeant. He explains to Mrs. Lawson that one of her son's friends, a man named Freeman, had been wounded at the sametime thather son had been killed. Freeman had almost lost his leg, and had been in the hospital for several months. Sergeant Edwards adds that he was lonesome, that he missed his old friends who were gone:
"I'm First Sgt. now, and I'm kept plenty busy, especially now that we're off the line.
Yes. Freeman knew Owen well too, but now he's gone too. He has been reclassified on account of his wound. Yes, Freeman was hit the same time Owen was, and he spent 4 1/2 months at the hospital and he almost lost his leg.
I sure do miss the old gang. Sometimes I wish that I can get away from here, as I get so lonesome for the old gang."
There is an excellent letterwritten on the 14th of September, 1944. It is3 pages long. Sergeant Edwards writes of his service since arriving overseas, explaining that he had been wounded three times:
"I have been away from home for two years this month, Sep. 22, and I made the invasion of North Africa at Casablanca and have been fighting ever since. Have been wounded three times."
Edwards had recently learned that his ownbrother, a pilot,had been killed in July:
"I had one of my brothers killed the 23 of July, and my folks really are worried about me now. My bother Leo was a pilot in the Navy Air Corps and he was killed in the States during a trial flight... You know, I had three other brothers in the service besides me. Leo was in the naval Air Corps, an Ensign, 21 years old. And Tom, a sailor in South America, he's 20 years old. And George, the baby, is in the ground crew, air corps, in Texas. He's 19 years old."
In the August 30th letter Sergeant Edwards describes the photograph that he was enclosing with the letter:
"I hope you like the picture I sent you in this letter. It's not too good a picture, but they don't have such good equipment over here, and it's so seldom a guy can have his picture taken, why should I be particular? I guess maybe you noticed by the picture I'm First Sergeant now, have been for about a month."
The photograph of Sergeant Edwards is on a postcard printed at a studio in Italy. He is wearing his First Sergeant's stripes, his Combat Infantryman's Badge, and his 34th Infantry Division patch.
There is content in the August 30th letter about Owen Lawson's friend Freeman (the man who had been wounded when Lawson was killed). There is also a segment about a nephew of Mrs. Lawson's who had recently been wounded in action. Sergeant Edwards believed that the wounded man was perhaps better off being in the hospital than at the front:
"I sure do miss the old gang, and I seem to be all alone at times, but one of these days I'll leave too, and I hope it's soon.
Freeman is from Michigan too. He don't live far from my home in Detroit. Freeman is on his way home now.
I'm awfully sorry to hear about your nephew being wounded, but maybe he is better off, who knows? The war might be over by the time he gets out of the hospital."
An excellent grouping of original WWII letters, written in Italy 1944 by a sergeant in the 34th Infantry Division who was awarded the Silver Star, and who was wounded at least three times during the war. Written to the mother of a soldier who had been killed in action at Monte Cassino in February 1944.
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