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- WILLIAM PALMER
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- 06 June 2004
The following letter has just been found when clearing my parents house. I believe it is quite revealing. (The personal items have been edited out)
June 27th 1944
A letter from a member of the 11th Hussars (P.A.O.), 3Tp D. Squadron, B.W.E.F.
I have had enough excitement out here to last me a lifetime. Shelled from Calais, bombed off the beaches, straffed in Laiger (?), mixed up in a two day tank battle, knocked out two half tracks, shelled, mortared, machine gunned, sniped, cut off and surrounded and fought our way out with German infantry within 50 yards of us at times. That is just a few of the things that happened to me, - and frightened?. I never been so scared in all my life. And God how I have come to hate war and all that is to do with it. It is the most bloody, beastly and ghastly thing ever devised by the human mind. I don’t care if I never see another Hun for the rest of the war.
Parked in some lovely woods belonging to a chateau. It all looks so much like a bit of England. In the next field we have some 6.2 (155mm) that keep us awake all night and by going off at unexpected times makes nervous wrecks of us. The percussion is terrific; it almost takes our liver away.
The French people in this part anyway seem far from starving as we have been led to believe and some of them don’t seem so hot on this liberation stunt. However I was given flowers, bread and butter in a middle of a battle with bullets flying all around. That does say something for them anyway.
It is only when one sees papers out here that one realises what tosh they write. Vast pincers movement to places which we are nowhere near, their facts wrong, and a lot of callous rot. They calmly speak of passing a tank brewed up or a dead soldier, trying to glorify war. Little do they know of the tragedy and suffering that lies behind one dead man or behind a burnt out crust of a tank.
On the maps we use it looks as if we have taken miles because they are such a large scale, but I took a look at a map of Europe at our positions and it is a mere nibble out of a vast hunk. I dread to think how long it will take unless the German Government collapses. That is why I hate the papers because I have always hated hypocrisy. I would always rather know the truth than be elated for a bit and then find the real truth.
The invasion has been going three weeks yet it seems like three months already. I wonder when I shall see England again. Will she ever be the same? Yes, a country fit for heroes to live in and it will take a hero to live in it.
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