Monday, November 14, 2022

Four Letters: 1943

 Yesterday I got the letters from 1943 transcribed.  

Letters from Arthur E Yliniemi to his cousin Lila. Arthur’s father and Lila’s mother were brother and sister.   Arthur is my Dad's brother.  Arthur was born in 1920.  The letters were written from Camp Clairborne Louisiana in  mid 1943.   Arthur  lists his address as Co A 409 Infantry

Photo of Arthur taken when he was on furlough in Minnesota

 May 31, 1943

 Dear Cousin, Here Im’ back from my furlough, I’m having a heck of a time getting used to Army life again.

Well I got some sad news I think my brother Hugo went across the other week. 

How is the weather there is it just as nice as it was a week ago.  The weather down here sure is hot.  It just about burns me up.

Boy oh boy I wish I could get transferred to some northern camp away from the sunny south.  

How is every little thing treating you.  I am just fine waiting for this war to end. 

I suppose Hugo (Lila’s husband) is busy rearing sheep.

By the way I got to do KP tomorrow. So have it pretty easy tomorrow.  For you know I rather do KP than go out in the field and trill.

One dam thing with me when I write a letter I don’t know what to scribble and when a person is here it is the same old stuff day in day out so a person don’t have any news.

It’ll be so long for this time next time some more  Your Cousin Arthur


June 12, 1943

Dear Cousin Lila, There I come again with a few lines of bullshit that about all I can scribble for I haven’t any news.

By the way I have some news, my feet are pretty darn sore after marching a 32 mile hike the other night.  Was it ever a tough one.  We worked all day Friday and four o clock we started on that long march.  It was three o clock in the morning before we got through with it.  Every dam bone in  my body was aching that I couldn’t even lay still in bed.  Week after next we are spotted to make 40 miles.  I hate thee heck to see that day come. 

So Walfred has to go for the examination too, I sure feel sorry for him if he gets into this branch of the service.

I wish I could get part of the cool breeze you have up there north for the weather down here sure makes me sweat like an old plow horse.  It’s been 115 in the shade for the last 4 days boy that is too hot for any man.

I received a letter from Alvin the other day and I got just through answering it.  He wrote that the weather down there was to hot for him down there.

This Camp itself isn’t so bad but there suppose to give the toughest training than any other C and I can feel it too.

My bullshit box is getting empty.  So I will close So Long Your Cousin Arthur  PS If you see Walfred tell hello from me.


July 11, 1943  (Parts of the letter are missing…like a mouse chewed them up.)

I haven’t got any news that I could write about and very little we can write about the army life or movement so that covers most of the news around here. 

Well Walfred did join the Navy a last long time he aimed for it before he join it.  I got a letter from him yesterday he didn’t kick the Navy very much but one thing he doesn’t like to wash his own cloths.  I know if we had to wash our cloths I don’t think I’d ever have a clean rag.

Well the final push to Europe started yesterday I almost bet 2 to 1 before 6 months is over we’ll be running all over Germany or if we don’t get it in 6 months its last about from 2 to 5 years

What is Eino….

I suppose a man can make good money out there but all in all I don’t think there’s anything in it for a family man to move.  

I suppose Hugo  (Lila’s husband) started hay making already like most of the farmers.  As far as everything is concerned I’d rather make hay all year around than staying this army especially in that cool Minnesota weather one thing I know now is hot weather up there in Minn we don’t even know what heat is

I’m telling you when it’s 122 in the shade and take off on a 25 mile hike you can really feel the heat and there’s men passing out left and right from sun strokes and still we got to keep going.  The heck of it is we don’t get only one quart of water for the whole 25 miles.  I’m telling you it is the toughest dam thing I’ve ever gone through.

Tomorrow we have a 11 mile force march we haven’t any dope on that hike yet what it will be like. We even might have to run all the way.  One thing about it if they go faster than 3 miles an hour I’m going to drop out.

Shit on hikes.

Sunday we are going to the rifle range to practice a little shooting that’s about all the news this time 

So Long Your Cousin Arthur


September 17, 1943  In the sticks.

Dear Cousin Lila, Thank a lot for your letter which I received a few hours ago. 

Here we are deep in the woods of Louisiana and two months maneuvers which I don’t like very well but I can’t do a dam thing.

I got a letter from Ma (My Grandmother) today and she said she had gotten a letter from Hugo.  I guess it was the first letter in 4 months since he been overseas.

So Walfred got shipped out of Idaho.  Have you got any idea where he is I don’t think they will send him to the high seas yet.

I heard a rumor the other ay we had a training schedule up to Sept 1944 so I guess it mean that we won’t be send across for a year yet. 

That sure was some thing that Italy gave Arms that shortened the war quite a bit.  We celebrated Italy’s Arms a little bit we had a drink party and I think everybody got drunk.  I sure hope this war is over by Christmas.

So Long Best of Luck Arthur


I am not certain when Arthur was sent overseas...most likely January or February 1944.

He was injured or killed  during the invasion of Italy and died May 20 1944.   He is buried in Italy.

At least now we know a bit more about him from his letters to his cousin.

Far Side

Camp Claiborne was located in the Kisatchie National Forest  It is said that Camp Clairborne turned out well disciplined, high spirited and well prepared soldiers.  I found it interesting that the camp  had its own railway system and they specialized in rail sabotage. 


Val Ewing said...

This is so interesting! Wow.
A peak into the life of Army training in the south.

I know my husband sometimes tells me stories of when he was training in the south. I don't recall where he was but he refers to the heat but then says it wasn't as bad there as it was overseas in Vietnam.

These are some great historical treasures.

Kathy said...

Very interesting! Really enjoyed reading the letters. Such a hard training to walk those distances in the heat

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these letters from your uncle. Makes me even more appreciative of the sacrifices men and women in the armed forces made for our freedom we enjoy today. My grandfather fought in WWII and thankfully made it home safely. He rarely talked about his time in the service.
I know all about the heat he describes in his letters. My husband is from Louisiana! RHill said...

Quite interesting and so sad that he died and never made it back to Minnesota. I agree with him about the heat in the South!

Galla Creek said...

Thank you, Arthur E. Yliniemi for giving your life for us.
"Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future." Eli Wiesel

Lynda said...

We had there most touching Veteran's Day Service at church yesterday. The video could have actually been better used for Memorial Day because it showed pictures of military cemeteries here and across the sea with the numbers of lives lost during the many wars. It was very, very moving. Our men who did not die still suffered greatly whether emotionally or physically. I met a veteran last week who had his face rebuilt and hand reattached after an IED but he said he would do it all again for our children and grandchildren to be living in a free country. We have been blessed and are blessed greatly by the everyday heroes in our lives who never intended to do the things they were asked to do.

Ed said...

What language were those letters written in? As like the others, I found them completely fascinating. I have a few letters and two records that one of my great uncles made on his way or on leave from the war. I really treasure them.

Tired Teacher 2 said...

These letters are a true treasure. I went to a screening of a documentary on Friday. You can watch it free online until November 16th.

Maebeme said...

Definitely an interesting look into camp life. Lots of boredom, long hikes, and some fun to. He sounds like a sweet man.

So sorry he didn't make it home.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Ed, They were in English:)

Sara said...

What a family treasure to have those letters. So sad that he didn't come home, and buried overseas. Has anyone in the family been to Italy to visit his grave? I can only imagine how that impacted his family.

Sandra said...

This made me sad. My dad went in the navy right after Pearl Harbor, he got to come home. It's sad Arthur did not.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sara my Aunt Anna has been there.

Rita said...

So sorry he didn't make it home. My dad and his brother made it home after the Navy at the end of WWII. Poor Arthur wasn't as lucky. That heat in training sounds dreadful!

Linda Reeder said...

These letters become precious, knowing that Arthur did not survive the war and get to come home.

Red said...

they were good men but they really didn't like the training. No wonder! That type of training was nuts and didn't achieve anything.

diane in northern wis said...

Thank you for sharing the letters from your Uncle Arthur. I can just picture back then. Sorry he died in the war and had to be buried in Italy. That had to be so hard on the family. God bless them all.

Betsy said...

What precious treasures the letters from Arthur are for his family. The training the men endured makes no sense to me. What did it prepare them for? I'm so sorry that Arthur didn't get to come home to his beloved Minnesota. Thank you to him and all of the other brave men and women who fought for us to have a free country.
Blessings and hugs,

Miss Merry said...

I feel like I really got to know Arthur through his letters. Thank you so much for sharing with us. They are a treasured reminder of this precious man and his sacrifice for all of us. May he never be forgotten.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

How neat.
When we brought home a bunch of stuff from Dave's grandma's there were a few letters from his Great-Great Aunt Bessie. She used to live with Dave's Grandparent's when he was about 10 years old, but she moved back to the East Coast a couple years before she died. The letters were all from after her move, and how she was doing. Not as old as yours (these were from mid '80s) but still neat, none-the-less

Ed said...

Makes sense. I guess my mind just took transcribed to mean from a different language though it can me just writing it down in the same language.

L. D. said...

I have lots of letters that my dad sent to my mom while he was overseas. I just can't read them. My dad was sent over later like your letter writer to be replacements for all the exhausted soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge. He had not a clue as to what he was getting into and came home shell shocked.

Leah said...

I enjoyed this post earlier this week when I read it, in fact I am going to read through the letters again. I think of these times, the commitment, the patriotism, the sadness and the hardship to all.