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Written by 1st Lt. Robert L. Sickler

Page 1

October 8, 1944

Hello Folks,
Iím writing this in a fox hole, in what I think I can safely say is the hottest spot in Holland Ė and Iím making no reference to the weather. I havenít had my boots of since Sept 15. I am afraid that when I do take them of my feet are going to come right off with them. But when things do slow down long enough to warrant it Iím getting into a pair of your socks which Iíve been carrying with me since we jumped.
As any news mag will indicate we have been support or should I say spearheading the British drive into this sector. Iíve seen and am still participating in action aplenty and have accumulated experiences that would provide enough material for twenty books. Come what may I donít think I shall ever regret being a member of the greatest combat team in the history of the world. This last year - the last few months in particular have been the most interesting of my whole life and I wouldnít have missed it for the world. No amount of money nor any camera could ever capture or record all of it, some of which would actually strain your imagination. My boys have done a remarkable job and you can guess how proud of them I am. General Gavin personally congratulated us and when a General takes the trouble to personally commend a single platoon you can bet your pride is justified.

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Heís given me a blank check to fill out for promotions and citations in the platoon and you can bet Iím not going to be bashful in getting these boys the limit.
I just this minute received my mail among which is your letter of Sept 29. Thatís what I all service. Iím sorry I havenít been able to write sooner but circumstances just havenít permitted it.
I think that of all the places Iíve ever been, Holland is the most beautiful. You canít help but love the country and its people, in spite of the terrible devastation. These folk have suffered cruelly under the German regime and have never forgotten that they were Dutch. The day we jumped every loyal Dutchman wore a flower or a ribbon of bright orange (a sign of Dutch loyalty since the days of William of Orange) . Many paid for their display of loyalty with their lives because Germans shot them down on sight. Liberation to these people is a very real thing and never have I seen such a sincere display of gratitude. Many of them lost their lives in the fighting trying to help in all kinds of little ways and getting in the way. If I ever have a honeymoon this is the place Iíd want to spend it. Thereís no such thing as a slum district here. The poorest peasantís home is beautiful, and clean beyond imagination. The educational standard is also very high and itís amazing the number of children who speak good English as it is a required subject in all schools.

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The Germans are paying heavily for their crimes but there always seems to be more no matter how many you kill. Donít misunderstand me, they are good soldiers and fight well, but they are fighting a battle they canít win. I have a great admiration and respect for the German as a solder, but as a member of the human race I hate and detest him. They have absolutely no compassion in their souls for anyone or anything except their own hides. They can kill a helpless man without twitching a muscle, but when they realize that their turn has come they squeal like a bunch of pigs at a hog-killing. It does a manís soul good to hear them. I have yet to one of my boys squeal Ė they know how to die Ė Iíve heard them grunt from the surprise and initial shock and maybe moan a little from pain, but Iíve never heard one scream or squeal.
Iím enclosing a little German and Holland money as souvenirs Ė yes it came off of dead men but they canít spend it where theyíre going. I have quite a collection of souvenirs if I can get them home. I have a beautiful pair of large wide vision 6 power glasses Ė a .25 caliber pistol Ė a gold pocket watch Ė Schmeisser automatic pistol (German equivalent of our Tommy gun) and a number of trinkets and German insignia to say nothing of a small pair of genuine wooden shoes that even smell like feet.

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Iím sure youíd like Pat, my English girl friend. Sheís 28 Ė neat as a pin Ė has a fine sense of values Ė can wear clothes like nobodyís business (kind of like Elsie) - and we have a great deal in common. Iím thinking seriously of coming back and marrying her one of these days, when I give my attention to personal matters again and can go to work on having a fuller life without figuring out how best to snuff out someone else.
Folks, Iím not being bashful when I donít enter a request with each letter as you suggest Ė itís just that things that I need or want most are thing you canít send, like a bath, shave, shampoo, clean clothes and a bottle of whiskey. When this thing is over Iím going to take a hot bath, crawl between clean white sheets and take one long look at the floor because Iím not going to see anything but the ceiling for about three weeks. Then Iím going to get up, get a big steak, get drunkerín a hooty owl and do the same thing all over again.
Whoops! Here come those screaming Meemies and 88ís again. I think Iíll make this hole a little deeper. So long for now.

All my love,

P.S. My ducking has improved considerably since Normandy.


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