Letters home: A glimpse of World War II through the pen of a Norway soldier

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    August 7, 1942

    England

    Dear Sister,

    … no it’s not a bit foggy around here. Guess again!. … Now don’t let this out, but since you asked, I’m going to tell you that way down deep I don’t really care much for the English people.

    … Don’t know whether or not they printed it in the papers or not, but last Wednesday I had the unusual privilege of speaking personally to Queen Mary of England.

    … This letter will have to do for the family because the company commander has to censor all our mail first, and he has requested us to write only one a day, because he gets awful tired of reading all this slush we pass out.

    Tell everyone to write. Mail is mighty important to us over here — you have no idea. …

    Love to all

    Danny

    Remember Pearl Harbor

    England

    October 1, 1942

    Dear Sister,

    I have received one copy of the Advertiser, came last week and was dated Sept. 4th. … I am writing a letter to Mother and Dad today as well. Our biggest problem on letters is finding something to write about. I can tell you that I am doing office work.

    … The lady who does my laundry … does a good job on my clothes and charges me usually less than a shilling a week. …

    Love to all,

    Danny

    England

    Nov. 19, 1942

    Dear Sister,

    Well I am taking time out to catch up on a little correspondence … . However, please take into consideration that to become a commissioned officer in the Army entails a hundred and one details covering a period of several days of mad rushing around to complete.

    You are probably by now aware that I accepted commission as 2nd Lieutenant on the 17th of November, three days after my birthday. …

    It was a tough struggle but I finally made it. Everything is o.k., physically, morally, professionally, and spiritually. …

    I have received some packages from Alice, also one that mother sent, for which I am duly grateful. Mail generally, has been pretty slow the last few weeks. I have received several copies of the Advertiser but no where near all of them that are due here. Another big bag of mail just came into the office, but I am not one of the fortunate ones this time. …

    Love,

    Brother Danny

    England

    Dec. 6, 1942

    Dear Sister Eileen,

    Yesterday I received your letter of Nov. 18th. I am sorry to learn that you have lost your oil burner and now have to shovel coal again, but feel sure you are capable of it.

    1st. Lt. Daniel F. Dullea, Jr.

    You asked me to tell you a good one — well here it is: Conversation between two English ladies:

    “My dear — have you tried the new Utility underwear?”

    Replied the other: “Yes and I think it’s marvelous, and the panties are simply divine!”

    “But why?” queried the first.

    “Why my dear, one ‘YANK’ and they’re down!”

    Oh well, I wouldn’t know! It really doesn’t seem much like Sunday over here today. …

    Love to all,

    Danny

    England

    Dec. 8, 1942

    Dear Sister,

    Today I received your letter of Nov. 20 and since you have been a very faithful correspondent, I’m answering immediately — even though I don’t have a thing to write about. ….

    How does it feel to be a 2nd Lieut. In the Red Cross? …

    I wish you would send me Gardner Cobb’s address. Another thing I need is handkerchiefs. We can’t get them over here you know. Tell Della to “blow it out her bucket” for me, will you? (That’s our newest gag over here!)

    … Well old thing, I expect you’re busy skating and skiing by this time. …

    Love to all,

    Danny

    England

    Dec. 11, 1942

    Dear Sister Eileen,

    Your letter of Nov. 7 has just been received with a great deal of pleasure. I expect that you are probably aware that I am now the proud parent of “the little colonel”. Of course, I can’t tell you how delighted I was, and what a relief it was to receive the news.

    You mention Xmas gifts in your letter. You shouldn’t get worried over small details like that — we have a much bigger job to worry about, and all your people who are working so hard over there are just as important as those on our far flung and distant battle fronts, for without you, we couldn’t do a thing. Most people don’t realize that fact, but the use of a little common sense easily proves it. …

    Well old thing, keep your chin up, drop us a line once in a while, and look for victory in ‘43.

    Best wishes for you all from

    Danny

    “A million Yanks went over the Sea,

    To win a VICTORY in ‘forty-three’.”

    England

    Christmas Day, 1942

    My Dear Sister and Family,

    Last night, accompanied by my landlord and his wife, I attended a show presented for the benefit of the United States Armed Forces featuring an address by (illegible) Howard and a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Mr. Robert Donat. [Friedrich Robert Donat was an English film and stage actor.]

    During the reading by Mr. Donat, my thoughts seemed to stray way back across the Atlantic, and naturally enough, right back to Norway, Maine where I could see you all delightedly wrapping and marking all your Christmas gifts, and piling them all around the Christmas tree. Strangely, I wasn’t homesick for it all, for who could be homesick when they’re hunting “Rats.” When you stop and look at all the grief and unhappiness this that this awful thing has brought on, it’s a spur to victory, quick and complete.

    One night this week, I was riding home on the train, with my week’s ration of cigarettes, chocolates, etc. under one arm. Across from me sat two little kids … nine or ten years of age, a boy and a girl. They eyed me suspiciously … the story of four years of war was plainly written in their pale, listless faces. Lack of proper food does this, I expect. It was evident that the impending holiday was going to mean very little to them. Anyhow, I reached into my week’s rations and divided the chocolate between them – five bars each, and the little girl had tears in her eyes when she looked up and so sweetly said “Thank you Yankee!”

    Now that I’ve a little kiddo of my own I can really appreciate that.

    Well, I’m going to close this foolish letter, with all my sincere best wishes in our near year of complete victory and banishment of the reign of blood that is now in its waning stages. God bless you all and regards to everyone.

    Danny

    England

    19 February 1943

    Dear Sister Eileen,

    Just received your “V” letter of Feb. 8th telling me about Caspar Curtis. If it’s true it is certainly a shame, and I feel deeply sorry for his wife and family — but then some of us are bound to be sacrificed to the cause of an inhuman maniac. However, for each one we lose there will be a separate vengeance. I note that you tell me not to take any chances — I won’t, but you may rest assured that my trigger finger still itches, and if I get a chance to go after the b—–ds, there won’t be a moment of hesitation as far as I’m concerned. At last, I’ve really learned how to hate!

    But don’t worry about me. I assure you I am quite safe at the moment, and there are no indications that my present position is to be jeopardized in the least.

    … Well I must close now and get to work. Hope everything is o.k. at home, and hope to get back sometime this year!

    Love to all,

    Danny

    England

    27 February 1943

    Circular letter to:

    Mother & Dad

    Grammie

    All other members of the family.

    As soon as you finish reading this letter, please stick it in an envelope, and forward to the next person, adding your name or initials to indicate you have seen it. …

    This is Brookhaven, the cemetery in Surry, England, where Danny Dullea is buried. The inset show his cross.

    … There is no question but that I am the luckiest guy in all of Great Britain today, because I received five letters all at once. One of them contained the first picture of my infant son taken at the tender age of three weeks. I don’t think I need to tell you that he is the pride of the entire force over here, and I am going around this place actually beaming, quite a change from the usual expression of which I’m guilty … .

    Well since I seem to have plenty of time at the moment, and am feeling in the proper mood, I think I may as well launch out into a discourse concerning my life in the United Kingdom.

    It’s my opinion that you would enjoy the people over here. Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s anything soft about them — there isn’t. You can have no idea of what they’ve been through over here until you actually see it, and even then it’s hard to believe. My work has made association with a great many British officers and men, and I can only say they have my complete admiration.

    Think I can best begin by a brief description of the people with whom I am staying at the moment. I am billeted in a private family. The man of the house is a veteran of two wars — the Boer (South African) War and World War I. At present, he is actively engaged with the activity of the Home Guard, holding the rank of Sergeant. During the last war he was stationed … at different points in Russia … as a result he possesses a fluent knowledge of the Russian people … [which] gives him the opportunity to relate to us the viewpoints that the ordinary reader will miss … All such discussions … lead me more forcefully than ever, that the final victory will be won man to man, with cold steel and hot lead.

    The mother of the family is not uninteresting. It appears that she acted as mother to a younger sister who became famous on the London stage and … later … continued her theatrical activity in the States. … it is a peculiar fact that in spite of the diminutive size of Great Britain, a person from one county over here will encounter great difficulty in understanding the dialect of a person from a neighboring county … .

    The attitude of the people toward our President is one more triumph against our aggressors. It is actually overwhelming. I have in mind particularly the arrival of the First Lady last November as well as the President’s trip to the Casablanca conference. His popularity is marvelous, and it is generally felt that his leadership of the Western Hemisphere has made the war effort on that half of the globe such a tremendous success. To sum up, the British people are of an unfailing determination not to be pushed, a determination that the world generally cannot forget, in view of their Dunkirks and Battles of Britain. This, obviously should be particularly remembered, when the great allied powers dictate the terms for world peace.

    Generally my life here has not been uncomfortable. We all have one purpose, … to squelch the bastards under the heel of our boots, to expedite an early return to our homes and families and until that is finally accomplished, personal comfort will automatically take a back seat.

    … Well, family, … God bless you all, and keep you all safe ‘till we can be together agin, in a country that will maintain sufficient defense that hey will never again be bothered by the erratic uprisings which we have seen can be caused by a maniac. …

    Love to you all,

    Danny

    Sunday, May 2, 1943

    Dear Mother, Dad and all:

    Well, I don’t quite know how to start this letter. I’m staying home a few days ordered to by the medical officer. It seems that my blood pressure is rising alarmingly. This morning it is up over 170 and my pulse rate is 120 at rest. They are keeping a close check on it, and if no improvement … I shall have to go to the hospital for a few days. … he seems to think it’s just a case of overwork.

    … Had a letter from Gram yesterday. She said she is waiting for spring … to plant her “Victory” garden. I suppose you will be having one too, everyone does over here.

    Danny

    Somewhere in England

    4 July 1943

    Dear Sister Eileen,

    … How’s everything at the J.J. Newberry & CO. store these days? I suppose that you must be getting ready to do a lot of canning at home for the coming winter … how is Patsy making out and is she still taking music lessons? …

    Last night I broke loose and went to a movie called “Air Force.” … I wish they would stop making movies about the war. It’s the one thing we like to forget when we go to a movie … .

    Danny

    Somewhere in England

    11 July 1943

    Dear Mother & Dad:

    … Well, at last the big show is on, according to all the papers and I guess it’s what we’ve all been waiting for. It makes the news look good, and we all wait impatiently for all the radio broadcasts. Just sit tight, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be lasting too much longer.

    …The Advertiser continues to arrive at random intervals, which of course gives me a pleasant two or three hours of reading. …

    Danny

    V-mail

    19 August 1943

    Dear Mother & Dad,

    Here I am at the end of one more day and I seem to be counting them these days and wondering how many more there will be before I’ll get a glimpse of the old statue of Liberty. It will really mean a lot more to me the next time I do get a look at it and I don’t mean maybe. You don’t realize what a swell place you live in until you see something like this. …

    Danny

    England

    3 February 1944

    Dear Mother & Dad:

    Well, at last I finally made my promotion to 1st Lieutenant. … This now leaves me one jump to go, and if there is one thing I should like to do it’s come home with the silver bars of a Captain. …

    Love, Danny

    London, England

    16 April 1944

    Dear Mother, Dad and all:

    … Probably you are wondering what kind of a place we are living in these days so here goes. It is a private apartment and there are three other officers with me. We have a kitchen, three bedrooms, a dining room and a living room with a baby grand piano in it. They give us a ration book but of course you can’t get much food on it, so we eat most of our meals at the officers mess. It takes about ten minutes to get to work on a bus but I usually walk for the exercise because it’s the only chance I get … . So I usually walk through Hyde park which compares to Central Park in New York. …

    Love to all,

    Danny

    Lt. Daniel F. Dullea, Jr.

    Daniel F. Dullea, Jr. who was killed in action in England on June 19th, [1944] according to a telegram from the War Department received by his wife, Mrs. Alice Puffer Dullea, in Brockton, Mass., was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel F. Dullea, Norway Lake, where he was born 29 years ago.

    He graduated from Norway High School in the Class of 1932, where he was proficient in typewriting and stenography. He competed in county and state contests which fitted him for the work he was assigned to when he entered the U.S. service. He had been in England two years at the Headquarters Transportation Corps.

    He leaves his wife and a son, Daniel Dullea, 3rd whom he had never seen, now living in Brockton, Mass., his parents and several brothers and sisters in Norway.

    A brother, Pfc. Maurice B. Dullea, enetered the service in January 1943, and is stationed at Camp Pickett, Va.

    Lieutenant Dullea wrote a letter to his mother June 18, the day before he was killed, in which he spoke of the damage of the robot bombs.

    20 Sheffield Terrace

    Kensington

    London W 8

    September 29, 1944

    My Dear Mrs. Dullea:

    … I can imagine the shock this terrible tragedy must have been to you, but I don’t think anybody in the States realised all the dear boys stationed in London, were in the front line, with the civilians, in the various blitzes. All day and night, with short intervals and the bombs were being dropped and the amazing thing is, Danny took it all in his stride, he hadn’t the slightest fear.

    … We all have one consolation, he didn’t suffer any pain (thank God) the blast killed poor Danny. The casualties from that bomb were very heavy. They didn’t start sending these flying bombs until the 14th of June and the tragedy happened on the 19th. He was here having coffee with us the day before (Sunday, the 18th). … he told us he had started night duty … I was very pleased to see him … there had been a raid on and he told us he had had rather an unpleasant experience during the night. One came over his building and he said it seemed to hover around … but it exploded some distance away, but he had been to see the damage, which he described as fierce and then he remarked, “you know, they don’t scare me,” and I did say “but my dear, you should take cover these are different to the ordinary bombs … .”

    We had all your pictures on the mantel … I have heard so much about you all I feel I know you quite well. … I often used to say to Danny … “I wish your folks could see you, how proud they would be … .”

    Now my dear, I can assure you dear Danny is lying in a very beautiful spot. I went to his funeral. I was the only civilian. He is lying in the American Cemetery, at Brookwood, in the County of Surrey, on of the prettiest counties in England, and we can go visit the cemetery at any time.

    … I feel we have a great link, for believe me, your boy was very dear to me and mine. God bless you all.

    Yours sincerely,

    (Mrs.) Emily Williams

    Editor’s Note:  These letters are a part of a treasured scrapbook overflowing with letters home from Lt. Dullea who was the uncle of Patricia Wood Pulkkinen of South Paris. She has been kind enough to share them with our readers. They give a glimpse into the day to day life overseas, during the war.