November 2, 1944
Also a purely personal letter to this editor from Cpl. DUDLEY BENSON, for a long time at Camp Blanding but now at Camp Barkeley, Texas. Dudley read in the Times-Union which the library there receives, that Richard Hosford was missing in action. Dudley added that “I would be quite interested to hear from and about all the fellows I used to know.” (Well, Dud, we are putting you on the mailing list. That being the best way we can think of in letting you hear about the fellows you used to know in Flagler county. Also, we hope I your outfit eventually gets to go overseas.)
November 16, 1944
Also, Cpl. DUDLEY BENSON who was at Blanding for a long time and lately of Barkeley, Texas, has the same kind of address now. (i.e., New York APO address).
January 18, 1945
From Cpl. DUDLEY BENSON we get a V-mail letter dated 21st "Somewhere in England.” He says:
"This will probably find you after Christmas is over. We have all the prospects of a nice Christmas here. In town last night a group of the English came in the Red Cross and serenaded the boys.” "I could see every stick of furniture in my home." (That is the way one of our M/Sgts put it.)
“We get Yank and Stars and Stripes almost every day but The Flagler Tribune for me would be quite welcome. Guess they haven't caught up with me yet.
The weather is typically English but we are located on the estate of an ancient manor-
Baronial - and its descendants' effigies are preserved in the private chapel where we hold services. Some things date back to th 13th century
I've seen some of the results of the blitz and it must have been terrible.
Would like to hear from some of my old friends."
(Well, Dud, we hope The Tribs have caught up 'with you by now. Just keep us informed of any change in your address and we'll keep mailing 'em).
March 15, 1945
Also a letter from DUDLEY BENSON that was on the way here so long it must have gotten lost. Dudley mailed it January 29 in France and we received it March 12. Anyway, here it is:
"I know what 40 & 8 means. Took four days and 2,000 showers to get rid of it. Guess we're lucky to have showers.
The Russian advance looks good. I'd sure like to see Uncle Joe and Uncle Sam shaking hands in the center of Berlin (if there is anything left). Also CBI (China-Burma-India) is doing a good job too from what the Stars and Stripes says.
I guess we take Stars and Stripes as a matter of course but it's a good paper and gives us accurate current news. We get a Paris edition of it.
Have yet to receive a Tribune overseas. From what I understand the strain of Christmas mail has held up a lot of things. Will be glad to get it and I enjoy, specially, the section for the G. I.'s.
Many happy returns and a prayer for quick lasting peace." (Thanks, Dudley, for the letter. Hope you have gotten more Tribunes by now).
August 9, 1945
A nice long letter from Sgt. DUDLEY W. BENSON, who is now at Nancy, France. (Congratulations Sergeant.) I might add that there is some good food for thought there.
"It's been quite a good while since I have written to you but I was reminded often, for your
paper has arrived quite regularly and there was always interesting news about Flagler county and particularly the fellows, and girls, too, in service. The news of Joy Deen’s death came just recently however, and I was shocked.
If the relatives and family will forgive me for using this medium I would like to extend my deepest sympathy in their bereavement on the loss of son, brother and husband, Joy Deen.
I often recall, and sometimes with envy, his high school record as student and athlete. He had
the resourcefulness to finish college and later was a successful teacher. He served his country in a sacrificial manner, giving up home, freedom and his loved ones and paid the supreme sacrifice -death in the service of his country. He fought for better things - for decent living, freedom, cleanliness and Godliness for all; for unselfishness, for a decent break for all who want it.
He was, indeed, a credit to his people, his home, his friends, his community, and his country. I hope they don't let him down.
There are many like him and it is the responsibility of the rest of us to carry through.
My work here, Fuller, is mediocre, nothing particularly dangerous. Up until V-E day we were plenty busy with the wounded and sick, but now, like everyone else we are ‘sweating out redeployment.’ Naturally everyone would like to have the 30-day furlough in the States. Surely the Japs will capitulate soon. They are receiving a terrible pounding.
I was quite interested in recent comments of interested patrons of your paper about the consumption of alcoholic beverages, or was it smoking, by the ministers of the Methodist Church. As Voltaire once said, ‘I may not agree with a single thing you say but I will defend with my life, your right to say it.’
What I'm trying to say it that criticism, cynical or otherwise is the privilege of all but it carries with it a responsibility. This is don't try to cram your criticism down the others' throats. There is a line of demarcation. We must be on the watch. 'Eternal vigilance is the price of peace.' When someone starts to force their opinions down your throat, they are the people we must watch. It's one thing to convince; but it is abominable to coerce.
A trip to Strasbourg yesterday brought me right back to the history room in Bunnell High with Miss Frances at the 'pedagogues rostrum.' We had learned about the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine between Germany and France. Nancy where I am now, is capital of Lorraine and Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace. Each is a district or 'state' of the country of France.
Strasbourg has been quite hard hit by the war, bombing and such like and was the place of the small bulge when Van Rundstedt broke through further north in what was called the big bulge. The small bulge came up between Strasbourg, I believe, and St. Die (a small resort town at foot of Vosges Mts.) and was though small, very devastating. However, the big cathedral in Strasbourg was untouched except by concussion which shattered much of the glass.
They have a spiral staircase in the outside corners of the church and by ascending the staircase you can go all the way to the top. There housed in a big glassed-in area is machinery to operate the clock. It looks like it would run the cypress mill at Perry! The clock itself was removed and sent to Bordeaux where it was buried in an underground vault for the duration.
At the top outside the control room is a small terrace about 350 feet up where the countryside for miles is visible. The cathedral was reputedly started in 1200 and finished in 1500 although I'm not positive of it.
The city people speak two languages, French and German. Just a short distance away is the Rhine and then Germany. In this respect it is different from Nancy (Lorraine) for Alsace has been under the influence of the Germans more than the French. "On the way back we passed through St. Die (pronounced sun-dee-a) where most of the dwellings are completely demolished. Wholesale housing of prefabricated buildings is being done now and it is apparent that most of the people will be housed.
To wind up my windy letter I feel rather surprised to think that I sit here at our table and can look out at a small PW stockade in one corner of our area, and over their heads and beyond are the houses and streets of a town in France with the lights on again and up overhead is the same sky which is over the heads of my own friends and family in America and still have the feeling and security that goes with being an American.
My respects to all and thanks a million for the paper.”
January 10, 1946
TWO WELL KNOWN MEN DISCHARGED
Two men who have been serving in the Army have been discharged and are now beginning civilian life all over again. They are former Corporals DUDLEY BENSON and Walter S. Morris.
Mr. Benson, who is a graduate of Bunnell and holds a Masters degree from the University of Florida, was in the ETO a number of months. He is taking up residence at Gainesville and will engage in accounting work.
Mr. Morris was hand master at Bunnell high school when he went into the army in March, 1943. He has served at various camps in the United States and always in a teaching position.
He and Mrs. Morris and their two children are now living in Nashville, Tenn., where Mr. Morris has entered Peabody for his Master's degree. He will have school administration as a major and music as a minor.