Friday, June 01, 2007


Curtis W. ("Bill") Purdy c. 1938

These are selections from letters written by my father while serving in the U.S. Army
during World War II.

Here's a quick bio:

Curtis W. Purdy ("Bill")
born February 4, 1919, Ithaca, NY

married Mary Duddy, April 16, 1955-Boston
one child, Christopher Curtis Purdy, born Boston December 2, 1956

Curtis died June 21, 1981 in Boston
Mary Duddy Purdy died April 10, 1986, Boston

Most of these letters were addressed to his mother, Florence L. (Curtis) Purdy
in Ithaca, NY.

Florence died in 1947.

Bill's father, Bert W. Purdy, died in 1953

Bill was the youngest child and had six sisters:

Elizabeth, Catherine, Ruth, Mary, Esther, Deborah


August 8, 1944

Dearest Mother:

Have arrived in England safely and full of good old fighting spirit.
Mom, please do not worry a bit about me. I am sure the Good Lord above
will be with me and that he'll bring the end of this war soon.

I think the English are grand-the children are adorable and so brave.
As you know, the regulations of the mail are very strict and therefore I can
only say that I am happy and well.
Please send me some cigars and candy.
My every prayer is of you and your kindness you have shown to me.
Your ever loving son, Billy


August 11, 1944

Dear Mom:

Here I am again. Have been seeing some more of beautiful England.
There are so many quaint settings that I could write a book about them.

I'm listening to a broadcast of the Hit Parade and it seems as though I am way back in the living room hearing it. Frank Sinatra just finished singing 'San Fernando Valley'
He's now singing 'I'll be seeing you'.
Yes, I will be seeing you so I don't want you to worry a bit about me.

Mom, in order to send me things you will have to take this letter to the postmaster.
I want you to send me some cigars, cigarettes, candy, soap and razor blades.
If you send money, send it in a mail order.

There are some boys from the States in England from home and I hope to see them in time.
I hope and pray that this letter finds you well and happy.
Please Mom, don't worry about me, I'm all right.
Must say good night and God bless you and say hello to everyone for me.
All my love


August 27, 1944

Dear Mom:

I'm in rather a depressed mood today, wondering a lot of things
I'm lonesome for you and (???) like to see the rest of the folks.

I haven't had but one letter from you, so please write all you can and even though
I won't be writing so much myself, don't worry about it. I'm OK.

Was in a quaint town last night--had a swell time seeing the people, houses and landscape.
Went in the Red Cross and bought some coffee and doughnuts. Not much like the ones back home.

I understand its warm back in the States, but I guess summer here is really gone. How's Dad
and all the kids? Do you see Dad at all?

Mom, I need a billfold and identification bracelet so see if you can can send them.
Good night, Mom


August 31, 1944

Somewhere in England

Dear Mom

I guess I'm just an unlucky guy-I haven't heard from anyone in ages.
I've written to you all, several times at that.

I suppose you've all seen the news in the papers.

I continue to see the beauties of England. I occasionally see a nearby village and have a few of the famous bitters.

Mom, how's everything with you? See, I think of you so often and hope and pray that you are all right. As for me, I'll keep smiling.

Here I sit trying to write. I'm such a poor correspond. But my heart is full of thoughts and love for you! Say hello to all. Please send me some cigars, candy and razor blades.
Love, Billy


September 4, 1944

Dear Mom:

I received your letter last night and I guess the boys thought I had lost my top, for it was the happiest day I've had since I've been here.

I'm so glad to know you are getting around so nicely.

Suppose you are getting the news of what's happening--it certainly looks good
I only hope I can meet some of my old buddies somewhere---Frink (?) came over with me but I haven't seen him since landing in England.

It's raining cats and dogs over here and reminds me of April back home.
Have you heard from Esther-I'm so anxious to hear from her.

Hope this letter finds you okay and happy.
Give my love to everyone and tell Dad to write.


October 9, 1944
Somewhere in France

Dear Mom

Its Sunday morning, a peaceful morning, one that has the---feeling of any normal one-behind this day tho, have been many hours of battling that has given me some exciting moments that I shall never forget.

Today I shall pray to God and thank him for the guidance he has given me. And I shall ask him for the courage and strength to go on forward to do my job well. I am grateful that I have been able to perform some worthy deeds-whatever the future holds for me, I hope that I can meet it like a man. This I will try to do for I know of the courageous boys who are with me and more than ever I am aware of my duty to them, which is to bring the wounded bodies back to our aid stations--then too, I have such people back home who are hoping and praying--I must not fail.

I wrote you a few days ago thanking you for the lovely Xmas present you sent me. Thanks a million again. I hope you got my present to you.

Mom, you must not worry about me, for I will be back home someday.
Please take good care of yourself.


Bill in uniform, 1942
NOTE: Bill received a severe head wound in battle at the end of 1944.
He spent the next several months in hospitals in England and Luxembourg.
He had steel plates in his head for the rest of his life.
He was eventually awarded both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

December 6, 1944


Dear Mom

Just wanted to let you know where I am. I am in Germany.
Mom, I can't tell you of the hectic time its been--words I'm sure could never tell the feeling that was in me--I was scared many times for it was my first real test of combat.

Mother I was sitting in a fox hole with a buddy when someone brought me your Christmas package. Needless to say it boosted my morale way up--there was peanuts, flashlight, candy, cigs, sewing kit and the bracelet-it was so sweet of you to send them and I love you so.

Mother, I'm with the grandest bunch of boys in the world. They are so brave and such great fighters, as the whole world will soon know.

You must not worry about me too much, for you know that I am here to help some of the
wounded men.

I'm not so sure of myself at times, but I've prayed so many times for the courage to do my job well. I pray that this war can end without much bloodshed.

Mother, I want to write on and on, but I must say good night for now.
You know my love for you is the strongest force I have.

I love you dearly.
Thank you again for the swell Christmas present.


January 29, 1945
Somewhere in Luxembourg

Dear Mom-

Sorry not to have written sooner. I wrote Deb last week. I've been in the hospital for a while but expect to be back to my organization shortly.

Before I went to the hospital I had made a fifty dollar money order out to you, but I won't be able to send it until I get back to my organization and get it from the mail clerk. I won't be paid this month, however I have some money loaned out to the fellows which should make me a nice sum when I call it in. I want you to use the money for yourself and get Dad whatever he needs
Haven't saved much, but I did put aside a hundred dollars last month. Maybe someday I'll be able to use it. It seems funny to be talking in terms of money, when so many boys have given their lives over here--I don't think a million dollars could erase the terrible experiences
that I've lived through. I only hope I can forget them.

The news of the Russian offensive is a wonderful thing. I hope that by the time this letter has reached you the fighting will be over. I'm anxious to get back to my outfit. They're the best bunch of boys in the world. Hope this letter finds you well and happy.

All my love


March 6, 1945
Somewhere in England
4116 U.S. Army Hospital

Dear Mom--

Here I am back in England--seems like I'm a million miles from the war.
I'm in a general hospital and getting along fine.

The countryside and the villages look almost like home as I rode by them.
Quite the changed from the ruined homes, cities and countryside back in France.
I wake up in the morning and I hear a kind of chirp, couldn't believe it at first--all I ever heard back in France were shells waking me up in the morning.

You can write to me with the above address instead of to my outfit. Please write quickly as I'm anxious to hear from you. Haven't heard from you in ages.

I'm not in much of a mood to write so please contact Dad and tell him that I'm thinking of him and do the same to Deb and her family. That's all for now.

All my love


March 19, 1945
4116 U.S. Army Hospital

Dear Mother-

Time just seems to fly and still I'm in the process of getting well. I wish I knew when I'd be out of here and my next move--guess I'll just have to hang around to find out.

I'm feeling fine these days, although I'm a little upset about what happened to the boys in my old gang-they were grand to me-They always wanted the "Doc" to have the best of everything.
It sort of haunts me to know that they are out there fighting and I'm back here in this warm, safe place--funny world, isn't it?

I haven't heard from you so please write soon. Pass the word around so I'll hear from the others, I hope and pray that all is well back home.