70 Years Ago Today

1 Jan 1946

Dear Folks—
I’m starting the New Year off right — writing

I don’t remember when I wrote you — seems
it was Christmas afternoon. Anyway, Christmas
night we had a supper that was just about as
good as Christmas dinner — ham, vegetables, fruit
cake, mince pie, plum pudding and ice cream!

Today we had turkey again, but the meals weren’t
very good.

I tried the cognac last week, but it wasn’t
very good and it didn’t help my cold. I had KP
Saturday, and that helped my cold even less. Sun-
day I had a terrible sore throat and cough, and
yesterday morning I could hardy talk, so I went
to the dispensary and the doctor “painted” my
throat and squirted stuff in my nose. So it hasn’t
been a very gala New Year. In fact, I spent yesterday
afternoon and this morning in bed, and have been
in my room the whole time. Not very exciting, but
I feel better. I’m hoping to go to London again
this week-end.

I think they expect to close this field this
month — leaving practically no GI’s in England
(there aren’t many left now). So I suppose I can
expect to be heading off to Germany. However,
tomorrow, I am going to look into the “school


situation” again. I suppose I can’t expect too
much, but I would like to get one of those
deals as long as I’m here. They’ve had so many,
and always I’ve been “needed”. I’d like to go
especially to Biarritz Univ.* (In So. France
right near the Spanish border). It should have
an ideal climate and I think you can get 3-
month courses, which would last right up
to warmer weather elsewhere in Europe! Only
trouble is, I hear they will probably move
us to somewhere in Germany soon. Then they
are still offering the “French Language” course
at the Sorbonne, and I’d still like to try that.
I hear that six Swiss universities are open to GI’s
now, too, if you’re in Army of Occupation. I hope
to get something anyway! P.S. A Stars and Stripes article
with pictures showed a beauty contest and fashion show
at Biarritz – education a la American! — With a pic
of M. Dietrich, who it said was helping on the staff —
can’t imagine what she could teach, unless it’s some
kind of dramatic work!

I received a letter from you of the 14th and
also the cards sent on the 22nd. You said “here is
some more mail for you.”— I don’t know what
you meant by more, but I have a feeling the
mail is still screwed up. Marge DeLange has a
baby girl (Nov 11th) and is very happy about it all.


I still haven’t gotten your package. I suppose it
is probably lost forever! I got a box of soap from
Grandma and 2 books and a box of candy from  Aunt
Alice. I haven’t written my “thank you” notes
yet, but hope to get around to it soon.

I’ve got lots of clippings and stuff to
send home soon – some books – and also a birth-
day present for Alice. Oh incidentally, when you
sent the picture of the Dallas Symphony why
didn’t you send the “review” with it??? I
would like more clippings of what’s going on in

Did you get the last money I sent home?
I suppose the “box” hasn’t arrived yet.

I must go to bed now —


*From Wikipedia: In May 1945, the U.S. Army’s Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilized American service men and women in Florence, Italy. Two further campuses were later established, in August 1945: the first in the French resort town of Biarritz and the second in the English town of Shrivenham, Berkshire. These three campuses were set up to provide a transition between army life and subsequent attendance at a university in the USA, and therefore students attended for just one term.

Under General Samuel L. McCroskey, the hotels and casinos of Biarritz were converted into quarters, labs, and class spaces for U.S. service personnel. The university opened 10 August 1945, and approximately 10,000 students attended at least one eight-week term. After three successful terms, the university closed in March 1946.

This letter was written by my father, Robert Gordon Campbell, who was in the Army Air Force and was stationed in England during World War II. He was a radio operator and worked in administration—it’s possible that his eyesight kept him from combat duty. The letter was written to his parents who, with his sister and youngest brother, were living in Dallas, Texas where his father was a Presbyterian minister. His other brother, John, was serving in the Navy.

For my sibs: this is only one of many letters that our father wrote home to his parents. And there are photos. Stay tuned. P.S. He did not get to take advantage of the European universities, a fact that I’m sure disappointed him greatly!