Letters from War – The West Schuylkill Press-Herald reports on a soldier’s 1944 visit to war-time London

This is part of our “Letters from War” series documenting the World War II letters of Irvin Schwartz of Pine Grove, PA. The letters were all published in the West Schuylkill Press-Herald between 1943 and 1945. 

Read the previous letter here

The following is a newspaper clipping from the March 24, 1944 edition of the West Schuylkill Press-Herald about Irvin Schwartz’s visits to the bomb-ridden capital of Great Britain. The story appeared on the front page and included excerpts and details from unpublished letters to Schwartz’s family and friends in Schuylkill County.

Seeing London

Schwartz 1944 (1)
A 1944 photograph of Irvin Schwartz, included with the Press-Herald’s story.

Private First Class Irvin R. Schwartz, former Press-Herald reporter and carrier for Pleasant Valley, is stationed in England and has written some interesting letters to his parents and friends about the sightseeing trips he has taken through London and in the surrounding countryside.

In one of his letters he described air raids on three nights when he saw two German planes caught in the big searchlights and hit by anti-aircraft guns, crashing to the ground.

During his visits to London Pfc. Schwartz has seen the Thames River, London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Scotland Yard, the National Museum, Wembley Park, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, 10 Downing Street, home of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. James Palace, Nelson’s Columns, and hundreds of other interesting places.

800px-WWII,_Europe,_London,_England,__Big_Ben_with_barbed_wire_entanglement__-_NARA_-_195565
London’s “Big Ben” with barbed wire and soldiers during World War II. (National Archives)

Having seen the ruins of London and other cities which have been hit by German air raids, Schwartz says that no one back home realizes what Great Britain has gone thru since the war started in 1939.

WWII,_London,_England_-_NARA_-_195566
Bomb damage in London during World War II. (NARA)

A son of Mr. and Mrs. John Schwartz of Pleasant Valley, he has two brothers, Donald and Curtis, at home and still in school. He entered the army on May 7, 1943, was trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and went overseas in November.


Featured Image: Irvin Schwartz in 1944 and Big Ben during World War II.  (Wikimedia Commons) 

This is part of a series titled: “Letters from War.” Read more of the letters written by Irvin Schwartz during World War II


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