Letters from War – A letter from an army hospital describing wounds received in Germany – 1945

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


Schwartz 1944 (1)
A 1944 photograph of Irvin Schwartz

Writes of Wounds

In a letter to his family, S/Sgt. Irvin Schwartz of Pleasant Valley informs them that the wounds he received recently are not serious. At the request of his parents, his letter is printed below:


In a U.S. Hospital

In Belgium

Dear Mother, Dad, and Brothers:

Well. Jerry finally got me, but it all boils down to the fact it’s nothing to worry about, and to do what he actually did took him a very long time. Furthermore, what I did to him from June 6, 1944 to February 27, 1945 can never be compared with the wound I received.

I, on numerous occasions, found myself in much hotter spots than that the other day, but I always came away without the slightest scratch and, here I believe Jerry just could not get me. Now I know that I will have to keep my fingers crossed until you hear the war is over, and probably even longer than that. This just happened to be a case wherein he didn’t give me time to “duck” one of his famous 88mm artillery shells, and a small piece of shrapnel penetrated my lower right leg.

national-ww2-museum-weapons-88mm-gun-webinar-primary-r1
A German 88mm artillery piece (National WW2 Museum)

I may tell you that I was hit at 10:30 a.m., but in what town “Somewhere in Germany” remains a military secret at present. As soon as I may write to you the news of the town I will do so.

I always knew what a great job our front line medics are performing and I moreso realized the extent of their work upon being wounded. Disregarding enemy shells, they lost no time in giving me first aid and evacuated me from the front line in a jeep. I was later put on an ambulance and taken to the U.S. Evacuation Hospital in Aachen. Our hospital there is probably the most modern we have overseas.

From Aachen I was placed on one of our big hospital trains, another one of the many things I wish our people at home could see, and brought to this Belgium institution. What our doctors and nurses are doing for the wounded you at home can possibly realize, but take it from me they are saving the lives of thousands daily. I never thought our medical system over here to be such a vast one. I had an X-ray taken yesterday morning and it revealed that no bone was fractured by the piece of shrapnel that hit me.

field
A US military hospital train in 1944/45

In the afternoon I was operated upon and the piece of metal was taken out without pain, now I am resting comfortably and am feeling as fine as ever. Please do not worry. This is a little like home. All the latest newspapers and magazines to read and a radio to listen to. The Red Cross helps us tremendously and gives us all sorts of toilet articles, cigarettes, candy, stationary, etc.

Whether I’ll return to the lines before this thing collapses I do not know, but if I do, I expect to repay the Krauts plus a little more to it. I miss buddies such as Peters, Rose, Howard, Gellwan, Ashbough, Wilding, Armenti, Mann, Palmer, Siedler, Presutti, Sigel, Ternowski, and Lieut. Weyant, and I won’t be a bit sorry when the day comes that I can return to them. If they can face Jerry the remainder of the war, so can I. Some of these boys, especially those from my squad, shed tears when I left after being wounded.

From the time I was made a squad leader up to the time that I left my men I always did all I could for them, even under the toughest conditions, and as a result not one of them received a single scratch, despite enemy activity, but I simply had an unlucky day.

You may or may not believe in the following, but if you remember back while I was in England you once sent me a service card with a little horseshoe and penny attached to it. Well, I tore the horseshoe and penny from the card and put it onto my dog tag chain for good luck. I wore it until recently I received a new chain, but this horseshow would not fit it. So I put it in my pocket in order to hold onto it. My pocket turned out to be a bad place for it and I lost it just shortly before I was wounded. But I guess that’s not why Jerry didn’t give me a few seconds to duck that big one.

This wound had its good and bad points, overshadowing my current rest. I was recommended and appointed to O.E.S. Officers Candidate School, for a period of three months back in France. I was to leave for school shortly after I was hit.

I hope my Alma Mater had better luck in its game with Tremont High the same day. Anyway, don’t worry, as I am resting and feeling fine. Eventually I will be awarded the Purple Heart, and one day I will be proud to wear it with my other citations – two presidential citations, four battle stars, bronze star, combat infantrymen’s badge, European theatre ribbon, and good conduct.

Schwartz Bronze Star - Social

Continue sending mail to my regular address, but on a limited scale for I can’t say when I’ll receive it and do not send packages until I request you to. Again do not worry about my injury. I am O.K.

Your son,

Irvin.


Featured Image: US Army medics treat a wounded combat in France in 1944 – National Archives

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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