Thursday, 26th April 1945 (Stalag 383, Bavaria)
My Dear Mother & Father,
Here is the letter, for which you have waited so patiently, for five long years. At 3.30pm last Sunday afternoon one of General Patton's flying columns overran the camp and released us. Once again I am a free man!
According to latest information, we will be transported from here by lorry or bus within six days to an airfield, and then flown back to rest camp in England. There we will be cleansed, medically examined, re-clothed and, possibly within 48 hours, sent home on six weeks leave. I hope this reaches you in sufficient time to give you fair warning. Do your best to lay in a good supply of fresh fruit & vegetables, also some fish; I am absolutely fed-up with tinned stuff. I should be with you about May 4th.
The last time I heard from you was last December when I received a letter dated first week in November, therefore I do not know how you are at home. I do hope you are all well, for we have some wonderful months ahead of us. I shall soon be making acquaintance with Dorothy's husband, and my nephew, and re-newing it with Anne. Tell the relations I shall visit them all, I hope they are all well. Dorothy had better visit the hairdresser and lay in some summer frocks, I shall be taking her around a lot - until I find somebody else, that's going to be a most difficult piece of work. I would like Dad to try and get his holidays during May, we can all go away somewhere.
I am afraid I have no news of Jim, we were seperated last January (23rd) when the Germans forced the main camp onto the march, I was excused because, at that time, I was employed in the camp hospital. We were evacuated by train 3rd March, after living for 6 weeks 10 miles from the Russian front-line!
And now, dear parents, cheerio until you receive the telegram announcing my arrival in England.
On this day:
On the Western Front... The British 2nd Army completes the capture of Bremen. US 3rd Army units take Regensburg while other elements enter Austria. In the south, the French 1st Army reaches Lake Constance.
On the Eastern Front... In the continuing Soviet advances in the fighting in Berlin, the Dahlem and Seimensstadt districts are captured. Other Soviet units take the port of Stettin on the Baltic coast and Brno in Czechoslovakia.
In Italy... US 5th Army units head north from Verona toward the Brenner Pass and west toward Milan. The British 8th Army has crossed the Adige River and moves northeast toward Venice and Trieste.
In Liberated France... Marshal Petain is arrested when he crosses into France from Switzerland.
In the Philippines... There is a further American landing on Negros, this time by units of the Americal Division in the southwest of the island. The troops advance well inland before encountering Japanese resistance.
In Burma... Armor of the British 14th Army capture Toungoo in the drive south from Meiktila to Rangoon
In the Ryukyu Islands... On Okinawa, the US 24th Corps attacks the along the Japanese held Maeda Escarpment (Shuri Line). American armor reaches the reverse slope.