Transcribed by James Fox, August 2004|
from the Deposit-Coach Fox WW2 Letters Collection
Sgt. Paul Van Pelt (letter 1/3)
Deposit Central School Class of 1941
Somewhere in France
July 19, 1944
Well you probably will be just as surprised to hear from me as I was you but I really enjoyed gearing from you. I knew there were quite a few boys from around home in England when I was there but I only ran into Bob Price. I take it from the names in your letter that the old town is pretty dead now. It is just as you said that you would have had to burn the schoolhouse down to get me out if I hadn't quit on you. I have kicked myself in the pants a hundred times for not staying in school and playing ball the last year. Because with Ralph*, Charlie*, Justin*, Skinny*, and Keith*, I think we could have did it again. Oh well those days are gone but not by no means forgotten. The people over here seem more friendly and thankful that we are here than the English did but I guess you can't blame them. I have seen pretty horrible sights since I have been here but I guess it could have been a lot worse. I have a few souveniers stored away in my tank now and if I keep picking them up I will look like a junk-dealer when I get home. Well Coach I will have to close this for now so if you drop any of the boys a line give them my regards and tell anyone interested that your dream team will take on any and all comers in our Gym this winter. (I hope) Give my regards to your family, enclosed is a five Franc note equal to ten cents in American money. I thought maybe Jean* would be interested in it.
So Long & Good Luck,
Write if you get a chance.
*[Ralph Carl, Charles Williams, Justin Buchanan, Vere "Skinny" Conklin, Keith Hartz, Jean Fox, (coach's daughter)]
Sgt Paul Van (letter 2/3)
Somewhere in Germany
Nov. 25, 1944
I am kind of late answering your letter this time I had an accident and had to go back into hall and have six stitches taken in my hand and it was kind of sore and stiff for about ten days. And to top it all off I and a buddy of mine was lucky enough to get a two day pass and while on it we got plastered and I handed him a razor blade and he cut the stitches out and now I think I have got infection in it, so you can see it doesn't pay.
Boy I really hated to come back to the front lines, back were we were waited on hand and fist. The civilians would beg you to stay with them all night of course if they had a nice daughter we accepted this invitation. I wish this darn war would end soon, it seems as if I am spending the best days of my life in here. Its pretty rough right here where I am now every few minutes the ground shakes when the artillery in back of us sounds off and some times we can see them land out in front of us. When you hear the shells whistle you don't know what to do for a few minutes because you don't know whether the things are our own going out or heinie shells coming in. I imaging the Varsity D reunion you are planning on having should be a swell time. Say about the deer you claimed you shot I heard through the grapevine you hacked it out of Clint Conklins* back yard, what about it? Well coach I will have to close for now so take good care of yourself.
*[Clint Conklin, locally reknowned Stilesville deer hunter]
S. Sgt. Paul VanPelt (letter 3/3)
Somewhere in Germany
Feb. 14, 1945
I received your letter a couple of weeks ago but by where I am now you can see that I haven't had time to answer it. How did the football and baseball team make out this year, I haven't read or rather received the home town paper in a couple of months. I sure wish I was going to be back there playing a few games of basketball in under you this winter but that is really out of the picture. I wish you could see these German towns after we are finished with them. They really remind you of a ghost town. Every building and home in them are full of shell holes and the inside of them are completely wrecked and the streets and houses are littered with dead germans. It is sort of a pittiful sight but when you think of some of the things they hone to other people it doesn't bother you a bit. Right here it is a bit quiet right now all you hear is our artillery and a little of theirs coming close and once in a while you hear an explosion where a cow or horse steps on a mine. Well coach I haven't much more time right now so I will close for now. Be sure and write when you get a chance and take it easy.