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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher pdf (964,567 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher
Intending to have them published, Swan's wife had his letters transcribed as he sent them.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (964,567 Bytes)
1944-06-18 (June 18, 1944)
[Swan, Henry]
[Swan, Mary Fletcher]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War II
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 51
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1944-1996
Folder: World War II. Letters at home, by Henry Swan II, 1944-1945
June 18, 1944
Hi darling,
A bright sunny day, and we've spent it moving again. I sure did hate to leave my nifty little fox-hole that I worked so hard on, but then, I've spent the day today making another one just about as good. This region we're in now gives promise of being completely quiet and you might even say safe, - or dull, depending on the point of view. Anyway, I hope we stay here, as I'm plenty fed up with packing and unpacking, and digging and undigging.
I think now I can tell you a little about the early days on the beach. On June 7 we arrived off the British beachhead from which they were attacking Caen. The channel crossing was calm. A solid bridge of boats of all sizes shuttling back and forth. We staid aboard that night, and there was considerable activity overhead that night. The next morning, we sailed toward our landing area on the extreme rt-wing of the American beach out along the peninsula. Thus we had a birdseye view of the entire length of the landing operations - the thousands & thousands of boats, navy vessels from battleships to E boats, LST, LSI's, landing craft of all sorts. Not all of them were afloat, and the noise of the naval barrages was deafening at times. That night, i.e., D 2, we went ashore on an LCT, wading in up to our waists in the late evening. We dug in on the beach, wet & cold. The next three days we worked like beavers at various places. It was a hot spot then, as we are only about 1/2 mile from the flank. The details I'll tell you some day, but all I know is that I never want to look up from the operating table again and see a neat little row of holes appear in the tent! The first morning, we hit the dirt in the O.R. when they came over, but when I saw the patient lying on the table with his hands over his face just sweating it out, I resolved that never again would I duck and leave the patient with the feeling of helplessness and desertion. Nor have I since.
Now, and for the past several days, we are working with a field hospital. We're all back of the lines and away from military objectives. The outfit we're with is a swell bunch of fellows, and our set-up is ideal. We get the non-transportable injured, and hence have wonderful operative material. I couldn't be more pleased with the whole set-up.
Well, must stop now, as it's time for chow and then some rest.
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