Here are letters and artifacts Bill sent home from the war to his father, Martin J. Conlon at 18 Temple Street, Whitman, Massachusetts.
Postcard Home from the west coast: 1944
San Francisco, Cal
I didn’t have much spare time to day but I thought I’d drop you a line and let you know I am still somewhere on the West Coast. I also signed a $30 allotment which should get [illegible] December 10 or so. Hope you are all well. [illegible]
Love to all, Bill
Letter Home from New Guinea: November 27, 1944
How are you all at home? I haven’t heard from any of you for almost ten days. I hope everyone is all right and that I hear from you soon. I think the mail is being held up on this end as the mail bags are piling up fast at the APO.
There’s nothing new to tell you as I usually go on a detail every day at the QM or Signal depots. We don’t do anything else except take i a movie now and then.
I picked up some Jap money so I’m sending it to you this this letter. There are five bills; two Jap and three Jap invasion and I’m also sending license and social security card. My bill-fold is covered with fungus so I don’t want to carry anything I may need later. So put the stuff away for me please.
I just happened to think of something you could send me, that is dental floss. I can’t get any in the PX’s here.
I haven’t heard from Joe for a long while’ I hope he’s still at Newport. Just had mail call and got Mary’s V-mail of Nov. 8. glad to hear Joe took the car to Newport but if his ship is to be commissioned at the end of this month I guess he’ll be going on it soon.
Hoover & I finally got the radio put together but the tube flew out on a short circuit so we’ve got to beg, borrow, or steal another. It did work however.
Did you see Danny B. when he was home? And does Earl White drop around much?
I signed payroll today and they took out the $30 allotment for the first first time so you should get it by the time this letter arrives. Well Dad it’s time for supper so here’s hoping I hear from you soon. Love to all and write often!
Your loving son
Letter Home from Philippine Islands: December 23, 1944
It’s getting dark so this will have to be a short letter, but it’ll let you know I’m fine and getting along OK. We have a nicer camp established than the last one and I like it here much better. The Filipinos help us a lot and treat us swell. They work for 50 cents a day and have actually put up the camp for us. The girls and women are in and out of the tents all day getting laundry and returning. It puts Charlie [the Chinese laundry man in Whitman. — author] to shame too when you see how white the clothes are with only a bar or so of hand soap we give them. About 50 cents takes care of a weeks clothes. It is a little embarrassing once in a while if we happen to be dressing when the come but it doesn’t bother them. They have hardly any clothes but what the solders have given since the Japs took money, chickens and clothes. You can’t imagine how the conditions are for them but they seem as happy as can be since the U.S. moved in.
We are only bothered by millions of insects, worms, scorpions etc, but they are only a nuisance rather than a danger.
We have plenty of coconuts since we are in a coconut grove and they helped fill our stomachs for the time we had rations.
You should see the Filipino kids climb the trees and hack them down. They have bolos made of auto springs and boy they know how to use them. One of them came around today to cut hair and give shaves. He had two straight razors and a boy scout knife. The knife was the one he used to shave with since it was the sharpest. Try that sometime when you run out of blades. I’m enclosing fourteen Jap invasion bills that a Filipino gave me. Give a few of them to any of the family that wants them.
We finally got a dozen bottles of beer tonite after about six weeks without it. The kitchen got turkey in today so it won’t be too bad a Christmas after all. it won’t be like being home tho.
Well Dad that’s enough chamber of commerce table for now so I hope this letter find you all well. So keep writing, I’ll get them all at once eventually. Give my love to all and I’ll be thinking of you.
Your loving son,
Letter Home from Philippine Islands: Dad March 17, 1945
This is the first chance I’ve had to write since arriving here the first of the week as we are getting the camp set up and also going to the message center to find out what our work will be. That is the only bad part of coming here, since it looks like the whole team will be doing entirely different work from what we were trained. Two of us transmitter men are to be message center clerks and I don’t care for that type of work. There is no information concerning the team getting together to do the work we had been doing.
We had a very comfortable ride down here even tho it was on top of our truck load of equipment. Most of the way was over a concrete road and we stopped at the halfway point for something to eat. All the trip was during the nite so we didn’t see very much.
It’s going to be a good deal in one way here as it’s very much like a city at home except for so many ruins. Today three of us went to look part of the place over with a Filipino guerilla who’s acting as our guide while he is here. We bought ice cream and coffee today altho the prices are higher than they should be. There are bars, restaurants, and all sorts of stores open and it’s a busy place.
Tomorrow our friend is calling for us in a ‘carabella’ (Filipino horse & buggy) to take us to church and site seeing again. He has also promised us some good souvenirs but until we get them I’m not putting too much faith in it. We intend to have some pictures taken tomorrow also.
I bought some pictures from a fellow at our last camp of the locality, so I’m enclosing eleven of them now. You’ve probably seen similar ones in the newspapers.
I haven’t received any mail since coming here but will in a few days I hope. I have a new APO number again and it should remain the same for quite some time.
I hope you are all O.K. and in the best of health. I’m still going strong and eating more now that the food is better – we’ve had real butter, potatoes, and eggs here so I hope the show stays that way. So long for now. Love to all.
Your loving son