Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dad in Belgium......1944.....

Jesse Thomas Burgus 
1917-2000

I have written this story too  many times on some of my blogs so I will keep it short this time.  My dad had served a few years in the army, in the states,  and ended up his final time in the Battle of the Bulge.  He was in the very last part of that battle as he was sent over with replacement troops for the weary and the dead.  He arrived in Belgium in the fall of 1944 and spent some leisure time in this Belgium town.  I tried to find the name of it as I was told by a fellow blogger it's name.  I don't know why I can't find it as I searched my blogs but maybe the same person can help us out with the name.




The town had been held by the German army for quite some time but they were forced to retreat out of Belgium eventually because of the allied forces advancing on them.  The photos of the area are so great.  My dad and his buddy took a lot of pictures of the place while they awaited orders to go onto the front line.


Dad would have been 27 years old in this photo, which was old for men to be drafted.  He already had one son at home when he was drafted and then had another right before he was sent overseas.  He is a farm boy, mechanic who fixed tractors, and had never left the state of Iowa in his life time. In many ways it was a like sending a bunch of guys to Europe to be tourist even though that was not the end result.


The check is next to the window of the room that he stayed in at that complex.  I assume it had been apartments.  He must be in a tower or on a hill to have had this photo taken.



Not all of the soldiers were country kids as my dad did meet people from New York City and other larger more metropolitan place in the United States.  This photo is one of my favorites as it shows that the men needed each other to survive. The silliness of standing on a railing and making a silly pose makes me smile.  They were still kids at that age as all our kids in their 20's still are.

My dad wrote and sent a letter to my mom every single day, but he had to find friends to make the whole situation better.  He made friends even though there were good chances that one of them would be killed. He had a poster that has names of many men who signed it but no addresses were involved, so he returned to Iowa without any way to contact any of them.  He may not have know them all but it felt good to get everyone's autograph of a shared time together.

Family at war is my blog today.  I find that I am still needing to study the large packet of the war photos that I have and will share them when they fit the Sepia Saturday theme.

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14 comments:

Christine H. said...

Larry, I'm sure that camaraderie and thoughts of returning home kept them going. Great photos.

Tattered and Lost said...

How lucky you are to have these photos from this time period that show such calm. Very nice.

Vicki Lane said...

WWII must have been a real eye-opener for many country boys. My father ended up in Burma.

Nice post, Larry!

Eric S. said...

Now those are some great photos. I love the camaraderie, of the guys, a thing that bolsters the spirits, and stills the mind. That town looks so much like many of the towns I saw while stationed in Germany. Even though it was in the 80's it was still an adventure for me. I was in Bitburg, housed just up the street from the house General Patton claimed for his temporary headquarters.

Barbara and Nancy said...

I love that "silly" picture. Did you notice the guy on the left is in his stocking feet? (not sure which one is your father). I don't know why I noticed or what it means.
Very interesting pictures and story. I've heard that the friends made in war are the only thing that make it bearable.

Marilyn said...

What wonderful photos, and yes, I am sure that all the men helped each other through a dreadful time. I have some photos of my father-in-law with his mates when they were Fiji during the war and also some that belonged to his brother who served in Italy and was present at Casino. Just like your photos they show the men having a bit of fun where they could to help each other along. I enjoyed reading your post.

Alan Burnett said...

You have to admire the way they seem to keep cheerful in the midst of what must be a frightening hell of a time and place. I think I may have seen one of these photos before - always a pleasure to see it again, and the others just add to the story.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I find this very interesting because of my father, actually the loss of him. I would think that if you Google, Battle of the Bulge and Belgium with the name of the Army Division to which your father was attached, you could name that town again. I have several photos now by my uncle Carl that I will share when I get around to scanning, of Europe, France and Germany. Yes, they did send kids out into the world. And their livesd changed forever. So did ours.

TICKLEBEAR said...

it is that camaraderie that bounded these strangers together, making them "brothers". to trust your life to others is a leap of faith, and when facing the enemy, you need to trust into something/someone.

HUGZ

Nancy said...

I think it's amazing that you still have your dad's war photos. And these are wonderful ones. It's good to see the last photo in which the men are smiling. I'm sure they tried lots of different ways to keep their morale up during that dreadful time. Thanks for sharing these photos with us.

Titania said...

Terrible times all these wars. Luckily your Dad returned home. I also enjoyed the story about the unknown people. the photgraphs are so beautiful and the albums too, real treasures. Your artistic work is also very beautiful. I love drawings. We still have some from Switzerland Scenery from a town near Zurich, the artist was Erika Streit.

John Hayes said...

Interesting observations about your father's experience in WWII. My father was also a country boy--from Vermont--who served in the Pacific in WWII--in the SeaBees. Though he'd been to other states in the northeast before he enlisted, I can't even begin to imagine how different he found life in the Phillipines & other places he was stationed.

Far Side of Fifty said...

How lovely that he wrote to your Mom every day. I can't help but wonder what was going through his mind about the war and being so far from home..he was older..but most of the troops were much younger:(

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Larry, I am so glad you have these wonderful photos of your dad. You can see him as a different person and in a different light to the one you knew. A soldier and a man who served his country far away from home.He would have experienced serious times and yet these photos only portray the relaxed leasure..
A great man and worthy of praise.