"June 16, 1945
Greetings from France! Landed here on Wednesday nite, June 13th. Crossing the English Channel was excellent. Lovely warm weather.
|(c) 13 June 1945 Elsie (Barks) Naylor. Arrival in France. Elsie is standing on the right with other Red Cross girls.|
I was ever so sorry I didn't get up to see Aunt Eliza and family before leaving. Called cousin Ivy and spoke to Elsie, however.
Haven't seen too much of France as yet. Rode from port to present "residence" in open trucks and my only impression of the countryside thus far was the gorgeous poppy fields. Such loved red patches of fields! They say Normandy is supposed to be so beautiful - I am anxious to see it for so far there is no comparison to England.
Passed thru LeHavre. Perhaps you have read of the terrific damage done there. Everything is flattened to the ground. Saw a number of German pill boxes .
The feeling of the French toward us in this port is not good. We have been told that the French have not forgiven the Air Forces for the deaths and damage caused by their bombings. We sensed this feeling the first day here. However, I am not one to blame them too much, for I feel there are those who know no better., and their lives under German rule were no different that life under ours. Some Americans feel bitter about this - I find, however, I have no respect for them but yet I can understand.
Children amuse us - little boys in dresses and pinafores  and in wooden-soled shoes! We are now quartered in the grounds of a once lovely chateau  (nurses & Red Cross girls only). It at one time was the summer residence for the French kings. Later was made into a monastery.
|Chow line at the chateau.|
Yesterday went on a conducted tour to see V-bomb sites. Long rail lines lead to the site. Direct bomb hits had smashed along the line and huge craters were all about the adjoining. Tracks were twisted and lay all along the line. Lovely poppies and daisies were growing among the ruins. One building was completely demolished but others were intact inside although camouflaged roofs had been blasted off. The walls were 2 ft. thick only direct hits could damage the inside.
The Nazis were thorough!!! Can't roam about in France - mines and booby traps still being found. However, I don't' believe I want to stay in France. My eyes are on the CBI (China-Burma-India). Please be patient it you don't hear from me from time to time as I may not have chance to write. I will try to send you my new APO as soon as I know it, as your letters will now go to England to be forwarded and I don't expect to hear from you for quite a while yet. Keep writing tho -
PS This place is not permanent. I will be going further into France."
FOR FURTHER READING
 To learn more about German "Pill boxes" during WWII, see Bunkersite.com. Click France, and roll your mouse over the locations on the right side to see pop-up pics of German pill boxes.
 A pinafore is a utilitarian type of apron worn on top of a dress to keep it clean. The pinafore could be changed out with a clean one without having to fully change clothing on a young child.(WikiPedia includes several pics).
 Although the Chateau-de-Mesnieres-en-Bray suffered a devestating fire in 2004, the tourism board for the region has a picture of the chateau as it looks now.
 Learn more about the flying bombs known as V-Bombs at WikiPedia.