Letters From War Wednesday: World War II – Harold Hastings.

Hump day, and time for our weekly feature, Letters From War WednesdaysHarold Hastings was drafted by the U.S. Army pre-Pearl Harbor, in October 1941.  He fell in with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 168th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division.

In November 1942, Hastings joined 30,000 Allied troops for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.  On February 17, 1943, Hastings’ unit was overrun at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.  First believed dead, Hastings was instead captured by the Germans, and would be a POW for the remainder of the war.

Harold Hastings - 34th Infantry Division

Though this post is sandwiched between two entries on the Flossenburg Concentration Camp, Hastings was held at Stalag II-B.  However, as with the inmates at Flossenburg, Hastings was also liberated in late April 1945, 66 years ago this week.

This note back home to Hastings’ fiancee, Betty, was written in late April, upon his liberation.  “It sure is a great feeling to be writing to you as a free man again,” he described, after over two years as a POW.  “…All the time I used to write and say, I’d be seeing you soon and never getting there is over now.  I’m on my way home.  I’m in France now and expect to pull out in a few days for the states.  They tell us we get a furlough just as soon as we get there, so just keep a sharp lookout.  I’m coming home this time, and I really mean it.”

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