Gunner Walter Culhane Bittle of the 12th Field Regiment R.C.A. , 11th Battery, Toronto, was KIA on August 14 1944 near Hautmensil / Falaise.
Walter and his wife Kay’s letters were the breath of life and love between them from the days Walter left overseas in England for the 3 years in training before D-Day, to the last days of his life just before the bombing in Hautmenisl Quarry, France. He was killed in action while trying to save a severely wounded soldier buddy from Hamilton; a bomb killed them both.
Walter writes to Kay on July 29th – one of many letters…
A friend of mine was just reading an article from his home town paper. Some person in the Reserve Army is crying for a medal. Can you imagine anything so foolish! For spending a couple of evenings per week in a uniform, they want medals. All I can say is this, send them over here for awhile. Let them undergo enemy shellfire, give them a taste of a squadron of jerry bombers dropping their stuff so close that the blast knocks the wind right out of you, and then on a clear night when he winds up and lets his ” Moaning Minnies ” have their turn and they fall on your position like rain. I could name other instances too, our boys on the beach, God bless them, who gave their all. It is things like that when a fellow sees them, that stamped in his memory for all time. And at home, some Zombie who thru the bigness of his heart spends a couple nights a week on drill to help his country, wants a medal. I tell you my sweet, it hurts and it makes a fellow think. I wish Le Roy could meet a guy like that. No doubt Le Roy would just about mash him to pulp. With a 100% blessing. That’s all for now, I’m going to have a smoke and cool off. These things disturb me, and the sad part of it is I shouldn’t let them.
How have you been these past few days ? I hope that you are in the best of health and getting plenty of tan at the beach. And I’ll bet you look better than ever in a swim suit. Say hello to the family and give my regards to all. You are the most wonderful girl in all the world my dearest. I love you with all my heart I adore and worship you. I pray to God that soon this war shall end and we can be together for always. You are the only thing in life I want. My thoughts and my actions are, and always have been, centred around you. Your love for me is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. All my happiness I owe to you. God bless you my darling and keep you for me. I love you, I love you.
Your loving husband and kisses to Kay, Bev and Barry…..
Kay writes to Walter on August 14th – the day Walter was KIA…
August 14th, 1944 Toronto, Canada
My Dearest Husband,
I sincerely hope and pray you are well and safe. This letter leaves us all well here. Saturday while the children went to the show, Violet and I went to the Sunnyside Tank. I’m telling you dear the past few days have been almost unbearable. Yesterday was the …. so we packed a lunch and went to Edgecliff. It was nice there and the children like it better than the tank because they can walk out before it gets deep. What do you think dear? LeRoy and Gerry are expecting this December. They must have started as soon as he got home eh! Beverley and Barry are both fine and enjoyed themselves yesterday. It was lovely and cool there but always I get sunburned and was I sore but today it is nearly all brown. When it is so hot the children get crabby and don’t realize it because they run around so much in the sun. That is why I like to get them to the beach to feel a lot better and as do I. The water was cool but nice. I haven’t forgotten how to swim. Have you heard from Earl ? He is in France too so if you get a chance try and see him. How are you my darling ? I hope you are keeping fine and well too. I know you will be home pretty soon darling then we can continue our lives in happiness. I have dreamed of that day, darling since you went away. It has been wonderful just thinking about it but when that wonderful day really is here my heart will pound and I will be so excited I won’t do a thing right. I have been terribly lonely in these past years and I haven’t really had one happy day since you went away. I have had many enjoyable times but underneath it all there was something missing for without you nothing is enjoyable or happy to me. All this loneliness will be forgotten when I can at last hold you in my arms and really know you are home safe and sound for good.
God bless you. Love you your loving wife,
Kay xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx