Although they don’t speak for all GIs, and surprisingly given the living conditions, many of the diaries and letters from WW2 contain overwhelmingly positive reflections of lifetime Britain.
The warm reception that many GIs received in letters from their loved ones at home would have provided a welcome relief from the dangerous and stressful daily routine of leading a strategic bombing campaign.
Diaries allowed GIs to express their real feelings and emotions about life during WW2. Thanks to the many kind donations of diaries, letters and v-mails we are today now able to get a little glimpse into what life was really like living on an airbase in East Anglia.
In his diary, this GI reminds us of the perils faced not just over Europe but also in the skies of East Anglia. For most GIs waiting on base crashes were a traumatic experience and would have meant the almost certain death of their friends and airmen.
GI diaries are also a great way of finding about interactions between the Americans and the locals. In this entry the GI writes about a day he spent meeting children in the nearby village.
Letters were the main way that GIs contacted their loved ones in America. Some wrote letters everyday – a way of reassuring family that all was well in England. The letters sent between Bob and Alice, now archived in the Norfolk Record Office, reveal how difficult it was to be apart from the those you cared for.
In 1945, after many dedicated years of writing letters to and fro, Bob and Alice finally married.