Donald Fetter

Donald Fetter

From Norwood, New York, Donald Philip Fetter, aged 18, enlisted in the US Army in April, 1943. He joined the 168th Infantry, 34th Division as a Private and was sent to North Africa. He was next involved in the push up through Italy to Monte Cassino.
On January 5th, 1944, he was wounded and reported missing on the battlefield around Monte Cassino. He was found by a German sergeant who threw him into the back of a truck. He woke up in a German Field Hospital where an Italian doctor amputated his right arm. He celebrated his 19th birthday in Stalag 18A.
In the camp he was befriended by a group of Scottish soldiers, particularly Danny McAuley of the Seaforth Highlanders.
(Below is the text of two letters that he wrote home from the camp.)

Dearest Mom,
Well, here's another letter from yours truly. I am still in good health and my wound is coming along well. There is only a space the size of a quarter that isn't healed. I have regained my balance and can walk pretty good now. You see the loss of my arm threw me off balance for a while. We had sausage and tomatoes for supper and apple pudding for dessert so you see I am still eating. Have you told Betty Curry yet? I wonder if she still cares for me?
Have I got a medal yet? I have the 'Purple Heart' coming, you know.
Write very soon and don't worry.
Your soldier boy, Don

Hello Pop,
Well I have just finished a letter to Gramp and I figgered that you deserved a letter now. I haven't received any mail as yet but I am waiting hopefully. I am drawing American Red Cross parcels and each one has 180 cigarettes in them. Not bad, eh? The parcel consists of: 1 tin coffee, 3 tins butter, biscuits, meat rolls, Bully, egg powder and so on. It is really okay. I certainly miss the family but I guess I'm always missing something or other. I hope Mom isn't worrying because I just don't want her to worry. Just pretend I am on vacation (or in the state Big house) Ha Ha! I've certainly met a lot of swell fellows here so I don't have any trouble getting my face and hands washed. Well dad take care of the family when I get home we'll go on a tear just you and me.

(Details supplied by his son, Kent Fetter.)

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