Oct. 31, 1944
Dear Mom, Grandma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele,
Now I've seen London. I was there Sunday on a pass and was there Sunday on a pass and was very much impressed by most things and other things didn’t please me so well.
As soon as we go there we went to Buckingham Palace. But it was a disappointment to me. It was an immense place but didn’t have any “color” at all. I imagine if we could have seen the inside I would have been surprised (you can’t judge a book by its cover you know). I talked to one of the bobby’s (policeman) and he gave us a little interesting points about the place. (By the way Max and another fellow & myself went). He told us that when the King was there the colors would fly on the mast on top of the building, and when we were [there] the colors were not flying therefore the King wasn’t there.
As I was making the rounds I wished you all could have been with me. It’s really something everybody should see. You never can tell there may come a day.
From there we went to Westminster Abbey and upon approaching it, little did we know it was Westminster Abbey. But upon entering it, it hit us as one of the most interesting, most thrilling sights I ever saw. It was built in the 9 &10 centuries, so that makes is just about a 1000 years old, and it looks it. Can you imagine seeing something a 1000 years old. It’s kind of hard to realize isn’t it? In this church just about everybody that’s noble was buried. And for each tomb they have a statue or carving with beauty that isn’t explainable in words. Kings, great poets, scientists etc. were buried there. The alter & surroundings & choir seats (where they have processions) are beautifully carved. And believe it or not when we were there the sun was shining and we got the beautiful effects of the huge rose colored glasses. The structure itself is all made of stone, all hand carved and it extends so high, you just wonder what keeps it up there. Being I am interested in building construction I wonder all the more. But the boys in those times were really good and you have to give them credit. They built for endurance not like today.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was one of the disappointments. I guess it’s really something but after seeing Westminster Abbey it didn’t impress me too much. But it was thrilling to see the huge dome on the church from the inside. It’s a huge size and extends, maybe 400 ft. in the air. (That’s an estimation). If you like you can look up some of these wonders in a book and get some facts about them. If I had access to do a library I would do the same thing. If I ever get some time on a pass I’ll try to get to a library and do a little research work.
The House of Parliament on the Thames River is a building of unusual size and is a building of beautiful architecture. We couldn’t get into this building as you have to register for a tour and we didn’t have time for that. Right at the end of this building was Big Ben, the clock you hear so much about. It’s quite a sight. As we passed it struck two o’clock in the afternoon with two big bongs.
Then we went to see the oldest building in London and that was the Tower of London. This is a prison & torture chamber where all these kings etc. were beheaded (If I got it straight). There was a tour thru here and we missed it. Maybe I can make it next time.
Also right next to this building was the London Bridge over the Thames River. I forgot to mention that the Tower of London was hit by a bomb. But it was a very small portion of it. It gave us an opportunity to see the thickness of the wall & the rooms where they kept the prisoners.
I sent Helen a map and when she is finished with it she will send it to you & then you can put it in the scrap book. It’s in pretty bad shape but I’ll try to get a few new ones the next time I go. OK.
A few more interesting points. We visited Piccadilly Circus. But we didn’t see Barnum & Bailey or any other circus. Piccadilly Circus is to London as Times Square is to New York. Just a main section. But it really does look like a circus to see al these different uniforms of different countries. The Scottish uniforms are the most colorful. I don’t think there is any explanation, is there?
Some of the boys weighed themselves and got their weight in stones. One stone is equal to 14 pounds. A person who weighs 126#, weighs 9 stones in England.
I guess that’s about all for now. I think I’ll get some shut eye. I hope you are all in the best of health and very happy. I am fine. I got Grandma’s name on this letter & will do so in the future unless Aunt Anna changes her mind. You read it to Grandma OK ma? Until my next letter I remain
Your loving Soldier Boy