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  1. My shorthand is beyond rusty, but I do love a good puzzle. BTW, would a POW carrying a notebook in shorthand have an advantage or a disadvantage? I see 8 items.

    1. Departed from …. on Dec. Nine

    Well after the Normandy invasion in June.

    2. arrived at …..

    five shorthand forms; last 3 probably the date “on ___ ____”, consistent with his first line; first 2 thus would be the place of arrival in France or Belgium.

    3. General …

    Ships named for generals may be searchable. U. S. Army Transportation Corps tends to name its ships for generals.

    4. Slept on the deck.

    Apparently a short run, not transatlantic.

    5. and arrived…

    Day or date

    6. and proceeded to the town of ….

    Pierre? Oddly, Wikipedia does not find a French town of St. Pierre. There is a Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in Belgium.

    7. bivouacked in a … field

    Bean field?

    8. four-man pup tent

    Ordinarily I think of pup tents as 2-man, but there are 4-man tents; not worth arguing about shorthand-wise. (See M*A*S*H on MeTV). Hope they had heaters in December!

  2. Here are some of my observations. I'll use Donald Ramsey's numbers to refer to the parts of the manuscript.

    1. If the writer was in the center of England at the beginning of the trip, his point of departure could have been Lamport.

    2. The end of line 2 and the beginning of line 3: I'm guessing that it's "arrived at Southampton ___ the following day at noon". The unknown here looks like d-n (accounting for the skipping penstrokes).

    5. End of line 5, also seems to say "the following day", just before the paragraph mark. As for where they arrived, it looks like "La Haves" or something of the sort. Could it be Le Havre? That's in Normandy, right on the sea.

    6. There is a town called Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in Normandy, a bit to the east of Caen. (There is also a Saint-Pierre down near Marseilles. By December of 1944, American troops were being landed in both regions. There is another Saint-Pierre as well, in the far east of France shortly south of Strasbourg, but that's certainly not meant here; nor is the one on Martinique.)

    1. Not to toot my own horn, but this is another reason to always read all my reading selections in the blog. "Southampton" is part of the vocabulary of this month's Anniversary post, smiley. The soldier wrote it phonetically (not according to theory), but it is legible.

      1. Carlos, the way you wrote "Southampton" is recognizable. But the way this soldier wrote it took me time to decipher, especially since "South-" looks like "face" and "-ton" looks like "down".

  3. I am blown away! This is incredibly helpful! I am humbly grateful. The owner of this journal, the writer's son, has the time and interest and is eager to do research on this as I gather more clues. You guys have really helped to push that effort forward. So exciting! You've helped reveal a bit of history here! Any further insights are welcome! Thanks again!

  4. A follow up for all of you who took an interest and helped me with this translation …

    Left that afternoon on the General_________.

    My client (the son of the man who wrote this journal) has continued his research in an effort to fill in some of the blanks. He recently emailed me to let me know that a regimental history he found says a number of men in his father’s unit were transported from England to France in December 1944 on a British transport — the ben-my-chree.

    So, what we thought was J – E – N (which I interpreted as an abbreviation for General) was in fact B – E – N. The rest of it fits perfectly, as the third syllable is pronounced as starting with a K sound (hard C) rather than a CH sound.

    My client is overjoyed that historical facts have dovetailed nicely with his father's own personal history. Thanks again for all those who helped on this.

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