A Soldier’s Letters Reveal Hardships and Hope in World War II
Dalton Bunting Sr. never spoke much to his children about serving in World War II, especially not about being on the front lines.
The letter is somewhat vague, but seems to put him near the Normandy landings and Battle of the Bulge toward the end of the war, said
Becky and Ed. By the summer of 1944, they had crossed into France. Tuesday, June 6, was D-Day.
In Belguim, they almost had our number, too. When the breakthrough came. Just a few days before Xmas. Our orders were to destroy our equipment and get on the air field and fight. No man was to retreat. The only thing that saved our neck was the Air Force. And if the weather had been bad for one more day, that couldn’t have
helped us either. But everything came out all right and from then on we just kept moving.
The letter ends with uncertainty, him and fellow soldiers wondering whether they’d be shipped to Japan or sent home. But Sgt. Bunting was honorably discharged on Dec. 9, 1945, and went straight to North Carolina to see Purnell, wanting to marry her and bring her back to the family farm. But Purnell was unsure about leaving everything she had ever known.
Becky and Ed believe their mother may have written more than a thousand letters back to him during the war, but they were never saved since soldiers often had to burn them. But there was something about that nine-p
age letter that struck a chord not only with the family, but others. Dalton Sr.’s uniform and a copy of the letter has been on display in the Missiles and More Museum in Topsail Beach, N.C., for several years. Copies of the letter have been stolen nearly half a dozen times.