My uncle, Philip E. Bergquist, served the USA at 5th Army Headquarters from October 1943 until October 1945. These stories about his colleagues come from letters he sent home from Italy to his family.
Private Howard Matthews is first mentioned in a letter dated 31 May 1944 as a new person in the 5th Army Headquarters Office. He is listed there as coming from Brooklawn, New Jersey. On 3 July 1944, my uncle wrote home about a trip taken to Rome with Howard. They took a tour which “included the pantheon, a few other historic buildings, and a complete guided tour of St. Peters.” After the tour, the two visited the zoo, described as a quiet place that most of the GI’s stay away from and having “the animals usually found in a zoo.”
In a letter dated 25 January 1945, Philip identifies those included in a photo referred to as “The Road to Rome,” which is a group photo of Headquarters Staff. Howard is described as the seventh from the left in the back row, and is now listed as being from New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Howard Matthews was promoted to PFC on 26 March 1945. He is mentioned again in a letter dated 30 May 1945. This time a photo is being sent that was “taken last winter at the tobacco factory in Florence.” Howard, now a Tech 5 (T/5) is identified as second from the left.
Howard also joined Philip on a seven day tour of Switzerland in 1945. Philip’s ten page account of the trip includes the statement that Howard bought a watch for his wife while in Switzerland.