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.
Major William Hallow is mentioned in a trio of letters home. Sometime in February, 1945, Major Hallow made a trip from Italy to Cairo for a Rest Camp. “He visited Palestine and quite a number of other places over there, but I was most interested in what he told us about Cairo. It seems that they have Fresh Canned Milk, Loads of good ice Cream, ice Cream Sundaes, Banana Splits, and you can even drop into a place at 12 o’clock at night and buy a hamburger and cup of coffee.”
Always described as a “swell officer”, “Major Hallow brought back about 50 bananas [from Cairo] with him and most of the fellows had 2 each.” “He also brought us back a small coin from Palestine (1 for each man in the office).”
On 16 March 1945, my uncle wrote that Major Hallow was “offered the chance to go home to the good old U.S.A. on Temporary Duty for 21 days. He is to fly both ways. He has 32 or 33 months overseas time to his credit so I guess he really deserves getting back to the good old U.S.A.”
It was 7 May 1945 when censorship of military mail was lifted. This opened up communications from the soldiers to many more details. On 9 May 1945, in his description of the censorship, my uncle wrote, “we don’t have to worry about whether or not our officers are going to object to what we are saying or not. Lt. Col Hallow and Captain Bourke were always pretty swell about it, however, and they never cut out anything unless they knew that it just couldn’t be said.”
That same letter includes the fact that “Lt. Col. Hallow has gone home on Temporary Duty now.”