Charles Bourke – 5th Army HQ WWII

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.

Captain Charles Bourke is mentioned in four or five of Philip’s letters. In January of 1945, Captain Bourke was the one responsible for reading and censoring the letters Philip (and probably others) wrote. Captain Bourke is identified as the 6th man from the left in the front row of the group photo referred to as “The Road to Rome” in Philip’s letter of 25 January 1945. [There is no #4 in the front row, so the Captain may actually be the 5th man.]
Captain Bourke’s rank (and friendliness, no doubt) was a big help to the office staff when they ordered Paratroop Boots from the family of one of their colleagues. They arrived in a box about 2 feet by 4 feet by 2 feet address to Captain Bourke, because, as Phil explained, “you can’t send any package over 5 lbs. to an Enlisted Man.”
By Philip’s letter of 9 May 1945, Captain Bourke, described as being “pretty swell” about censoring the men’s letters, was now working in a different section of Army Headquarters than Philip.