Ralph Leslie - 48th Combat Engineer
Joyce, a cousin of Ralph's, was conducting some research on the 48th Combat Engineers, when she stumbled upon this site. Seems that this is the week for the 48th, because I had just received a letter the very same day from the son of a 48th'er, so my goal was to introduce them to each other and to Al Kincer.
Joyce had already started corresponding with Al Kincer, 48th Combat Engineer, and told me that "he is the greatest of the great...and has been a wonderful help in my plight." Enabling people to make connections is one of the greatest joys and benefits of this site, and I'm so happy that Al is able to help Joyce piece together her cousin's wartime history.
Continued success in your quest Joyce! I know your cousin is smiling down on you.
Thank you so very much for the information on the 48th Engineer (C) Battalion and especially the "WE HONOR OUR DEAD" page. My cousin, Pvt Ralph Leslie is one of your honored dead. He was an only child and both his parents are deceased for many, many years. He was killed 3 days after I was born and I have the last letter he wrote home (which was to my parents) and arrived a few weeks after his death. My parents always spoke so highly of him, I feel like I know him but never had the chance to meet him. He was still in his teens. Your site has helped me walk with him in his last days. Thank you so very much.
This is the context of the letter from my cousin, Pvt. Ralph Leslie (KIA 6 Jan 1944).
Somewhere in Italy
December 24, 1943
Dear Aunt Elsie & Uncle Frank,
How is everything and everybody back home on this Christmas Eve? I bet the kids are running around the house looking for presents. And Jim, he's probably out with that girl of his. Tell him he better hang on to her or he'll lose her like I lost mine.
I received your Christmas box a couple of days ago and I want to thank you for it. It was swell to receive them. They don't last very long over here.
Say, does Jim still have the same idea about joining up as he used to? You show this letter to him, will you? Jim, I've been in this Army quite awhile now and at the present I'm over here with the damn Germans. Jim, if I were in your place, I would think twice before I joined the service. You would be much better off if you waited until you have to go. Our cousin Ernest is over here too and he says the same thing. This is not like being in the states when you're over here. I'm so damned nervous & jumpy and I don't know what to do half the time. You never know until you get into it. I know guys like Bob Phillips talk big but they don't know what it's like over here. They would soon change their tune.
That's enough said.
How's my little girl, Florann? Tell her that Uncle Ralph says hello. I hope it won't be long till I'll be holding her in my arms again. Tell all the kids I said hello.
It's a little late, but Merry Christmas & especially a Happy New Year,
Just a few notes: This letter was to my mom and dad. I was born 3 days (3 Jan 1944) before Ralph was killed. Florann is my sister and Jim was my brother (who did join the Army Air corp) My sister called him Uncle Ralph out of respect because he was an adult . He was our cousin.
You are welcome to do whatever you wish with the letter. It would be nice to have a page dedicated to Ralph. I am still gathering info on him and Al Kincer did know him and told me he was killed about two weeks before they took Mount Porchia. I am thinking it was when the 48th and 235th were ordered in as infantry to help the 6th Armored Division. That was the fight in which Colonel Goodpaster was wounded and Sgt Specker received the Medal of Honor for.
Thank you again for such a wonderful site.