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Danton Burroughs
From Tarzana, California
Memories from the
Danton Burroughs
Family Album 
Major E. R. Jack Burroughs
The Wartime Letters of the 
Oldest Correspondent in the WWII Pacific Theatre
Edgar Rice Burroughs
c/o G-2 First Island Command
Somewhere in South Pacific
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H

Collated by Bill Hillman

The letters are to daughter Joan Burroughs unless otherwise stated
January 16, 1944
February 26 1944
March 30, 1944
April 27, 1944
April 28, 1944
June 22, 1944
August 7, 1944
September 6, 1944
September 16 1944
September 19, 1944 (JCB)
September 23, 1944
September 23 1944 (JCB)
October 13, 1944 (JCB)

1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
16 January 1944
1st Lieut. Michael Pierce,
Bel-Air Rangers, Bel-Air,
Los Angeles, California.
Dear Mike:

Thanks a lot for your letter of December 22, which reached me a few days ago.   It takes a long time for mail to get here from the Mainland, but not as long as it did immediately after Pearl Harbor. Very often, then, it took over a month.

As a Ranger, you would have enjoyed being with me the other day when I visited a jungle training unit.  The colonel commanding took two public relations captains and myself in a jeep and drove us around for about six hours.  I wrote your mother something about it, but there is a lot more which I think will interest you.

The training is certainly rugged.  The men engage in personal combat without weapons, learning all the dirty fighting tricks that gangsters, muckers, Apaches (the French kind), and hoodlums ever devised, to which have been added some super-duper atrocities heretofore unknown, plus judo.  While I was watching one class, the men were tossing each other all over landscape - and hard.

Another class was being instructed in river crossing under fire. Some of the men, wearing only their birthday suits, were swimming the river, pushing their clothing and equipment ahead of them in little boats made of a shelter half filled with brush.   Others were crossing in similar but larger boats made of truck tarpaulins -about seven men to a boat.  These men were fully clothed and equipped.

Others were crossing on a rope bridge which they had strung across the river between two trees. It was about ten feet above the water. Another unit built a narrow foot bridge that floated on the surface. All the time, TNT and dynamite were being exploded on land and in the water to simulate bombs, shells, and grenades.  Water and mud flew a couple of hundred feet into the air, nearly swamping the boats or almost knocking the men off the rope bridge, and deluging the innocent bystanders, of whom I was one.

Another unit was learning jungle infiltration tactics.  Two men at a time would sneak down a steep, muddy jungle trail with fixed bay-onets ready for any emergency.  From behind a tree, a Jap would leap out and swing a mean haymaker at the leading man.  If he ducked in time, O.K.   If he didn't, he got a wallop that sat him down hard. At the bottom of the ravine, a Jap sniper hid behind a tree.  As
a soldier bayoneted him, another Jap swung, down from a tree on the side of the ravine and knocked him sprawling into the mud.  While I was watching, I saw a captain get it - and how.

These Japs were. of course, dummies.  But the boys went after them as though they were the real thing.  The jungle is real jungle - worse than anything I saw in the South Pacific.  I was surprised that we had such jungles here.  So the training is most realistic, and should save many lives by training our men how to meet Jap tactics in a favorite Jap terrain.

There was lots more that I saw, but these that I have told you and the village fighting were the most interesting.

I hope, Mike, that you will never have to fight in a war; but I also hope that you will get all the military training you can and that your generation will insist on compulsory military training for all young men.  If we train our millions and maintain a large Navy and Army in peace time, no nation will dare make war unless we are on its side.  So there won't be any war - I hope.

Lots of love to you all,
Edgar Rice Burroughs

If there is any question about passing this story of the Jungle Training Unit, please return the letter to me rather than clip it. The information herein is largely identical with a news release that has been passed by G-2.

Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Reseda 222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
February 26 1944
Dear Jack:

I was slightly confused on receipt of a couple of parcels from you a day or two ago; but my giant intellect finally started clicking, and I came to a full realization of what it was all about.

On the 24th, Lt. Walter H. Wieman, MC, USNR, phoned me about 11:45 AM and told me that he had promised you that he would look me up.  So I asked him to lunch.  He had his skipper with him.  I took them to The Outrigger Canoe Club and then drove them around while they did some shopping.  Wieman said that he had visited you and Jane about ten three years.  It was great to talk with some one who had seen you so recently.  Wieman wanted to see Hully, and Hully is trying to get in touch with him.

As usual, I am a little slow on the pick-up; but, anyway, many happy returns of the day!

Hope that Jane is not having too uncomfortable a time.  At best, I guess it ain't no fun.  But it's swell in your declining years to have nice children - as I so well know.  Still, I am not declining everything.  The trouble is, people won't leave me alone. They even drag me out of bed to contribute to my delinquency. Of course I know that it is because I am in the same category as the two headed boy; but I do have a good time, and sometimes I think that maybe I had a good time coming to me.

Hulbert and I continue in the best of health. Yesterday, I got my third and last typhus shot, after having another tetanus and a booster typhoid. I never get any unpleasant reaction to these shots; so I asked the doctor yesterday if that indicated anything in particular.  He said that it indicated a natural immunity, or at least high resistence, to these diseases.  That is nice, but I wish that they had some shots for the things that are prevalent where I am going - dysentery, dengue, and malaria.

Lots of love to all of you. If you have any new snapshots, let me see some. I'd like to see what JR looks like now.


PS: If any one cares to write me the letter will be forwarded. But it is too much to hope that any one will care to write me. Or a letter could be addressed direct: c/o 7th A.A.F. Bomber Command, APO 241, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

March 30 1944

Joan darling:

As you see, I'm off again; and, as usual, having a grand time.  I left Honolulu on an LB 30 March 20, remained overnight on Johnston Island, and arrived at an advanced base on an atoll the following day.

Brig. Gen, Landon, Commanding General of the 7th Array Air Force Bomber Command, took me right into his quarters; and I have been living with him and Col. Clarence Hegy ever since.  Landon is a prince, and has been swell to me.  I knew him socially in Honolulu.

Hully blew in to the same atoll on the 26th.  He was busy as a bird dog. I saw him for a few minutes on the 26th and again on the 27th. He was still busy.

Landon moved his headquarters the morning of the 27th, and Hully was down at the plane with two of his men, taking pictures.  He took one of the general and me by the general's plane.  I suppose you know that your little brother is a captain now.   I think he is on his way up here in an LST that is bringing some of our equipment.  He said he wanted to get some pictures on the ship.

I flew up to this advanced base with the general in his plane, a new B-24 (Liberator) heavy bomber.  What a plane.   And am still quartered with him and Col. Hegy.

Have been on two bombing missions. The Japs threw ack ack at us both tines, but didn't come near us.  I watched the bombs fall all the way to the targets and saw the bursts.  They were 500 lb bombs.  A village and a radio installation took them on the chin.

On this atoll, the Japs still stink; and the day I arrived they dug up a couple while excavating a trench.  It is cool and comfortable here, with a stiff breeze blowing constantly.  A blanket is comfortable at night. There is no malaria, no mosquitoes, and very few flies; so, little illness.

The other day I flew with the general to another atoll still farther west, passing over Jap held islands, where the so-and-sos must be starving to death.  They will probably eat the natives first and then the Korean laborers.

Living with a general is something.  We have a 20 ft square frame and screen house with a canvas roof.  We also have a lavatory in the house. The general has a private shower in a nearby building, which I use.  He had a private Chick Sale on the other atoll, but here he shares a four holer with other officers.

I expect to remain here about a month longer, unless the general kicks me out,  Landon is a young general - only 37 - but I am told that he is one of the finest air generals in the array.  His officers and men worship him.  He is a West Pointer, extremely democratic and approachable.  His command is tops.  I have never heard an unpleasant word spoken since I have been with it.  His bombers are doing a fine job over all these is-lands all the way to Truk.

Lots of love to you all,


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
27 April 1944
Dear Jack:

Was, as usual, glad to have a letter from you. It had quite a trip, having chased me all the way to Kwajalein and back, arriving here yesterday.  It was sent out to me with other mail via a Lt. Smith in a jeep.  That is the way the Army treats me.  They are sure swell to me.

I did not remember Walt Wieman; but that is not strange, as my memory for names and faces just isn't.  I was, however, mighty glad to see him, as I shall always be glad to see any friend of yours - especially one who has seen you lately.  I remember his sister-in-law, even though I can't recall her name.  She was a cute keed. I also recall how she turned your face red.

And speaking of remembering people: My autograph books and diaries (since Dec 7 1941) contain the names of more than two thousand officers and men I have met and talked with, and there were many more than that whose names appear in neither.  Now, how the hell could I remember them all?  So, not offend anyone, I forget them all.

Thanks so much for the interesting booklets you sent me.  You are doing a fine job.

As to your induction.  If the Army or Navy is still accepting volunteers you would be wise to enlist rather than wait to be drafted.  A volunteer has a better chance for a commission than a selectee.  I shall try to find out if the Air Force might be interested in an artist to record in oils the story of its varied activities.

I have written Ralph again about a raise.  This time I ordered him to take one.  I suggested $100 a month.  I wish that you would talk to him.  He just sent me the 1943 financial statement. He has done a wonderful job - in spite of the Burroughses.

Am hoping to hear soon of my new grandchild.  Am sure you will let me know at once, as I shall be anxious to hear.  You are getting to be quite a family man.  Wish some nice girl would hook Hully, but I am commencing to believe that he will never marry.

                                    All my love,

April 28, 1944
Dear Mike:

Was glad to learn that you had joined the den at Sherman Oaks. It is good training for boys; and will be helpful to you all through your life, besides being fun while you are a member.

I know just how you felt about sleeping in your own bed again. For the past five weeks I have been sleeping on Army cots, usually without a pad or a pillow. And for all that time I never had hot water for washing or shaving. Those things are not hardships - they are just discomforts. They are good for a fellow once in a while.

Coming back from Tarawa, I was on a big four-engine transport plane bringing back some casualties. There was one extra litter, so I flew home horizontal, which was far more comfortable than the gosh-awful tin bucket seats. I was at the bottom of a tier of four litters, with just barely room enough to squeeze out occasionally and roll on the floor in a most undignified manner before I could stand up.

I flew about 7,000 miles this time - in C-47s, C-54s, and B-24s. The B-24s were most uncomfortable, as the wind blew up around the ball turret and out the tail-gunner's back window. And it was darned cold at nine and ten thousand feet. I always stand up in B-24s to keep from freezing to death. Just that little moving around keeps my blood from congealing. But I'm sure tired by the time we come in.

One phase of flying a B-24 always scares me stiff. Those in the waist have to go forward when the plane is taking off. The only place for me to go was the cat-walk through the bomb-bay. It is about eight inches wide, and the space between the bombs is so narrow that I have to slither through sideways. It is also dark and cramped and no place to look out except a tiny crack at the forward end of the bomb-bay doors. And noisy! Gosh! And rough, too, as the plane gets up speed. You know they run about a mile during the take-off. And there is the knowledge that in a crackup, everyone in the bomb-bay is always killed. I used to watch that crack in the bottom of the front end of the bomb-bay, and I didn't breathe easily until I saw green water and knew that we were airborne. I can think of lots of pleasanter places to travel than in a bomb-bay.

As a matter of fact, Mike, I hate flying. I have flown about 15,000 miles since the war began, all over water. I am never air-sick, nor do high altitudes affect me unpleasantly; but I still hate flying. If I ever get back where they have trains, I'll take the Super Chief every time.

Give my love to "Mom" and Joanne, and accept a lot for yourself.

Grandpa Ed.

June 22 1944
Master Danton Burroughs
Tarzana, California.

Dear Danton:

Just two years ago today your brother arrived when our world did not look too bright.  But you come in on the crest of a victorious wave that is carrying us and our allies to successful ending of World War II much sooner than we had expected.

If your generation shows more intelligence than past generations, perhaps there will be no more wars.  But that is almost too much to expect.  However, there is a chance.  You have been born into the greatest nation the world has ever known.  Keep it great.  Keep it strong.  If you do, no country will dare to go to war if we say no.

Put this letter away and read it June 21st 1965.  You will be of  age then.  See then if the politicians have kept your country great and strong.  If they haven't, do something about it.  If I'm around I'll remind you.

            Good luck my boy,
                    Your Grandfather,

                                (sig) Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
August 7, 1944

Dear Jane (Ralston Burroughs):

Thanks for your note of July 15th and the snapshots of the boys. They are very cute.

I did not say that I didn't like the name Danton.  I think I just asked how come?  It is an unusual name; so naturally I wondered about it.

Both Hulbert and I have been wondering what Jack is doing since his Douglas job folded.  If it isn't a military secret, we'd like to know.  After all, Hully and I are sort of interested in Jack.

Love to you all,

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
      1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
6 September  1944

Dear Jack:

Yours of August 26 arrived yesterday and that of September 1, today. Thanks to both and for the birthday greetings.  I don't expect anyone to remember my birthday.  I have difficulty in remembering those of others.

Hulbert was in yesterday, and I let him read your August 26 letter. We were both delighted to hear of your new connection.  It sounds might encouraging for the future.  It also sounds damned interesting and right up your alley.  Am glad that you are working under a nice chap who appreciates your ability.  Harry Cohen, president of Columbia, is an old friend of mine I'd hate like hell to work for him myself; so I am glad that you went with Universal. I used to have friends there, but I suppose they are not there any longer.

Had a letter from Joan yesterday.  She seems to have been having a wonderful time in Chicago, for which both Hulbert and I were very glad. She has a lot of good times due her.

Wish that I might see Johnny and Danton before they grow long white beards. Johnny is cute. I can tell from the snap shots that have been sent me.  Am sure that Danton will be a great little guy, too.

Am glad that you got Johnny a rocking horse.  The two children must keep Jane busy.  Maybe when Hitler is licked, there will be house maids looking for jobs again; then it will be easier.  That should be soon now.

Ralph has written me about Mother's ashes, and that he has arranged matters satisfactorily.  Thank you both very much for looking after this for me.  I suppose it could have waited until my return, but I have been gone so long now that I have more or less abandoned hope of every returning.  If Japan is good for a hundred years, as she  claims, it will be a long war.

May I ask you a foolish question?  I have asked Mildred and Ralph, but neither has deigned to enlighten me.  I am motivated by nostalgia. I want some one to tell me how the flowering eucalyptus trees around the tract have fared.  Also about the old walnut trees on my lot behind the office and the other trees I had transplanted there from the old homestead. Silly, eh?

Thanks again for your letters.  I know from experience how darned expensive babies are; so if you need any financial assistance, let me know.

Love to you all,

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Rugby 6-1222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 16 1944
Dear Jane:

Was glad to have your letter of the 8th and to know that everything is going so well.  As you didn't mention the children, I assume that they are O.K.

I haven't had a letter from you since a short note dated August 7. But I don't expect to hear form you often, as I know how busy you must be with two babies.  I wish that I might see them.

There is not much news here that you can't read in your papers. When Jack Benny was here this week I had him and Larry Adler at lunch at the Outrigger Canoe Club with some of my friends.  The next day we all went as Jack's guests to see his show at one of the recreation centers here.  We had staff cars and a motorcycle escort of MPs.  I rode to and from with Carole Landis.  She is very lovely and very sweet. (Oh, to be seventy again!)  The audience at the show was almost as interesting as the show - some 18,000 to 20,000 service men.  They ribbed Jack, which is part of every show he gives for them.  He is a swell guy - with no swelled head.

Joan must be home by now.  I had one letter from her from Evanston, and was delighted to know how good a time she was having.

Am going out to Hickam this afternoon, and shall try to see Hulbert. Tomorrow, I am invited to a party at the Hallidays on the other side of the island.  He is John Halliday the stage and screen actor.  On account of rubber and gas I have not seen much of them lately, as it is quite a trip over the Pali to Kaneohe where they live.

My love to all of you!

1298 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 19  1944
Dear Jack,

Thanks for yours of the 4th and clipping re fire. I like fires,
but I'm glad I was not there to see that one.    It hurts me
just to think about it.

Was at Hickam yesterday, and Hully kept me for supper which he
cooked. He is a damn good cook and seems to enjoy it. He let me
read your letter.  That back country means as much to me as to you,
Hulbert, and Joan.

Yes I hope that we can all live at Tarzana some day and definitely
"in separate establishments."

Am glad your Universal job is pleasant as well as profitable. Hope
it develops into something permanent, if that is what you wish.
Sometimes it can be hell working for a studio. One reason is their
utter contempt for orthodox working hours, and another is damned
studio politics.

Wish you were working for Sol Lesser. There is a nice guy and he
likes your dear old father.  And, take it from me, that counts big
in motion pictures.

Have met most of Hulbert's brow beaten slaves. It's about as nice
an organization as I have seen.  I think they are very fond of Hul-
bert.  He pulls no rank, but he insists on perfection; and I think
he comes pretty near getting it.  He and his men work together just
as a bunch of congenial civilians would.  The only touch of military
is that they address him as Captain.  He calls them all by their
first names.  Your little brother is a gentleman and a damned fine
officer.  How's about getting him a Prussian haircut and a monocle
for Christmas?

Any time you have extra snapshots of your family, I'd appreciate
some.  I have fallen for J.R., and I know I'm going to fall for

Lots of love to you all,

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 23 1944
Joan darling:

Thanks for the group photo.  I shall treasure it.  I have not seen Lorraine for twenty-six years, I believe; but she still looks much as I remember her.  Tell her that I received her postal card, and thank her.  Also tell her that I like to have people I like call me Ed; so I was pleased that she did.

Your picture does not do you justice, but you still look awful good to me.  I wish that I might see you and hear you rattle. The good ol' Mutual Admiration Society has never disbanded, and we'll go to town when I get home.

That party must have been very decorous.  I see nothing but water glasses on the table, or did you hide the others for the picture?   And you all look disgustingly sober.

I have not been behaving very well lately.  Two or three Marines from Saipan have been making my room their headquarters when they come in town from the hospital (they are all casualties).  They have brought in half a dozen bottles of Bourbon and a couple of cases of beer, and they come in and make whoopie.  One of them is Capt. Don Jackson, a friend of Rochelle and Hal Thompson.  I met him through Hal down in Noumea.  When his division was in rest camp on one of the other islands here after Tarawa I saw quite a little of him when he got leave to come to Oahu.  They have to be back in the hospital by 9:50 every night - thank God! But I like them.

Jack writes me that you were expected home on the 22nd; so I suppose you are back there now.  I am glad that you had such a wonderful time in Chicago.  The Allens must be tops.  Old friends are pretty nice.  The Westons are about the only old friends I have kept in touch with, but I have made a lot of new ones, especially since the war.  I've been making a card index of the people I have met since December 1942.  By the time I get it completed, I'll have around two thousand.  These are only those whom I have mentioned in my diary or whose signatures appear in my autograph books.  Of course only a few of them could be called friends, but at least none of them are enemies, I hope.

Lots of love to you and the children.

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 23 1944

Dear Jack:

Yours of the 19th with photos of Johnny and the glamour gal just received.  Gosh! but they're cute.  I have already shown them to the only person in the vicinity of my office who is around Saturday afternoons.  She loved 'em.  I shall take them to the hotel and put on a one man exhibition.  I'm a typical grandfather.  Then I'll mail them to Hully along with a request that he make copies for you, himself, and me.  He won't.

Thanks for the tree information.  I appreciate it.  It is amazing what water will do in that country.  The black walnut at the office went both figuratively and literally nuts when it got a lot of water after we built there.  Thanks for the trees you planted on my lot.  I shall like them.  By the time I return, I should have a forest there.

Hulbert has a terrible going home complex.  I think that if he could get home for just a short leave it would fix him up. He might be damn glad to get back here.  From what I hear, we are much better off than you folks. Ralph writes me that all he can get to smoke are Juleps.  Migawd!

Am glad that Johnny likes his "Fony".  One cannot learn to ride too young.  Give him my love, and tell Danton to take his fingers out of his mouth and try putting his feet in.  That is far more intriguing.

Love to you all!

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
October 13, 1944

Dear Jack:

For no particular reason, I take two of my fingers in hand to write you.

The front page news of today is that one hundred and eleven (111) years ago your Grandfather Burroughs was born in Warren, Massachusetts, October 13 1833.  He died thirteen days before you were born.

I just dug out a genealogical datum that may interest you:  The average age at death of eighteen of your ancestors (and mine) was eighty-one years.  The youngest died at sixty-nine, the oldest at ninety-three.  These were the only ancestors the dates of whose births and deaths I have.

Hulbert said he might be in yesterday, but as he didn't show up by 4:15 P.M., I gave him up and accepted an invitation to a cocktail party being given by Lt. Col. Wolfe, Flight Surgeon of the 7th Bomber Command, with whom I became very well acquainted on Tarawa and Kwajalein.  The Colonel's party ended up at a party being given by Army Flight Nurses at Hickam Field, where the Colonel is temporarily quartered on his way back to the front.  It was quite some party.  I really didn't see much of it, as I spent most of the evening writing my name on things, principally Short Snorter bills. My Short Snorter collection has now grown, through no effort on my part, to a length of 4 ft. 4 1/2 inches.  But if I didn't see much of the party, I drank quite a lot of it.  The girls must have been saving up their liquor rations for quite some time.

I spent the night at the Colonel's quarters and got back to the hotel for breakfast.  It is no fun driving between Hickam and Honolulu at night; so when I go out there, I usually stay all night.

Am enclosing a clipping that amused me. I think it may amuse you, also.

Phil Bird phoned to say tha t he is calling for me at 1:30 and that we are going over to the other side of the Island.  I don't know why nor where, and I didn't ask.  Phil is a captain on the staff of my very good friend Colonel Kendall J. Fielder, A.C. of S., G-2, USAFPOA.  I hope that some day you can meet both of them.

Now I gotta go back to the hotel and get into my uniform.  I only wear it when I'm likely to go onto a military reservation; because I am so goddam old that everybody takes me either for God or a major general and salutes me.  It is rabarrassing.


Source: The Danton Burroughs ~ John Coleman Burroughs ~ ERB, Inc. Archives
Copyright 2003 ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
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