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Keep Them Rolling: World War II letters from Louis Solberg

COLFAX — Louis Solberg, who passed away in 2008, grew up in Albertville, owned a farm north of Colfax and later on farmed on the Rusk Prairie. He and his wife, Alda, who passed away in 2006, operated the farm in the Town of Otter Creek during the 1940s and 1950s.

Here is Part 9 of Louis Solberg’s book, “Keep Them Rolling” (Company 314) (A World War II Story 1941-1945).

August 24, 1943 — I got a week’s furlough to Scotland. Some of the boys who were supposed to go didn’t have enough money for the trip, so they asked me if I wanted to go.

Rudy Einwald and Lloyd Johnson went with me.

We went to both Glasgow and Edinburgh. We went on tours that they provided from the Red Cross Clubs where we stayed.

One of them from Glasgow was out to Loch Lomond where we took a boat ride, which was very nice.

The Loch was surrounded by hills and mountains, that had streams coming down the side, one of which was Ben Lomond, where they loaded and unloaded.

We were met by a Scottish Bagpipe Band, complete with Kilts.

In Glasgow we went down to the cattle market, saw some horses and cattle, mostly beef, some Shorthorn and Ayrshires, one Highland Cow. They are a red brindle with hair about six inches long and crooked horns, about three feet long. Also, some Angus Cattle from Ireland.

From Glasgow we went to Edinburgh. One of the tours we went on there was to an old castle on a hill. I remember one thing about this castle: it contained a box where they had the skull of one of their war heroes.

Do you remember the story of Robert Bruce we read about along about the third or fourth grade? It was about him going down to defeat in battle twice, and was hiding in a hay barn and watched a spider trying to spin his web from one rafter to the next. It failed twice and was successful on the third try. He took a lesson from the spider and went out and gathered together his army and defeated the enemy on the third try. They honored him by keeping his skull in the box.

We spent some time shopping for souvenirs.

Sunday afternoon in Edinburgh, Einwald and I walked around town.

As I recall, they had a public square downtown and this was just full of people, complete with soap box orators.

It seemed like they all had a bone to pick. Then they had hecklers; maybe they were there to keep the people interested.

One guy we listened to was preaching about being washed by the blood of the Lamb. He also had a heckler who wanted to know how you could get clean by being washed with blood.

Firth of Forth

Monday, we also went down to the Firth of Forth and saw the bridge and rode across the ferry. The water was real rough, as the wind was blowing hard and the waves splashed way across the boat.

We saw the Botanical Gardens with trees and plants from around the world. It was a wonderful experience.

We made the trip by rail and left at ten in the evening and rode the rest of the night and part of the next day, returning to Camp.

Their trains were different than ours. Each car had a closed aisle on one side and doors that opened up to compartments with a seat on each side, that would seat four very comfortably. There was an outside door that opened up to the station platform.

(Next, Louis Solberg and his Company return to Ireland.)