*This letter was sent to servicemen from the Demopolis area during World War II. It is presented here compliments of Lee Belcher.
A Letter From Home
Demopolis High School
December 17, 1943
Dear Boys and Girls,
been such a short time since we last wrote you, that it may be we won’t have as
much news as usual—but we are with what we have!
We’re glad to be able to include in this letter the picture we promised you of the “Tigers”. In case you don’t recognize some of the boys, here’s a key to help you; Front Row, left to right—Ed Levy, Jr., Johnnie Mackey, James Brown, Austin Caldwell, Vann York, Sam Braswell, Joe Rankin, Tommy Blake, J. W. Smith, Joe Baldwin, Claude Brackin; Second Row—Gordon Moore, Jack Clem, Bub Davies, Jackie Atkinson, E. P. Griffith, Melvin Gilley, James Dozier; Top Row—Herschell Ghio, Manager, Coach W. B. Hitchcock and Dick Maxey, Water Boy.
We’ll try to give you what little town news there is first—but it seems that there has been mighty little happening.
Hunting season has opened on deer, squirrels and birds. Dove season opened December 1, but most of us won’t waste shells on them. So far we haven’t been able to get many, and those we do have are rationed by us to get us through bird and deer season. There will be plenty of birds when this is war is over, because we can’t kill them without the shells. There are more doves this year than we have seen in a long time. There were quite a few deer hunts during Thanksgiving week, especially, and there were several unusually large deer killed.
Plans are now in progress for the Annual Fat Stock Show to be held here in Demopolis the first week in January. In addition to the Fat Stock Show, this year there will be a Breeder Stock Show, showing all breeds of cattle. This will be followed by a sale of purebred Herefords. We’ll tell you more about this in our next letter.
Mrs. James Monnier, Mrs. Wallace Harper and Mrs. Nick Braswell have organized a Girl Scout organization, which is becoming quite active. Among other things, the girls have taken over the care of the Community House, are trying to keep it in order, etc. (you know, give it “the woman’s touch”). The Girl Scouts are also planning to sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve night.
We had a little excitement the other day in the form of a fire at G&G Grocery. It seemed to have started at the back of the store, up above the large refrigerator. The blaze was discovered shortly after 1 o’clock in the afternoon and was under control within the hour. Considerable damage resulted from the fire, smoke and water. We were sorry for their misfortune, but glad it was no worse. They did not have to close up, except during the fire; but Sam Graves and his force have been mighty busy straightening up the “mess”.
Others who have been home are: Lt. Jimmy Wheatley of Camp Shelby, Miss.; Capt. John P. Boggess, who has just completed a course at Ft. Belvoir, Va.; Pfc. Stiles C. Ulmer of Amarillo, Texas, Air Field; Sgt. Joe A. Maxey, of Camp Ellis, Ill.; and Aubrey Jowers of Camp Pickett, Va.; Pfc. Tony L. Janes, who has been at Camp San Luis Obispo, California; Pvt. Frank Janes of Altus Army Air Field, Altus, Okla.
The letters from you boys are still coming in and we really enjoy reading them. We have over 200 of you on our mailing list now, and to date we have heard from over one-third of you. We’re mighty proud of that! Most of that number have written us directly, although a few have sent special messages to us, through letters to their families.
Cpl. W. A. (Nap) Beazley wrote us from Craig Field, Selma, that our letters gave him his first chance to find out anything about the different jobs this war has given you. He says he is in school three to five nights a week, which is something for him, after having been out of school for seventeen years.
We also had a good letter from Percy Lee Pruitt, SC 3/C, telling us he receives and enjoys our letters. He gave us his change of address. It would help us to get your mail to you more promptly if each of you would remember to inform us when your address is changed.
A/S Jim (“Supe”) Clem wrote us from East Lansing, Michigan, where he is in training, that it is really cold up there and that he hasn’t defrosted from the first snow yet. He had recently had an opportunity to hear Art Kassal and his orchestra and Jimmy Dorsey is supposed to put on a show up there on night this month.
While we were eating our Thanksgiving turkey and celebrating our holidays, we received a very interesting letter from Cpl. Woodie Cooper. Woodie is on an island in the South Pacific, and says he has been on two missions. He says that there are boys in his outfit from almost every state in the Union, also several Greeks, Fighting French and Italians. He told us something of the “Aussies” and let us know we had no need to worry about the fighting spirit of our Allies. When he received our letter he was in the hospital with malaria. We all hope you have fully recovered from what those mosquitoes did to you, Woodie!
Our first V-Mail letter came from Sgt. Buddy Bley, who is in the South Pacific. At the time he wrote he was in the hospital, but hoped to rejoin his outfit soon. And we, too, hope you are o.k. again.
And then, shortly after Buddy’s V-Mail, we received one from T/Sgt. George Patterson, who is in Italy. We surely enjoyed your letter, Pat.
The first of the month we received a letter from Isaac McDaniel who was then in a Recruit Training Battalion in Pensacola, Florida. He expected to graduate from training on December 13 and be assigned to a regular company.
Early this month we received a most inspirational letter from Pfc. Earle McAlpine who is stationed at Camp Pickett, Virginia. Earle handed us some mighty good advice on the value of education and what it could do to help us in the world of tomorrow. We all appreciate this advice, Earle, and know it will help lots of us in the future.
We just received a letter from Pvt. George McNeill, who is now in Italy. He says that he has been to many parts of the world but there is just one place he wants to be, and that is Demopolis. He says that over there they are fighting day and night. George also said that when he was on his way to Italy from North Africa he met George Patterson. He also ran into Norman Boggess while he was in Africa.
Also had a nice letter from John D. Hamer, EM 2/C, in which he said he hoped to come home for a few days soon—and when we went through town the other day, there he was standing on the corner! All his friends are enjoying his visit home. John Douglas has recovered from the hip injury he suffered while on duty on an aircraft carrier.
We have had Christmas and New Year’s Greeting Cards from H. B. McLaurin Phm. 3/C of Weston, West Virginia; A/S Frank Herndon of Nashville, Tenn.; Pvt. H. G. Nixon, Somewhere in Italy; and Russel Harper, who is with the Seabees somewhere in the Aleutians, we think (although Russel didn’t tell us).
We had a long and interesting letter from S/Sgt. James (“Rip”) Charlton who is stationed in North Africa. He told us something of the way of living there and stressed the fact that we in the United States have much to be thankful for in our way of living. He enclosed a couple of newspaper clippings from newspapers there in which Marengo County boys were mentioned: One told of Col. Stanhope R. Mason having recently received the Legion of Merit Medal; the other told of M/Sgt. William E. Mayton, of Linden being permitted to return to the United States under the newly established policy of rotation of overseas servicemen.
Lt. Vice Tutt wrote us from Fort Knox, Ky., that he is receiving and enjoying the letters. Cpl. Meron Coats wrote us from Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida, where he has been for ten weeks taking Amphibious Training. Pvt. Frank B. King dropped us a card from Fargo, North Dakota, where he is stationed. Says he doesn’t do much but study a lot of math and physics.
Bill Clem, SK 1/C, USNR, received a citation for his work at the landing in the Italian conflict. It was given to him by his commanding officer. He sent it to his mother along with a letter saying that he is all right, but thinks there is not much chance of his getting to come home any time soon.
A clipping from the Selma Times tells us that Major Furman E. (“Zeke”) Jordan, attached to Headquarters 8th Air Force for the past 18 months in England, arrived in Selma last Saturday on leave. After a short visit there he will go to Miami, Fla., for new orders. He says that while he was in England he was often able to see and talk with Major Ben Gregory of Demopolis.
We read in the Demopolis Times the other day that Mrs. Roosevelt had visited Capt. James Whitfield, Jr., when he was in a hospital in the South Pacific, for sinus and malaria.
Florian Koch, who is in the Pacific, has been promoted to Captain. David Hall is now a Major of the Judge Advocate General’s Department.
Billy (Duck) Morris has enlisted in the Navy and is now stationed at the Naval Base in Pensacola, Fla., for his training.
Demopolis has another girl in the service. Margaret Miklic has enlisted in the WAC’s and has already left for basic training.
Had you heard that Carolyn King was recently married to Lt. Jack Creehan of Pennsylvania? Lt. Creehan in now stationed in South Dakota. Carolyn is in Pennsylvania with his people for the time being.
Pvt. Earl Case, Jr., is in Big Springs, Texas. Sidney S. Radford was promoted to Machinist Mate First Class. He is somewhere in the Pacific. 1st. Lt. Edward E. Partridge has been transferred to Pueblo, Colo. S/Sgt. Thomas E. Griffin is now in Amarillo Army Air Field, Amarillo, Texas.
Our best wishes go to each of your for the New Year. Our special wish is that 1944 will bring all of you back home to us again.
Sincerely, your friends,
Advanced Typing Class of D. H. S.
By: Mary Alice Compton
Address Your Letters To:
A Letter from Home
c/o Mrs. E. M. Braswell