This is not a postcard, but I also have an affinity for photos such as this.
Though postcards have fallen out of popularity as short-form communication, packages are still of vital importance to everyone of us. This is especially true for Americans still serving in far-flung locations around the globe, just as they were in this candid photo from the Pacific Theater of World War II. Instead of being secured with clear packing tape, the parcels pictured here were carefully tied with string before being entrusted to the mail service to bring a bit of home to service members abroad.
“Photograph of two U.S. Army Air Forces servicemen sorting packages in the sand in a post office hut at an unidentified camp on an unidentified island in the Pacific Theater during World War II. A row of Army Air Forces mail bags is seen on a stand. Photograph taken or collected by Capt. Ferd L. Davis of Zebulon, N.C., while he served in the 394th Bomber Squadron, 5th Bomb Group (Heavy), during the war (undated).”
When it comes to spending your time in the Service on a remote island during World War II, I would wager that most folks first think of the Pacific Theater. However, the American military boasted a robust presence in the Atlantic as well, including places like Bermuda and the Azores. Based on his handwriting, it appears this sender served as his own censor before sending this postcard to Delaware in mid-1941. The Lend-Lease policy would have been the dominant policy at the time, prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ subsequent official entry into World War II in December of 1941.
American military presence in Bermuda was established as a naval operation in 1918 during The Great War, World War I. Being part of the British Commonwealth, Bermuda hosted American installations in conjunction with British military bases during World War II as well, and an entirely new American naval base was built in 1941. The island’s remote location in the Atlantic, more than 600 miles of the East coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, lent itself to use as a stopping point for land-based (as apposed to Naval) aircraft, and Kindley Field was operated by the U.S. Army Air Corps in Bermuda for that purpose from 1943 to 1948. As the flight range of aircraft increased in subsequent years, the need for the stopover point diminished, and what was then known as Kindley Air Force Base closed in 1970. Use of Bermuda by the U.S. Navy continued until much more recently, but Naval Air Station Bermuda (NAS Bermuda) also closed in 1995. (Source: Wikipedia)
A nice place for you to stay when you come to Bermuda.
Lt. L. M. Dobson
Postmark: American Base Forces A. P. O. 802 – August 14, 1941 (Bermuda)
To: Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hudson, Georgetown, DE
U.S. Military in Bermuda
Footage of aircraft and watercraft filmed in Bermuda in 1941.
The aerial photo below shows Bermuda in 1970, at the time Kindley AFB was closed.
Based on how it’s referenced in this note, I can only imagine how the stationary Virginia used in her previous correspondence to Bernice must have looked. Apparently duty in Fort Myers, Florida is not all sun-bathing and nights on the town. Working Kitchen Patrol all night, which is what I can only assume the sender means by K.P., does not sound like a pleasant way to pass the time. It seems Bernice survived the nighttime duty though. I hope he did get a glimpse of a bathing beauty before leaving the Sunshine State.
The place of origin for this card, expansive Buckingham Army Airfield located near Fort Myers, Florida was in operation from 1942-1945. Known for its “Flexible Gunnery School,” the installation provided a variety of new technologies for training aerial gunners including sophisticated gunnery ranges, dummy target aircraft, dummy ammunition, and high-altitude training. If you want to learn more about all of the fascinating military training methods that were pioneered at this airfield, I highly recommend the Wikipedia page. (Source: Buckingham Army Airfield Wikipedia)
For better or worse, little remains of the hundreds of buildings and runways that constituted Buckingham Army Airfield. It was closed immediately after the war, was purchased by a land developer, and became a residential area.
Here I am again and a very sleepy chap at that. I just got up after working K.P. all night so you can guess how I feel.
That was some stationary you wrote on the other time. Where in the world does a person think up things like that. It’s straight stuff though. Here is the picture of the bathing beauty but she surely must be in some other part of Fla. I haven’t seen her yet.
Postmark: Fort Myers, Florida – August 7, 1943
To: Virginia Andrews | 410 Elizabeth Street | Durham, NC
Apparently Leonard’s department store was quite a place to see in its heyday. This store, located in Fort Worth, Texas, was a modern marvel before its time, even including at some point an indoor monorail. I found out about Leonard’s by way of Pvt. Luis France who sent this from Texas to a friend in Durham, North Carolina.
Leonard’s is now home to a museum about its spectacular history.
I am on my way back to camp from furlough. I am sorry I didn’t go through N.C. I wished I had gone by that way. Was fine being home again. I had a swell time.
Will write later.
Postmark: Fort Worth, Texas – Jan 28, 1944
To: Miss Ruby Lou Atkinson | 515 Chapel Hill St. | Durham, N.C.
It would be interesting to know whether or not Harry did end up in a desert theater, once he was deployed overseas.
How did it feel to get back to army life after your furlough. I expect it was lot of fun. I am learning to be a soldier now and maybe I’ll make a good one sometime. It is hot down here and so I ought to be able to stand desert service after this training is over.
Answer soon. Harry
Sent to: Pfc. Homer E. Baugh
1590th 318 [?] S. G.
Barksdale Field, Louisiana
Sent by: Pvt Harry Hawkins
Battery B 195 A. A. A. A. W. Bn.
Camp Stewart, Georgia
Postmark: Camp Stewart, Georgia – June 28, 1943
2nd Postmark on the front: Harding Field, Baton Rouge, Louisiana – July 5, 1943
George found himself in a quaint alpine village in the late summer of 1945. The picturesque village of Reit im Winkl is a small German town near the Austrian border with a strong tradition of tourism. No rank or unit is given on this card, but the postcard was stamped at APO 527.
We are now quartered in this little Alpine village. We are really miles from no where. They say the snow here is terrific gets to 8′ deep in the village. Don’t you think the Alps look beautiful?
Postmark: U.S. Army Postal Service A.P.0 572 – 25 Aug 1945
To: Miss Olga Schleichen | 450 N. Pine St. | Indianapolis, Indiana
Image description: Reit im Winkl mit Keisergebirge 2344m
Reit im Winkl
An alpine community in the Southeast corner of modern Germany, to this day, the town has no rail connection (source), but remains a popular destination for winter and summer outdoor sports.
This postcard was sent during the Korean War by what I assume was a junior enlisted sailor. He gives us no details about his assignment other than what we can see from the the San Diego, CA postmark. Carl writes such an endearing note home to his parents in Tennessee. The handwritten names on the cartoon are my favorite part.
Dear Mother and Daddy
How are all of all there fine I hop. I went to church today. It not much to do here today so I thought I would write you a line. I will send you a picture this next weekend. by for now
To: Mr. Mrs. J. T. Knight
308 Madison St. N
Nashville 8, Tenn
Is Private W.E. Prince coming or going? He mentions being stationed soon, but this postcard was sent relatively late in the war.
During World War II, Camp McPherson served as a major intake and discharge point for servicemen and women. Later renamed “Fort McPherson,” the Atlanta, Georgia installation has a long and storied past, a prominent participant in U.S. Army history from the Civil War up through the 21st century.
Saturday 7:30 P.M.
Well I’m still in Georgia. Will be here untill Mon I guess. How is everybody? I am fine. Will write when I get stationed.
From: PVT W.E. Prince
Camp McFearson, GA
To: Mrs. W.E. Prince
c/o Armour Mince
R#1 Columbia, Tenn.
Postmark: Atlanta, Georgia – Oct 1, 1944
Image: WWII Comic Postcard “I’m getting a big bang out of army life!”
Private Ellis jotted this quick and lighthearted note to a friend while stationed on the West Coast. Camp McQuaide was an active post during WWII which specialized in Coastal Artillery, and was located on the Pacific coast in Santa Cruz County, California. (source).
How is Trisha[?] by now. As for me everything is OK. Save that da[?] for I am going to get that furlow sometime. I hope. Ha Ha.
Pvt. Marvin H. Ellis
Btry C 102 Trng Bn.
Camp McQuaide, California U.S. Army