Skip to main content

Diary, 1943

 File — Box: Small Collections Box 28, Folder: 1
Identifier: id101940

Scope and Contents

The following excerpts were provided by the seller: "January 22nd, Tonight I went to the K.P.A.A. Smoker with Nancy’s father and met Gene Messenger there. They had some good boxing matches and a good floor show. While I was gone Nancy had her mother and Dorothy and Mrs. Mitchell up for a visit. I was talking to the Mitchell’s when I came home. I didn’t get to sleep until about 3 ish this morning. (HER ENTRY) Dorothy gave me a pretty blue baby blanket. I love my honey and I missed him when he went to the smoker.” “January 26th, What a day! It started out calmly enough, didn’t work too hard. Then I came home at 4:15. We ate supper and then bath. Layed on the bed. I had fallen asleep and was awakened by the phone ringing. Nancy handed it to me. It was a telegram from the War Dept. instructing me to report January 29th for “Instructions as for shipment”. Nancy began to sob violently while I called Mc Cracken. Nancy’s folks, my folks, her brother Tom and oh I don’t know who else. The call came at 5:20 P.M. I called Mc Cracken at 5:27 P.M. and at 6 o’clock we met Nan’s girl friend Harriet who said that everybody at the shop knew by then……As Nan just said as I was writing this, “I guess this is one of the unhappiest days of my life!” (HER ENTRY) The separation is going to be awful tough but as long as Bill comes home safe and sound that’s everything.” “January 30th, …….(HER ENTRY) My husband should go to church every Sunday and to say his prayers every night as for anything else I want my honey to do, I don’t have to ask him. I know he will always be faithful and he’ll always work hard for the baby and I. So God, please keep him safe.” “February 12th, Up at 4 A.M. as usual. Drill and calisthenics for the morning. Marched out to Brigantine Field, about 4 miles for parade and drill. Boy was I sore when I finished. This evening we had to G.I. the place for inspection. It finally came at 10 P.M. and most of us got hell!” “February 22nd, We had interior guard today. Our instructor was the former movie actor Broderick Crawford. The lecturer dealt with all the angles of interior guard duty. I got one letter from my honey today. Tonight we had a G.I. party. I read Time for awhile then I shaved and then I wrote my honey a letter.” “February 23rd, Up at 4 A.M. this morning. We got our mess kits, drew rifles and marched out to the rifle range sight after chow in the morning. We marched as far as Brigantine on the way out and were driven by army trucks out to the range. It was so foggy in the morning that you could hardly see 50’ on any side. I fired the Tommy gun and the 30 cal rifle. I don’t think I broke any records. We ate in the field at noon. We had a boiled potato, Cole slaw, pork chop, bun, bread and butter and coffee. We started back about 4:30 and marched almost all the way. When the fog lifted I found that we were on an island facing the ocean and with swamp on either side. Tonight I inquire about the ins. then I wrote my honey a long letter and went to bed.” “March 2nd, Up at 5:45. Reveille formation 6:00 A.M. Chow call 7:05. Chow 7:15. Physical inspection 8:20. Drill formation 9:20. Drill from 9:30 to 11:45. Chow call 12:05. Chow 12:15. Drill formation 1:00. Drill 1:10 to 3:45. Calisthenics 4:30-5:00. Chow call 6:05. Chow 6:15. Assembly app. 7:15 to 8:30. Last call 9:50, bed check. Lights out 10 P.M. this is my approximate schedule. I generally shave after chow, shine my shoes and make my bed before chow. After physical in the A.M. and before supper is about my only time I can write. New regulations must not use the phone except with special permission. Must salute all student officers at all times between reveille and retreat and if met in the hall must stand at attention. We are not to associate with the students at present during the measles quarantine.” “April 16th, We got out to the airport to find out there was no flying. We came back and did period of P.T. At noon Brandt caught some guys snowballing so he told us open post was closed and no phone calls. Boy was I blue. I bitched for about an hour. Just about noon I felt awful depressed. About that time my honey was bringing the baby. At 4:30 we had graduation exercises. At 7 P.M. we got our passes for the party. About 7:20 I was just getting ready to call my honey when I got a phone call from mom Vasey. She told me that I had a 9 ½ pound baby girl and that Nancy was all right. I was up in the air, boy was I happy. I went to the party and had a hell of a time. I bought a box of cigars and passed them out. They were buying me drinks right and left. I was feeling good but I wasn’t really drunk. I danced a couple of times. I got in at 1:30…..” “May 24th (He’s now in Nashville Tennessee) We had a training film on chemical warfare and the use of the gas mask this morning then we marched back to the squadron area with our masks on. In the afternoon we had P.T. and twenty minute drill. Then we had the second film on the Prelude to War. Last night I wrote my honey and cleaned up and read awhile.” “May 31st, We got up at 5:30 A.M. and got into Montgomery at 6. About 7 A.M. we arrived at Maxwell Field and were met by upper classmen wearing white gloves and carrying sabers. We were marched down to our squadron area. All along the way upper classmen were yelling “Look proud mister, you’re passing squad.” “Do I hear eyeballs clicking?” “Do you want to buy this place mister? Eyes on a point.” Etc. After getting our barracks we were marched to show and given pointers on cadet etiquette…….” “July 21st, (She has now moved with him) Had a test in Naval Identification, boy was it tough. Had our PFR today. I got 4 E at 4 P.M. we had another air show which lasted until after 6. AB-17 did various stunts and exhibitions. I saw my honey tonight at the Rec. Hall. We had some ice cream and took a short walk and fooled around. We had a swell time.” “July 28th, Today we packed up and at 11:15 A.M. we moved off. We ate dinner and then we went to the train. We boarded the train a little after 1 P.M. We stopped in town awhile then we started. Near Columbus on the Alabama side we passed a paratroop field then we came in Columbus GA. The train rode right thur the center of town on the center of the street. I saw a river boat just as we came in the city. We switched around and went on, it was raining quite heavy in Columbus. We saw an awful lot of shacks occupied by the Negroes. Nothing in the North ever looked like this…….” “July 30th, Up at 4:45 today, ate and slept from 6-8:30 A.M. We had parachute instruction at 9 A.M. Called my honey then she called me back. Drill in the afternoon. My honey called me and told me she had to move, boy was I mad. She has had all the tough luck since I’ve been in the army. I called her again at night and we talked quite awhile. I love her so much! (HER ENTRY) Had to move because of the baby. Walked around for 2 hours and got an apartment. Will move tomorrow. Mrs. Johnston is an old bag.” (At this time William finds out he’s too dizzy to fly and is grounded and in August he is in Biloxi Mississippi) “September 14th, Up today at 4:45 as usual. Shaved and got finished with my packing……Left Biloxi at 12:20. The trip to New Orleans was a slow one. We crossed a lot of water on the way. We arrived at New Orleans at 4 P.M. Got our reservations and ate and then went to town. We went to the French Quarters, visited the St. Thomas Cathedral and bought some souvenirs, etc. Then we went thru the French Quarters again. It looks pretty dirty and run down now……Went back to the station and got our birth…..” “September 15th, Today we rode all day, hit Shreveport in the morning, Fort Worth at 1:40, left at 2:35 and traveled thru to Amarillo. Hit there at 10 P.M. On the train to Ft. Worth I met a couple with a 3 year old girl and was playing with her. She reminded me of my baby. There was a Negro outfit on the train just back from 16 months in the South Pacific. From Ft. Worth to Amarillo I met 2 cadets, one going home on furlough, the other a washout just like me. They were swell guys. We had a lot of fun. From Amarillo we hit the prairie.” “October 6th, (In Denver) This A.M. I managed to get a pass to go down and meet my honey. I got off the field at 9 A.M. Arrived at the station at 9:40 and found my honey at 10 A.M. We got to the room at 10:30 and went to eat lunch at 11:00. I got back to the field at 12 noon. I saw her tonight at the service club from 7:30 to 10 P.M. I had to get her at the 11th ave. gate. Gee I love her. (HER ENTRY) Arrived at 10 A.M. Had a pretty easy trip. Some sailors bought Nan a doll and dog. Bill met me at the taxi stand. I never expected to see him. We came home and then went out to dinner. I rested in the afternoon then went out to the field to see my precious husband. I like Denver an awful lot.” Much of October and November he is sick with stomach problems and spends some time in the hospital. He ends his diary with this….. “December 31st, Well it’s the last day of this year. Army traveling down South and the West and here we are out in Denver Colorado. Tonight we called Mrs. Johnson and she invited us down tonight. We stopped and had a hamburger then we went to Dorothy’s. We chewed the fat for a long time. When the new year came we kissed and wished each other a happy new year. I hope in the coming year we can be as happy as we’ve been in the last year. God Bless and protect us all in the next year.” Individuals mentioned in the diary inclue family, friends, military pals, and notable individuals. Including the following: Broderick Crawford Bill Shelle Pat Lederly Lieutenant Gardner Lieutenant Smith Lieutenant Messenger Lt. Stallneck Bob Reynolds Bob Cartt Lt. Pryor Nancy Jean Harriet Lawler Bill Hill Gene Messinger Glen Benjamin Tom Vasey Harry Vasey Leslie Hopkins Jean Mattle Norm Trudeau Marge Thompson Bob Gormley Dorothy Johnson


  • Creation: 1943

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.


From the Collection: 0.01 Linear Foot


From the File: English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository