Letters, September 1944 - July 1945
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents Arrives back in the United States in September of 1944. Mentions sailing with U.S., Canadian and British military personnel as well as a couple thousand German P.O.W's taken by the Canadians. Expects the P.O.W.'s to be used to harvest crops for the "Canucks" for the duration. Is assigned to Sampson Naval Training Center on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Most of what he writes concerning his job there pertains to worship services he conducted, baptisms he performed and his involvement with the church choir. Also mentions a program of Evangelism he is conducting with his unit. Writes of "Welcome Lecture" given to all recruits coming to Sampson: "At the 'Welcome Lecture', which is given to every company of recruits that enters Sampson, we pass out an information sheet, which includes a blank place for those who may be interested in baptism and church membership, to check. All men who check that interest are interviewed and in many cases decide that they wish to unite with the Church. Such men are given literature (when we can get it) pertaining to the Church of their choice. Then they are invited to attend our Service Men’s Christian League and a Bible Class is conducted on Thursday evening. We write a letter to the pastor of the Church which the man wishes to join, informing him of the man’ s intention, and of the date that the man will be at home on Recruit Leave … The last Sunday of each month is set aside for a service of Baptism and reception into Church membership … I conduct a service of Baptism by immersion, in the swimming pool, the afternoon of the day of our recognition service, for those men going into the Baptist, Christian, and other churches requiring that mode of baptism. Our monthly membership services are certainly a great inspiration; and the men (many just 17 & 18 year-old boys) seem so serious in their confession of loyalty to Christ and His church. Certificates are issued to the men and to their churches." As in many of his letters, much of what he writes concerns family back home in California and his wife and daughters who have come east to Washington, PA where they are staying with his wife's parents. He visits his family in Pennsylvania when he gets a "48." In letter of May 7, 1945, writes that he is waiting for official announcement of V-E Day "so that we can have our pre-arranged observances." The chaplains will read a prepared prayer. Hears "that England has gone wild with rejoicing, even though official announcements by the heads of our Governments have not yet been made." Wonders how his friends back in Penarth and Milford Haven (both in Wales) are feeling. Also reports that he has heard rumors that the US Navy does not expect to "even start the demobilization of this branch of service for at least 2 years." Writes that too many chaplains have been sent to Sampson. Expects that those who have been there the longest, he among them, will be reassigned to sea duty. Receives orders in July of 1945 for reassignment to the battleship USS Arkansas. Says it is quite an honor for a chaplain to be assigned to a carrier or battleship. Ends letter with words: "TOKYO, HERE I COME !!."
- Creation: September 1944 - July 1945
- From the Collection: Cunningham, H.R. (Person)
Language of Materials
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From the Collection: 0.30 Linear Feet