Henry W. Reinhart, Jr. was a resident of Kentland, Indiana. He was born May 4, 1900 and died December 8, 1976. He was the son of Henry A. and Clara (Emmerling) Reinhart. Henry Sr. died in 1962. In my grandfather’s letter yesterday, he suggested that my grandmother call Henry Jr’s dad. Henry’s mom Clara had died in 1938 although Henry Sr. did remarry. According to the 1940 census, Henry was single and living with his father, stepmother and brother Julius. They were the owners of a restaurant. From the following letter, we can deduce that Henry also enlisted in the Navy, specifically in the United States Naval Reserve. I have located Henry on a couple of World War II Navy muster rolls and he is rated a CY. Best that I can tell, this means Chief Yeoman. He was released from active duty in 1945.
Both my grandfather and Henry appear to have been quite happy to have run into one another. I think it is also a sign of the time and place that Henry would take the time to write my grandmother to talk about the chance meeting. I doubt Henry had left Indiana or its vicinity in his life until he signed up for the Navy, much like my grandfather. Finding someone familiar in their strange new world must have been a comfort to them both. It would be nice to think that they did encounter each other again at some point before they returned home to Kentland. Perhaps my grandfather will mention Henry another day.
Both my grandfather and Henry have implied that Helen would possibly write to my grandmother. At this point, I have not found one. Perhaps it will come to light once all the letters are properly organized. The 1940 census lists one Helen W. Knollin, wife of Loyal C. Knollin, living in Burlingame, San Mateo, California. Both were born in Indiana, and are of the same age as Henry and my grandfather.
Henry also seems a little more willing to discuss my grandfather’s destination. If my grandmother didn’t have an inkling already, she would have known that he was headed towards the Australian islands after this letter.
Sunday, Aug. 9th, 1942
Mrs. Doctor J.[sic] Yegerlehner,
Dear Mrs. Yegerlehner,
Imagine your husband’s and my surprise when we ran into each other yesterday at Moffett Field. I was transferred there Wednesday from San Diego and we both had been in the same building from Wednesday until Saturday before we met.
His unit “Cub 13” as you know was shipped out Saturday. He was one of seven doctors left over & left by train from Palo Alto 9:30 p.m. that evening for a southern port where they will board the same transport outfit. I had the pleasure of seeing him off after taking him over to Mrs. Helen Knollins’ home at Burlinggame for a short visit.
If I had arrived here a little sooner would have been
(page 2) in his outfit. However, as I’m in “Cub Two” I am in the next unit to go and we both thoughts that we will be somewhere near if not at the same base. His unit is a medical unit — mine an administrative unit. He thought I would be on my way within two weeks and we both will try to locate each other later.
Near as we know these are base organization set-ups and bound for somewhere over in the Australian zone of islands.
Mrs. Knollin I know is also dropping you a line, and I thought you would be glad to know that we had met and will very likely be together later. Nothing like having your family doctor with you, you know.
Henry W. Rinehart