Tag Archives: Dr. Fred M. Williams

U.S.S. LST 487 (Dr. Williams)

Letter transcription:

F.M. Williams, Lt., MC, USNR
U.S.S. LST 487
F.P.O. San Francisco, Calif.
December 14, 1943

Dear Roscoe,

I know you don’t care a lot for the V-Mail, but is seems to be the nearest things at hand for the moment, so here goes. What goes into this damn letter won’t make much sense, because I’m not doing enough interesting things these days to tell about.

After leaving the place where I saw you last, we tossed about for several days on a turbulent portion of this “peaceful” Pacific and finally came to roost again several days ago. We have had our share of weather, with high winds, torrential rains, and the eternal heat, so one might say that the situation had been fine for windjammers, ducks, and the natives.

I heard from Ray Tharp several days ago, and he gave me quite a bit of scuttlebutt, most of which tied in with some of the bull you gave me. He said that it had been fairly well established now that the tour of duty would be about eighteen months for us, and the news had come from the right source. Mattox had told him that most of the Cub 13 boys had either gone back or were on the way, but that must apply mostly to the line officers. Anyway, I’m ready for the orders, because I am sure that the medical activity on this ship has reached a new low, and I expect to go nuts any day if I don’t get something to do pretty soon.

Today a letter came from Pop that he had mailed from Quantico soon after he arrived at that destination. He had addressed the thing to the LST 488, so the letter went all over the Western and Eastern hemispheres, I think, before coming in the right direction. He said that his wife had the Xray findings of the tuberculosis, but did not have a cough or positive sputum; therefore, adequate rest and care will probably take care of the situation in time. She had been to a sanatarium, but her mental attitude wasn’t so hot after the younger boy left home, so Pop brought her home and the results so far have been very favorable, with the weight gaining O.K., etc. He gets to come home for two days a month to see her, and that won’t be such a bad deal. In case you would like to write him, his address is Post Dispensary, Quantico, Virginia.

The other day three of us were standing on the deck, watching the gunnery practice. One of the anti-aircraft guns was aimed too low, and the shell hit and split a steel railing a few feet away. Some of the hot stuff went down the front of the shorts of the guy on my left, the fellow on my right got a crease across one thumb nail, and I got the hell out of there in a hurry. Hope those trigger happy boys have as good luck on the Zeros and the Mitsubishis as they did in wrecking that railing.

I guess our time to see the big show will come up one of these days, so maybe they’ll make a Christian out of me yet in this damn war. I’ll probably not get to see you anymore in this area, but hope we can get together back in the States for a pow-wow and a comparison of notes. Take care of yourself, mate, and don’t forget to write me a line and tell me the latest from that haven of the South Pacific. Hope this finds you in the best of health; guess we could both feel a bit better if the snow were flying, but a good blizzard out here would be about as rare as a cuss word at a Ladies’ Aid Meeting.




USS LST-487 (Image from Wikipedia in the public domain)

©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/07/u-s-s-lst-487-dr-williams/

V-mail Was Better (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Sept. 12, 1943
Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
Navy 60
F.P.O. San Fran. Cal.

Dear Mother,

Your air mail of Aug. 25 and v-mail of Aug. 30 came yesterday. This is one of the first times that v-mail was better than air mail. I still want you to keep up just the way you have been – mostly air mail with a v-mail at times.

I was glad that Glenn could come and no doubt your mother appreciated it very much. I wish they could stay and help you for a time but I suppose you’re their work keeps them from doing that. I’m sure your mother would be better off in the hospital and I’m sure you would have less to do but the traveling back and forth

[page 2] would also be equally difficult.

Your expenses will probably mount very much but inform those concerned that we will pay as y we go along and don’t let it worry you. With times as good as they are anyone you become indebted to should be able to carry along without our paying on the line. So much for that – I’m sure it will work out OK and aff after all that is only a small problem considering other things going on today.

You didn’t mention anything what Dr. VanB said about John’s eyes – possibly he hadn’t written you as yet, and to date I have not heard from Dr. Cole.

I just happened to remember that

[page 3] months ago I sent you some films of pictures we had taken in Noumea – you never did mentioned them. I just wonder if they never arrived or if they were no good? You probably wrote of them but that letter hasn’t arrived as yet. Pictures are pretty much frowned upon here and of course I couldn’t bring that camera with me and I’m not sure whether it was packed or whether Dr. P. or W. kept it. The box was cracked and it wasn’t much good anyway.

This is the day to write the folks so must cut off here and write them a note –

Russell Islands  Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

Russell Islands
Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/02/05/v-mail-was-better-roscoe/

Blowing Horns (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Aug. 20, 1943
Lieut. R. S. Yegerlehner USNR
Navy 60 F.P.O. San Fran. Calif.

Dear Mother,

You have heard and know what those old thunder storms are in the summer time there at home – well we had one of those last night. There really was a lot of electricity and a considerable amount of rain, but it’s fairly hot again this A.M.

I received a letter from Dr. Porterfield yesterday and Dr. Williams was sent out from there recently – not back home but on a different duty. I’m glad I began my duty when I did because I think my chances are better of returning sooner than if I had had duty there so long. That may be just a lot of wishful thinking on my part, but that remains to be seen.

I went to the show last night and got so disgusted with the thing. First they finished a show which had been started some days previous. Then two musical shorts and if those were musical – things have changed. To me it was a bunch of fellows blowing horns etc. without any regards for each other or the audience. Then the real feature of the evening

[page 2] but by that time the coconut logs had made such an impression that no matter how good I wouldn’t have like it, and besides that we missed all our radio programs which all in all makes me more than somewhat unhappy.

I received a box of sardines from Ruth M. yesterday but anymore we don’t go for things like that because our food is so much better. So as I told you before don’t send anything – no use to use your ration cards for us. We’ll probably eat what we have on hand but we won’t get near the pleasure we once did. There is more to that than just the eats. The old gang that arrived here at the same time are all gone except on fellow and myself so we don’t have the parties. Many of that gang were of our original cub – not Drs. – and when a bunch has been together that long we “sorts” feel like relatives. And when the same bunch goes thru a few hardships that has a tendency to increase friendship. So this one fellow and I sometimes sit and go over older times. Of course Dr. Gardiner is here but he missed lots of the times our original bunch had. New faces have arrived and it’s just not the same as in the olden times – That’s what all old people say.

Well, lot of love Daddy

Russell Islands  Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

Russell Islands
Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

©2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/12/23/blowing-horns-roscoe/

One Year Ago (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R. S. Yegerlehner USNR
Navy 60
F.P.O. San Fran. Calif.
July 30, 1943

Dear Mother,

I remember one year ago today early in the morning, but I’d rather pass that scene rather rapidly because it is a little shall I say saddening – I remember also the hard tiresome ride that day – The longest hardest ride I’ve ever had. I remember the disappointment at not finding Lentz that night. The meeting of he and I next morning & our reporting next day. The the furious next several days – getting this and that etc. And then on the last day meeting Hicky and going to Helen W. and then the long train ride and finally getting aboard ship. The long interesting, tiresome and exciting sea voyage – often talking with Walsh and wondering how long it would be before our letters would get back home and our speculation as to our destination was something to marvel at = for we didn’t know.

[page 2] I remember how when land was sighted we added finishing touches to letters and went ashore. How good the terra firma felt under foot again. The stamp shortage – finally after a few days we were permanently located in a goat pasture. The wild scramble to see as much as could be seen of the Island – Swimming and shell collecting – where was our mail finally after about 1 ½ months our first letters came – but no word of babies arrival. Our first letters came the day he was born, but the news reached me much later. I remember getting settled to the humdrum of routine again – Then the slicing off of our personnel. Friends leaving for different areas – The final disbanding of our unit. Then the drab months with no change in the daily schedule – day after day. Drs. P & W and I trying to amuse ourselves to keep from getting on each other’s nerves and possibly not doing so well at times – but in general doing a good job of it. Then I remember while doing the regular routine one morning a big shot coming in and motioning to me and informing me I had been selected – you can take just enough clothes for a change or two – draw field packs – field rations – first aid kits and numerous first aid bandages and emergency medical

[page 3] supplies – That was something – reactions – excitement, anticipation, responsibility, importance and possibly some fear. I remember as long as the preparations were being made everything was swell but I also remember that letters were hard to write – to crowd out the million and one non writable things and include only the things that would not cause alarm. Those I repeat were hard to write. Finally aboard another ship – maybe the atmosphere a little more tense than then the last ship. We landed a much more interesting historical place this time. Now more days of preparation, and again to sea – another new land – my memory is still good but I’m not at liberty to reveal the entire extent of it. I remember the days spent in the channels around our new home – the jungle trips – The fishing trips – the call it exploring trips. I remember the indescribably non light nights – beautiful tropical moons, and the black nights when one has to push the darkness aside manually

[page 4] in order to get thru. I remember the work to get set up again – The usual long wait for mail – the anticipation and anxiousness as to whether our mail was getting home. I remember the taste of cold spam, cold meat & vegetable hash. The taste of rain water chlorinated. The fun we had with our own laundry our bucket bathes and ofen of necessity our ocean dips. Then I remember our first locally killed fresh beef. The rank taste because of lack of refrigeration and freshness – then one day a fresh onion – Then a fresh egg – not many of them – fresh potatoes fresh apples, oranges and the most exotic thing fresh celery. Never a time when I don’t remember appreciating mail and an equal appreciation of pictures – Then I remember writing a kidding note relative to a picture of my wife in comparison to another officer’s wife and I remember her answer and I hope she didn’t mean it for I was only kidding, and then I remember last night thinking of the wife and of and the mother of R.S. Yegerlehner’s boys – Love Daddy

1943 - Russell Islands #2

©2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/11/10/one-year-ago-roscoe/

A Keen Interest (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut R. S. Yegerlehner
Navy 60 F.P.O.
July 9, 1943

Dear Mother,

Your v-mails of 6-21 & 22 came yesterday as well as the ones the boys wrote for Father’s Day. So v-mail isn’t so terribly slow.

I have all the dope regarding the checks I sent and also the Insurance loan etc. So that will or rather can be dropped from the subject matter of future letters. Yesterday an officer was here from my old stomping ground and he told me

[page 2] Drs. Porterfield and Williams were still coasting along as per usual. I’m still very much pleased that I was able to leave there because this has been a much more exciting and enjoyable duty. It however now is beginning to come monotonous but I suppose we can stand that OK.

The rats have taken a keen interest in our then tent and seem to be everywhere at all times during the night. Here and there they can be heard jumping around and one

[page 3] “sorta” expects them to make a mistake and land right in the middle of nude anatomy but so far all has been well.

I didn’t know that there were any pea fields around Kentland. That must be something new – maybe a war measure that has been developed since I left there.

I got a v-mail letter from Red & Ruby Brewer. It seems funny but I was just thinking of them only a day or two ago. She said the boy was nearly 4 years old – Just doesn’t seem possible but I guess it’s true.

[page 4] I keep think[ing] of those babies and kid as I knew them over a year ago now.

The conversation started and the letter writing almost stopped – The conversation was nothing to brag about but it was enough to slow down writing.

So far no time set for pay day but I think it will come in a few days I’ll let you know when

So Solong Love Daddy

Russell Islands  Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

Russell Islands
Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

©2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/09/29/a-keen-interest-roscoe/

Calf Liver and Onions (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Apr. 22, 1943

Lieut R. S. Yegerlehner USNR

Navy 60

Fleet Post office

San Francisco Calif.


Dear Mother,

Got three letters yesterday all v-mail dated the latter part of Mar. Mar 27 was the latest – Mark’s letter (air mail) of Mar 30 was the last received in it came 2-3 days ago.

Several things have happened which are of interest and also surprise. I was hit in the ear with a snowball the other evening – no I’m OK. The snow was made artificially and a bucket full was brought in and it was such a thrill


[page 2] that a commander picked up a handful made a snow ball and said, “Look out Jake here is comes” and wham he hit me in the ear – Really it felt good.

The other thing was fresh calf liver smothered in onions for nord noon day chow yesterday when I was invited out and fresh steak at our own mess for supper last night. And that wasn’t all we looked at and were able to bum some onions. We sliced them and ate them just as was. That was the first raw onion since leaving the U.S.A. I’m now yearning for a raw potato because


[page 3] the dehydrated have that well known something taken away. I’m not griping about the food but am elated at the addition.

I saw Helen Kline’s husband the day I left but could tell him nothing since I knew nothing at that time. He may have learned later – I’m sure Dr. P & W. are informed by now but you probably know as much by now as they.

Heindel, Dan & Helen (Kline) - Cambridge, MA 1942

Dan and Helen (Kline) Heindel, 1942 (Photograph courtesy of Judith Heindel Bowen)

Our length of stay is only a conjecture and I don’t think about it because if my thoughts were incorrect then I might be disappointed so we will just be patient


[page 4] and look forward and I believe the more content the quicker the time will pass.

If I can get the tools and material today I’m going to try to build a shelf to store my clothes so things won’t be so mussed up as they are most of the time.

Your vegetable garden idea sounds good but don’t overdo because after all that is hard work and the little extra that you might get won’t compensate for your overworking –

Love Daddy

Russell Islands  Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

Russell Islands
Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)


© 2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney

Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/04/30/calf-liver-and-onions-roscoe/

Moving Day (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Apr 2, 1943
Lieut R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
A.P.O. 43
% P.M. San Fran.

Dear Mother,

The postman told me he thought there was some mail but due to our changing our camp slightly he has been unable to sort out the mail so maybe tomorrow there will be letters we hope – V-mail is all that has been coming but some of the other fellows are getting mail – air mail some as late as Mar 10. And I wish you would address a few to Navy 224 again. Every other letter address Navy 224 % Fleet P.O. San Fran and the other A.P.O. 43. So maybe

[page 2] one or the other will get here. My latest letter from you was Mar 3 but you still used the address I used at the last station so you hadn’t gotten my new address as yet.

Our new tent has a deck and is all screened in – really it is as nice or nicer than at the last station. Maybe that’s a bad sign for as soon as things begin to be fixed up I move. There has been no indications of that but I’m a little suspicious.

You told me in the last letter

[page 3] to air my blues once in a while. Well I’m miles from them now and I’m not sure that Drs P & W sent them. I wrote them and asked them to store them rather than send them home and they wrote they would take care of them but didn’t say in what way so don’t worry if they don’t arrive because they may be stored there.

This is a little mixed up but you know how it is on moving day so solong.

Love Daddy


Russell Islands
Image by Kelisi at Wikipedia.com (Wikipedia Commons license)

© 2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/03/21/moving-day-roscoe/

Fox Holes (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Mar 13, 1943
Lt. Yegerlehner
A.P.O. 43
% P.M. San Fran

Dear Mother,

We are having a slight sprinkle of rain this P.M. The first in several days and lots would be appreciated because rain water is good compared to our present water.

You know how those storm cellars are built thru parts of Indiana – well we have them here only we don’t need them for storms. Therefore we call them “fox holes” and you don’t have to guess more than three guesses as to what they are used for but we get along OK and really get a kick out of the various designs and types. So much for our outbuildings.

There seems to be little doubt left as to the promotion. This A.M. I

[page 2] got a letter from Drs P & W and they have the word there so there so things must be something to it. I also got a letter from Barb. Dr. Porterfield said he was going to write you – Hope he didn’t write anything to cause you to worry all he was supposed to let you know was my address and also Parson Wright was to be sure to let you know but I was able to write sooner than I thought so neither of them would have need written had I known but you should have my new address and the old can be disregarded.

Had sauerkraut and wieners for noon chow along with lima beans so you know I was pretty well pleased. I did a small washing again this A.M. but fortunately it was dry before the sprinkle. My vigorous rubbing of the socks has caused some holes – so will have to do some darning. All this must be rather boring but it’s all in the days work and since we have to keep a tight lip subject matter is scarce.

Lots of Love

©2014 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/02/14/fox-holes-roscoe/

Guessing is out (Roscoe)

Mar 3, 1943

Lt (jg) Yegerlehner (MC) USNR
A.P.O. 43
% Postmaster
San Francisco, Calif

Dear Mother,

Probably I have done a foolish thing for I have written the folk and Sis and it sure cuts down on the stationery supplies – we did get a chance to buy some stamps but writing paper and envelopes aren’t as easily obtained. So if other people mention that I haven’t written – there is a reason. If you have time you might drop a line to Uncle Wess giving him my address and a few others but I just don’t feel like using the supplies and then won’t be able to write you.

This place is different in many respects than where I was located before and has more of the South Sea atmosphere than New Caledonia. Guessing as to the location is out

[page 2] because of necessity and you can also see that description of places and things is also prohibited. All I can say is listen to the radio and watch the newspapers.

We have had plenty to eat (out of cans) and we get plenty of sleep (from the beginning of darkness to daylight) if you get what I mean.

My last mail from you was Jan 25 and I have no idea how long it will be before more catches up – probably not so long. I hope.

Really I think I like it better here than at the last location but can’t tell you why. I sorta feel sorry for Dr. P. & W all by themselves with all their modern conveniences of life. Maybe that is sadistic – well can’t use any more paper this time –

Lots of Love

©2014 copyright owned and/or written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/24/guessing-is-out-roscoe/

Hotter Than Blue Blazes (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Feb. 26, 1943
Lt. (jg) Yegerlehner
Navy 224
% Fleet P.O.
San Francisco Calif

Dear Mother,

To begin with don’t forget to inform Mark that I remembered about his birthday and also you he should have the dollar I sent him some time ago. It really seems like ages ago – guess it’s because of the moving around.

Lately all I’ve been wearing is a pair of pants and shoes because of the hot rainy weather. Rains every night and gets hotter than blue blazes in the day time.

I haven’t written anyone but

[page 2] you since leaving Noumea because of stamp shortage. I brought about 2 doz. along but they all stuck together and so again stamps are scarce. We thought we had a rugged time where we were before at first but we were living in the lap of old Lady luxury and didn’t realize it.

The conditions in general here are good – Food OK but mostly out of cans. All out of cans I should say and we eat out of plates on our laps bathe in the ocean – write only in day time on our knees because boards are a thing only in past memories.

[page 3] I haven’t shaved for four days but I do brush my teeth and all in all feel fine and happy but I don’t care for this type of camping but in time thing will get better.

Don’t be too disappointed if the mail isn’t too regular but I’ll still try to do the best I can. Dr. W & Dr P are all alone as far as I know but I wouldn’t trade with them even at that.

Well, have work to do
So solong
Love Daddy

P.S. I’ve written every day the last 3 days

©2014 copyright owned and/or written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/16/hotter-than-blue-blazes-roscoe/