Finding Aid for the Frank L. Swede, Jr. Second World War correspondence 2017.310.w.r
Center for American War Letters Archives
Orange, CA 92866
Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Frank L. Swede, Jr. Second World War correspondence
Creator: Swede, Frank L., Jr., Private, 1923-1945
Identifier/Call Number: 2017.310.w.r
Physical Description: .16 Linear feet (2 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1942 December 12 - 1945 December 20
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence written by Pvt. Frank L. Swede, Jr., USA to his family during the Second World War.
Condition Description: Binder falling apart, half of collection not in sleeves/loose. V-Mail in sleeves are affixed to pages/boards with sticky residue. Plastic removed for preservation, pages/boards retained (original order maintained).
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 62
This collection is open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of George A. Swede. No donation form provided.
This collection is arranged in chronological order where clear order exists. Some letters undated, many others may contain the wrong years and thus be out of order. Chronological order has been imposed where the wrong year could be clearly corrected.
Private Frank L. Swede, Jr., United States Army (11/9/1923 - 1/1/1945) was born in Rosedale, New York to Caroline and Frank L. Swede, Sr. They then lived in Ridgewood in Long Island, along with his sisters Caroline, referred to in the letters as "Potsy" (sometimes it looks like "Totsy" or "Lotsy," perhaps playfully intentional), Anna, Lorraine, Katherine, and Barbara, and brother George. His dad worked as a steam fitter for public works and he worked as a delivery boy for a bakery. At some point in the early 1940s his parents divorced, as he mentions his mother possibly remarrying in his letters.
Pvt. Swede spent most of the war in the States either training, mentioning going through basic training multiple times, or working with the 784th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company. He remained with this unit as he shipped out to North Africa and later southern France. He asked for a reassignment and awaited a new unit while serving with the 398th Replacement Company, 10th Replacement Battalion and later the GFRS Replacement Pool (Ground Forces Replacement System). He remained at a base longer than anyone else in southern France, writing his last letter on December 19, 1944, until joining a new unit sometime before the end of the year. According to his interment form (acnestry.com), he was serving with 62nd Armored Infantry Battalion when he was killed in action on January 1, 1945 in France. He was pronounced Missing in Action until December of that year when authorities concluded that he had in fact been killed. He was finally interred at Long Island National Cemetery in 1949.
[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Frank L. Swede, Jr. Second World War correspondence (2017.310.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.
This collection contains 104 correspondence written by Pvt. Frank L. Swede, Jr., USA to his family during the Second World War. The second half of the correspondence was written on V-Mail and contained in a scrapbook, which has been dismantled and the pages/boards kept intact. Also included are two Western Union telegrams notifying his family of his missing status and eventually of his confirmed death.
His correspondence begins as he is being onboarded into the Army at Camp Upton, Long Island in December 1942, though the letters say 1941 (confirmed he did not join until 1942). He trained at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and worked in a hospital ward with very little to do. This also added to him getting sick and falling behind in training until he began working with an auto mechanics unit. He spends some time going home since his camp is so close and eventually moves to a base 1800 miles away, though he does not say where, to lay pipelines with a new company training to bring gas to the frontlines. During one stint of his service, he goes to Fort Crook in Nebraska for welding training, but the dates are inconclusive.
Also mentioned during training and service are two separate mumps outbreaks that cause quarantines on his base, possibly once at Camp Kilmer. He also serves at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana and continues to say he is in basic training even over a year into his service which further conflates the problem of his years being off on the dates he writes in the corner. He mentions a friend, Jack Moore, and speaks poorly of the officers in his unit because they have been in the Army less time than he has.
In April 1944, the beginning of the V-Mail correspondence, he confirms that he is in North Africa, using Francs for money, and discusses the local Arabs as "beggars," as well as a Coca-Cola plant. He also asks about some relatives that were in the service, including Johnny Heubner, Bobby [Dozman?], Rudy (Young) [parentheses added by Swede], Alfred, or "Freddy May's boy." Later, he moved to southern France and requested a transfer out of the petroleum distribution company and awaited orders in a safe place, though the French children "beg like Arabs." He also drew some Christmas art on one of the V-Mails and explains that he has been at his current location longer than usual, no longer in southern France. In his last letter dated December 19, 1944, the last he sent, he expected to be with a new unit soon and had just moved out to the woods, camping out and seemingly enjoying it. The next correspondence is a Western Union telegram telling the family that he has gone Missing in Action as of January 1, 1945 and another dated December 20 confirming he was killed on that date.
Also included in the collection is one copied photograph of Pvt. Swede's headstone at Long Island National Cemetery.
There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
World War (1939-1945)
World War (1939-1945) -- Christmas
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945) -- France
Last letters before death
War letters -- Last letters home
United States -- Army -- Corps of Engineers
Military training camps
Basic training (Military education)