Finding Aid for the Sidney Dashevsky Second World War correspondence 2017.507.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Sidney Dashevsky Second World War correspondence
Creator: Dashevsky, Sidney, Shipfitter First Class, 1918-1998
source: Dashevsky, Chuck
Identifier/Call Number: 2017.507.w.r
Physical Description: .15 Linear Feet (1 folder)
Date (inclusive): 1943 January 10 - 1946 January 18
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence from SF 1/C Sidney Dashevsky, USN to his fiancee Emily Van Gelder during the Second World War. Dashevsky was was deployed for almost the entire time he knew her during this correspondence, from 1943 to 1946.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 21
Container: 5-6
Container: 1-2

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Chuck Dashevsky.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Biographical / Historical

Shipfitter First Class Sidney Dashevsky, United States Navy (4/15/1918 - 4/22/1998) was born in New York but lived in Colchester, Connecticut until his enlistment in the Navy on November 18, 1941. Presumably while on leave, he met Emily Van Gelder and her roommate Erna and began writing them, especially Emily after having mistaken her at a party before the correspondence began, in January 1943. Their correspondence continued while he was deployed on the USS North Carolina and they began a relationship sometime in early 1944, denoted by his suddenly calling her "honey" and signing his letters "all my love." SF Dashevsky's brother Abraham was stationed with him for a short time but was then transferred to the USS Harding.
SF Dashevsky then got a station in Norfolk, Virginia for a short time and he and Emily were able to see each other briefly before he left for welding school in Houston, Texas and then deployed on the USS Melvin R. Nawman in March 1944 shortly after its commissioning. He earned Shipfitter First Class in September 1944.
The USS Nawman saw action throughout the Pacific Theater of the war, as denoted in an included itinerary from its commissioning in May 1944 up until January 1945, deploying periodically from Pearl Harbor, Hawaiian Islands to aid the Pacific Fleet in rescues and battles. The ship also participated in the invasion of Okinawa, during which it shot down Japanese planes, according to SF Dashevsky.
At some point during his deployment Sidney and Emily were engaged, though it is unclear from the letters, and she even gave him a ring, which he almost destroys in a tool in the shop on board his ship. Dashevsky returned in early 1946 and the two married. They lived in San Diego, California until Emily passed in 1993 and Sidney passed away in 1998 at the age of 80.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], John Smith Second World War correspondence (2018.068.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.

Content Description

This collection contains 110 correspondence from SF 1/C Sidney Dashevsky, USN to his fiancee Emily Van Gelder during the Second World War. Included is one letter from Emily to Sidney dated March 18, 1943. The correspondence covers a period during which SF Dashevsky was almost constantly deployed, on two separate ships, from shortly after they met and through their courtship until he returned in early 1946. Also included are some cartoon clippings and a photograph of two shipmates, as well as an itinerary, two request letters, and a made up form from Emily.
Of note is an itinerary for the USS Melvin R. Nawman, on which he was stationed for the bulk of his service, which describes the dates and activities of the ship from its commissioning until January 1945 after the censors had allowed certain activities revealed in the Pacific Theater.
The request letters include one from his commanding officer requesting promotion. It is unclear if he received an advance in rank as the collection ends shortly thereafter. The other request was from SF Dashevsky for shore duty in the Third Naval District (New York City), which is also recommended by his commanding officer.
After the censorship eases, some letters reveal activities such as saving sailors on sunken ships and May 11 describing the siege of Okinawa and shooting down Japanese planes.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945)
World War (1939-1945) -- Caricatures and Cartoons
World War (1939-1945) -- China
World War (1939-1945) -- Equipment and supplies
World War (1939-1945) -- Homefront
World War (1939-1945) -- Military operations, Naval -- American
World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific Area
World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific campaign -- Guam
World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific islands
World War (1939-1945) -- Philippines.
World War (1939-1945) -- Philippines -- Mindanao Island.
United States. -- Navy
Okinawa Island (Japan) -- History, Military.
World War (1939-1945) -- Japan
Dashevsky, Chuck