Finding Aid for the Robert W. Repper Second World War correspondence 2019.001.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: Robert W. Repper Second World War correspondence
Creator: Repper, Robert Wallace, Lieutenant, 1922-2006
source: Vandyke, Susannah
Identifier/Call Number: 2019.001.w.r
Physical Description: 0.8 Linear Feet (10 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1942 January 28 - 1946 April 15
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence written by Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA to his parents during the Second World War. Also included are one diary, one photograph, a graduation program, documents and clippings.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 152
Container: 1-7
Container: 1-7
Container: WWII 153
Container: 1-3
Container: 8-10

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Susannah Vandyke.


This collection is arranged by material type and chronology.
  • Series 1, Correspondence
  • Series 2, Diary and graduation program
  • Series 3, Photograph
  • Series 4, Documents and other materials
  • Series 5, Clippings

Biographical / Historical

Second Lieutenant Robert Wallace Repper, United States Army (9/29/1922 - 7/10/2006) was born in the Bronx, New York to Henry Wallace Repper and Lilliam F. Knoetzch Repper. Lt. Repper enlisted in the Army as a private after two years of college on October 28, 1942 at Camp Upton, NY and began training on November 7 at Camp Breckenridge in Morganfield, Kentucky with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 389th Infantry, 98th Division.
According to one letterhead, the camp was named after General John Cabell Breckenridge (1821-1875) who represented Kentucky in both houses of congress and served as Vice President of the United States before joining the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War.
During his time at Camp Breckenridge, he was promoted to corporal and then earned sergeant on April 26, 1943 shortly after schooling ended on April 16. He then began school at the US Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) with Pratt. 206, Co. D, at Amherst College on September 13.
Originally eight small schools designated for this purpose after the First World War, and later three civilian institutions, Amherst College in Massachusetts became the primary preparatory school for the United States Military Academy at West Point.
On June 22, Repper received a rejection notice for West Point due to his physical and left Amherst the next week, arriving in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with a new unit on July 10, 1944. There he worked in the heat and earned a certification as an American Red Cross Life Saving and Water Safety Instructor. He was "frozen" at this location and unable to ship out due to his being considered for officer's candidate school (OCS).
Repper left for Fort Benning, Georgia to attend OCS on September 14 and began schooling on September 23 with 21st Co., 2nd Student Training Regiment. He graduated as a second lieutenant on January 25, 1945 and spent some free time in Washington, D.C. before heading for Fort Meade, Maryland with Co. D, 9th Bn., 3rd Replacement Regiment. He then went to Camp Shanks in New York before receiving orders to ship out with his new infantry unit; Company H 3rd Platoon. He disembarked Pier 90 aboard the Queen Mary (map included with one letter) on February 19 and reached Scotland on the 24th. After train rides and waiting at the docks, they crossed the channel to Le Havre and arrived in France on March 3, 1945.
Lt. Repper was briefly attached to 51st Bn. 202 Reinforcement Co., though returned to Company H 3rd Platoon in a letter written just days later. He was then reassigned to Co. A, 65th Div. in Boulay, France and moved to several locations west of the Rhine River before crossing in April, 1945. According to a list in the back of his diary, the towns he passed through thereafter include the following: in Germany; Berka, Waltershausen, Arnstadt, Breitingüssbach, Schnaittach, Altdorf, Velberg, Duerling, Oberndorf, Regensberg, Platting, Furstenzell, and in Austria; Scharding, Raab, Linz, and then his unit was deactivated in Winhöring, Germany. He also mentions that his unit had made the news back in the States for being further into Germany than any other units.
Lt. Repper remained in Austria for some time after the war, before being deactivated in August and reassigned to an accounting company. He travelled between England and Paris several times throughout the fall.
In mid-November, 1945 Lt. Repper was considered for promotion to First Lieutenant but became jaundiced and entered a military hospital in Paris, then England. He began to feel better and even went out, but never discharged. He then returned with other patients to the States and entered Rhoades General Hospital in Utica, NY, experiencing other complications, and even becoming "smitten" with the night nurse whom he began to date, until his was released for separation from the Army at Fort Dix in April 1946.
Lt. Repper passed away in Aurora, Colorado and on July 10, 2006 and is interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Robert W. Repper Second World War correspondence (2019.001.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 correspondence written by Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA to his parents during the Second World War. Also included are one diary, a graduation program, one photograph, documents, various materials and clippings.

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

World War (1939-1945)
World War (1939-1945) -- England
World War (1939-1945) -- Hospitals
World War (1939-1945) -- Christmas
World War (1939-1945) -- Europe
World War (1939-1945) -- Newspapers
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945) -- Germany
World War (1939-1945) -- France
Newspaper clippings
World War (1939-1945) -- Victory in Europe Day (VE Day)
Vandyke, Susannah

box WWII 152, folder 1-7, folder 1-7

Series 1, Correspondence 1942 October 28 - 1946 April 15

Physical Description: 0.5 Linear Feet(7 folders)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains approximately 100 letters, postcards, and telegrams from Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA to his parents during the Second World War. Also included is one letter dated August 12, 1945 sent to friends Ginnie and Frank Boltz. Folder 7 contains thirteen Western Union telegrams without dates, but placed in chronological order based on their locations. All other telegrams with dates have been placed in their proper chronological order throughout the series.
Lt. Repper wrote often, though with some week or longer lapses, and told his parents about all of his daily activities and locations until the censors cut out some of his disclosures in letters written overseas. He wrote of training, travelling to various bases, his admissions process to the United States Military Academy at West Point, taking on new responsiblities and eventually his deployment overseas and the war effort. He also discussed politics and the home front, as well as his personal love life which remained a theme in his letters after the war while stationed between Paris and London.

Letters of note include the following:

  • April 6, 1945; discusses General Patton and his unit making the news back home. He hopes his mother is not too worried when she reads what Patton's army is up to.
  • April 14, 1945; from Germany, Repper discusses the death of President Roosevelt, that he and the other men have no faith in Harry Truman, but they know the war will end soon. The 9th Army will meet Russians near Berlin soon.
  • May 4, 1945; from Austria, "I wouldn't be surprised if I were drinking vodka with the Russians tomorrow or soon at any rate." He "chased Jerries clean our of their own country."
  • May 7 and 8, 1945; from Austria, V-E Day at 2pm, Repper bets everyone in the States is celebrating, but laments that it is "anti-climactic" for him because the end of the war has been expected for some time. Many of the men have shaved their mustaches, and he gives respect to the USAAF and the British RAF for ending the war.
  • June 24, 1945; Repper discusses displaced persons and the work that will have to be done after the war.
  • August 7, 1945; he discusses the power of the new atomic bomb.
  • August 12, 1945; this letter was written to Ginne and Frank Boltz.
  • August 15, 1945; the surrender of the Japanese and V-J Day celebrations.
The letters dated April 14, May 4, and May 7-8 were singled out in a plastic sheet when donated.
box WWII 153, folder 3, folder 10

Series 2, Diary and graduation program 1945 January 25 - 1946 January 11

Physical Description: 0.1 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains one diary and one graduation program kept by Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA during the Second World War.
The program is for Lt. Repper's graduation from officer's candidate school at Fort Benning, Georgia on January 25, 1945. He trained with 4th Platoon, 21st Company, Second Student Training Regiment. It includes quotes and photographs of Repper and his fellow candidates.
At least some of the diary was written after the events of each day because it begins on February 5, 1945 when Lt. Repper arrived at Ft. Meade, MD and he presumably did not come into possession of the diary until he reached either Germany or Austria; it is large, black, and has a label on the front that reads "Befehlsbuch," or instruction book. The diary contains daily activities, transfers between units, location movement, his feelings about some other soldiers, and various other daily thoughts. Of note are some of the specifics given relating to battles and troop movements against the enemy, corps objectives, which units (division, corps, or even rifle companies) were to go where and when.
As the war ends and after, his daily entries shift to mundane activities, dates with English girls, his birthday and lack of funds, dentist visits and getting sick. The entries end with a smaller paper insert containing two entries; January 9 and January 11, 1946.
The last page provides a list, "Token CP from 11 April to 20 August," which includes all of the cities he had traversed. The back board contains two date ranges listed for hist time in the hospital; 23 November, 1945 - 28 December, 1945 at 365th Station Hospital, and 28 December, 1945 - 8 January, 1946 at 239th General Hospital.
box WWII 153, folder 1, folder 8

Series 3, Photograph

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)

Scope and Contents

This series contains one black and white photograph presumably of Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA, at the time a corporal, in his uniform with hat. The identity of the person in the portait is inferred based on a picture of Repper in clippings.
box WWII 153, folder 1, folder 8

Series 4, Documents and other materials 1942 January 28 - 1945 February 22

Physical Description: 0.02 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains miscellaneous documents and other materials pertaining to the service of Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA during the Second World War, as well as vehicle registration and gas ration tickets.
Also included in this series are three Veteran's Administration National Service Life Insurance certificates for Repper for 1942-1943, one draft board notice of classification, one physical exam report for Repper's candidacy for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and two schedules; one for Amherst College and one for Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
box WWII 153, folder 2, folder 9

Series 5, Clippings 1944 February 25 - 1945 October 16

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains several clippings pertaining to the service of Lt. Robert W. Repper, USA during the Second World War. Included is one photo of Repper with a helmet on, taken on October 16, 1945. Additionally, there are four small clippings regarding Patton's army and infantry or artillery units, with photos, two clippings from The Gazette of Amherst College, in 1944, and one bulletin of the 65th Division dated May 7, 1945 that contains the headline "War Ends."