Finding Aid for the Elwyn Batchelor Korean War correspondence 2017.061.w.r

Sharon Clairemont
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Elwyn Batchelor Korean War correspondence
Creator: Elwyn Batchelor
Identifier/Call Number: 2017.061.w.r
Physical Description: 1 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1951 July 16 - 1955 February 21
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence from EM2 Elwyn Batchelor, USN, to his wife, Irene Batchelor, during the Korean War. It also includes two Navy yearbooks and two photo albums.
Language of Material: English .
Container: Korea 7
Container: 1-7
Container: 1-7
Container: Korea 8
Container: 1-5
Container: 8-12
Container: Batchelor realia
Container: 1-4

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of E.V. Batchelor


This collection is arranges by material type and date.
  • Series 1, Correspondence
  • Series 2, Navy yearbooks
  • Series 3, Ephemera
  • Series 4, Photo albums

Preferred Citation

[Item title, Box number, Folder number], Elwyn Batchelor Korean War correspondence (2017.061.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 from Electrician's Mate Second Class Elwyn Batchelor, United States Navy to his wife Irene Oliver Batchelor during his service in the Korean War. It also contains two photo albums and two Navy yearbooks commemorating the third and fourth Korean cruises of the USS Valley Forge (CV/CVA-45).

Conditions Governing Use

Donor irrevocably transfers, conveys, and assigns to Chapman University all Intellectual Property Rights for the Donated Materials. For more information, consult original donation form.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Korean War, 1950-1953.
Korean War -- (1950-1953) -- Correspondence

box Korea 7, folder 1-7, folder 1-7, box Korea 8, folder 1-4, folder 8-11

Series 1, Correspondence 1951 July 16 - 1955 February 21

Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence from EM2 Elwyn Batchelor, USN to his wife Irene Oliver Batchelor primarily during his service in the Navy during the Korean War. Early letters are from the Fleet Training Center, U.S. Naval Station, San Diego. He served on the U.S.S. Nereus and U.S.S. Frontier. He professes his love and faithfulness in every letter and writes how much he misses her. He writes little about his work in the print shop, electrical training, more about how he spends his leave time. He writes about his pay, their finances, how much he wants her to finish high school, the possibility of having children, her stay with his parents in Hermiston, OR while he is stationed in Bremerton, Washington, spending leaves with her. There few letters from April 1952 as he spent most of the month on leave with her. Late April his ship is loading ammunition in anticipation of sailing to Oakland, CA then overseas. He writes of her meeting him in Oakland and then San Diego before he sails.
May 7, 1952 - .."Only 373 more days my darling and I will be out of this man's Navy for good. You can help those days go by faster by writing me a letter every day." -- June 3 and 13: in the Pacific, headed to Japan. From Yokosuka, Japan he writes of meeting up with his brother, Carl, and hopes of transferring to Carl's ship, the USS Valley Forge. June 20 and 23 he writes he dosn't want her to stay in San Diego any longer - "I want you to go home where you belong." June 29 visits Tokyo.
He often writes about how hard it is to be broke all the time but also of how he spends his money - that he just bought two lighters and a pair of binoculars and went drinking. He hopes she is saving money, but wishes she would send him some and buy him a camera. He has her anniversary present picked out ... Can she send him $20. Money issues and saving for the future are often subjects of his letters. He tells her how much of the $185 monthly allotment she receives should go to savings. July 30, 1952 - "I sent off my ballot a few days ago so I can vote for Stevenson... if Ike gets to be present he will want a lot more men in the service...There will be a war with Russia before long no matter who gets in..." Repeatedly asks her not to go to San Diego or Arizona with friends. Wants her to stay with her mother in Madera and get a job. He often writes of his jealousy and hopes she is "behaving" assuring her of his faithfulness. He frequently writes about his daydreams of getting a job on a remote lookout with Irene. He frequently mentions the photos he is taking and the album he is making.
Sept. 1952 - he writes of rifle training, but doesn't score high enough to make marksman. Sept. 19 - in Kobe, visits Kyoto. He writes how he hates doing his own washing and ironing and looks forward to her doing it for him. Oct. 4 - reports he "made second class." He writes repeatedly of wanting her to send him cigars, stamps and other sundries as he is spending his money on film and developing. Remarks on Irene buying a car, advises her to get insurance, and a driver's license - "You know I am very glad you are learning to drive, Irene, but for God's sake be careful."
Oct. 28 he writes of possibly needing to go back to high school before enrolling in college. Nov. 7 writes his mother may have cancer. Nov. 18 letter itemizes his pay. Nov 22 discusses birth control, tells her "You can't get one (diaphram) unless I'm there to sign for it...It is against the law for a Dr. to sell them without the husband's permission."
Writes he wants to go to Oregon State in Corvallis when he is out of the Navy. Writes often of their plans for when his ship returns to Long Beach, CA in December and he has leave. Last letter in 1952 is Dec. 15. - In January 1953 - he writes of plans for his discharge in Bremerton, WA, and where they will live; how he will take the bus to Madera to get her and they'll drive back to Bremerton where he's arranged for them to rent a smaller trailer home.
There are no letters from January 29 to May 5, 1953.
On May 5 he writes there is no housing where he is working in Kinyua, WA and she'll have to stay in Hermiston. He is writing to her at his parents' address. He writes "I don't like being away from from you either, but like I told you, I'm not ready to settle down and start asking permission to step out the door... When I'm ready to settle down I'll come home to you... You know I want you to find a job and go to work. I don't make enough to pay for the car and some for furniture too. I don't love you now the way I used to. You took that love away and only you can give it back."
And on May 25, writing to her in San Diego, "I don't want a divorce from you darling. I thought I did, but now I know I don't.. I've tried to forget you, Irene, but I just can't do it.... I think we can make a go of our marriage now because we have both learned our lesson." He writes of coming to San Diego to find a job. In Feb. 1955 he writes to her in Madera, CA asks about her visit with family and if her mother is "spoiling Cindy."
On Feb. 21 he writes to advise Irene on what formula to feed Cindy and how often. He looks forward to the time he can drive up and get her. In the last letter, undated but apparently written soon after Feb.21, he writes of missing Irene and Cindy and how much he loves Irene.
carton Batchelor realia, object 1-2

Series 2, Navy yearbooks 1951-1953

Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains two yearbooks commemorating the third and fouth Korean cruises of the USS Valley Forge (CV/CVA-45). The 1951-952 yearbook includes a photograph of the Engineering Department "E" Division an the caption includes in the second row "Batchelor, ICFN." The 1952-53 yearbook also includes a "Batchelor" in a photograph of the Engineering Dept., E Division. As correspondence reveals Edwyn Batchlor did not serve on the USS Valley Forge, but that his brother, Carl did serve aboard, the yearbooks likely belonged to Carl Batchelor.
box Korea 8, folder 5, folder 12

Series 3, Ephemera 1952-1953

Physical Description: .02 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains a newspaper article, two photographs and a station assignment card. The news article is from an unidentified newspaper, 1952 as only identifiable date, with headline "Japan dignitaries Invited Aboard USS Frontier in Kobe." It includes two images of Capt. Novak, Cmdr. Foushee and Governor Kishida among other dignitaries. -- The photos are snapshots of Irene Batchelor. -- The "Station Assignments" card states E.V. Batchelor's general quarters special sea detail, cleaning station, life raft assignment and other duties/assignments.
carton Batchelor realia, object 3-4

Series 4, Photo albums 1952-1953

Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains two laquer, hand-painted photograph albums. They contain snapshots taken by EM2 Elwyn Batchelor, USN during his service aboard the USS Frontier (AD-25). They include photos of his wife, Irene, taken in California; his ship, himself, shipmates and other ships, and scenery in Kobe, Yokosuka and Tokyo, Japan. Batchelor refers to the photos in his correspondence with Irene (see Series 1). The smaller of the two albums is inscribed with Batchelor's name, rank and address and "Filled in Yokosuka, Japan, 28 May 1952 to 16 October 1952."