Finding Aid for the Walter B. Mensch Second World War correspondence and other correspondence 2021.201.w.r
Center for American War Letters Archives
Orange, CA 92866
Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Walter B. Mensch Second World War correspondence and other correspondence
Identifier/Call Number: 2021.201.w.r
Physical Description: 0.05 Linear Feet (2 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1942 July 1 - 1961 April 20
Date (bulk): 1942 July 1 - 1945 December 1
Abstract: This collection contains ten letters from SF1/C Walter B. Mensch, USN to his parents during the Second World War. Also included are one photograph, one clipping, and four letters from other service members during the Second World War and one letter from a Marine serving overseas in Thailand in 1961.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 30
This collection is open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Billie Jo Wilson.
This collection is arranged by author and chronology.
Shipfitter First Class Walter Bryan "Bud" Mensch, United States Navy (b. 7/3/1908) was born in Stroud, Oklahoma to William and Lula Mensch and married Dorothy Woodward on May 31, 1941. He enlisted in the Seabees on March 22, 1942 and trained in a Naval Construction Battalion with Unit C, Company B, Battalion 14, Platoon 7, in Barracks 43 at United States Navy Construction Training Center Naval Operating Base (USN-CTC-NOB) Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. He served in the South Pacific two years and was discharged May 22, 1946 after contracting a tropical fever. In an undated letter while in training, he prophetically told his parents that "I think that when I have the Malaria a few more times I'll try to get a discharge, it would be easy enough..." during a malaria outbreak amongst his fellow servicemen.
Sergeant M. "Hap" Mensch, United States Army served with Battery C, 171 Field Artillery Battalion in Italy and France.
Corporal Paul Michael "Mike" Wilson, United States Marine Corps served in Thailand and Laos with Marine Air Base Squadron 16 (MABS-16) during Operation Millpond, an effort with Air America to provide helicopter support to anti-communist forces of Laos against the Pathet Lao communist forces attempting to take control of the Laotian government in 1961. See Operation Millpond: US Marines in Thailand, 1961 by Colonel George R. Hoffman, Jr., USMC (Ret.): https://www.marines.mil/News/Publications/MCPEL/Electronic-Library-Display/Article/899756/operation-millpond-us-marines-in-thailand-1961/
[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Walter B. Mensch Second World War correspondence and other correspondence (2021.201.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 nine letters from SF1/C Walter B. Mensch, USN to his parents during the Second World War. Also included are one photograph, one clipping, and five letters from other service members during the Second World War and one letter from a Marine serving overseas in Thailand in 1961.
Walter Mensch wrote home to his parents during training and while overseas. His first letter out of the country was dated November 3, 1942 and tells his parents, "You know, working like we do it doesn't seem like there is a war going on, I don't think there will be one long, for the Japs are hunting a hole to crawl into now of course it can't end any to [sic]soon for me!"
In the letter dated February 3, 1943, Mensch discusses the terrain briefly and that he ran into "Fats" Harris from Stroud, Oklahoma who was with the 18th (CBs). The next letter mentions E.J. Walden nearby but no other friends from back home; "I guess the boys from Stroud are scattered over most of the world, I've looked for some of them down here but haven't found a soul that I know..."
Included with the letter dated April 14, 1943 is a photograph of Mensch and his four bunk mates that lived together on the islands, taken near the Matapona River, Guadalcanal:
- Engineer's Mate First Class, B.B. Blau, Chickasha, Oklahoma
- Carpenter's Mate First Class A.D. Davies, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Carpenter's Mate First Class E.A. Denike, Norman, Oklahoma
- Engineer's Mate First Class C.W. Clause, Birmingham, Oklahoma
Mentioned in the letter dated July 21, 1943 is a man named "Rich" who had an accident. This refers to Lieutenant Richard S. Evans, United States Army Air Corps who was injured in a plane crash.
The correspondence from other authors includes:
- One V-Mail, December 25, 1943, Christmas card from "Somewhere in Britain," Sergeant Stanley R. Kirk, United States Army to Mrs. Velma Whittaker
- One V-Mail, July 25, 1944, from Italy, Sgt. M. "Hap" Mensch, USA to Velma Whittaker
- One V-Mail, full-form, October 7, 1944, from France, Sgt. M. "Hap" Mensch to Velma Whittaker
- One V-Mail, October 25, 1944, from France, Sgt. M. "Hap" Mensch to Velma Whittaker
- One letter, December 1, 1945, from Brigham City, Utah, PFC J.D. Groves, USA to Velma Whittaker
The last letter was dated April 20, 1961 and was written by Cpl. Paul M. "Mike" Wilson, USMC to his parents presumably from Thailand or Laos (see bio/hist note). He tells them that the "Laos business has calmed down now and the pressure is off," lamenting how much travelling he had recently done in the South Pacific and hoping to return to Japan where he can stay.
Various people mentioned include: George Dye of Oklahoma City, Tucker Camarillo, and Wilson from Brooklyn.
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)
United States. -- Navy. -- Seabees
United States. -- Navy
United States. -- Army.
United States. -- Marine Corps
Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Correspondence