Finding Aid for the Ivan Robert Alford Second World War correspondence 2017.562.w.r

Wynter Salazar
Center for American War Letters Archives
June 27, 2018
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Ivan Robert Alford Second World War correspondence
Creator: Alford, Ivan Robert
source: Otsu, Charlotte A.
Identifier/Call Number: 2017.562.w.r
Physical Description: 0.08 Linear feet (1 folder)
Date (inclusive): 1943 August 15 - 1944 November 7
Abstract: This collection contains letters from Cpl. Ivan Robert Alford, USAAF, to his parents, Orville Leland Alford and Alwena (Plagmann) Alford, during the Second World War. Alford belonged to Company B, 845th Aviation Engineers Battalion.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 5
Container: 10

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charlotte A. Otsu.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Biographical / Historical

As given by donor, "Ivan Robert Alford, son of Orville Leland and Alwena (Plagmann) Alford. A resident of Oregon. Possibly born in Philomath, Oregon and later lived in Tallman, Linn County, Oregon and Washington. Later lived in Sweet Home Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. His wife's name was Ina and they had one son and three daughters. Attended District No. 141 Linn County Albany High School. Born: 1920. Deceased: 1989." More information be found through these links:,24995,24996,24998,24997,24993,24981,24983&bc=,sl,fd&txt_24994=39313914&op_24994=0&nfo_24994=V,8,1900&txt_24995=Ivan+Alford&op_24995=0&nfo_24995=V,24,1900&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=7801138

Preferred Citation

[Item title, Box number, Folder number], Ivan Robert Alford Second World War correspondence (2017.562.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.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence from Corporal Ivan Robert Alford to his parents, Orville Leland Alford and Alwena (Plagmann) Alford, during the Second World War. Alford belonged to Company B, 845th Aviation Engineers Battalion and served in Africa, Italy, and France. The donor had these letters in non-chronological order with some envelopes seemingly not pertaining to the letter or letters inside. It seems that some of the original envelopes to these letters were not included and some of these envelopes do not contain the letters they originally enclosed. Two of the three envelopes contained two letters. The original donor order is as follows: The envelope postmarked June 27, 1944 contained 2 letters, one from France dated November 7, 1944 and one from Corsica dated August 1, 1944. The envelope postmarked August 17, 1943 contained 2 letters, one from Africa dated August 15, 1943 and one from Italy dated December 27, 1943. The envelope October 26, 1943 contained one letter, from Italy dated October 23, 1943. The collection is now organized in chronological order by date and is as follows: Envelope postmarked August 17, 1943 – Letter dated August 15, 1943 – Envelope postmarked October 26, 1943 – Letter dated October 23, 1943 – Letter dated December 27, 1943 – Envelope postmarked June 27, 1944 – Letter dated August 1, 1944 – Letter dated November 7, 1944. The envelopes postmarked October 26, 1943 and June 27, 1944 have handwritten notes as to when they arrived. In the letters some word are misspelled and has incorrect grammar. If quotes are used, the misspellings and improper grammar will be kept intact. Some letters of interest include the letter dated October 23, 1943. In this letter, Alford says that they have moved again and that is the reason as to why he hasn't contacted them. He says that they are now in Italy but when he tries to give more detail, it is cut out by censors, "The country isn't what I expected to see although it seems like paradise along side of [[censored-cut out]]." Alford discusses how the locals raise mostly olives and nuts and comments on the farming of the area. He is impressed that, "The fields look so kept up though they have no modern equipment" and seems to question why the homes and the farms are in the same buildings. He also comments on the destruction saying, "There are some nice cities but some are pretty well wrecked." In the letter dated December 27, 1943, the second page is a quarter page that was folded in the front of the letter. It is now in its proper place behind the first page. In this letter, Alford writes that, "There is sure nothing like getting nice letters from home" and says that he had received nine packages. He then discusses his Christmas saying that it was pleasant given the circumstances. "We had a very good dinner including Turkey and Pumpkin pie. And in the afternoon and evening we saw a show in town. We saw Ellen Logan and Jerry Sheldon and Edith Delainy maybe you don't know who they are they are radio screen stars they are in a U.S.O. show. And then we saw a movie too. But it sure wasn't like spending Christmas at home." He then comments on if he will be able to get souvenirs saying, "Things are cheap at these places but when the American Soldier gets there the prices don't stay down long. It sure doesn't take them long to spot an American. But I will try and get a few things any way." In the letter dated August 1, 1944, Alford comments again on how prices rise when people find out you are an American soldier, "The vacation I had run me pretty short. You can't go on vacation here unless you have a pocket full of money. The people here have sure got the Americans figured out alright." He then discusses his friends saying, "We really have a time in our tent some times, there are sure swell fellows in the tent with me. Two of them are the pictures I sent you the one big picture is one from Eugene and the other is from Junction City one from Ohio and one from New York. Last night we had a water fight and when we got all wet someone grabbed the powder can. And then we got powder all over us. When we are all here it goes like that all the time. I guess it is good thing it does it make time more pleasant." In the letter dated November 7, 1944, Alford writes from France. He notes that he finally received some letters from them and that, "It is the first mail I have received in about 2 months and that is a long time to go without any mail so it really seemed good to get some." He also reflects on being away from home, "Well its getting near Christmas again and I guess it will be another one away from home. A person doesn't realize what things like that mean to him until he is away for a while, does he?" Alford then discusses not being able to meet with a person, seemingly a friend, named Ray and briefly mentions a man named Warren whose fate is unknown. "I sure would have liked to seen Ray. I guess he didn't look very hard because it wouldn't have been to hard to find me but I guess he must not have had the time. If he has changed as much as you say I probably wouldn't have known him. I guess we all change in that length of time. I am sorry to hear about Warren. They haven't received any news about him have they?" He then discusses the girls in France, humorously saying, "Yes France is alright am enjoying myself very much I get to go to town quite often and referring to the girls they are really nice and if a guy hasn't got a girl its is his own fault. We can't talk to them very well but we do alright any way. Once in awhile we get a big supprise we will be trying to jabber something in French to them and after you jabber a while they will say – what did you say? Then we feel kind of foolish." There is a note at the bottom of this letter that is assumed to be a censor's mark.

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. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War II
World War (1939-1945)
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945) -- Italy
World War (1939-1945) -- France
World War (1939-1945) -- Christmas
Alford, Orville Leland
Alford, Alwena
Otsu, Charlotte A.