Tuesday, March 1, 2016

26 January 1945 Letter

My great-uncle was killed in action during World War II on 22 July 1944.  He was buried in an individual grave, uncasketed and in a poncho, in Guam No. 2 Cemetery, Plot C, Row 2, Grave 10.

The job of the Effects Quartermaster was to receive and safeguard thousands of' packages of personal property until they could be returned to the owner or forwarded to the Army Effects Bureau for disposition.  When a soldier became a casualty (either deceased, hospitalized, captured, interned, or missing), his unit commander collected all personal property, inventoried it, removed government property, and forwarded all the personal items to Q-290, marked with the owner's identification and status.  If the owner was deceased, the property was documented and forwarded immediately to Army Effects Bureau for transmission to the next of kin.

The detail involved in receiving, storing, safeguarding, and shipping personal property was immense.  Each package was handled separately in order that the name, status, and other pertinent data would be correctly recorded.

This is a copy of a letter that my great-grandmother sent to the Army Effects Bureau.  She had previously requested my great-uncle's personal effects, but had yet to receive them.  She wanted to have his things for keepsakes.  I'm sure a grieving mother would want to have anything that reminded her of her son.


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