Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 349

Price Realized: $ 469
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 300 - $ 400
(WORLD WAR TWO.) Correspondence of Corporal Jack Doyle in the European Theater. Approximately 300 items (0.6 linear feet), mostly war-date correspondence; condition generally strong, a few letters dampstained, almost all letters still folded in original postmarked envelopes. Vp, bulk 1942-45

Additional Details

Jack Clarence Doyle (1916-1983) was an Oregon native who met his sweetheart, Kathryn Ramsey of Richmond, VA, shortly before his enlistment as a corporal. Offered here are approximately 120 of his letters to Kathryn written during his military service, a mix of Autograph Letters Signed and V-Mail. In his first letter to Kathryn on 26 December 1942, he wrote "Darling, the only regret I have is that we didn't go through with it last night. But maybe as your mother said, it will all work out for the best. Believe me, though, darling, I'm yours. All we have to do is wait." Typically for World War Two letters, he was unable to offer many specific details of his service due to military censors. We do know that his unit, the 8th Tactical Air Communication Squadron, served in the European theater and had an impressive accomplishment: on D-Day, they were the only air support unit to make it ashore with working radio equipment, improvising radio contact with Air Force pilots and diverting them to important targets (see Cooling, Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support, page 257). His first extant letter after the landing is a V-Mail dated 21 June 1944, "Somewhere in France": "Still live & kicking, honey, getting tired of sleeping in foxholes, etc. . . . There are about three things I'd like to have: a good bath, an honest to goodness meal, and last a good bed. Boy! I could really do justice to them all." On 26 June, the day the Allied forces captured Cherbourg as their first port on the continent, he wrote "This will probably be a memorable day and will go down in history no doubt. . . . It is unfavorable as far as the weather goes. That is about all I can tell you. . . . Am beginning to pick up a little French, if you can imagine. The people in here overall now are very friendly, and give us milk, butter, and other things to eat. In return we give them cigarettes, candy, etc."

Also included in the lot are approximately 60 war-date letters from Kathryn to Jack; 40-plus other personal letters, mostly war-date; a printed roster and home address list of Jack's squadron (he is listed under Oregon); approximately 50 pre-and post-war family photographs and album; two pocket New Testaments presented to Doyle during wartime; and other ephemera.

Doyle was discharged as a sergeant at the conclusion of the war, with his final letter dated 24 September 1945 from England. Records show that he and Kathryn were married on 29 October. His death certificate indicates that he drove an oil truck in Richmond until his retirement.