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Hugh Galt English School Children Correspondence collection

 Collection — document-box: 1
Identifier: 2015-129-r

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters recieved by Hugh Galt from English school children during World War Two as part of a Pen Pal or "Hands Across the Sea" correspondence program during childhood. It contains 16 letters, some with envelopes, as well as one picture and one "Neptune" magazine (from Trevor Pimp), ranging from 1941 to 1944, from five different authors along with a cover letter detailing the experience and the program (cover letter transcribed in the Historical/Biographical Note).


  • 1941 - 1944

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

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.

Biographical / Historical

"In the early years of World War II London was undergoing the Blitz. For their safety school children were separated from their parents and evacuated to central England and Scotland towns and villages. To ease the child's loneliness in the separation from his/her parents, a correspondence program was developed by England and the United States. It was called Pen Pal or "Hands Across the Sea." Names were distributed on both sides of the Atlantic. Teachers in grade schools encouraged their students to write a Pen Pal letter to a fellow student across the sea.

I participated and received his first Pen Pal letter dated 12 March, 1941, 18 months after the outbreak of WWII and nine months before the US entry into the war. I was nine years old and so was my first Pen Pal, Wendy Kneeshaw. I was in the 4th grade at John J. Bagley grade school in Detroit, Michigan. Wendy was attending Hildenthorpe School in Bildington, England, a small village on England's East coast and north of London.

Over the next three years I had five Pen Pals. They were all "evacuees" and lived in a village or town in central England, away from the blitz. Their letters were all "examined," that is opened by examiners. And they could be censored. Indeed, the letter dated 17 April, 1942 from Trevor Pimp had several words and phrases cut out.

One Pen Pal had a father in the army overseas and he missed him. Another's dad was a POW in Germany. He hadn't seen him in over two years and wished the war would be over so he could come home.

Rationing was often the subject--such items as sugar, clothes and soap. One school had what we would call a "Victory Garden." And he described what they were planting. We exchanged the names of the model airplanes we were building. I, a German bi-plane and he a British Hurricane. Hitler was mentioned in later letters with the hope that the Russians (now an ally) would produce his downfall.

The final letter I received was dated 22 March, 1944--three months before D-Day and the invasion of Europe. Whatever became of Wendy Kneeshaw, Trevor Pimp, Gordon Robinson, Ramon Powdrell, or Ronnie Nelson and his POW father? I never knew."

--Hugh Galt


0.025 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of letters recieved by Hugh Galt from English school children during World War Two as part of a Pen Pal or "Hands Across the Sea" correspondence program during childhood.


The letters in are arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Hugh Galt.

Finding Aid for the Hugh Galt English School Children Correspondence collection
In Progress
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries Repository

Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange 92866 USA US