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Kenneth L. Gritton Second World War correspondence

 Collection — Box: WWII 120, Folder: 10-12, Folder: 1-3
Identifier: 2022-253-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence from WO Kenneth L. "Ken" Gritton, USA to his future wife during the Second World War. Also included are correspondence from their nephew A1C William D. "Bill" Hughes, USAF during the Vietnam War and a graduation invite from A/C Gerald A. Sutton, USAAF during the Second World War, as well as one photograph of Gritton in uniform, a certification of recognition, one Christmas dinner menu, one playbill, and two clippings.

Ken wrote to Wilma while serving overseas in England. He mentions moving place to place and in his letter dated May 13, 1945 he gives a full accounting of his time abroad and movements because censorship had been lifted. He tells of air raids and bombings very close to him and a nightly need to run to the air raid shelters. He tells her that he feels he has done a good job though he had never actually fought but kept the "boys on the line." Many of the correspondence are telegrams simply telling Wilma that he has made it to his destination in the US safely, and many birthday and Christmas cards, including one Christmas V-Mail.

Their nephew Bill Hughes wrote from Da Nang air base in Vietnam. He speaks more candidly to them about his dangers and location than to his mother, according to one letter, though he does mention being far enough away that mortar attacks are more annoying than dangerous. Also mentioned is censorship and the fact that soldiers burned their mail so that they would not fall into enemy hands; not citing an intelligence issue, rather that the letters are used against them in a propagandistic way to demoralize the troops. In his last letter he mentions being nearly a month away from returning home.

Other materials include the following:
  • One photograph, Kenneth Gritton in uniform, taken in Bristol England (APO 413)
  • One certificate of recognition, Illinois Service Recognition Board, dated 1947
  • One menu, Christmas dinner, Depot Q-104 in Great Britain, December 25, 1943
  • One playbill, Piccadilly Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, "Panama Hattie," songs by Cole Porter,
  • Two clippings, one with cartoon and one in reference to the cartoon, G.I. Joe "Chairborne Troops," by Lt. Dave Breger

Dates

  • 1942 June 9 - 1967 June 28

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

Warrant Officer Kenneth L. "Ken" Gritton, United States Army (9/30/1919 - 10/5/1993) was born and raised in Illinois to Glen L and Iona Baker Gritton and attended Aledo High School. He met Wilma Dollar Sturgill (12/2/1920 - 10/26/1999) and wrote her while he served overseas during the Second World War.

Ken and Wilma married on December 13, 1945 shortly after he returned from overseas. Wilma's sister Alma Irene Sturgill married Donovan Hughes and had three children. Their son, Airman First Class William D. "Bill" Hughes, United States Air Force (b. 1944) wrote to his aunt and uncle while stationed at Da Nang air base in Vietnam in 1966-67.

Ken and Wilma had one daughter, Susan, and Ken worked at The Rock Island Bank for 33 years before retiring in 1981. He passed away in 1993 and was interred at Greenview Memorial Gardens in Silvis, Illinois, followed by Wilma in 1999.

Extent

0.2 Linear Feet (3 folders)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection contains correspondence from WO Kenneth L. Gritton, USA to his future wife during the Second World War, as well as correspondence from their nephew A1C William D. Hughes, USAF during the Vietnam War and a graduation invite from A/C Gerald A. Sutton, USAAF during the Second World War, and other materials.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by material type and chronology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kate Janush, discovered amongst her friend's possessions.

Condition Description

The letter dated December 28, 1944 was burned around the edges while folded. It and its corresponding envelope were sent in an army envelope.

Title
Finding Aid for the Kenneth L. Gritton Second World War correspondence
Status
Completed
Author
Andrew Harman
Date
12/6/2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Contact:
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States