Cancel your trip! (Too bad)

The only news which would have changed his mother’s mind would be news of his own trip home. And indeed he did get a leave approved. The yoyo is swinging up now. Times were so uncertain in 1942, and the world situation so grim, nobody was ever sure of anything until it happened though.

Aug. 1  –  1942

Dear Folks.

It is too bad to cheat you out of your trip but it looks as though I would be coming home sometime next week.  I have just returned from filling out my leave papers.  I’ll call you when I get to Emporia if I want you to come after me.

It is raining this morning and looks as though it would continue all day.  I am in an upper dormitory right next to the lake.  During the rain we can’t tell the lake from the sky.  There is a bunch of officers homes between the lake and the barracks but we can see over them.  This is the first time I have ever seen the lake from this station.  I guess it must be pretty big ’cause I can’t see the other side!

 It was just a little cloudy at sunrise this morning and it made the lake very pretty.  I haven’t met any of the boys I know yet as I don’t know where to find them.  I inquired about Mr Baker, my boot company commander, but didn’t get to see him.  He has charge of another company now and it seems that I will have to get a pass to go over and see him.  We had a nice trip from Dearborn and got in here at four last evening.  We drew clothes this morning but I didn’t get any.  This afternoon we will have our pictures taken for identification cards.


I called you the other night because at five o’clock that evening the executive had told us that our liberty had been changed to Sunday noon til 9:30 that night.  He said there would be no special leaves or liberties.  When we got here last night we asked the Lieutenant if we could get leaves.  He thought that all of us were getting them so when he learned that, he started to find out about them for us.  I’m going to close now and will see you in a few days.



Christmas Day in 1941


Inside this card from Christmas 1941 is a message from John Downes, Rear Admiral USN, Commanding.

“It it my privilege and pleasure to extend Christmas greetings to the officers and men at the Naval Training Station and to their loved ones at home.

During the coming year we will be bound together even more closely, by the united efforts of all, to defend and preserve our American way of life.

It is my sincere wish that each of you may have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

The following page included a menu for the CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER at the US Naval Training Station.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Saltine Crackers

Roast Tom Turkey                              Oyster Dressing

Baked Spiced Ham

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Giblet Gravy                                 Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Pickles           Stuffed Celery             Ripe Olives

Fruit Cake             Hot Mince Meat Pie            Fruit

Hot Rolls               Butter                 Coffee

Candy                Nuts


The back page listed Christmas Church Services. Those on Christmas Eve, December 24th for the Main Station included Protestant services at 2300: Candlelight Choir and Carol Service followed by celebration of Holy Communion, at the Drill Hall, Building no. 4.

Catholic services were at 2400: Midnight Mass in the Auditorium of Building No. 3.

Services on Christmas Day, December 25th for the First Regiment included Protestant services at 1000: Christmas Service, Drill Hall, Building No. 4. Frank Lash Captain, USN, Senior Chaplain.

Catholic service also at 1000: Christmas Mass, Auditorium of Building No. 3.  Additional Christmas Masses to be held at 0715 and 0915 in the Hospital Chapel.

Though no personal note from Lester exists, he evidently was able to celebrate Christmas at the training station with other Navy personnel. The note from the commander echoed the tension felt across the country as troops and sailors readied themselves for battle in World War II.  No doubt many prayers were lifted that Christmas season for peace on earth and a quick end to the escalating conflict around the world.