0.5 linear feet
This collection contains around 190 letters that Major Kenneth L. Tingley wrote to his wife Thelma and infant daughter Susan while serving with the 304th Infantry Regiment in Europe during World War II. Tingley also received 7 letters from his wife, relatives, and friends.
Tingley began his correspondence on November 7, 1944, and wrote about life at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, until his deployment overseas in December 1944. He first traveled to England, where he shared his thoughts about the effects of the war and mentioned sightseeing in London. He was transferred to France in mid-January and continued to write almost daily throughout his service. Tingley described his travels through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany during the final months of the war, and commented on the local residents. He occasionally described his duties, which included arranging billets for soldiers and acquiring supplies. Tingley noted the Allies' constant attacks against Germany, and discussed his progress while advancing toward the Rhine River. On March 7, 1945, he reflected on the idea of total war and on the state of Germany. On April 1, 1945, he reported his promotion to major, and in May 1945 he received a Bronze Star.
After V-E Day, Tingley was stationed in Altenburg and Grafenau, Germany; he also travelled to Leipzig, where he described some of the war's destruction. He also commented on military and civilian life in postwar Germany, and provided more details about his experiences during the fighting. On September 17, 1945, he mentioned a visit to Adolf Hitler's home and to his headquarters, the Eagle's Nest. In his final letter, dated November 22, 1945, he shared his hope that he would return home in time to celebrate Christmas. Tingley's daughter Susan had been born while he was in the military, and he expressed his love and admiration for her and anticipated their first meeting.
Ephemera items include an invitation to a ceremony for wives of servicemen in the 304th Infantry Regiment, as well as a later document outlining the organizational hierarchy of a military task force and reporting some potential problems the force might face.