This past spring and summer’s travels were frutiful as I found some WW2 era postcards in various antique stores.
The most interesting to me are the ones that contain a message to loved ones. I like to record them here in the hopes that maybe some relative will recognize the name and request the card as a family remembrance.
The front of the card features American soldiers with WW1 style campaign hats. The hats would be worn well into WW2. The top line reads, From Camp Wolters Texas–A17–Instructions in use of 60mm machine guns. The postcard does not have a post mark. It appears be have been enclosed in a letter (see below). I have no idea of the year in which it was written. My guess is the early years of WW2 or perhaps a little before.
My guess lines up with what I found on a website fortwolters.com. Camp Wolters was initially Texas National Guard installation until it was turned over to the US Army in March, 1940. Private Aldo (back of card) was most likely there in the early WW2 years given the style of the card. During WW2 the camp served as a replacement training camp as well as a prison camp for German POWs.
The camp later became a training camp for army helicopter crews. The camp closed down and is moldering according to the website. The author of the website intends the website to be a memorial to the 200,000 soldiers that passed through there.
The machine gun is supposed to be a 60mm machine gun but I believe it is mislabeled. As far as I know the US Army did not have a 60mm machine gun until the Vietnam War. I am not sure if the label is intentional or unintentional. It may be intentional as to mislead a potential enemy.
The machine guns appear to me to be standard army issue .50 cal (12.7mm) heavy machine guns. The gun has a long history and are still in service today.
The back of the card reads: Pvt. Aldo Riyoni?, Co.C.5th Bn. Camp Wolters Texas. The spelling may be wrong. I assumed Riyoni was possibly Italian but an INET search turned up a possible Arabic name.
The camp is no longer in operation but the main gate probably looked like this when Private Riyoni arrived. An INET search of Camp Wolters pictures turned up quite a few.
The message reads: Dear Folks, I’m just dropping you a line to tell you be sure _____? wait until you hear from me. I’m also sending you this bond allotment. Keep this paper but do not destroy? it. Love Aldo
Aldo wishes for his parents to either take care of his war bonds or he actually allotted to them. I think that might be the case since the nation was slowly getting out of the Depression in early WW2. Here’s a link to a blog that does an excellent job of telling the story of WW2 War Bonds.
Below is the batch of cards I found that included Private Riyoni’s note to his folks.
The first one on the right features cavalry training. The army was transitioning from horsed cavalry just prior to WW2 to tanks and armored cars. The writing on the back of the card mostly illegible but it appears to be postmarked 1918 in which case the US Army still had horsed cavalry.
The middle card in the first row went to Geo Fisher in Fond du Lac, WI. The message is brief, hard to read, but has something to do with a bill of some sorts. I’m guessing as to the date but the gun appears to me to be a 37mm anti-tank gun which was common in early WW2.
The third card in the top row does not have any writing on the back. It appears to be a card that features aspect of infantry training.
The first card in the middle row is of a M3 Anti-Aircraft gun. The gun is a heavy AA gun of 90mm. The nest two cards are Aldo’s.
The first card in the bottom row features a parade of US troops in London. The style of dress is WW1. The US entered WW1 in April, 1917 but it would take a year before a substantial number of troops reached Great Britain and then on to France. The final card is a memorial to the American Civil War battlefields around Chattanooga, TN.