Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Inducted in the Army – On the way to Fort McClellan

Ford Motor Company Military Leave of Absence World War II

The war has been going on for over a year. Edward J. Thomas has been working at Ford Motor Company in the office from 1941 to 1943. He has been given notice that he has been drafted into the U.S. Army. Stanley Thomas, Edward’s cousin is living in Longbeach, California and writes to Eddie about his being drafted while his brother Harry was drafted into the Navy. Stanley says that the draft board should have more consideration because Ed is needed at home. (Harry, my father is given a deferment because he is a mechanical engineer and he will spend the war years working on bomber electrical systems that are being produced at Detroit’s Willow Run plant.

Stanley has been classified as 4-F due to his lungs. He had been in a tuberculosis facility at Northville, Michigan. Stanley’s brother, also Harry has been in the army, since Dec. 12, 1941 at Camp White, Oregon. He is probably overseas slaughtering the enemy.

“Headquarters Detroit Recruiting and Induction district Effective Mar. 3, 1943 Edward J. Thomas has been called to active duty.”

Dear Mom & Harry, (March 10, 1943)

It’s Wednesday and still here and only four or five of the old bunch left in my barracks. The barrack leader woke me at five a.m. and said “Get up for bingo. Dress up and take your bag downstairs. Be sure your knife, fork and spoon are in your pocket. You needed the silverware to eat on the train.

Ed was in Sunday best, but they meant to call his sleeping mate above him. I was disappointed when I had to put fatigues (overalls) on.

Right after you left I tried to get into a mess hall for supper, but all being cleaned up. I went back to the Post Exchange, the building you were in, and bought a couple of hamburgers and coffee and then went with another fellow to see a movie, “Forever and a Day”, pretty good movie.

Monday morning I shoveled coal from two truck loads, not to bad work, and then later had to help pry up a shack, the size of a three car garage so that it would stand straight on cement blocks. This was pretty tough work. Later in the evening I saw “Sherlock Holmes in Washington”, not very good a B movie.

Tuesday we cleaned up our barracks, scrubbing stairs, making up beds of those that had been “bingo’d”. Later I laid around talking profits of mink raising to the boys that were with me. (Edward is 33, fairly old for being drafted and most of the fellows are at least 10 years younger.)

Later that night I waked half a mile to the Service Men’s Club. It was crowded with soldiers standing around waiting for girls. The girls arrived later when I was leaving.

Show this letter to Issy, Mac, Gertie, Gene and Leonard as I may not have time to write until I leave here.


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