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United States/Covers & Postmarks : First day cover of c25a

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philb
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26 Oct 2016
10:37:00pm

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I was browsing through a plastic container of my United States cards and covers looking for something and i found this stamp imperf on 3 sides. Into the cover albums it goes !Image Not Found

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harley14
27 Oct 2016
09:47:58am
re: First day cover of c25a

I'm wondering - could it have been the last stamp on a coil?

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philb
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27 Oct 2016
10:42:53am

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re: First day cover of c25a

Harley, i checked the Scott U.S. specialized catalog for this cover as i am not usually a U.S. collector...according to the catalog..the first day cover for this stamp is a booklet pane of 3 ..i wish i had one of those instead of this single !

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 80,000 covers priced 60c to $1.50 - Easy browsing 300 categories
27 Oct 2016
10:45:45am
re: First day cover of c25a

Here you go -- from my "Sold" database:

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Roy

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philb
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27 Oct 2016
02:17:59pm

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re: First day cover of c25a

I fold ! Very Nice Happy

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stampmanjack
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31 Oct 2016
02:14:22am
re: First day cover of c25a

I had a booklet pane FDC and at the time did not collect booklet panes or FDC's so I put it out on my table at a show. Had several people look at it but no buyers. When I packed up to go home, it was gone. I'm sure I have lost other things but that one stood out and I miss it now because I decided since to add booklet pane FDCs to my collection.
Jack

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Bobstamp
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31 Oct 2016
10:57:27pm
re: First day cover of c25a

I note that the FDC says that the airmail stamp was "ISSUED CHIEFLY FOR THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES." I didn't know that. Interesting. I have several wartime covers with that stamp affixed. During the Second World War, American soldiers had free franking privileges for surface mail, but they had to pay for airmail service (unless they used V-Mail). I assume that other Allied soldiers had the same privileges, and perhaps German soldiers as well.

Here is the most interesting one in my collection, franked with a copy of the airmail stamp from a booklet pane:

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It's one of about 60 or so covers (most with enclosed letters) sent by the same soldier, PFC Luster G. Main, to his parents in Kansas City, Kansas. The letters, which my mother bought in a junk store in New Mexico, start with Luster's enlistment in 1942 and end after the war, in September 1945. This particular letter, dated Dec. 7, 1945 but postmarked Dec. 10, is the last one he sent, or at least the last one I have, before he was captured by the Germans on the first day of the Battle of Bulge, 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945.

In the enclosed letter he says,

"I think, as do most of there fellas over here, that the Jerry must be whiffed and whiffed good but just how long it will take or long it will be from here on in is hard to say. We don't hear much of Russian front now as our newspaper is devoted mostly to the American and British action here on the Western Front. We haven't been hearing so many buzz bombs the last few days. They don't bother us any but no doubt they give somebody a little trouble."

The collection includes carbon copies of several letters sent by Luster's parents to various army officers and officials as they try to learn of his whereabouts, as well as the replies. A V-Mail that they sent to Luster's company commander was returned with the notation that the officer had been killed in action. For several weeks they didn't know whether Luster was dead or alive.

There is just one letter from Luster from his prisoner of war camp, dated January 12, 1945. He tells his parents not to worry, that he is "completely fine". He ends the letter with this: "Make a lot of money folks for when I get back to that good home cooking I'm going to eat you out of house and home."

Lester was lucky. According to Wikipedia, an official report by the United States Department of the Army lists 108,347 casualties in the Battle of the Bulge, including 19,246 killed, 62,489 wounded, and 26,612 captured or missing.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
01 Nov 2016
09:37:20am
re: First day cover of c25a

Bob, it's pretty interesting to have the whole series of a soldier's tour of duty. It seems his commanding officer thought he had been killed and at the time was unaware of his capture. And I've never heard of the name "Luster" before! I see it was passed down from his father.

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Bobstamp
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01 Nov 2016
07:32:50pm
re: First day cover of c25a

I've never encountered the given name "Luster" before, either. He seems to have been a bit of a "golden boy," and I don't mean that in a negative sense. He was extremely faithful about writing to his parents. He was an Eagle Scout before he enlisted, and apparently spent his summers working at a Boy Scout Camp.

I must have confused you with my comments about Luster's commanding officer, who had been killed before the V-Mail letter reached him. In fact, I "misremembered" some of the facts, but now I've re-read some of letters and have the story straight, I hope!

On January 7, 1945, Luster's parents wrote to Luster's CO, 1st Lt. Leon A. Conrath , telling him that they had been informed by telegram from the War Department that Luster had been missing in action since Dec. 18. In my previous post, I was in error when I said that he had been captured on Dec. 16, the first day of the battle.

On Jan. 28, 1945, Lt. Conrath responded Luster's parents, telling that that while regulations prevented him from revealing details, "You both certainly have the right, and especially in your case to cling to the hope your Son was taken prisoner. Naturally this is not official, but when the action occurred in which your Son was involved, he was fighting gallantly and was thought to be wounded."

On March 28, 1945, the Mains posted a V-Mail to Lt. Conrath telling him they they had received a letter from Luster, written on January 12, 1945 from his POW camp, Stalag 13C. That V-Mail was returned in a special V-Mail cover, showing the Mains' address, because Lt. Conrath had been killed in combat:

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This is the enclose as it was placed in the V-Mail cover:

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Note that the back of the enclosure includes the pencilled notation over the "Return to Sender" handstamp beginning with the word "Deceased".

I don't know when Luster was liberated. I do have a series of letters written in 1945 from Fort Hood, Texas; the last letter, dated November 17, 1945, indicates that he expects to be discharged within a few days, "…unless another war comes along."

I have learned few details of his life after the war. He married, fathered a son, became an executive director of the Boy Scouts of America, was a life member of Mensa, and apparently retired to the small pioneer mining community of Hillsboro, New Mexico, and died there in September, 1992.



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