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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Where\'s Corporal Forschler?

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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
10 Jul 2012

The cover to Corporal Forschler helps to document the kinetics of the huge changes that America experienced in the opening days of the Second World War. I could find nothing about either the sender or the intended recipient, although I haven’t looked that hard. I suspect that they were just people. I need to rely solely on the postal markings on the cover to put together suppositions about the soldier. So, let’s follow the cover.

G. F. Simmeth sent the cover from Newark, New Jersey, on December 18, 1941, less than two weeks after Japanese planes had plunged America into a war that many saw as inevitable and yet came as a surprise to the professional soldiers. It’s the right size and shape for a Christmas card, but there are no contents to confirm that. It’s sent to a corporal in a training battalion at Camp Wheeler, in Georgia. Image Not Found

The War Department had used Camp Wheeler during the First World War as a mobilization center and temporary training camp for National Guard units in federal service. It was closed in April 1919.

The December 22, 1941, Macon, Georgia, machine cancel on the back flap documents its arrival near Camp Wheeler. A subsequent December 26, 1941, purple hand stamp might either be its entry into the Camp or its departure from the Camp. Image Not Found

On the front, someone has marked in red pencil “43rd Division / Camp Blanding Fla”
We see the Camp Blanding, Florida, machine cancel nicely tying the Christmas seal on the reverse of the cover. The seal is Green’s 41.1, the perf 12.5x12 seal. Scott calls it WX104. The straight edges left and bottom tell us it is seal #91 from a pane of 100.

Apparently, the postman couldn’t find Corporal Forschler at Camp Blanding. We see two different postal markings from the Camp: one reads “Headquarters Camp Blanding / No Record / Locator File” and the other is a Return to Sender hand stamp with no reason checked for its return. Image Not Found

I could not track the 43rd Infantry Division to Camp Blanding. It may have been there. I would appreciate hearing from someone who knows the division’s whereabouts in late December 1941 or early January 1942. The division had been activated in February 1941 (yet more evidence that America knew it was going to war) and was sent to New Zealand in October 1942, after which it fought in the Pacific, notably at Guadalcanal and Luzon, in the Philippines. Whether Corporal Forschler went with them or not, we cannot tell.

I wrote far more about the two camps and the soldiers for whom they are named; if you care to read more, please visit http://juicyheads.com/link.php?PLOEIDOE.
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