I Can’t Figure Out Where Babe’s Next Letter Fits in the Timeline

As I wrote a few days ago, I tried to piece together the timeline after Babe left Camp Wheeler and it led me to the conclusion that his letter dated July 7, 1943, was the last one he wrote stateside. Everything after that must be from overseas.

That’s supported by a letter from the War Department to my grandmother in 1946, which noted that Babe left the United States on July 14, 1943, and arrived in North Africa seven days later.

The dates associated with Babe’s next letter are bothering me. It definitely appears to be the next letter. He opens the letter by saying, “As you can see, I’ve changed my address again.”

His July 7 letter included a return address of A.P.O. 8962, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y. The next letter has a return address of A.P.O. 776, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y.

The postmark on the next letter also fits the timeline. It is postmarked July 25, 1943. But above the salutation, Babe heads the letter with this: “Somewhere in North Africa, June 30, 1943.”

If that date is right, he wrote this letter before the last one I transcribed. But that doesn’t make sense, because the return address hadn’t changed. And we have no reason to think he was already in Northern Africa when he wrote that July 7 letter. The army, in fact, says he hadn’t left the country yet.

It’s also the first letter on which he includes “U.S.A.” on the envelope.

If Babe meant to write “July 30, 1943” as the date on that letter, that wouldn’t make sense either, because the postmark is earlier: July 25.

So, I’m just mystified.

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