It’s amazing what a stroll through some documents will turn up. I spent a few hours on Sunday doing something I’d not done since I first started working on my Babe research project more than 20 years ago: Organizing all the documents, letters and other stuff I’ve collected. It reminded me of documents I knew I had and forgot about. It also revealed documents I didn’t even realize I had.
One of those documents: A War Department telegram to Babe’s parents dated Nov. 26, 1944: “Regret to inform you your son Technician Fifth Grade Frank D Mauro was slightly wounded in action ten November in Italy. You will be advised as reports of condition are received.”
So, Babe’s injury was even earlier than I suspected when I wrote this post about his long hospitalization. Coupled with a newspaper clipping I discovered, I now know that Babe, good boy that he was, did in fact beat the War Department telegram when he wrote this letter, postmarked Nov. 24, 1944, telling his parents, “I have been slightly wounded in the right fifth toe.” His parents got Babe’s letter the next day, Nov. 25, a day before the telegram.
Another document was a postcard from the headquarters of the 64th General Hospital. It was a fill-in-the-blanks status update for Babe’s family on the patient’s status, as of Jan. 13, 1945 (two months after he was wounded). Babe was “making normal improvement” on his diagnosis of “broken leg bones” — which sounds a lot different from “slightly wounded in the right fifth toe.”
My organizational effort also revealed this Nov. 22, 1944, document from the 64th General Hospital, a listing of 21 soldiers who were entitled to Purple Hearts because of their wounds, and another two soldiers due Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters for receiving a second combat wound. This is significant to me because it’s a second document mentioning the 64th General Hospital, APO 428, and that means I can get some idea of where Babe was in Italy at the time.
The location: Livorno, or, as the yanks referred to it, “Leghorn,” on the coast, west and slightly south of Florence in northern Italy.
Here’s the text of one of the newspaper clippings I found, under the headline, “Frank Mauro Hurt in Italy”:
A letter from their son, Frank Mauro, received Nov. 25, and a War Department telegram received Nov. 26 brought news to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mauro of 491 Lexington Avenue that Frank was wounded in Italy Nov. 10.
T/5 Mauro wrote that he had been wounded in the right foot “somewhere in Italy,” While the telegram read “slightly wounded in action Nov. 10 in Italy.”
The local boy, who is twenty years old, has been in service 21 months and overseas for 17 months. He has been fighting in Italy for over a year and previously had been in North Africa. He received his training at Camp Wheeler, Ga., and was sent overseas. T/5 Mauro has not had a furlough since he entered the service.
His brother, Marine Officer Vincent Mauro, is stationed in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A second shorter newspaper clipping I discovered among my documents said this: “Mauro Wounded. Technician 5th Grade Frank D. Mauro, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mauro of 491 Lexington Avenue, Mount Kisco, is among 1,702 soldiers wounded in action in the European area, according to a list released by the War Department today. Sergeant [sic] Mauro was wounded in the foot during action in Italy Nov. 10. Overseas 18 months, he took part in the African and Italian campaigns.”
Neither clipping included a date or a record of which newspaper ran the news.