Letters from the Finklea Home Front
Victory Mail, more commonly known as V-Mail, operated during World War II to expedite mail service for American servicemen overseas. The original letters were microfilmed and the film then shipped overseas and printed on smaller stationary for delivery to the service member. This saved valuable cargo space for critical war materials while still providing service members and families morale boosting communication. These two letters were found online a few years ago and unfortunately their source is no longer available.
On July 25, 1944 , Eulalia C. Finklea, a mother worried about her son, Furman H. Finklea Jr., class of 1936, then fighting in Normandy took the time to write a V Mail letter to him.
Dear Furman,To: PFC Furman H. Finklea, Co. L. 18th Inf. APO# 1 .
Your letter written July 16th arrived today. I am very anxious about you and every letter that I get from you is like magic balm of care. I am very much in need of this care, so keep writing as often as you can.
Fan had an attack of appendicitis last night. Blanche carried her to the hospital this morning and she was operated on abut one o’clock this afternoon. She stood the operation fine and was getting along all right at home at seven o’clock this morning. I’ll try to write every day until she is able to write so that you can hear from her often.
Mary Alma and I will see about the pearls for her birthday present right away and let you know about them. I think they will make an ideal gift.
Mr. Hyman is about through curing his tobacco and I guess most of the other men are too. This [illegible ] the way everybody is having to work on account of the labor shortage. But is easy compared to the boys in the armed service. The news sounds good and I really set by the radio hoping to hear that Germany asked for peace. It makes me nervous to listen to the news from Normandy because I know you are there in the struggle, but as I listen, I ask for a prayer for your safety and also for the [illegible], I do not [illegible].
New York, New York
From: E.C. Finklea, Hyman, SC
75 years ago today, August 21, 1944, Mrs. Finklea, after hearing some unsettling news took time to write to her son. .
Dear Furman,To: PFC Furman H. Finklea, Co. L. 18th Inf., APO# 1, New York, New York
We have not heard from you since your letter written July 30th and we are getting awfully anxious to hear from you. Mrs. Hyman heard that her son was killed in action in France. He was brother to the Hyman boy that was inducted the same time you were. Their news upset us very much because we have not heard from you lately. I became very nervous that I stopped and prayed for a while and then things seemed different. Somehow, I feel that you are O.K. and that we will hear from you as soon as you can write.
The news sounds wonderful and surely, the end of this terrible conflict is in sight. It will be the sweetest news that I have heard when I hear my boy will be coming home.
Tobacco is weighing heavy and selling high, but I can enjoy [illegible] until I hear from you.
From: E.C. Finklea, Hyman, South Carolina
When Furman’s mother penned this August 21st letter she had yet to receive official notice of her son’s death from wounds on August 1, 1944. The Western Union telegram would have been sent to Furman’s wife “Fan” (mentioned in the first letter) and most likely would have arrived about a month after his death.
PFC Furman’s remains were brought home at government expense at the request of his mother and buried in the family plot in Beulah cemetery July 17, 1949.
The Hyman boy mentioned in the August 21 letter is PFC William Cleaveland Hyman who was killed in action 27 July 1944. He is also interred in Beulah Cemetery.