2021 – 77-year-old family mystery solved

(ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on January 25, 2021)


And no one in the family even knew that this mystery existed – including me – until I came up with it this week.

So I found this old brown envelope with a 1944 postmark from the Navy Department sent to someone I’ve never heard of at a company I wasn’t familiar with.

My father WAS fighting in WWII at the time, but he was in the Army.

Also in the envelope was a letter dated November 9, 1944 – same as the postmark:

The letter accompanied 6 – 8×10 B&W photographs (“official Navy photographs”, as the letter states), that showed naval ships.

The photos reminded me of an old naval heroics TV show called “Victory At Sea” that I used to watch in the ‘50s:


Each picture had a file number and official Navy information on the back. Here are the 6 pix. Following each image is what’s on the back. They are shown sequentially by file number:


So why has this envelope been in our non-Naval family for so long? There’s GOTTA be a reason/connection.

As I write this on January 25, 2021, I think I’ve figured it out (maybe). The two clues are in the company address and my “Sergeant Dad” post of last November 30 and the wild card clue is his mother: our Nana.


Although her letters to him on the war front that I have were from 1945, I recalled one of them mentioning a job other than her Air Associates job in Teterboro. I found the letter, but no mention of the name of the other company………………..until I noticed a crossed out return address on the envelope:

It’s the same company and address that the envelope from the Navy is addressed to.

OK, so why the big naval interest when her son was in the Army? Well, Dad was in the Pacific and had to ride a bunch of naval vessels to invade various islands that the Japanese soldiers occupied.

I realized that there was one place that was mentioned on both the backs of the photos and in Dad’s war itinerary: LEYTE, which is in the Philippines.

Two more things cinched the deal: there’s a common date mentioned on the back of every picture: October 20, 1944.

And here’s Dad’s itinerary for that year………….check the date:


NERVY NANA HAD PETITIONED HER BOSS TO ASK THE NAVY FOR OFFICIAL IMAGES OF THE NAVAL INVASION OF LEYTE…………when and where her son was fighting in WWII until the following November 15. And she got them! The images were sent to her on November 9.

I guess it’s the only sort of “connection” that a loving and very worried mother could come up with when her son was in great danger halfway around the world.

(And pretty quick action by the US Navy during a world war, no? Her boss must have had some pull there.)

Way to go, Nana!


Case closed.



One Comment

  1. Bob January 25, 2021

    Interesting. But, mostly, I loved your reference to the old TV series “Victory at Sea.” And, its wonderful Richard Rogers soundtrack. I wore out my 33 1/3 album. Now, all you can get is a compilation on cd. Thanks.

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