Letter Home from Lt. Bob Welty

October 15, 1944

Oct. 15, 1944
Dear Folks:

Well, mail is starting to catch up with me now! Today I got 3 from Mom and one from Dave. I finally – after all these long years got a letter from Dad! Don’t send that roll of film I sent you to develop! The E.T.O. doesn’t appreciate pictures of airplanes & I may not be able to convince them that the pictures were all taken in the States! So keep the film & send me just some contact prints or small enlargements if you want to bother. I just want to see how I’m doing! I don’t know how to use it yet. You might send over some kodachrome. There are a lot of lovely old houses & churches around here that I might get to see if the wah lets up a little. I could take some pictures of them.

Glad to hear about the gas furnace. Many was the time I laid in bed and listened as poor old Mom went down in the morning and fired up. It always made me feel tired. So I’m glad to hear about the automatic furnace.

I always enjoy the cartoons & clippings you send over. I’d seen “Dear Gertrood” but the other cartoons I’d not seen. (We don’t get any magazines from the States except for a few small condensed sizes. The Sat. Eve. Post isn’t represented.)

You mentioned my taking algebra. That was a one or 2 day quicky course when I had nothing to do while we were weathered in.

You say the wah looks marvelous. Well, I suppose so, but these characters who predicted the end of the E.T.O. activities by Oct. 30 now have to look for which year the Oct. 30 is to occur in! If they think the Germans are licked, they should come with us one of these days! Huh!

Didn’t know Bill H. had a girl in Toledo. If he wrote about her, I’d forgotten it. Come to think of it, he did mention it in a letter to Avon Park ~ I had a date or 2 with her at Wooster, I think that’s the girl. I ma be wrong, tho.

Say hello to Edna & Freda & John for me ~ if they haven’t left by now.

I wish I could tell you about my “work” of deluxe rum-running. Actually, things aren’t so bad as were expected. We just say things are rough in combat. That way people feel sorry for us & old ladies give us their seats in the bus. Just another racket! It’s interesting at first. After a while you just get “flak happy” & they send you back to the States after so many missions for a 30-day flak leave. A racket!

How come you sent the “Science News Letter”? I’m glad to get it, for we have no magazines except “Yank” at this post. But I thought maybe there was some particular article you wanted me to see. I haven’t read it carefully yet, but I’m sure glad to get it & would always welcome it. It’s a good magazine. Thanks a lot.

I’m going to get around to sending you those “Stars & Stripes” that I mentioned in one of my letters. That is the paper I want you to save for me. Souvineers, -?! NUTS - ya might say.

I’d liked to have seen Dave as Dewey. I’ll bet you wouldn’t have gotten the fine hand from a crowd from, say Collinwood Hi School. But then, Collinwood never entered into the calculations of the gay society mob from L.H.S., either!

I’m sleepy, as you can no doubt tell. So,

Love, Bob


Interpretive Comments by Scott Welty

Some notes on Bob Welty’s October 15, 1944 letter to home:

While Bob Welty’s letter is dated October 15, 1944, the postmark on both the letter and the envelope Lakewood, Ohio, November 17. So it took over a month to get home to his parents and brothers.

E.T.O. stands for European Theater of Operations.

Avon Park, Florida was where the Joe Tarr crew received their B-17 training.

The Stars and Stripes Dad mentions are still around.

Edna, Freda, John: Edna is Bob’s aunt; his mother’s older sister. Freda and John are Edna’s children; Bob’s cousins.

Bob’s letter mentions Bill H. Bob’s brother Fred believes Bill could be Bill Havnor [Hayv-nor.]

The next to last paragraph mentions “Dave as Dewey.” Dave is Bob’s younger brother and apparently portrayed presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey in some sort of debate with Collinwood High School.

The paragraph that sounds most like Dad is his euphamism describing his war effort as his “’work’ of deluxe rum running.” Dad’s brother Fred says Dad’s humor comes through in the letter. Fred thinks Dad minimized the danger of the missions to mitigate their mother’s worrying.

Again, I’ve attached images of the actual letter and envelope. When Dad signs off saying, “I’m sleepy, as you can no doubt tell” he is referring to increasing occurrences of misspellings and strike outs. He finally just exclaims “nuts!” at the misspellings towards the end.

Also attached are some cartoons from “Dear Gertrood.” The drawings weren’t with the letter. These were internet finds.

“Dear Gertrood” was a wartime cartoon written and Wendall Ehret. I’ve found very little information about this cartoonist. I did find three images of his work on the internet – 2 cartoon pages and a book cover. Does anyone remember “Dear Gertrood?”

Any comments?

Scott Welty


Original Letter and Content
  1. October 15, 1944 Letter (in pdf)
  2. Return to Lt. Bob Welty's Letters, Interviews and Photos Page
  1. Lt. Bob Welty was the Co-Pilot for the Joe Tarr Crew 603rd crew.
  2. The above transcription was provided by his son, Scott Welty in 2009.
  3. This transcription is a reproduction of the original. Spelling and punctuation changes have been made to improve readability, though in some cases original spelling was preservered. In some circumstances, material may not have been transcribed or was rewritten.
  4. Clarification of acronyms or special words or guesses of certain words are shown in brackets [ ].