Lot #345
Douglas MacArthur Typed and Signed Letter of Condolence

"We have lost a gallant comrade-in-arms"—a condolence letter from General MacArthur

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Estimate: $1500+
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"We have lost a gallant comrade-in-arms"—a condolence letter from General MacArthur

World War II-dated TLS from General Douglas MacArthur, one page, 8 x 10.5, General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area letterhead, February 23, 1945. A letter of condolence sent to bereaved mother Julia Lennon of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in full: “My deepest sympathy goes to you in the death of your son, Private First Class William L. Lennon. His service to his country was characterized by his devotion to his duty, and in his death we have lost a gallant comrade-in-arms.” In very good to fine condition, with creasing to the lower right corner. Accompanying MacArthur’s letter are three other typed letters of condolence from top officers of the United States Army: Major Generals Robert S. Beightler and James Alexander Ulio, and Colonel J. D. Frederick. Passages from each letter are as follows: February 26, 1945, from Ulio: “It is with regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son…who was killed in action on 30 January on Luzon Island, Philippine Island…I know the sorrow this message has brought you and it is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic service to his country, even unto death, may be of sustaining comfort to you.” March 23, 1945, from Frederick: “His company commander is writing to give you the exact circumstances surrounding your son’s death. I desire to add, however, that the sacrifice of William’s life has not been in vain. Our task was difficult and had to be carried out against a fanatical enemy entrenched in well fortified positions. The mission assigned to this regiment was accomplished only through the grim determination and heroic efforts of men like your son.” June 27, 1945, from Beightler: “Permit me to express my deep and sincere sympathy to you for the loss of your son…I hope you will find consolation in the realization that he died a soldier’s death at the forefront of our fighting forces and gave his life for the ideals to which all free men of the world are today dedicated. He will be missed by his comrades, who knew him as a courageous soldier and steadfast friend. His example will be an inspiration to those of us destined to carry on.” Also included is a photograph of a letter from Lennon’s company commander, Captain Harvey W. Mattingly of the 129th Infantry, Company E, dated March 22, 1945, explaining the circumstances of the soldier’s death, in part: “Our unit was making an attack on Japanese held positions at Fort Stotsenburg, Luzon, Philippine Islands, on the afternoon of January 30. When the platoon of which William was a member was held up by enemy machine gun fire, William who was serving as a scout for his platoon crawled forward to determine the source from which the enemy fire was coming. To accomplish this he had to expose himself and in doing so was mortally wounded. Your son’s death was instantaneous, and consequently, I believe he suffered little or no pain…To those of us who knew William so intimately and had fought with him on previous combat missions, his passing was a hard blow. He was an outstanding soldier and was ever thoughtful of his fellow men. His actions, both in combat and garrison duty, brought credit to himself and served as an inspiration to others.”

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Presidents
  • Dates: #658 - Ended February 08, 2023

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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