Writing letters of admiration to Hollywood pin-ups was a regular pastime for many soldiers during World War II, and the gracious responses and photos they received went some way to boosting troops’ morale at such uncertain times. In 1943, Lieutenant Norman Klinker wrote such a letter to Hollywood actress Donna Reed (It’s a Wonderful Life, From Here to Eternity) and she responded. Naturally he wrote again, and below is that letter. Sadly, Klinker didn’t see Reed’s next ‘pic’, as he was killed in action on January 6th, 1944, whilst fighting in the Winter Line campaign.
Following her death in 1986, it came to light – following a discovery by her daughter – that Reed had in fact kept hundreds of similar letters from soldiers. Learn more here.
LT. N.P. KLINKER
91ST ARMO. F.A. BN.
APO 251, ℅ PM, NYC
April 12th, I think
MISS DONNA REED
2304 S. BEVERLY GLEN
Have just received your letter from the eight of December. And believe me or no, it was the first piece of mail I have received in the past two months. By the sound of your tale, life in the old U.S. is not quite as fine as it used to be. But I honestly feel that it is better than eating the same 3 meals out of the same 3 C-Ration cans for a month or three.
We have been in action for some time here in North Africa, you see. Quite an interesting and a heartless life at one and the same time. One thing I promise you – life on the battlefield is a wee bit different from the “movie” version. Tough and bloody and dirty as it is at times. There is none of that grim and worried feeling so rampant in war pictures. It’s a matter-of-fact life we live and talk here. And here for the first time no one has the “jitters.”
I hear you have done your part and done got married. Congratulations and good luck! See you in your next “pic.”
P.S. Can hardly wait for four years tho – no “pics” here.