Thursday, November 11, 2021

Lessons Learned-Finding Pop's WWII Memorabilia in Time for Veteran's Day


My paternal grandfather, Benjamin Allen Hudson (1918-1976), enlisted in the Army in October of 1940. He and my grandmother, Mary Baker Hudson had been married for about 2 /2 years. My father, John Allen Hudson wasn't born until March of 1941. 

"Pop" as the grandchildren called him, was a butcher by trade.
He served from March 1944-April 1945 as a cook for his unit.

Requesting service records for his time in the European Theater was returned with the infamous notice that the fire in 1973 at the National Archives in St. Louis destroyed his file.

So, I am thrilled to have anything that tells about his time in the Army during WWII.
I thought I had the few things that he kept, but much to my surprise, my son found a couple more items while cleaning out my father's office. Dad died a couple of years ago and we are still working on going through his room.  Dad was always happy to share with me anything he discovered about his father.
The discovery of two more pieces of memorabilia from his war days was a surprise!

His original registration card is in prime condition - it's over 80 years old!

A unit history of the 254th Infantry, 63rd Division published circa 1945 is in great shape.
I wish Pop was still living so I could ask him about this history and the part he played in the battles described. I was 16 when he passed away. I hadn't seen him since I was 12. My father, a member of the USAF was stationed in England and we lived there with him for 4 1/2 years. I didn't know I needed to ask, I didn't know I would have so many questions.  My dad didn't have any answers for me as I got older and wanted to know. Pop didn't talk about the war.  Did my grandmother know any tales from those days she could have shared? We heard about him being a cook and the story of the vases he brought back in his duffle bag, but where did his journey take him during his service in WWI?

Lessons learned? 
1-Never give up looking for memorabilia, documents, photos, etc. even when you think you have everything left behind.  You never know what may show up.
2-Talk to your family members. Learn their stories. Ask those who are still living about those that have passed on.  Once they are gone, so are their stories. 

Links to other posts about Pops service:


  1. My did did not talk about "the war" until his death bed, as such only my brother heard the stories.

    1. I wish I had asked my grandfather. My father served in Vietnam and didn't talk much about it. He did tell my son a few heartbreaking stories before he died two years ago from the aftereffects of Agent Orange. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comoment.