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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Military
  • Language:English
  • Pages:690
  • eBook ISBN:9781098388836

Dearest Love

My Grandfather’s World War II Letters

by William Thomas and Mohan Ahluwalia

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Overview
"Dearest Love" tells the story of William "Bill" Thomas's journey through World War II—his thoughts on the war, his feelings for his far-away family, and his desire to return home. Crafted with real letters written by Bill and historical context provided by Bill's grandson Mohan, this military and family memoir traces the connections between Bill as a soldier in the 1940s and the man—and grandfather—he would one day become. While Bill's letters were intended for his wife Eleanor, this book is a letter for future generations. Despite war, sacrifice, and thousands of miles, love and family values persevered.
Description
"I wish I were Milton, Shakespeare, or Cyrano to express my true love for you, but I don't think even they could find words to express my love for you. It is too real." (prewar letter from Bill Thomas to his future wife, Eleanor, September 28, 1936) "Dearest Love" tells the story of William "Bill" Thomas's journey through World War II—his thoughts on the war, his feelings for his far-away family, and his desire to return home. Bill Thomas was drafted into World War II by the U.S. Navy on September 1, 1943. Based mainly in the U.S., Bill was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for the last nine months of his service, which included the final weeks of the Battle of Okinawa. Before he returned home to Pennsylvania on January 31, 1946, Bill wrote letters home nearly every day. These letters were often his only means of communicating with his wife, Eleanor Thomas, and their young daughter, Ruth, who was only eleven weeks old when he was drafted. More than seventy years later, Bill's letters inspired his own grandson, Mohan William Singh Ahluwalia, to relive cherished memories—and expand his appreciation for the sacrifices his grandfather made. Crafted with these letters and historical context provided by Mohan, this military and family memoir traces the connections between Bill as a soldier in the 1940s and the man—and grandfather—he would one day become. While Bill's letters were intended for his wife Eleanor, this book is a letter for future generations. Despite war, sacrifice, and thousands of miles, love and family values persevered.
About the author
William "Bill" Harvey Thomas was born on September 9, 1912, in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Emsworth, near Pittsburgh, and later attended Penn State University, where he graduated in 1933 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He and his future wife, Eleanor Breitweiser, were in the same graduating class in high school but did not know each other at the time. After college, mutual friends set them up on a blind date. They were married on January 8, 1938 and were happily married for fifty-five years until her death on September 7, 1993. Bill and Eleanor had three daughters: Ruth, Nancy, and Sue. Bill was drafted by the U.S. Navy into service in World War II from September 1, 1943 to January 31, 1946. After the war, Bill worked at Fidelity Trust, later known as PNC Bank, as a real estate appraiser. He and Eleanor raised their children in Crafton and Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. Bill passed away on February 8, 2005 in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania at the age of ninety-two. He was survived by his three daughters and three grandchildren, Surjeet, Maya, and Mohan.
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