Peter Mostert papers  1943-1945
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Peter Mostert papers consist primarily of letters that Mostert wrote to his wife while serving in the 901st Ordnance Heavy Automotive Maintenance Company during the Second World War. The collection also includes photographs and printed material related to Mostert's service, as well as a small copy of the New Testament.

Peter Mostert wrote most of the letters in the Correspondence series to his wife Jeannie in Palatka, Florida, during his time in the army. Peter, who served in a non-combat unit, discussed his life on army bases in the United States, North Africa, Italy, and France. His letters concern the everyday experiences of soldiers serving behind the front lines during the war. Despite occasionally hinting at the relative boredom of his station, Peter remained mindful of his contribution to the war effort and told Jeannie, "We have a good life compared to combat units" (August 13, 1944). Though he focused mostly on his life on base, he sometimes mentioned the progress of the war, particularly near its end. On April 26, 1945, he wrote, "I think the war with Germany is near over.…It may take some time yet to finish it but the main armies are finished. It will take quite some time yet to get them out of Norway Holland and Italy but they are badly beaten" (April 26, 1945). Later, he described the celebrations surrounding Germany's eventual surrender (May 7, 1945). Though he was stationed in Europe, Peter also took an interest in developments in the Pacific Ocean and the potential Japanese surrender. In his final letters home, he recounted his experiences in southern France following the end of hostilities and expected a forthcoming return to the United States.

Other correspondence includes a small number of letters to Jeannie Mostert from her brother, John C. Arnold, who described his experiences in the army. Arnold, who styled himself "Jay" and addressed Jeannie as "Bill," spent the war on army bases in the United States. On one occasion, he commented on racial segregation of army troops (August 15, 1944).

The Documents and Printed Material series includes the following items:

  • Eugenia Mostert's application for family allowances (September 29, 1943)
  • Birthday card for Mrs. Peter Mostert, signed by Jay [John C. Arnold] (October 1945)
  • Printed copy of Westward-Ho! newsletter, published on the USAT Frederick Lykes (November 17, 1945)

The Photographs and Negatives series contains 8 photographs, 1 photograph housed in a cardboard frame, and 2 packages of photographic negatives.

The Soldier's Bible is a pocket-sized copy of the New Testament, once owned by Cornelius Mostert.

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