Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Lloyd W. Thompson Correspondence

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Correspondence,
Creator: Thompson, Lloyd W.
Inclusive dates: 1944-1946, and undated
Extent: 1 cubic feet (in 2 boxes)
The collection consists mainly of correspondence from Lloyd W. Thompson to his wife, Lillian, 1944-1946.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:


Access Restrictions:

Lloyd W. Thompson Correspondence is open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Lloyd W. Thompson Correspondence, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is chronological.



Lloyd W. Thompson was born in Emmet County, Michigan, in 1911 and enlisted on April 8, 1942 in Traverse City, Michigan. His enlistment form describes him as single, a gas and oil man, with 3 years of high school. He enlisted for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to the law. Prior to February 1945, Lloyd was in the 83rd Field Artillery at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. By Feb. 1945 he was Sergeant of the Motor Pool at Camp Butner, North Carolina, a Prisoner of War Camp. By May he was considered ranking sergeant. Lloyd spent most of his time searching, transporting, and dealing with Prisoners of War (POWs) and the various vehicles used to transport and guard them. Following VE Day (May 9, 1945), his work load increased due to the large numbers of POWs being processed through his and other nearby camps and depots. By June 12, 1945, at his request, he became a member of the Guard Company and was no longer Motor Sergeant. Between July 6 and 17, 1945 he went home to be with Lillian when she gave birth to David Lloyd Thompson on July 15, 1945. Unfortunately, not all of his papers were properly signed so he was fined three months of pay when he returned to camp. Lloyd avoided telling Lillian about this until October 30th, when he was forced to confess the situation due to his limited finances. This situation sorely tried Lillian, who must have threatened divorce in her return letter, which is no longer extant. Following VJ Day (August 14, 1945) his work increased yet again as thousands of prisoners were processed in and out of North Carolina going to England while numerous GIs were also shipped there from overseas before they were discharged. On September 5 Lloyd moved to the Prisoner of War Camp at Hendersonville, North Carolina, as acting Motor Sgt. Between September 5 and November 1st, Lloyd and other GIs worked to process prisoners in and out of camp, take apart camp buildings, load up and move supplies including furniture, cooking equipment, clothes, bedding, and other materials. On November 1st he returned to Camp Butner where he continued the same activities. His discharge orders came on December 29th, 1946 and he finally left camp on January, 14, 1947, at which time he was in charge of twelve men heading to Fort Sheridan. His plan was to travel from the processing center there to Chicago, Detroit, and finally to Petoskey.

Lillian Janetta and Lloyd were married on September 5, [probably in 1944]. Their son, David Lloyd Thompson was born on July 15, 1945. Lloyd’s mother, M. Thompson, and sister, Mary Ellen, lived in Harper Springs, Michigan, 1944-1946. Other relatives mentioned in the letters are Helen, Bob, Merle, Eileen and Irene Thompson, and Ella Janetta, Pete, and Lillian’s Grandma who lived in Durham, North Carolina. Further information is not available on the Thompsons.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This is a wonderful collection documenting the state-side World War II experience of the average homesick Michigander, pressed into duty for his country and wanting desperately to get home as soon as possible to his wife and new baby. It is also a unique collection documenting the prisoners of war, mainly German, who were processed in/out and worked in North Carolina, their treatment, work projects, and care.

The collection includes 173 letters that Lillian received from her husband, Lloyd Thompson. 165 were written between February and December 1945, and eight were written in 1946. Lloyd wrote them from North Carolina, where he was stationed either at the Prisoner of War Camp of Fort Butner or Hendersonville. Lloyd always wrote of missing her, wishing to be discharged, of his friends and officers in the army, of working on and driving various vehicles, of their baby, of life in the barracks, of prostitutes and drinking in town and at parties, of the arrest of prostitutes and GIs caught with them in Durham, and of the point system by which U.S. soldiers were dismissed from duty. Mostly, Lloyd wrote of the prisoners of war (POWs), who were all Germans until November 23, 1945 when French, Czech, Polish and Dutch prisoners were added to the camps. He noted the weekly American movies they watched, the crops they harvested, POW escapes, a tunnel and bomb they created, searching them, transporting them, what they ate, changes in their status and privileges after VE Day, how his truck drivers occasionally hit POWs, and how local farmers and pulp wood manufacturers fought Washington, D.C. to extend the time they could employ POWs. (The deadline originally was January 1, 1947, but this was extended through the end of March.) Lloyd was assigned to clean out side POW camps and eventually Camp Butner. His dismissal was delayed until the camp was nearly emptied, at which point he collected supplies for his wife and himself (new shoes, wool trousers, a jacket, soap, and towels) and shipped them home. He also noted others, particularly civilians, who were caught sneaking into POW areas and, later, civilians who stole camp supplies.

Also included in the collection are letters Lillian received from female relatives and friends, including two from her mother-in-law, Mrs. M. Thompson, in 1944 and 1945; one from a friend Corporal Abbigail Balgooyen [spelled with two b’s]; two from her sister, Ella Jannetta, in Durham, North Carolina, in 1945; two from Thompson relatives, Mary Ellen, and Bob, Helen and Kids; and a congratulatory baby card form two friends, all dated 1945. Most of the letters are pretty general in nature and brief, inquiring about Lillian and the baby, Lloyd being gone, and noting the health and activities of mutual friends and family members. Of special note is the letter from Lillian’s friend, Cpl. Abbigail Balgooyen, dated June 20, 9144. Abbigail was a member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (a WAAC) stationed “Somewhere in England”. Her letter vividly describes the extremely uncomfortable living conditions in her “camp,” which included straw mattresses (bolsters), “cell” like rooms, and having no pillows. She had had measles, which delayed her being sent to England. A U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Record of Lloyd W. Thompson (copy) is included.

The letters are all handwritten, mostly in ink, a few in pencil, on various types and sizes of paper. A few of the letters are acidic and yellowed. Two photographs are included, one of an old man and two young boys ( with letter of March 27, 1945) and one of Lloyd, who has his back towards the camera (with letter of June 8, 1945). Information about POW camps in the U.S. and Fort Butner is included (copies, 2006), as well as a rough inventory of the letters.

Subject Terms

    • Thompson, Lloyd W.
    • Balgooyen, Abbigail.
    • United States. Army. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States--Correspondence.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, American.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Education and the war.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Motion pictures and the war.
    • Prisoners of war--Germany--History.
    • Camp Butner (N.C.)
    • North Carolina--History--20th century.
    • Harbor Springs (Mich.)--History--20th century.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Lloyd W. Thompson Correspondence. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Information, World War II Enlistment Records, 1942 (2006 copy); POW Camps/Camp Butner Information (2006 copies), 1942, 2006
    Box   1 F   2
    Collection Inventory, 2006
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence, Friends and Family to Lillian Thompson, January, June 1944, March, May-July, October, 1945
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, February 1945
    Box   1 F   5
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, March 1945
    Box   1 F   6
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, April 1945
    Box   1 F   7
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, May 1945
    Box   1 F   6
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, June 1945
    Box   1 F   7
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, July 1945
    Box   1 F   8
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, August 1945
    Box   2 F   1
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, September 1945
    Box   2 F   2
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, October 1945
    Box   2 F   3
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, November 1945
    Box   2 F   4
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, December 1945
    Box   2 F   5
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, January 1946
    Box   2 F   6
    Correspondence, Lloyd to Lillian Thompson, Undated
    Box   2 F   7
    Receipt, for Baby Supplies, January 5, 1946