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    Description

    Douglas MacArthur Archive, including four letters, a printed sympathy card, a Purple Heart, and an early signed photo of MacArthur. Most of the collection is related to World War II Private Gilbert T. Richards, who died in 1942.

    Gilbert T. Richards, a twenty-one-year-old millwright living in Knox County, Maine, enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Augusta, Maine, on November 25, 1940, twelve days before Pearl Harbor. He went to the Pacific theater of the war and, along with the rest of General MacArthur's troops was sent to the Bataan peninsula on Luzon in the Philippine Islands as Japanese forces were gradually taking control of the islands. On January 7, 1942, the enemy began a siege of the peninsula and on April 3 launched a massive attack. Against MacArthur's orders, Major Gen. Edward P. King Jr. surrendered more than 75,000 American and Filipino troops on April 9; almost 12,000 were Americans. The prisoners were forced to march 61 miles north to San Fernando. About 54,000 prisoners arrived at Camp O'Donnell by May 1st. Many died along the way of exhaustion or starvation or were wantonly killed by their captors. Many Filipino soldiers escaped and disappeared into the Bataan population. Private Gilbert T. Richards survived the march, but died on May 19, 1942, from malaria at Camp O'Donnell. He was buried on Luzon. The following items are included in this collection:

    (1) Douglas A. MacArthur Historic Typed Letter Signed "Douglas MacArthur." One page, 8" x 10.5", to Harry C. Richards, Camden, Maine, on letterhead "General Headquarters / United States Army Forces, Pacific / Office of the Commander-in-Chief," APO 500, 13 October 1945. Vertical folds.

    On March 20, 1942, upon his arrival in Adelaide, Australia, from the Philippines, General MacArthur declared, in part, "The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed to Australia for the purpose, as I understand, of organizing an American offensive against Japan. The primary purpose of this is the relief of the Philippines. I came through, and I shall return." In this letter, he has told the father of a soldier who died on Bataan that his courage and sacrifice "gave us the time to arm ourselves for our return to the Philippines and the final defeat of Japan." Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his "I shall return" promise when he waded ashore on Palo Beach, Leyte, on October 20, 1944, the first day of the decisive two month allied victory in the Battle of Leyte. The letter reads in full:

    "My deepest sympathy goes to you in the death of your son, Private Gilbert T. Richards, while a prisoner of war of the enemy. You may have some consolation in the memory that he, along with his comrades-in-arms who died on Bataan and Corregidor and in prison camps, gave his life for his country. It was largely their magnificent courage and sacrifices which stopped the enemy in the Philippines and gave us the time to arm ourselves for our return to the Philippines and the final defeat of Japan. Their names will be enshrined on our country's glory forever. In your son's death I have lost a gallant comrade and mourn with you."

    Six weeks before this letter was written, Japan formally surrendered on board the battleship USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, opened the surrender ceremonies and later signed his acceptance of the Instrument of Surrender.

    (2) Margaret Chase Smith Typed Letter Signed "Margaret Smith" as Maine Congresswoman. One page, 8" x 10.5". Washington, December 11, 1941, on congressional stationery to Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Richards of Camden, Maine, just four days after Pearl Harbor and three days after the declaration of war. Evidently, Pvt. Richards' parents knew he was on a ship in the Pacific but did not know exactly where. The letter reads in full, "My sympathy is with you and I wish so much I could get the information you want but both because of the uncertainty of affairs in the Pacific and the need to keep locations of troops away from the enemy, the Departments will not give out any information as to the movements or location of ships. It is a dreadful thing and words will not help in any way. Have talked with Navy officials this morning, trying to learn something of interest for you but was told again that for the time being no information could be given out. We can understand this, of course, but it is hard when some one near to us is concerned. If, however, I can get any information that will aid you, will wire it immediately. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or further inquiries, please do not hesitate to write me at any time."

    Margaret Chase Smith had succeeded her late husband Clyde H. Smith on June 3, 1940, and was elected to a full two-year term beginning January 3, 1941. She was elected U.S. Senator in 1948 and served until 1973. From 1950-1958, Sen. Smith was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

    (3) Henry H. "Hap" Arnold War-date Typed Letter Signed "H H Arnold" as Commanding General, Army Air Forces. One page, 7" x 9", Washington, Memorial Day, 1945, to Mr, and Mrs. Richards. In full, "We are again mindful on this Memorial Day of our debt to those of the Army Air Forces who have given their lives for our Country. Their memory is always with us." With original postmarked envelope.

    Gen. Hap Arnold was promoted to five-star General of the Army by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 and five-star General of the Air Force in 1949 by Pres. Harry S Truman, becoming the only officer to attain five-star rank in two of the Armed Forces.

    (4) R. E. Gambrill Typed Letter Signed "R. E. Gambrill" as Major, Assistant Adjutant General. One page, 8" x 10.5", General Headquarters, United States Army Forces, Pacific, APO 500, October 8, 1945, to Harry C. Richards, Camden, Maine. In full, "Permit me to extend to you my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your son, Private Gilbert T. Richards, 11016707, who died on the 19th of May, 1942, from malaria at Camp O'Donnell, Philippine Islands, while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. The casualty reports received contain few details. They were of necessity meager, due to the inability of the persons confined by the Japanese to prepare and keep the necessary records. We do know, however, that he is buried on Luzon, Philippine Islands. Anything I can say is scant consolation to you in your grief. It is my fervent hope that later, the knowledge that his courage and sacrifice contributed to the final victory may be of sustaining comfort to you."

    (5) [George C. Marshall]. Printed Card, 5.25" x 4.25". With original envelope, "The Chief of Staff / War Department / Washington, D.C.," 5.5" x 4.5", cut open at right edge. Postmarked Washington, D.C., September 1, 1945, to Harry C. Richards, Camden. Maine. Engraved in red and gold at top center with his five star flag and engraved message: "General Marshall / extends deep sympathy / in the loss of your son. He died / in the honorable service of his country / to preserve the freedom under which he lived". Fine condition.

    (6) Purple Heart in original 3.5" x 6.5" x 1.25" clamshell box. In the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, a bust of George Washington in the center and Washington's coat-of-arms at the top. Engraved on verso: "For / Military / Merit." With purple ribbon and bar. Since posthumous awards are always engraved with the soldier's name beneath the inscription - this one isn't - this most probably is a replacement award.

    On June 3, 1944, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson wrote in a typed letter to Harry C. Richards concerning the Purple Heart, "The President has requested me to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your son, Private Gilbert T. Richards, Air Corps, who sacrificed his life in defense of his country." A very small photocopy of this letter is included.

    (7) Douglas MacArthur Photograph Signed "Douglas MacArthur", black & white photograph, 6" X 9.75", no date, no place. Early photo shows silvering along edges. Large signature across boots in dark area with fair contrast. Mounting remnants on verso.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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