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William A. Spratt Papers - MS 1100
The papers of William A. Spratt consist of approximately 1.25 linear feet of letters, photos and related printed material from his period of service in the U.S. First and Third Army during World War II.
The material was transferred to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of Donelda S. Huffman, in September 2008. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication may be permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was prepared in December 2008 by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts.
William A. Spratt was born on January 18, 1915 in Van Wert, Ohio to Lester and Pearl (Redlinger) Spratt. After a brief stint in the Civilian Conservation Corps William saw service during World War II first with the Third Army in Texas, where he served as the personal chauffeur of General Courtney H. Hodges, and then to Europe when Hodges took command of the First Army in Europe. In that position Spratt was part of many of the pivotal events of the war, including D-Day, crossing the Rhine at Remagen, and meeting the Russians at the Elbe River. William Spratt attained the rank of Master Sergeant before he was discharged and returned home.
Married in 1945 to Geraldine F. Saunders, he worked before the war at Electric Auto-Lite, and after the war for his dad’s trucking company, and finally for International Harvester, where he worked in Fort Wayne until his retirement in 1980. Active in such organizations as the American Legion, Masons, and Elks, Spratt died on September 11, 2007 at the age of 92.
The William A. Spratt Papers consist of correspondence, photographs, scrapbook material and printed items related to his service during World War II with both the U.S. Third and First Armies. Early letters written while he was at Fort Sam Houston as the driver for General Courtney H. Hodges cover news of camp life, activities of his father Lester, war news, and details of his own assignments. Only three letters are included after William was assigned to Europe, written while he was in England in May of 1944, with stamped notations that they were passed by the censors. The postwar correspondence is primarily of a social nature as responses to Christmas cards sent to military friends.
Using the correspondence as well as personal interviews, William A. Thompson, a nephew of William Spratt produced a biography “The Travels of Uncle Bill Spratt” that covers both his experiences in the war and post-war life. Additional printed material in the collection focuses primarily on the War, with numerous books related specifically to the European Theater of Operations, the battles and generals involved, with a couple of items dealing with a postwar reunion tour Spratt took in 1971 and general reunions of the Third Army or special observances or anniversaries.
The photographic segment of the collection, while small, includes several personally signed and inscribed photos from Generals Hodges, Bradley, and Keen along with snapshot photos of various places Spratt visited while serving as a driver. While William Spratt’s wartime experience might not be seen as typical, his service as a driver does provide a glimpse of a personal aspect of the war.
CORRESPONDENCE – WORLD WAR II
Letters written primarily by William Spratt to his mother, while he was serving in Texas and Europe with the Third and First Army during World War II ; a few letters included written by his father, Lester G. Spratt (often signed LGS), who was in San Antonio at the same time William was at Fort Sam Houston
CORRESPONDENCE – POSTWAR
Letters received in acknowledgement of Christmas cards sent to former military associates
“The Travels of Uncle Bill Spratt” written by William A. Thompson. Account of William Spratt’s life, particularly his military career, written by nephew based on personal interviews and documents
SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS
Loose clippings (photocopied) related to Spratt in the CCC before the war, his wartime service, and at an event commemorating the Auto Lite Strike of 1934
GEN. HODGES’ INDUCTION AT FT. LEAVENWORTH HALL OF FAME
Correspondence, photographs, and clippings related to the honor
WILLIAM SPRATT OBITUARY
Obituary and funeral card
MAPS, CHARTS, DIAGRAMS, CHARTS, LISTS, ETC.
Map of a section of Germany to the south of Dusseldorf and east of Köln, probably used while he was a driver in Germany for General Hodges
1913, 1969, 1971
Historic guidebook of Marburg, commemorative booklet on the 25th anniversary at Bastogne, and the itinerary of a reunion Third Army Tour of Europe
PATTON CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Roster, booklet, and miscellaneous communications related to the observance of the centennial of Patton’s birth and celebration of his career
1994, 1995, 1996
Rosters and miscellaneous communications related to reunions of Patton’s Third Army members
Various books related to the history of the Third Army, World War II, or individuals such as Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton
Scattered issues of American History Illustrated, Supply Line, Military Vehicles, and Army Motors dealing with topics related to World War II or military transportation
Articles, tabloid sections, and full issues related to Gen. Hodges, D-Day, and other World War II topics from a variety of sources
Album of photographs related to service in World War II, including inscribed 8 x 10 portraits of some generals such as Hodges, Bradley, and Keen, some official Dept. of the Army photos, and informal, unidentified snapshots
Group photo 2nd Platoon, Co.C, TNG Bn, without identification, and photo of men, including Spratt, who were drivers for various generals
- Correspondence, January-June 1943
- Correspondence, July-October 1943
- Correspondence, May 5-10, 1944
- Correspondence, 1947-1972
- Biography - The Travels of Uncle Bill Spratt, 2004
- Loose clippings, 1933, 1945, 2006
- General Hodges’ Ft. Leavenworth induction, 1976
- William Spratt obituary, 2007
- Map of Germany around Dusseldorf, 1945?
- Booklets, 1913, 1969, 1971
- Patton Centennial material, 1985
- Third Army reunion rosters and miscellaneous, 1994, 1995, 1996
- U.S. Army. Third Division. Spearhead in the West, 1941-45 1945
Box 2: Books
- Whiting, Charles. Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, 1971
- Elsob, Peter. Bastogne, the Road Block, 1968
- Thompson, R.W. D-Day, Spearhead of Invasion, 1968
- Stock, James W. Rhine Crossing, 1973
- Odom, Charles B. General George S. Patton and Eisenhower, 1985
- Blumenson, Martin. Eisenhower, 1972
- Mason, David. Breakout, Drive to the Seine, 1969
- Whiting, Charles. Bradley, 1971
- Bradley, Omar N. A Soldier’s Story, 1951 (inscribed to Spratt)
- D-Day, the Normandy Invasion in Retrospect, 1971
Box 3: Books, Periodicals
- Tute, Warren. D-Day, 1974
- Eisenhower’s Own Story of the War: the Complete Report, 1946
- Dupuy, Trevor N. European Land Battles, 1939-1943, 1962
- Ryder, Hal. Operation Friendly Invasion, 1984
- American History Illustrated, Nov. 1969
- American History Illustrated, Feb 1970
- American History Illustrated, May 1972
- VFW Magazine, August 1984
- MVPA Supply Line, March 1996
- Military Vehicles Magazine, Sept/Oct 1998
- MVPA Army Motors, Spring 2000
Box 4: Printed Material, Photographs
- Newspapers (various), 1945, 1969-1974
- Photo album, 1943-1945
- Loose photographs, circa 1941, n.d.
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