Monday, January 9, 2012

Maj. Gillham tries to find Frances' cousin

The first paragraph in today's letter reads like the outline of a bad service comedy.  You can almost imagine Danny Kaye playing the part of Maj. Gillham.  He is searching for Daniel Marshall Brandon, the youngest son of Aunt Grace, Pop's sister.  Elizabeth Brandon ("Libba") is his sister. 

5 May 46

Dearest Darling,

Yesterday I got a letter from Elizabeth Brandon thanking me for the scarf I had included for her. I wanted to see Marshall again before I left, so I started out to find him. His company had been transferred to another building. When I found it he had been transferred to another company. There they said he was working at the P.X. -- at the P.X. I found that he was in another section. I finally found him at the gift P.X. I had a sedan and he had the afternoon off, so we drove around Tokyo for several hours. I am glad I got to know him better before I left.

The day before, I went to Lt. Col. Lookers funeral. He was at Ft. Custer, Charlottesville and CASA with me. He drank too much and it got him. A service was held in the beautiful St. Luke's Hospital chapel and he was buried at Yokohama. We have a U.S. National Cemetery there. It was the first military funeral I had ever attended with the firing of volleys and taps. Haviland and Franklin were there and sent you their regards.

I am out of ink and don't have a bottle here, but I am going ahead and writing with a pencil.

Today I got a letter from Nancy thanking me for the package I had sent to her and Dan.

I drove up in the mountains today and saw some beautiful scenery and hazardous roads. I enjoyed both. We finally came to a place where the road had slid completely away. The road was about 8 ft. wide with a precipice of several hundred feet on one side. It was impossible to turn around, so I had to back the car down the mountain about a mile while the others walked back. Today is Boys Day in Japan. One village we went through was having quite a colorful festival.

I will find out tomorrow if I can go out on the navy ship. I hope I can, as it will probably be more interesting as well as more comfortable.

I am going to a wedding tomorrow. Cmdr. Stevens, who was at Chicago with me, is marrying a WAC at St. Luke's chapel.

Every day now brings me a little closer to you, my darling. It is certainly fine to have you to look forward to.

I love you with all my heart.



St. Luke's Hospital was founded by an Anglican missionary in Tokyo in 1902 and is credited as being Japan's first modern hospital.  A much larger facility was built in 1920, but the building and the adjoining nursing school were destroyed in the earthquake of 1923.  The U.S. government helped underwrite a replacement, which was built in 1933, and this is the building that Maj. Gillham writes about above.  During the Occupation, the Allies used the hospital building as part of their general headqarters.

Aerial view of St. Luke's Hospital, as it appeared
when Maj. Gillham was in Tokyo