Letter from William P. "Sonny" Mitchell to J.W. Campbell

Chicago, Ill.

March 3, 1943

Dear J.W.

I have some spare time so I thought I would drop you a few lines. How are you getting along? Fine, I hope. Are you doing all right in school? How are you getting along with the church work?

I am getting along just fine. I sure was surprised to get to Chicago. This is a swell place. I am staying in the Congress Hotel here which is next to Grant Park. Soldier's Field, that is where the White Sox and Cubs play all their home games, is
only a few blocks down the street. Lake Michigan can be seen from my hotel window. It sure is cold here. It was five below this morning. That Miami weather was perfect but I like Chicago much better. We have a lot more privileges here. The food is perfect too. For one thing, in Miami Beach they prices on the things we wanted to buy were very high. They held us up on everything they could. Everything is free here in Chicago. They have free restaurants, service centers, U.S.O.'s , and even operas. We can get on a street car and ride anywhere we want to and not pay a cent.

I am to go to a radio operator's school here. If I do all right in this school then I hope to go to an aerial gunnery school. This radio course is no pushover so I don't know what I will do in it. I am going to try my best of course.

From what I an hear, the church work is progressing very rapidly. I hope you all keep it up. I pray daily for the church and I am looking forward to the time when I can come home to worship God with you all again.

It is almost time for chow so I had better close. Tell everyone hello for me and don't forget to write. Begoodandall...

Keep 'Em Flying,


Letter from Mrs. Mitchell to the mother of Connolly O'Brien, Sgt. USAF - POW (Sonny Mitchell and Connolly O'Brien were best friends.)

This letter was sent to me by Mrs. Dorthy O'Brien, widow of Connolly, on January 30, 2002. -- JWC

XXXX Georgia Ave.
Bristol, Tenn.
Sept. 5, 1944

Dear Mrs. O'Brien,

I am so glad you wrote me. I had meant to write you even before I received your letter. Please forgive me for waiting several days about answering. I have had some relatives visiting me and I couldn't get a chance to write.

My boy wrote me about visiting in your home and how much he enjoyed it. He was always such a sleepy head. So hard to wake up in the morning. In one of his last letters he said that Connolly O'Brien from Texas woke him up every morning.

I have heard from some of the other mothers. I understand the Bebb boy, Leroy Beckmann and your son are prisoners. I am very happy to know that even a few of them are alive. I pray they will soon be back at home safe. I received the first message that my son was missing July 7. I received a message saying he was killed in action on that day he was first reported missing. I can never tell you how much I love my son. I would be willing to give anything in the world to have him back with me. But he is gone I know he is with his Heavenly Father and in a much happier place than we are. Last Sunday a Memorial service was held for him. I am sending you one of the little papers. I hear from Mrs. Kesterke. You know her son and one other boy were reported missing before ours were. They have never received any other news at all. They were very young and his wife is expecting a baby in November. I think it is all so pitiful that all these fine young people should suffer like this.

Anything that you hear from this group I hope you will let me know.

I hope and pray your son will soon be back home safe and well. Whenever that time comes please tell him to write me all that he knows about my son.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Mitchell


T/Sgt. Wm. P. Mitchell, Jr.

William P. Mitchell, Jr., was born July 16, 1923, at Winfield, Tennessee. He received his high school education at Tennessee High, here in Bristol, and was in his sophomore year of college work at King College when he entered the Army Air Corps, Jan. 6, 1942.

He accepted Christ as his personal Savior at the age of 10, and united with the Calvary Baptist Church by baptism May, 1933. He and his Mother moved their membership from the Calvary Church to the Virginia Avenue Baptist Church, as charter members, in 1938.

In January, 1941 he became assistant Sunday School Superintendent which position he held until called into the service of our country. He was also a sponsor of the Royal Ambassadors of the church, and interested in all phases of the work of his church. He was faithful, dependable, and did his work cheerfully for the honor of Christ whom he loved and served.

His parents received a message from the War Department in June that he was reported killed over Germany May 29, 1944.

God bless the memory of the American Soldier who made the supreme sacrifice for us. His body now sleeps in Germany where he went down with his comrades.

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."