WWII letters found in Kentucky Goodwill donations

(CNN NEWSOURCE) — A routine check of donated goods unexpectedly turned up a couple of wartime letters in Kentucky.

Now, an effort is underway to try to locate any relatives of the serviceman who wrote them 80 years ago.

“I was very glad to receive your letter before I leave here, not that I know where or when I’m going.”

Lost sentences that have surfaced fresh as a part of America’s story.

“You can imagine how anxious we all are,” he wrote, “to know what’s going to happen to us.”

Letters home from war, one written at sea.

“You’ll hear from me as soon as I am located someplace else which I hope is soon.”


“Yours till I hit an oceanfront, bob.”


The other was mailed four months earlier from the naval training center at Great Lakes, Illinois.

This distinctive box was among the donations at the Goodwill store in Bellevue, Kentucky over the Labor Day weekend.

Inside were two letters addressed to Miss Elizabeth W. Smith at a P.O. box in Bristol, Pennsylvania, written by:

Navy Seaman Robert Ballantine.
Gunners mate, 3rd class, aboard the USS LST-385.

Sue Burreson happened by as Michael Flannery was relating to us what he has found out so far.

“And the ship was part of D-day.”

“Oh, how neat.”


The folks at Goodwill Industries don’t know how the letters to a suburb of Philly ended up in northern Kentucky, but they’re trying to find out.

“And something like this, the family would want. You know, you’d want the grandson to be able to hold his grandfather’s letter and read his words,” Flannery added.

“Hope you’ll excuse the delay in answering your letters. Glad to hear you had such a nice Christmas.”

“I have a swell beard. You ought to see it. Till next time. Love, R. A. Ballantine.”

Categories: Featured, Local News, News