r-kestner_address-page_r72

Ray Kestner’s granddaughter, Jessica Kestner McMahon, calls the little book that Ray brought home from prison camp the “Christmas book.”

Entitled Christmas 1942, the calendar booklets were a gift of Pope Pius XII to the Allied prisoners.

The booklets consist of 48 pages and a cover. They have calendar pages for January–December 1943, as well as a “memorandum” page for each month (pages 2–25); the rest (pages 26–48) is comprised of hymns and Christmas carols.

Camp 59 prisoner Charles Simmons also owned one of these booklets, described in “Charles Simmons’ Calendar and Address Book.”

Most of the addresses throughout Ray’s booklet are penciled in his own very legible handwriting. A few are written in other penmanship—presumably by the prisoners themselves.

Aside from the address of Italian Virgilio Orazi (above) and one Englishman—Bob Johnson of Leeds in West Yorkshire—the names and addresses are those of Americans.

Of her grandfather’s booklet, Jessica wrote, “The address book was more than likely started before he got to Camp 59, so not all the names are necessarily from that camp.”

It seems likely that the Christmas/address books were distributed near the end of 1942, before Ray was moved to Camp 59.

Ray was captured on December 6, 1942. He arrived at Ospedale Militare di Caserta (a hospital in Caserta, north of Naples) on December 10, where he received care for a bullet wound.

On February 6, 1943, Ray was transferred to Camp 66 (Capua), and on March 1 he arrived in Camp 59. It seems likely Ray was given the Christmas book while at the hospital in Caserta, so it may contain names of prisoners Ray met in Caserta and Capua.

Interestingly, Charles Simmons was also in Camp 66. In his calendar, Charles documents arrival in Capua on February 15, departure for “new camp” on February 28, and arrival in “new home Camp 59” on March 1, the same date as Ray’s arrival.

Jessica continued, “I’m most interested in the one Italian address—Santa Vittoria in Matenano, which is south of the camp, so maybe that is where he was hiding?” The address is:

Orazi Virgilio [or Virgilio Orazi]
S: Vittoria [Santa Vittoria]
In Matenano
Provincia Ascoli Piceno
Marche

A number of the addresses in Ray’s “Christmas Book” are rural addresses. The abbreviations can be confusing. Country addresses are listed as Rte. (Route), R.R. (Rural Route), R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery), R.D. (Rural Delivery), General Delivery, or simply Box.

Some of the men in the list, such as McKinley Blair, are in the National Archives online enlistment records, but not the POW records. I’m not sure what to make of that.

By cross-referencing with other records, I can confirm that nine of the men listed below were in Camp 59. Their names have asterisks before them. Others may have been interned in the camp, but I have no evidence of that as yet.

Here are the soldiers’ addresses in the booklet:

Bob Johnson
31 Lower Brunswick Street—off North Street
Leeds. 2. Yorkshire
England

*Clarence Horton
Bangs, Texas

Gerald Smith
411 Simpson Street
Clarksburg
West Virginia

Joseph Badgerow
2010 20th Avenue
Port Huron
Michigan
Route 4, Box 86

Joe Kuderski
104 E. 7th Steet
New York
New York

*Luther C. Vaughn
Route 3
Clay
Kentucky

Bernard Klotz
962 E. 172th Street
Bronx
New York

William A. Byrd
R.F.D. #2
Jefferson
South Carolina

Richard Lucas
318 Canda Street
Ishpeming
Michigan

Alexander Hiscock
33 Lakeview Avenue
Yonkers
New York

Gail Wall
Rural Route 9, Box 512
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma

Steve Baran
7606 W. 64th Street
Argo
Illinois

*Clovis G. Amos
607 6th Street
Bristol
Tennessee

William L. Kieff
R.D. #1
Rexville
New York

Stanley Delikate
1700 Belmont Avenue
Toledo
Ohio

Ray White
Dorothy
West Virginia

Lee Gettleman
Route 4, Box 319
West Allis
Wisconsin
S. 92nd W. Layton
[S. 92nd Street and W. Layton Avenue is an intersection in Milwaukee just south West Allis. Why this intersection recorded with this address is a mystery.]

Forrest Perry
Joy
North Carolina

Glen Schroeder
2328 Avondale Avenue
Toledo
Ohio

Lenzy Webb
32 Hill Street
Richwood
West Virginia

Thomas Gillespie
534 Jersey Street
Boyne City
Michigan

Glendon McCutchen
Main Street, Box 34
Stratton
Maine

Leland Taylor
Loveland
Ohio

Leonard Meddings
Missouri Branch
West Virginia

Charles L. Berger
RFD 3,
Lehighton
Pennsylvania

John K. Sisson
Dewar
Oklahoma

Joseph Willshire
Redwood Falls
Minnesota

Joe Woltering
310 S. 1st Street
Bause
Illinois
[I cannot find a town name by this name in Illinois.]

Arnold Williamson
2356 Hampton Avenue
St. Paul
Minnesota

John B. Black
1624 5th Avenue South
Columbus
Mississippi

John J. Boyle
532 Spring Street
Hawley
Pennsylvania

John Slifko [or John Slifka]
211 Spruce Street
Byesville
Ohio

Floyd H. Stanger
RR 1
Indianola
Iowa

*Sal Trischitta
1836 Fowler Avenue
Bronx
New York

W. D. Christenson
96 Gleneden Avenue
Oakland
California

Thomas Bainbridge
923 N. 101st Street
Seattle
Washington

Harold Dolezal
Belleville
Kansas

M. L. Matthews
1829 College Street
Springfield
Missouri

Ernest S. Taylor
133 Chestnut Street
Williamson
West Virginia

Donald Terrien
Detroit
Michigan

Myron Carter
736 W. 3rd Street
Port Clinton
Ohio

Sy Sobotka
1613 Burnet Avenue
Syracuse
New York

Harold Kettle
Box 21
Lawtons
New York

Jimmy Mitchell
1580 W. 18th Street
Idaho Falls
Idaho

Earl M. Road [or Rood]
137 Forest Avenue
Buffalo
New York

Jack Kearns
655 New York Avenue
Union City
New Jersey

H. T. Marcus
5660 Phillips Avenue
Pittsburg
Pennsylvania

Andrew Marek
Route 4
Granger
Texas

Claude French
General Delivery
Baxter Springs
Kansas

Calvin E. Sizemore
Alpoca
West Virginia

McKinley Blair
Leitchfield
Kentucky

James Austin
1300 Belmont Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

Lea [or Leo] Whittington
R.R. #2
Tampico
Illinois

*George Mickus
391 Grand Street
Brooklyn
New York

*Marshall Brekke
1724 South 88th Street
West Allis
Wisconsin

*James Tasiopulos
459 South Rowan Avenue
Los Angeles
California

Demas L. Torres
Rte. 4, Box 37
Anaheim
California

William Bohlander
1622 Dhonan Street
Cincinnati
Ohio

Warren E. Lowry
752 Cottage Grove
South Bend
Indiana

John Lipka
510 S. Van Buren Street
Wilmington
Delaware

*Wesley Goettel
420 E. 5th Street
Blue Earth
Minnesota

Glen D. Taylor
Wileyville
West Virginia

Hardie Schweigen
Kanopolis
Kansas

Sam Abruzzo
9024 Flatlands Avenue
Brooklyn
New York

*Al Buttacavoli
1540 Cropsey Avenue
Brooklyn
New York

Ernest Bartholomew
Devault
Pennsylvania
[This may be Enos Bartholomew, who enlisted at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in September 1942.]

John R. Battiste
650 Beaver Road
Ambridge
Pennsylvania

r-kestner_buddy_r72

Ray Kestner (left) with a buddy

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