Junior Wilson: Yet Another Telegram

Perry, Iowa

August 1945

The Wilson Acreage

Another telegram arrived with more news about Junior:

Juniortel(2 (2)

At Aloe Field, Lt. Ralph Woods received a message from the chaplain asking if he would accompany Junior’s casket home to Iowa. He was nervous and sad, but honored to be chosen. He and Junior had bunked together, played basketball, and shared stories about their families. 


Delbert would arrive at 4:30 the next morning. The Wilson house was so tiny, Doris and her toddler slept in a closet so Ralph Woods and Delbert could share the extra bed. 

Decades later, Ralph remembered that he’d noticed the railroad removing the casket at the wrong station and stopped them. He also was self-conscious about a button being off on his shirt.

Junior(Woods2 (2)
Sam Scar, Delbert Wilson, Ralph Woods, Clabe Wilson. Perry, Iowa


Ralph Woods corresponded with me after Grandma Leora died. I’m still in contact with one of his daughters.

Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook, also as an audiobook, narrated by Paul Berge.

It’s also the story behind the Wilson brothers featured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. All five served. Only two came home.






  1. One can only imagine the grief the receipt of such a telegram caused. I’m glad the family had the foresight to preserve such records.

    • I was a toddler underfoot and don’t remember those terrible days. I’ve become their keeper and will eventually need to decide what to do with them.

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