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U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Collection: Jim Will Spry Papers, 1934-1953 (bulk 1944-1946)

(Manuscript Collection #677-082)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Collection: Jim Will Spry Papers
Creator: Spry, Jim Will
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Photographs, ephemera (identification cards), correspondence, printed materials and forms, U.S. Navy uniform parts, and museum objects pertaining to U.S. Naval Reserve Radioman 3rd Class Jim Will Spry’s training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Chicago, IL and service aboard the destroyer escort USS CATES (DE-763) in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans during and after World War II.
Extent: 0.36 Cubic feet, 1 box and 1 oversize folder, Photographs, ephemera (identification cards), correspondence, printed materials and forms

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 15, 2003, 46 items, 0.36 cubic feet; Papers (1934-1953 [bulk 1944-1946]) including photographic prints, ephemera, correspondence, printed materials, and museum objects relating to U. S. Naval Reserve Radioman 3rd Class Jim Will Spry's training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Chicago, IL and service aboard the destroyer escort USS CATES (DE-763) in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans during and after World War II. Donor: Mary Louise Spry

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Collection: Jim Will Spry Papers (#677-082), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mary Louise Spry

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Mark Custer, January 25, 2008

  • Processed by: Katherine Moore May 2005 Dale Sauter, 2009


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Jim Will Spry was born on August 31, 1927 in Bradyville, Tennessee. His family eventually moved to Wayne, Michigan where Spry attended high school and worked as a stock boy at an A & P supermarket. He enlisted in the service on October 26, 1944. Spry was on active duty from November 22, 1944 to April 8, 1946. During his time of service, he attended the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL, the Fleet Sonar School in Key West, FL and served aboard the USS CATES (DE 763). Spry earned the Victory Ribbon, American Area Ribbon and the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Spry’s papers include military service-related photographs, ephemera (identification cards), correspondence, printed materials and artifacts. Among the artifacts are parts of Spry’s uniform along with various pieces of related regalia. Also among the artifacts, and of particular interest, is a Japanese souvenir flag believed to have been obtained by Spry from a Japanese soldier. The flag was interpreted by Dr. Nobuaki Takahashi, an assistant professor at East Carolina University. Takahashi’s findings indicate that the flag was presented to a drafted Japanese soldier, Nakamura (surname), Tomezoo (given name), upon his leaving for military duty. Along with the obvious footprints of a young child are several wishes by friends and family members. These include: "Do Your Best and Wait for Answer From a Supernatural Power" (an old proverb from the soldier's father), "Take Care, my Brother" (from the soldier's brother), "Congratulations for Your Draft," "Keep Fighting and Keep Winning," "Take Good Care of This Country," "God is on Our Side," "Sacrifice Your Body to the Country," "Rapid Stream," "Win, Triumph, Loyalty," "Don't Stop Shooting" and "I Wish You the Best for Your Military Success." There is no mention of the flag in any other part of the collection. However, the collection does contain a certificate giving permission for Spry to retain as property "one Japanese bolt-action and one (1) bayonette, both souvenirs of World War II."

See container list for more item details.

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Subject Entries :

  • MILITIA
  • U.S. MILITARY
  • U.S. MILITARY--Navy
  • U.S. MILITARY--Navy--Ships
  • WAR
  • WAR--WORLD WAR II

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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Series 1:
Photographic Prints (Black and White)
  • Box 1#0677-082.1
    • Folder a#0677-082.1.a
      • Boy [possibly Jim Will Spry] and a girl (ca. 1934) posed outdoors, with a baby carriage. Photographic print. 2.75" x 4.5" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #1)
      • Jim Will Spry (1946) with Mike Serrage posed on the sidewalk, in a "Souvenir from 'Colon'" folder. Photographic Print. 7.88" x 5.38" 1 item. 3 p.  (item #2)
      • Jim Spry (ca. 19044-1946) with shipmates Bob Turner "Chicago", Tommy Wall and Lillie Wall, Mike Serrage "Ohio", and Ed Finical. Photographic Print in Souvenir The Bahama Bar, Key West, FL folder. 8.25" x 6" 1 item. 3 p.  (item #3)
      • Jim Will Spry (ca. 1944-1946) in his navy uniform seated in front of a painted backdrop. Studio photographic print. 3.19" x 4.5" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #4)
      • Jim Will Spry (ca.1944-1946) in his navy uniform standing, with two unidentified men in navy uniforms in front of a grass curtain. Studio photographic print. 2.5" x 3.13" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #5)
      • Jim Will Spry (ca. 1944-1946) in his navy uniform standing in front of a backdrop with a ship's anchor and wheel. Postcard with studio photographic print. 3.5" x 5.38" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #6)
      • Jim Will Spry (ca. 1944-1946) in his navy uniform standing in front of a backdrop with a ship's anchor and wheel. Studio photographic print 8" x 10" 1 item. 1 p. Note: Same image as postcard.  (item #7)
      • USS CATES (DE-763) (ca. 1944-1946). Postcard with photographic print. 3.5" x 5.38" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #8)
      • USS CATES (DE-763) (ca. 1944-1946). Photographic print. 8" x 10" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #9)
Series 2:
Ephemera (Identification cards)
  • Box 1#0677-082.1
    • Folder b#0677-082.1.b
      • Sacred Order of the Golden Dragon Card (26 August 1945) Jim W. Spry aboard USS CATES (DE-763) Latitude 16-45N; Longitude 180. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #1)
      • Certificate of Satisfactory Service United States Navy Card (ca. 1946) Jim Will Spry 314-46-78 RDM3c USNR . . . Period of active service. 22 Nov. 1944 - 8 April 1946. Discharged. Laminated. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #2)
      • United States Navy USS CATES (DE-763) Card (1 March 1946) Authorizing Spry, Jim W. to Rate: RdM3c; Service # 314-46-78 to wear ribbons listed on verso [blank]. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #3)
      • United States Navy USS CATES (DE-763) Card (1 January 1946) authorizing Spry, Jim W. to Rate: RdM3c; Service # 314-46-78 to wear ribbons listed on verso: Victory Medal II, American Theatre; and Asiatic-Pacific ribbons. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #4)
      • Selective Service System Notice of Classification Card (11 Sept. 1953) Jim Will Spry Selective Service # 20-341-27-657. Michigan Local Board 341, Ypsilanti, MI addressed to Jim Will Spry, Wayne, MI. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #5)
      • Selective Service System Notice of Classification Card (6 Nov. 1950) Jim Will Spry Selective Service # 20-341-27-657. Michigan Local Board Ann Arbor, MI addressed to Jim Will Spry, Wayne, MI. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #6)
      • USS CATES (DE-763) liberty card (no date) Spry, J. W.; Rate: RdM3c; Signature; date of birth (8/31/1927); prints of left and right forefingers on verso. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #7)
Series 3:
Printed Materials
  • Box 1#0677-082.1
    • Folder c#0677-082.1.c
      • V-Mail letter from Pvt. Hosea L. Spry, Company E., 65th Med. [Medical ?] Regiment, Northern Ireland, (5 November 1943) to "Dear Nephew" Jim Spry, Wayne, MI. 1 item. 2 p.  (item #1)
      • Japanese Christmas postcard (5 December 1945), from "Jim," Yokohama, Japan to "Dear Grandparents". 1 item. 1 p. Note: Postcard accompanies gift of Japanese handkerchief and money (yen); Jim says he expects to leave Japan for Manila, PI, on 7 December. Typescript. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #2)
    • Folder d#0677-082.1.d
      • Anglo - Japanese Conversation Manual (1945). 1 item. 34 p. Japanese language.  (item #1)
    • Folder e#0677-082.1.e
      • Certificate (3 April 1946) permitting Jim Will Spry to retain "One Japanese bolt-action rifle and one bayonette (sic), both souvenirs of World War II. Signed by Lt. Cdr., R. F. Beaman (USNR) commanding officer, USS CATES (DE - 763) 2 items. 2 p. Two copies.  (item #1)
      • Certificate of thanks for his service from President Harry S. Truman to Jim W. Spry (undated) 1 item. 1 p.  (item #2)
      • Honorable Discharge from the United States Navy (8 April1946) to Jim Will Spry Radarman Third Class, USNR, C 2524740 Series C 88340, at the U.S. Naval Personnel Separation Center, Great Lakes, IL Signed V. C. Anderson Lt. (jg) USN. 2 items. 2 p. Two copies.  (item #3)
      • Important Information for Discharges and Explanation of Official Papers. NAV 9ND PSCOL CR-4 (Rev 1-46). 1 item. 2 p. Typescript.  (item #4)
      • Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service (4/8/1946). 2 items. 2 p. Two copies.  (item #5)
      • U.S. Veterans' Administration National Service Life Insurance policy certificate No. N 17 989 372, certifying that Jim Will Spry has applied for $10,000 of insurance. Countersigned at Washington, DC. (12 January 1945) Insurance effective 12/5/1944. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #6)
Series 4:
Artifacts
  • Box 1#0677-082.1
    • Folder f#0677-082.1.f
      • U.S. Naval Reserve Honorable Discharge pin. (undated) 1 item. 1 p. Note: White paint on steel.  (item #1)
      • U.S. Navy "U.S." pin (undated) 1 item. 1 p. Note: brass.  (item #2)
      • U.S. Navy canvas belt (undated) with steel buckle marked "J. W. Spry." 1 item. 1 p.  (item #3)
      • U.S. Navy coat button (undated) 1 item. 1 p. Note: bakelite.  (item #4)
      • U.S. Navy eagle pin (undated) 2 items. 2 p. Note: gold. Two copies.  (item #5)
      • U.S. Navy naval service ribbon pin (undated) 3 items. 3 p.  (item #6)
      • U.S. Navy Radarman shoulder patch (1943) in original plastic sleeve. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #7)
      • U.S. Navy Uniform White Pants (ca. 1944-1946) worn by Jim Will Spry. 1 item. 1 pair.  (item #8)
Series 5:
Oversized Materials
  • Oversize Folder os1#0677-082.os1
    • Photographic print (12/18/1944) Co. 2116 - H. Gregory. - S. 2/c - Co. Cmdr - Dec. 18, 1944. U. S. Naval Training Center - Great Lakes, IL. Black & White. 19" x 8" 1 item. 1 p.
    • Photographic print (12/28/1944) Co. 2115 - A. H. Elder - SP. (A) 3/c - Co. Cmdr - Dec. 28, 1944. U. S. Naval Training Center - Great Lakes, IL. Black & White. 19" x 8" 1 item. 1 p.
    • Photographic print: War Cruise of USS CATES (DE-763) Convoy duty to Europe (9 trips) Feb. 1944 - June 1945; Cruise to Japan, service with Japan Occupation Fleet, July 1945 - Aug. 1946. Credit: Thompson Photo, Los Angeles A240. Black & White. 31.75" x 10" 1 item. 1 p. Photograph shows the USS CATES' route marked on a map of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans flanked by two portraits of the USS CATES at anchor.

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, please click on the "View Digitized Objects" tab, or look for hyperlinks in the container list
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