[Battle of Guadalcanal]

Letter from a U.S. Marine to His Mother during World War II

Handwritten Letter



× Ask a Question re: Letter from a U.S. Marine to His Mother during World War II


Personal letter from Private Leighton W. Bailey to his mother, Mrs. Seth O. Bailey, written while convalescing at Mare Island Naval Hospital in 1942. Private Bailey was injured at Guadalcanal.

Eight-page holograph letter written in blue ink on four sheets of American Red Cross stationery. Top right-hand corner of letter reads: “Naval Hospital / Mare Island, Calif. / Ward. T / Nov. 26, 1942.” Original folds. Letter in near fine condition with small stain near center of first sheet. Accompanied by an envelope addressed to Mrs. Seth O. Bailey from Pvt. Leighton W. Bailey while he was stationed at New River, North Carolina, dated “Mar 30 1942.”

The first paragraph sets the tone for this letter as Private Leighton is quite troubled that his wife has received nothing of his allotment from his payroll. Excerpt from letter, with original spelling and grammar: “Ma how are you? Fine I hope. I just got through writing to Helen and I just got two of your letters & one from Helen. Ma those lousey bastards haven’t given her a penny and Ma I feel like a heel writing asking for money, but when I made out my allotment on ‘Guadalcanal’ they told me she would get paid in full, from last June up until Nov. 1st. thats when it took affect and she hasn’t got a damn cent from them. Well someones going to be sorry and I mean it, I’ll find out whats the trouble or I’ll kill someone.”

A unique look at a serviceman’s frustrations with the military as he tries to assist his loved ones back home.

Leighton Winthrop Bailey (1921-1985) grew up in Abington, Massachusetts. His father, Seth O. Bailey, was a veteran of World War I. Shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, Leighton Bailey enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in January 1942. A few months later, he married Helen Holbrook on March 17. During the war, Bailey fought at Guadalcanal, being wounded there twice. This letter was written following his second injury in September 1942 when he was placed on a hospital ship and sent to Mare Island Naval Hospital in November. Bailey was released from military service in August 1943. After returning home, he became a truck driver. Leighton Bailey died June 18, 1985 and is buried in Abington.

Additional information

Location Published

Mare Island, California


Personal Letter


Handwritten Letter

Date Published





Near Fine


[Battle of Guadalcanal]

Author Display

Leighton W. Bailey