Skip to main content

Charles S. Aldrich WWII papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RHC-196

Content Description

Small collection of letters by Charles S Aldrich to his family, 1944-1945. Also contains 1990s letters from Russian Federation regarding commemorative medals, and biographical notes.


  • Creation: 1944 - 2018
  • Creation: Majority of material found within June 7, 1944 - November 8, 1945


Access to the Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

The collection is the physical property of Grand Valley State University, but all literary rights are retained by the original creators of materials, their estates, heirs, or third parties. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure appropriate permissions for publication beyond the bounds of fair use.

Biographical / Historical

Charles "Chuck" Aldrich was born in 1925 in Hastings, Michigan. He attended Snow School in Lowell, Michigan. Aldrich joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 at the age of 17. On September 13, 1942, he was aboard the armed merchant vessel SS John Penn, which was loaded with lend-lease supplies including tanks and routed in a convoy to Murmansk, Russia. They were attacked by German bomber and torpedo plains, and the John Penn was hit by two explosions. Aldrich was a loader on a 3"/50 gun, and the explosions deafened him. He did not hear the order to abandon ship. By the time he realized others were fleeing on life boats, only one remained attached by one end, torn by shrapnel. One officer and four sailors boarded the torn lifeboat, which was held afloat by its air tanks. A British destroyer picked them up and delivered them to Murmansk.

After a number of other travels and operations, Aldrich served as helmsman aboard teh USS Volans in Okinawa, Sasebo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.


0.24 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sandy Ball, 2018.


Guide to the Charles Aldrich WWII papers
In Progress
Annie Benefiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States