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Byron Armbruster World War II Papers - MS 984

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Byron Armbruster World War II Papers consist of original letters and V-mail written to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Armbruster, Napoleon, Ohio, and his girlfriend who became his wife when he returned from Europe, Eloise Higgins. Also included in the correspondence are a few letters written by other soldiers and people in England to both the Armbrusters and Eloise. The letters date from July 1943 to July 1945. The collection also includes photocopies of two scrapbooks kept by Byron while in the military service.

The collection was donated by Mr. Armbruster on August 4, 2003. Transcriptions of the letters are available on the Center for Archival Collection's web site and no restrictions exist on the research use of the collection.

Biographical Sketch

Byron Armbruster was born on February 19, 1914, to Christ and Anna Armbruster, in Napoleon, Ohio. He had been working at the Louden Packing Company in Napoleon, at the time he enlisted in March 1942. He was first attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, then to the 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion, and then to the 101st Airborne. He was first stationed at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, transferring to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, until September 1943. The Division was shipped to England in preparation of the Allied invasion. At Normandy, on June 6, 1944, Byron along with other paratroopers in gliders, took their part in history, as the Allied forces invaded Europe. He was transferred back to England until December 1944 when he was sent to Belgium. There, he and his battalion took part in the Battle of Bastogne when Germany tried one last offense against the Allied lines. His battalion continued into Germany and he was at Berchtesgaden when Germany surrendered. He then was sent to Austria and finally returned to the United States and was discharged in September 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart (received shrapnel wounds causing blindness in one eye), the Presidential Citation and the Croix de Guerre.

Byron married Eloise Higgins in October 1945, and they had one son, Timothy. After Eloise's death, Bryon married Rozella Hoff. He is retired from Campbell Soup Company and still resides in Napoleon, Ohio.

Scope and Content

The Byron Armbruster World War II Papers are a remarkable collection of letters written to his parents and also to his girlfriend and later, his wife, Eloise Higgins. They are remarkable as they detail the life of a soldier in the 82nd, and later the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, as he is trained, transferred to England, dropped behind the lines during the D-Day Allied invasion as a paratrooper in a glider, returned to England, sent to Belgium for what would become known as the Battle of Bastogne, and ends at Berchtesgaden when Germany surrenders. Although many of his letters are censored V-mail, they still provide excellent documentation of the war in Europe.

In addition to the letters he wrote home, the collection includes letters written to his parents from other soldiers, letters written to Eloise from an English woman who married a good friend of Byron's while stationed in England, and a letter Byron wrote to the parents of a friend who died at Normandy. All of the letters date from 1943 to 1945.

Photocopies of scrapbooks kept by Byron are also part of the collection. These scrapbooks include photographs, official documents and newspaper articles, all of which help document his World War II experiences.

Series Description


Arranged by recipient in chronological order.
Includes letters and V-mail written by Byron Armbruster while serving in the Army during World War II to his parents, his girlfriend (later his wife) Eloise Higgins, Eloise's parents, and the parents of a soldier killed at Normandy.

Arranged by recipient in chronological order.
Includes letters written to Byron Armbruster's parents from other soldiers and letters written to Eloise from an English woman married to a soldier friend of Byron.


Arranged chronologically
Includes photographs, news clippings, postcards, official papers documenting Byron Armbruster's experiences during World War II.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence to his parents, July-December 1943
  2. Correspondence to his parents, January-May 1944
  3. Correspondence to his parents, June-December 1944
  4. Correspondence to his parents, January-July 1945
  5. Correspondence to Eloise Higgins, April 1942, June-Dec. 1943
  6. Correspondence to Eloise Higgins, January-March 1944
  7. Correspondence to Eloise Higgins, April-December 1944
  8. Correspondence to Eloise Higgins, January-February 1945
  9. Correspondence to Eloise Higgins from English woman who married good friend of Byron, November 1944, January 1945
  10. Correspondence to his parents from other soldiers and people in England, April-Dec. 1944, July 1945 (scattered)
  11. Letter/card to May Frease, 1942, 1944
  12. Correspondence to parents of Eloise Higgins, 1942-1944 (scattered)
  13. Letter to Mr. and Mrs. B.A. Hardin, October 1944
  14. Letter he wrote to parents of good friend killed during D-Day invasion, [post June 1944]
  15. Scrapbook (photocopy), 1942-1945
  16. Scrapbook (photocopy), 1942-1945

MS 984 - Byron Armbruster List of Transcripts
Manuscripts by Subject | U. S. in Wartime