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Special Collections Online at UT

James Vernon Thompson Collection

Identifier: MS-2137

  • Staff Only

A military pass was issued to Elaine Thompson and Claudine Lindsey in order to visit their husbands at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Mrs. Elaine Thompson of Cornersville, Tennessee received a Christmas Greeting from the commanding officers of the 261st Infantry Company H. Vernon writes to his wife, Elaine, of his travel arrangements from New York to Camp Atterbury, Indiana and hopes that she would be able to meet him. Vernon wrote a little over two weeks later from Camp Atterbury expressing his anxious feelings that he would be discharged within a week.


  • 1944-1945

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


0.1 Linear Feet


This collection consists of World War II letters and military pass connected with James Vernon Thompson, Pfc.

Biographical/Historical Note

No specific information was found on James Vernon Thompson. Thompson's unit, the 651st Infantry Regiment (under the command of Colonel William E. Carraway) served exclusively in the European Theatre during World War II. It was attached to the 65th Infantry Division during these operations. The 65th's formation began on July 1, 1943, and it was ready to train as a unit when Major General Stanley E. Reinhart took command on August 16 of the same year. The unit was stationed at various American camps until December 31, 1944, when it staged at Camp Shanks in New York. It departed for France on January 10, 1945 and arrived at Le Havre, France, on January 21, 1945.

The 65th Infantry Division began its service in Europe when it relieved the 26th Division at the bridgehead across the Saar River near Orscholz. The 261st Regiment crossed the Saar four days later to clear German defenders from the heights south of Merzig. After capturing Dillingen, Fraulautern (using the 259th Regiment) and Saarlauten (using the 260th Regiment), the 65th continued west, eventually capturing Neuen Kirchen. After a short rest, the 65th crossed the Rhine on March 29-30, 1945, and reached the Reichensachen-Langenhain line on April 3rd. The division next captured Langensalza, which fell on April 6, 1945. A German counterattack overran a battalion of the 261st at Struth on April 7th, but the division regained control with air support and went into reserve on April 8th.

The 65th next saw major action when it attacked toward Altdorf on April 18th. They established a bridgehead on the Danube despite strong opposition, especially against the 261st on April 26, and the 260th took Regensburg (and overran a sub camp of the infamous concentration camp Flossenburg) on April 27. The division crossed the Isar River at Plattling on May 1, 1945, and the 261st reached the Inn River at Passau on May 2. Passau fell the next day, and the 261st quickly reached the Enns River and overran the town of Enns. The 260th remained to garrison Linz while the rest of the 65th made contact with the advancing Soviet Army in the vicinity of Strengberg on May 8, 1945. The division then moved to Austria and remained there until it was disbanded on August 31, 1945.


Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The Special Collections Library purchased this collection in March 2004.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA