90-year-old's woman finds her high school sweetheart's war diary in museum 70 years after he died
Davis did get to read the diary - but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.
He made his first diary entry while a private at Camp Elliott in San Diego, a little less than a year before he was killed. He described it as "my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps ... And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request."
A sniper's bullet between the eyes killed Jones on Sept. 17, 1944, the third day of the U.S. assault on the Pacific island of Peleliu, in Palau.
Burlingame said she didn't know why she never got the diary. It apparently went first to a sister of Jones whom she didn't know well, she said.
Robert Hunt of Evansville, the nephew who gave Jones' artefacts to the museum in 2001, told her he had received it several years after Jones' death and worried that passing it on to Burlingame might cause problems with her marriage. It wouldn't have, she said: "My husband and tommy were good friends."
When she learned Hunt was collecting mementos for the museum, Burlingame said, she gave him photographs and the class ring.
Jones's last entry, written aboard the USS Maui on Dec. 1, 1943, described winning $200 at craps. He had a total of $320, he wrote, and if he were back home "Laura Mae & I would really have a wonderful Xmas." He wondered if he could wire the money to her as a Christmas present