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Francis Merkley - World War II

Frank Merkley had already been driving trucks for several years when he was drafted by the Army in November of 1942. Six months later he was driving a truck in Persia, helping deliver supplies from the port of Kharramshahr in modern day Iran to Andimeshk, the first leg of the Allies efforts to get war supplies to the Soviets. In early 1945 his unit, the 3949th Quartermaster Truck Company, was transferred to the China-Burma-India theater, where Merkley spent the rest of the war. He drove the famous Burma Road over some of the most treacherous terrain of the war, and survived a couple of near death experiences.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

First Close Call

Abstract

Interview Session (Audio)

Army truck driver who served both in Persia and China-Burma-India


Photos

Caption

Frank Merkley finds a moment to relax while he was taking basic training in early 1943 at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi.

Where:

Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi

When:

1943

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

An Arab women watches an allied supply convoy heading toward the Soviet Union somewhere in Persia in 1943. Frank drove the first leg of that trip, dropping off his load at Andimeshk.

Where:

Persia

When:

1943

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

U.S. Army truck convoy loaded down with aid for Russia passes an Iranian native herding his livestock.

Where:

Persia

When:

Circa 1943

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

A truck convoy lines up in Persia, destination Russia. Frank reported that approximately 200 trucks headed off to the Soviet Union every day, part of the American’s lend-lease donation to the Russians.

Where:

Persia

When:

Circa 1943

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

A National Archives photo depicts the treacherous nature of the Burma Road during World War II, where one missed turn could plunge a driver to his death.

Where:

Burma Road

When:

CircaJanuary 1942 – July 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator. NARA

Caption

Frank holds his son, Lon, and daughter Pam in the early 1950s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

early 1950s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Frank Merkley in 1955. He returned to Princeton, Illinois after the war, and eventually started a pest control business, finally retiring at age ninety.

Where:

Princeton, Illinois

When:

1955

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Frank takes a rare moment to relax at his home in Princeton in 1962.

Where:

Princeton, Illinois

When:

1962

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Frank and Ireta (Rita) Merkley celebrate their son Lon’s wedding in 1971 in Princeton.

Where:

Princeton, Illinois

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Frank proudly stands in front of a Princeton shop window in 2015, with his uniform displayed behind him. He was 95 years old at the time.

Where:

Princeton, Illinois

When:

2015

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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