Heard over Shortwave

During WW II citizens in their homes across the U.S. listened to shortwave radio broadcasts for information about Allied POWs.

The broadcasts came from behind enemy lines. Faithful listeners recorded what they heard and attempted to relay information about the soldiers to their families.

The following two notes regarding a September 1944 broadcast were sent to Willman King’s father, Emery King.

A September 1944 broadcast would have come over three months after Willman was recaptured by Axis forces on June 1, 1944. (He had escaped from Camp 59 on September 1943 and evaded the enemy for 8 1/2 months).

Savannah, Ga.,
Sept. 11th, 1944.

Mr. Emery King,
Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Dear Sir:-

Heard over Short Wave that Pvt. William King -37093828, is a prisoner of Germany. Part of his message to you was:- “I am well. Love – Bill.” Thought you may not have heard the broad-cast. We listen every night, as my son. St Sgt. Richard M. Osbourne, is missing in action over France since Aug. 13th and we hope to hear good news of him soon.

Mrs. E. W. Osbourne
7 W. 31st St.,

Note: The U.S. National Archives lists Staff Sergeant Richard M. Osbourne of Georgia, Army Air Corps (heavy bomber), was “returned to military control, liberated or repatriated” from Stalag 17B in Austria—Mrs. Osborne was to have her good news in time.

Sept 7, 1944

Mr. King:

Did you hear the shortwave radio message from Private William King whose A.S.N. [Army Serial Number] is 37093828 – “Am prisoner of war. I am well. Hope to write soon.”

The static was very bad this evening so I may not have received the complete message. Hope someone else writes you.

Mrs. A. Wainionpaa
42 Shawmut St.
Quincy 69, Mass.

For more information about shortwave broadcasting during the war, see the Kind Strangers—Relays from Rome post on this site.

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