Hamilton County


Capt. Frank Albert Wilke




Lt. Wilke Awaiting His Orders

Lt. Frank A. Wilke is in Webster City awaiting orders from the United States army which recently transferred him from Fort Riley, Kansas to Hawaii.

Lieutenant Wilke is in the medical corps. He received his transfer about a month ago and later was granted a furlough to visit his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wilke, in Webster City. He and his wife and baby daughter, Barbara Ann, arrived here Sunday for a visit. His wife and child will remain here during his stay in Hawaii.

Lieutenant Wilke had orders to sail Jan. 2 from San Francisco, but since war has been declared with Japan he expects to be called any time.

Lt. M. J. House, who is with Company E at Camp Clairborne, La., left Saturday night for camp, after completing a 18 day furlough with his family in this city.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Dec. 8, 1941


Mr. and Mrs. John Wilke are just in receipt of a cablegram from their son, Dr. Frank Wilke, now a lieutenant in the medical service of the U. S. army, saying he has just arrived in India. An unusual coincidence is that he landed at the same port (unnamed) where his cousin, Lieut. Vernon Wilke, of the flying corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Wilke is stationed.

Dr. Wilke made the trip by water and was on shipboard for 60 days, indicating he took a rather circuitous course. Vernon, an outstanding pilot, made the trip some months ago by air. Dr. Frank Wilke, a graduate of the medical school at the University of Iowa, was at Woodward when inducted into the army.

Source: Webster City Freeman, Webster City, IA - Aug. 10, 1942


Tells of Trip Which Finally Landed Him in Indian War Zone.

Dr. Frank A. Wilke, son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wilke of this city, and formerly a practicing physician of Woodward, who is now with the United States forces in India, has written an interesting letter to Hal Schlitz, editor of the Woodward Enterprise. He was enroute to India on the ocean for 60 days and on his arrival there, met his cousin, Vernon Wilke, in the United States air corps. Mrs. Wilke is now visiting her home in Webster City.

His letter, written at sea, follows:

Well, at last I am bound for foreign duty. Somehow, or other, my Hawaiian duty orders were never carried out and as a result, I spent about four months more at Fort Riley, Kan., before those old orders to foreign duty were cancelled and new ones issued. This time I’m going in the opposite direction

Destination Secret

Our final destination is a secret to all of us. I imagine when we land, we’ll be asking the natives where we are. It was the impression held by most of us that we would be told where we were going, but no such luck. Many of us, in fact most of us, are guessing, but only a few top ranking line officers know and they are not telling the rest of us.

Following receiving orders at Fort Riley, I went to Fort Bliss, Texas, where the hospital unit to which I was attached was activated. Fort Bliss is located at El Paso, Texas, situated on the border and across the Rio Grande river from Juarez, Mexico.

There is a low range of mountains to the west and north of El Paso, giving the city some very beautiful scenery.

Wife Joins Him

I was certainly surprised at the Rio Grande river. I had always imagined that it was a large one. However, at El Paso, it is nothing more than a big creek. The current is quite swift but the stream is rather narrow. I guess further down it is quite a large river but from where I saw it, I was disappointed.

Juarez, Mexico, is rather interesting. Having never been in Mexico before, I found many things to catch my eye. I would not care to live there though. Too much dirt and squalor.

Mrs. Wilke joined me at El Paso a few days after my arrival there. We spent many happy days together before she went back home. Believe me, that was a painful parting for I knew that in a few days I would head for the point of embarkation to go overseas. Subsequent letters from Mildred informed me that she made the trip from El Paso to Webster City without any trouble. That was her first long trip with the car all alone. I feel quite proud of her accomplishment. A few days after Mildred left we boarded the train for the east coast. The city from which we left is not supposed to be mentioned so I must obey orders.

Well Cared For

We have been at sea now almost a month. Believe me, I sure would like to set foot on land again. This ocean is pretty big. In addition, we do not expect to land for many days.

Our food and quarters are the best. The army is taking good care of us in that respect. One rather difficult thing is the matter of bathing. We have only salt water to wash in and believe me, it is bad. A salt water bath leaves one feeling very sticky and trying to get a lather with it is still worse.

Most of us get out on deck when it rains and take a shower that way. It would amuse you greatly to see a bunch of grown men hollering and jumping around like a bunch of kids taking a bath in the rain.

By the way, I now do my own laundry. There is a laundry on board, but due to the shortage of water, they only wash the linens for beds and tables. I laugh to myself, as I get down on my knees and wash out my clothes in the bath tub. I’ve often said if only the folks at home could see me now.

Routine Life

Life on board ship is rather routine, eat sleep and go on deck. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no recreation and even reading material is very short. All of us thought that there would be at least enough reading material on board ship, so did not bring any. Much to our sorrow we found no provisions were made for this. I think the prize is a 1920 issue of the National Geographic magazine. Ha, ha.

However, it’s not too tough on us and no one is complaining.

I surely miss all my old friends and patients at Woodward. I have a very warm spot in my heart for the Woodward people, and shall always have.

My new assignment is with a station hospital unit. I consider myself very fortunate having received so good an assignment for I shall receive a great deal of experience in medicine and especially in surgery in this unit. So many young doctors are assigned to first aid stations, etc., near the front. Frequently, their work is mostly first aid, while in a station hospital our work will be mostly serious surgical and medical cases.

Will close for now. Perhaps you’ll find enough news here to make it worth printing your paper. If so, do.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - August 19, 1942


Lieut. Frank Wilke Sends Flowers to Relatives Here.

A welcome New Year’s day greeting in the form of flowers was received by Mrs. Frank A. Wilke and Mr. and Mrs. John Wilke of this city from their husband and son, Lieut. Frank Wilke who was last reported stationed with the U. S. armed forces somewhere in India.

This surprise made possible by the American Red Cross which acts as the liaison between members of the armed forces wherever they may be located and their relatives and friends at home. Lieut. Wilke made a request to the Red Cross field director located at his station. The field director cabled the national headquarters of the American Red Cross, Washington, D. C., who in turn wired the Hamilton County home service chairman, Mrs. Vern Lubbers, who handled the arrangements here. This illustrates the World Wide Service offered by the American Red Cross through its field directors to all members of the armed forces and is a fine example of the work the Red Cross is doing.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Jan. 6, 1943


Frank Wilke, son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wilke of this city, has been promoted to the rank of captain according to word received from the Webster City medical officer who is attached to a station hospital somewhere in China.

Captain Wilke was formerly stationed in India and while there met his cousin, Captain Vernon Wilke also of this city who was attached to an air corps unit. Captain Frank Wilke’s address, with the number of his unit deleted because of censorship rulings, is as follows: Captain Frank Wilke, 038163, MC, Station Hospital, APO 627, Care of Postmaster, New York City.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Nov. 29, 1943

Frank Albert Wilke was born Jan. 9, 1914 to John A. and Lura Nell Clark Wilke. He died in May 1971 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Capt. Wilke was stationed in India and later at a station hospital in China.

Source: ancestry.com