A letter from Corporal Louis I. Ellas in North Africa to his fiancee, Miss Caroline Tomm, describes visit of Martha Raye to his outfit there. He writes:
“Couldn’t wait to tell you what happened at camp. The Red area and put on a show for us She came with her troupe, which consisted of soldiers who were in
the theatrical business before entering the Army.
“She got here about one hour too early so she was invited to the Colonel’s tent. I was in the tent at the time. She sat down and talked about some of her past experiences in the Army. She is a
Captain in the Special Service. She is entitled to a salute. She has been in for one and one-half years.
“About a half an hour before the show was to start, she started to make up. Captain Hajjan suggested that we all leave the tent but she interrupted and said it was not necessary, all she did was change the make-up on her face. Here I am sitting on a chair watching a world famed actress making up.
“She is just as comical off the screen as she is on. She is very quiet and soft-spoken at times. The show was a hit. She came out with some pretty good jokes. She is not at all pretty but she sure has a personality and a good figure.
“After the show, everyone wanted to take a picture of her Some wanted to pose with her A very few did. Here is how it happened. You remember, Capt. Cordon. Well, he suggested that Capt. Hajjan pose with her and hr. in turn, posed with her I’m standing near the camera dressed in fatigues and leggings, and Capt. Gordon asked me if I would like to pose with her I did.
“A lot of the boys standing around really envied me. I could hear shouts—”Wait ’til Caroline hears about this” Martha Raye asked me who’s Caroline and I told her, showed her your picture.
She said that you are lovely She gave me her autograph. Sho wrote “Bless you, Martha Raye, Capt.” It was announced that she would give no autographs, but I managed to get it, the only enlisted man in the regiment to have it.
“When Capt, Gordon develops the films I’ll send you the picture. If you don’t like her standing there, you can clip her off. It’s Just one of those things that happens in a lifetime. A few minutes after pictures were taken, she jumped into the car, and away she went. Andy Baruch of Lucky Strike program was the master of ceremonies.”