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“A Collection of This ‘N That ‘N Sumthin’ Else,” a binder of Ernest E. Coffman’s accounts of his time during World War II, poetry on experiences and his perspectives of everyday life, and other writings.

Ernest E. Coffman was born on a February 23, 1925. He grew up in the mountains of Arkansas and on a family farm in Columbus, Kansas. He registered at his local draft board on his 18th birthday in 1943. Ernest kept a deck of cards with him which he used to mark down dates and events during his service. He was inducted to the army on July 7, 1943 and in February of 1944 sailed out from New York. From New York, the ship sailed to India and landed March 29. Ernest was in charge of teaching the Chinese soldiers how to handle equipment and weapons before being transferred to teach them carpentry. Afterwards, he was put in the First Provisional Tank Group and was an assistant driver in a light tank. In this group, Ernest travelled from Brahmaputra, India through Burma to south central China alongside the Chinese army and “Merrill’s Marauders.” The Tank Group chased the Japanese army through the jungles of Burma, catching up with them in Kutkai where the tanks began battling, ending with major damage to the Japanese and minor damage to the allied tank group. Ernest was never injured in the service, though his tank ran over a mine and flipped over. The war in the CBI Theater ended early 1945 and after Japan surrendered, Ernest was sent home, arriving in Columbus, Kansas on December 13, 1945.

After the war, Ernest finished high school at Riverton, Kansas where his younger sister attended before working at Ford Motors for four years. Coffman then transferred to Southern Bell where he worked as an installation and repair technician for just over 34 years. Ernest retired in 1986. He was an outdoorsman, hunting, fishing, and gardening. He and his wife, Helen Hockett, who he married in 1949, had a daughter and grandson. Ernest passed away on July 20, 2016.

Publication Date



Fine Arts, Military and War, Social Life and Customs


Arts and Humanities

Size of Collection

1 volume

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 0263

Coffman, Ernest E., Collection, 1943-2001



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