B-17 Radio Operator's 500+ Letters in New Book Published by W. Brand Publishing

Share Article

Labor of love provides unprecedented historical and cultural window into World War II.

"All the fellows envy us our Pilot - he is grade A believe me... at a moment, [he] had my confidence. He is just a kid, but when he drives that "truck" he takes on a maturity that merits admiration and respect in my eyes." - S/Sgt. Frank G. Thompson, 1944

Not since Anne Frank's diaries has a window into the day-to-day life of World War II been opened to the world - this time that life belongs to an ordinary soldier. Frank G. Thompson wrote his family almost daily from the day he reported for duty in 1944 until his honorable discharge in 1946, but his voice was trapped in a box in the basement of his family home for over 70 years. It wasn't until 2014, almost 50 years after his death, that his words were discovered by his daughter who never really knew him. An Unexpected Coddiwomple: The story of a father's sudden death, a box of W.W.II letters, and a daughter's life transformed, was published by W. Brand Publishing, LLC, and released August 6, 2019. Early reviewers have learned history from a primary source, laughed and cried on an emotional roller coaster while reading #AnUnexpectedCoddiwomple. It's a story of family, duty, faith, and a life transformed. It’s a story of love.


Destined to become the next seminal first-person narrative, S/Sgt. Frank G. Thompson's letters are a departure from the servicemen exploits of contemporary books and movies. His story takes a different approach, a more personal and intimate one. In his letters, his voice comes through loud and clear. He shares his observations, thoughts, emotions, faith, and his honesty. In a way, he could have been a "World War II everyman" with his day by day accounting of the everyday life of enlisted men during the war.

From basic training, to technical training, and throughout combat training, Frank's letters share his feelings and frustrations, his fears and his follies. From his first postcard home about the "grade A redheads" he encountered, to his final telegraph, "ON THE WAY HOME SOON - LOVE, FRANK," his daughter spent the better part of three years with him, both literally and figuratively, typing roughly 350,000 words, submerged in World War II and getting to know a man she's wanted to know her whole life - the father who died when she was only four years old. Who she came to know was a thoroughly decent human being - a loving son and brother, a devoted friend, a competent and dedicated fellow crewman, a good soldier, a true patriot, and a man faithful to God and country.


During the author's second year of typing letters she became curious about her father's pilot. Throughout her father's combat training and then during his time in Europe, he'd spoken very highly of his pilot, "All the fellows envy us our Pilot - he is grade A believe me... at a moment, had my confidence. He is just a kid, but when he drives that "truck" he takes on a maturity that merits admiration and respect in my eyes." Many letters her father had written from Europe were signed by 1Lt. Roger W. Sundin, most likely a form of censorship. One evening in August, 2016, she decided to do an internet search and try to find out whatever happened to "Big Sundin."

Her searches lead her to a marketing firm in Boston, Massachusetts whose founder had the pilot's exact name only with the suffix Jr., which showed promise since the pilot hailed from Rhode Island. Deciding it was worth an inquiry she emailed the founder. The next day, she received a reply from Roger Jr., "You have indeed found the right family...and my father will be celebrating his 93rd birthday next week." Overwhelmed at finding Big Sundin, and learning that he was alive and well, and living independently with his wife, both in their 90s, Roger Jr. orchestrated a meeting between them and the story took on a life of its own.


It was a comment Ms. Thompson's mother made, "His letters read more like a book than letters," that started Thompson thinking about sharing her father's story with the world. However, it was some very direct encouragement from Big Sundin who, on one of her visits in 2017, issued a direct order, “Just write the damn book!” Spoken like the U.S. Army Air Corp Officer and World War II veteran he was, he added, “Heck, I’ve told everyone it's going to be a movie.” And so, in 2019, she did just that. After years of writing, typing letters, traveling, and researching, she followed that “order” given by Big Sundin and wrote the damn book!


The historical significance and the cultural emersion found within the 500+ handwritten letters is truly what make this book so important. In addition, Thompson wanted to bring her father back to life and introduce him to the world 54 years after his death while at the same time recognize Roger for his heroics in performing the "perfect ditching" that saved the lives of his entire crew. Had he not done so, her father and her entire family would not exist.

"For years, we never spoke of him," Thompson says about her father, "which I realize now was a complete shame. But we really never knew him until now." Frank's story of growing up in a single-parent household during the depression, sent off to war in his early twenties, surviving beyond all odds B-17 air combat over Germany in World War II, and becoming a medical doctor upon his return home, clearly demonstrates the conviction and ambition of The Greatest Generation. It's through her father’s own words, Thompson uncovers truths about her parentage that had been buried with him in 1965, revealing decades of mysteries that culminate with an invitation to Buckingham Palace.

Readers interested in learning more about Ms. Thompson and An Unexpected Coddiwomple may follow her blog through her author Facebook page @lorettothompsonbooks or her website lorettothompson.com. Books are available for purchase at the following e-tailers: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, Walmart.com, Target.com and are also available for order through your local library. Ms. Thompson is also available for author talks and presentations at schools, museums, book clubs, and organizations. The book trailer video may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/372257505.

Inquiries regarding book promotion and events should be directed to j.brand@wbrandpub.com.

About Loretto Thompson: Loretto is a career marketing professional with a special penchant for writing. Since 2014, she has been typing, traveling, and researching the story–past and present–of AN UNEXPECTED CODDIWOMPLE. She is an accomplished painter and lives in Niagara Falls, New York in a "tiny house" nestled along the Straits of Niagara. https://www.lorettothompson.com/

About W. Brand Publishing: Independent boutique publisher specializing in memoirs, purpose-driven non-fiction, children’s, and fiction. For more information on how the award-winning team at W. Brand Publishing puts a twist on publishing by using traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing models, check out https://www.wbrandpub.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Loretto Thompson
ASI Marketing
+1 (716) 404-2651
Email >

JuLee Brand
Visit website