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Frank Dow Merrill, 1903-1955

Papers, 1941-48

MC 109

3 boxes

About Frank Dow Merrill

Frank Dow Merrill was born on December 4, 1903. He enlisted in the Regular Army in 1922 and graduated from West Point in 1929. He obtained his B.S. degree in military engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1938, Merrill studied Japanese and Chinese while working as the assistant military attaché at the United States Embassy in Tokyo. By October 1941 he was promoted to major (temporarily) and assigned to Manila as General Douglas MacArthur’s intelligence officer. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Merrill was in Rangoon, Burma on a flying mission for MacArthur. He remained there to become Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell’s aid in the China-Burma-India Theater.

In the Spring of 1942 Merrill was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In July he was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart for his meritorious actions in Burma between March and May 1942. In October 1943 Merrill prepared a long-range penetration group of about 3000 U.S. infantrymen, for a hazardous mission in Burma. After intensive training in jungle warfare, Merrill’s Marauders (sometimes called Merrill’s Raiders), became the first American infantrymen to fight on the Asiatic mainland. Merrill’s Marauders, prepared by the Historical Division of the War Department, recounts the activities of this courageous group from February to May in 1944. In March 1944, after a 100-mile march, they surprised the enemy by blocking the only Japanese supply line in the Hukawng Valley.

In September of 1944, Merrill was promoted to major general. Towards the end of his active military career, he suffered from heart problems, as a result of which he was relieved of his command. In 1945 he served as General Stilwell’s Chief of Staff and later as commander of the Sixth Army at San Francisco.

After retirement from the Army, Merrill moved back to New Hampshire with his wife and two sons to become New Hampshire’s Highway Commissioner. He died December 12, 1955 of a heart attack after attending a meeting of the American Association of State Highway Officials in New Orleans, where he had just been elected president of that organization.

About the Frank Dow Merrill collection

The Frank Dow Merrill collection primarily contains Merrill’s letters to his wife and two sons in North Woodstock N.H., while he was stationed in Burma between 1943 and 1948. There are gaps because of military activities and illnesses, but overall the correspondence is consistent. In these letters Merrill discusses in general terms his location and duties in Burma and tries to keep informed on situations at home. The remaining folders contain military operation summaries, Allied Commanders Despatches, military distribution lists, empty envelopes from Burma. These provide information on daily, weekly, and monthly activities of the Land, Sea, and Air Operation in South East Asia between June 1944 and May 1945 and discuss the preparations for the 1944 campaigns in South East Asia between August 1943 and May 1945.

Over 100 of Merrill’s maps of the East Indies, Asia, and Australia, dating from 1921 to 1950, were added to the collection in February, 2000 and are housed in the Government Information Map Room.

SOURCES:

Folder Listing:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Military operations, despatches, distribution list
  3. Miscellaneous
  4. Maps

I. Correspondence (mostly to his wife in North Woodstock, N.H.)

BOX 1
f.1 March-May 1941.
f.2 June 1941.
f.3 July-August 1941.
f.4 September-November 1941.
f.5 February-April 1942.
f.6 June-July 1942.
f.7 August-September 1942.
f.8 October-December 1942.
f.9 1943.
f.10 January-June 1944.
f.11 July-September 23, 1944.
f.12 September 29-November 15, 1944.
f.13 November 17-November 26, 1944.
f.14 November 29-December 14, 1944.
f.15 December 16-December 25, 1944.
f.16 January 3-January 13, 1945.
f.17 January 19-January 27, 1945.
f.18 February 14-February 18, 1945.
f.19 March 12-April 14, 1945.
f.20 April 25-May 22, 1945.
f.21 June 9-June 21, 1945.
f.22 June 23-June 30, 1945.
f.23 July 7-July 12, 1945.
f.24 July 17-July 27, 1945.
f.25 July 31-August 6, 1945.
f.26 August 10-August 18, 1945.
f.27 August 21-August 22, 1945.
f.28 August 23-August 30, 1945.

BOX 2
f.1 September 4-September 15, 1945.
f.2 September 16-October 4, 1945.
f.3 October 9-October 14, 1945.
f.4 July 1-July 3, 1947.
f.5 November 10-November 24, 1947.
f.6 December 1-December 20, 1947.
f.7 December 22-December 29, 1947.
f.8 January 1-April 1948.
f.9 April 8-May 18, 1948.
f.10 May 18-May 24, 1948.
f.11 Envelopes, 1 of 3.
f.12 Envelopes, 2 of 3.
f.13 Envelopes, 3 of 3.
f.14 March 23, 195?, Yaharo Hiromichi to Merrill, with translation.

II. Military Operations, Dispatches, and Distribution List

BOX 3
f.1 Land, Sea, Air Operations (June 1944 – May 1945).
f.2 Land, Sea, Air Operations (June 1944 – October 1944).
f.3 Land, Sea, Air Operations (June 1944 – May 1945).
f.4 Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part I).
f.5 Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part II).
f.6 Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part III).
f.7 Draft Dispatch (January 1946, Appendix A&B)7.
f.8 Drill Instruction.
f.9 Distribution List (June 1944).
f.10 “Operations in North Burma.”

III. Miscellaneous

f.11 Biographical Information.
f.12 Recollections of Lucy W. Merrill covering 1941-52.

IV. Maps (Located in Government Documents Map Room)

East Indies

Admiralty Islands (1943).
Aitape (1943).
Ambunti (1943, revised 1943).
Aroe Eilanden (1941, reprinted 1944).
Banda (1944).
Bandjermasin (1941) reprinted in 1944).
Batavia (1941, reprinted 1943).
Blitar (1945).
Boetoeng (1941, reprinted 1944).
Ceram (1944).
Daru (1943).
Greluink Baai (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Koepang, Timor (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Makassar, Celebes (1941, reprinted 1944).
Manado, Celebes (1941, reprinted 1944).
Medan (1941, reprinted 1943).
Midden Celebes (1941, reprinted 1944).
Oost Borneo (1941, reprinted 1944).
Padang (1941, reprinted 1943).
Palembang (1941, reprinted 1943).
Pontianak, Borneo (1941, reprinted 1944).
Port Moresby (1943).
Sarawak, Borneo (1941, reprinted 1944).
Singaradja, Bali (1941, reprinted 1944).
Soerabaja, Java (1941, reprinted 1944).
Timor Sea (1941, reprinted 1944).

Asia

Andaman Islands (1944).
Arakan (1942, reprinted in 1944).
Bangkok, Siam (Krungthep) (1950).
Bihar (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Calcutta (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Central Tibet (1948).
Ch’ang-an (1946, reprinted 1947).
Christmas Island (1946, reprinted 1947).
Coburg Peninsula (1946, reprinted 1947).
Dalat (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Eastern Tibet (1949, reprinted 1950).
Hanoi (1943).
Hue (1944).
Irrawaddy (1941, reprinted in 1943).
Isthmus of Kra (1941, reprinted in 1944).
Khong, Southeast Asia (1945).
Kunming (Yunnan) (1942, reprinted in 1943).
Kweilin (1944).
Mandalay (1942, reprinted in 1943).
Nicobar Islands (1941, reprinted in 1945).
Qui Nhon (1943, reprinted 1944).
Penang Island (1944).
Rangoon, Southeast Asia (1945).
Saigon (1942, reprinted in 1945).
Singapore, (1951).
Sources of Huang Ho (1949).
T’ien-Shui (1946, reprinted in 1947).
Trengganu (1941, reprinted in 1944 and 1945).
Tsango (1945, reprinted in 1945).
Yang-Ch’ii (1946, reprinted in 1947).
Manila City, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
Manila Northeast (1947).
Manila Northwest (1947).
Manila Southeast (1947).
Manila Southwest (1947).
Philippine Islands (1941).
Southern Luzon.

Eastern Asia

Canton, Ching (1941, r. in 1945).
Cape Bolinao, Philippine Islands (1944).
Changsha (1945).
Chungking (1942, 1945 (1st AMS Edition ).
Davao, Philippine Islands (1945).
Fu-Chou (1945).
Hainan, China (1942, r. in 1943).
Hakodate, Japan (1941, r. in 1945).
Hong Kong, China (1941 r. in 1945).
Jehol (1942, 1945 (1st AMS Edition).
Kogoshima, Japan (1942, r. in 1944).
Kanazawa, Japan (1942, r. in 1944).
Keijo, Japan (1942, r. in 1943).
Lhasa (1944, 1945 (1st AMS Edition).
Liaonga Bay, Philippine Islands (1943, r. in 1944).
Nagasaki, Japan (1942, r. in 1944).
Naha, Japan (1942, r. in 1944).
Nan-Ching, China (1942, 1943 r. in 1944 (1st AMS Edition ).
Nan-T’ung, China (1942, r. in 1945).
Natoena, Netherlands Indies (1943, r. in 1944).
Negros, Philippine Islands (1943, r. in 1942, revised in 1944).
Nemuro, Japan (1942, 1943 revised in 1944 (1st AMS Edition).
North Borneo (1941, r. in 1944).
North Luzon, Philippine Islands (1943, r. in 1944).
Ogasawara-Gunto, Japan (1942, r. in 1943, revisied in 1944).
Osaka, Japan (1942, r. in 1943, revised in 1944).
Palawan, Philippine Islands (1943, r. in 1944).
Pei-P’ing (Peking), China (1944).
Ryojun, Manchuria (1942, r. and revised in 1944).
San Agustin, Philippine Islands (1943, r. in 1944).
Scarborough, South China Sea (1944, revised in 1944).
Sendai, Japan (1942, r. in 1943).
Shang-Hai, China (1942, r. 1945).
Shen-Yang (Mukden), China (1944).
Taihoku, Formosa (1942, r. in 1945).
Tainan, Formusa (1942, r. in 1945).
Tokyo, Japan (1945).
Tori-Shima, Japan (1942, r. in 1943, revised in 1944).
Upper Mekong (1945).
Vladmiro-Aleksandrovskoye, USSR (1944).
Vladivostok, USSR (1944).
Myitkyina and Putao Districts and Tribal Area: Burma.
No. 92 F/S.W. 1st Edition in 1920, revised 1922.
New Edition 1925, reprinted in 1942 with major corrections.
No. 92 F. 1st Edition in 1920, reprinted 1942. 1928 edition.
No. 92 G/NW 1st Edition 1924, reprinted 1942 with major corrections and reprinted 1943. 1924 Edition.

Australia

Cooktown (1942).
Darwin (1942, r. in 1943).
Roper River (1942, r. in 1943).
Weymouth (1942).
York Sound (1942, reprinted in 1943).

Miscellaneous

Anchorages in the Solomon Islands (1921).
Russell Islands.
Rendova Harbor.
Viru Harbor.
India and Burma (1943, reprinted 1944).
Calcutta to Hong Kong (Copy ?).
China to Singapore.
Operations, Northern Combat area command Small and large (10/43-4/45).
Thailand (?)

One Response to “Frank Dow Merrill, 1903-1955”

  1. Old soldiers never die – Venice resident among oldest West Point grads « War Tales Says:

    [...] Col. Frank Dow Merrill was one of the most famous members of Stephenson’s West Point class of 1929. He lead “Merrill’s Marauders,” 3,000 volunteer commandos, behind Japanese lines during World War II. [...]

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