World War II soldier's letters delivered to son -- 69 years later

A letter mailed from a U.S. Army soldier during World War II has finally made it across the pond, some 70 years later.

Chuck Kunellis, of Fair Oaks, Calif., said he was “flabbergasted” to receive two letters written by his father, Chris Kunellis, to his mother, Phyllis, on Monday, 69 years to the day they were penned by the late soldier in 1944. The letters had been mailed from Italy to Arlington, Va., but they never reached their intended destination.

“I was astounded,” Kunellis told “I got this letter from Australia and had no idea who it was from. Then I opened it up and I was just flabbergasted.”

Chris Kunellis, who died in 1992, joined the Army just days after Chuck was born, the younger Kunellis, 71, said, adding that his father never spoke much about his wartime years. That made the tidbits he gleaned from the letters especially emotional, he said, adding that Chris Kunellis took part in battles near Anzio, Italy, and on Monte Cassino in 1944. Kunellis’ mother passed away in 1995.


“Where they were between then and now, I cannot even conjecture,” he said of the pair of letters. “They’ll certainly be saved and I will share them with my extended family.”

Kunellis said the letters finally reached him thanks to the efforts of John Armstrong, an Australian stamp collector who purchased a collection of letters from a U.S. dealer and found the missives. Armstrong and Kunelllis were soon emailing and Armstrong then relayed the letters.

“He Googled me,” Kunellis said of how Armstrong tracked him down. “He said he was able to find me almost immediately.”

Armstrong, who could not be reached for comment, then sent the letters to Kunellis because “that’s where they belong,” he told United Press International.

"They were just a bunch of letters,” Armstrong said. “And when I was sorting through them, I found these two that didn't look like they'd been opened.

Armstrong continued: "So, I posted it to him because that's where they belong. They're only about 70 years late, which is quite something really, if you think of it."

Kunellis said he’s unsure exactly what he’ll do with the letters.

“I don’t know how significant they are,” he said in reference to their historical value. “We haven’t gotten that far yet.”