Auxiliary Alice L. Brittingham (1919–1943)

Alice L. Brittingham (Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives, enhanced with MyHeritage)
ResidencesCivilian Occupation
Born in Maryland, grew up in Delaware, lived in Pennsylvania as an adultWaitress
BranchService Number
Women’s Army Auxiliary CorpsA-310347
TheaterUnit
Zone of InteriorCompany 3, 21st Regiment

Early Life & Family

Alice Levinia Brittingham was born in Pittsville, Maryland, around January 1919.  She was the daughter of Charles E. (a farmer, 1892–1970) and Bertha E. Brittingham (née Cooper, 1893–1978).  Brittingham had 11 siblings: An older brother, two older sisters, six younger brothers, and two younger sisters.  The Brittingham family was recorded living on a farm in Willards, Maryland, at the time the census was taken on January 8, 1920.  It appears that Brittinghams had moved to the Millsboro area in Sussex County, Delaware, by March 31, 1921, when the family’s next child—Ralph William Brittingham (1921–1985)—was born.  On the next census, taken on April 9, 1930, the family was recorded as living on a farm along Hickory Hill Road, which runs south from Millsboro.

According to the 1940 census, she completed three years of high school, while her enlistment data card stated that she had completed one year of high school. 

Census records state that Brittingham was living in Dover, Delaware, as of April 1, 1935, but by April 1940, she had moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She was recorded on the census that month, living at 237 South 42nd Street with her older sister, Norma (later Killen, 1917–1986), and cousin, Ruth.  All three women were working as waitresses.  Brittingham moved to 253 South 40th Street in Philadelphia prior to entering the service. 


W.A.A.C.s in training (National Archives)

Military Service

Brittingham enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (W.A.A.C.) in Philadelphia on February 16, 1943.  She began her basic training with Company 3, 21st Regiment, at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.  Soon after, on March 5, 1943, she was diagnosed with appendicitis.  According to a May 12, 1943, article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, after surgery, Brittingham “was on the road to recovery when peritonitis developed.”  Brittingham died in the Fort Oglethorpe Station Hospital on May 10, 1943, aged 24.

After services in Wyoming, Delaware, on May 15, 1943, Brittingham was buried at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Smyrna, Delaware.  Her parents and several siblings were also buried there after their deaths.

Brittingham is honored at Veteran’s Memorial Park in New Castle, Delaware, and on a placard alongside the Delaware Women’s Service Monument on the grounds of the Legislative Hall in Dover.


Notes

Date of Birth

Brittingham’s date of birth is unknown.  She was listed as being born in 1919 on her enlistment data card and headstone.  At the time of the 1920 census on January 8, 1920, she was listed as being one year old.  Census records usually listed ages in months when under one year old, but it’s hard to say if this particular census enumerator followed that convention.  Still, she must have been born in early 1919, because she had already had her 24th birthday prior to her death on May 10, 1943.

Home of Record

Brittingham appears on a Pennsylvania casualty list since she was a resident of that state at the time she enlisted.

Photo Enhancement

The photo on this page was digitally enhanced using tools on the genealogy website MyHeritage.  This software is useful in instances where the only known photograph is of limited resolution (in this case, because the original prints was fuzzy and damaged).  I believe this to be an accurate reconstruction, but the software could potentially introduce errors by misinterpreting fuzzy details in the original photograph.  A comparison of the original and enhanced versions of the photos can be viewed below. 

Original (top) and enhanced version (Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives)

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to the Delaware Public Archives for the use of their photo.


Bibliography

“Alice L. Brittingham.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 12, 1943.  Pg. 23. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/86827538/obituary-for-alice-l-brittingham-aged/

“Alice Levinia Brittingham.”  Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15750504/alice-levinia-brittingham

Brittingham, Bertha.  Alice Levinia Brittingham Individual Military Service Record, March 11, 1946.  Record Group 1325-003-053, Record of Delawareans Who Died in World War II.  Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware. https://cdm16397.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15323coll6/id/17833/rec/1

United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920.  National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4301044-01134,   https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4301044-01135

United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930.  National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6224/images/4531895_00601      

United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940.  National Archives at Washington, D.C. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/M-T0627-03712-00412   

World War II Army Enlistment Records.  Record Group 64, Records of the National Archives and Records Administration.  National Archives at College Park, Maryland. https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=1&cat=all&tf=F&q=A-310347&bc=&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=40424  


Last updated on October 11, 2021

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