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Helen E. Walsh Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 04.0174

Scope and Contents

Helen E. Walsh served in the Women's Army Corps from September 1942 to October 1945. She served as an artificer in Oran, Algeria, North Africa; Caserta, Italy; and Dijon, France. She earned three major battle stars for her service close to the front lines in three major battle areas of the European Theater, including Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and Rhineland. She was a Sergeant Major when she received an honorable medical discharge. Walsh remained active in the National Association of Women's Veterans, and kept extensive scrapbooks about her own service in the WAC, and of World War II in general.

The collection contains 1 box of documents and clippings about Walsh during and after her Army service, 1/2 box of photographs Walsh took while serving overseas, 2 artifact boxes containing Walsh's Army equipment and items she collected overseas, and 4 Women's Army Corps uniform pieces.


  • Created: 1942-2004
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1942-1945
  • Other: Date acquired: 06/14/2004


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Helen Elizabeth Walsh was born August 10, 1914, in McGregor, Iowa. She was the youngest of five children and walked six miles to school every day in the countryside when she was a kid. She graduated high school as valedictorian in 1934 and went to Midland Linotype School in Charles City, Iowa. She worked as a linotype operator in Morning Sun, Iowa; Floyd, Iowa; and eventually in Fernandina, Florida.

On September 26, 1942, at the age of twenty-eight, Walsh was one of the first women to enlist in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps at Camp Blanding, Florida. She went to basic training in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 13, 1942. She served in the 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, “Pee Wee” Platoon. Prior to her overseas service, Walsh was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, performing radar communications work for the Norfolk Virginia Air Corps from November 11, 1942, to March 22, 1943. She was stationed at Camp Polk, Louisiana, for training from March 22, 1943, to May 25, 1943. She completed training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, from May 25, 1943, until August 1943.

Walsh shipped out to Oran, Algeria, North Africa, on August 12, 1943. She served in Oran from September 1943 to July 1944. She first served in the air corps as a Technician 5th Class. Her role in the Women’s Army Corps was as an artificer; she had her own workshop and fixed things like water works, irons, broken mirrors, etc. She had four young Algerian boys working in her workshop to keep it clean, and she lived in a tent with three other WACs. From July 1944 to November 1944, Walsh served in Caserta, Italy, as an artificer. She was promoted to Technician 4th class on October 23, 1944. In November 1944, she was stationed in Dijon, France, and was promoted to Sergeant in December 1944.

In May 1945, Walsh shipped to Charleston, South Carolina, on the Army Hospital Ship Algonquin. She had debilitating pain in her jaw from numerous cysts. She received an Honorable Medical Discharge from the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on October 3, 1945. During World War II, Walsh provided war products and communications services to the front lines in Algeria, Italy, and France. She earned three major battle stars for her service close to the front lines in three major battle areas of the European Theater, including Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and Rhineland.

After World War II, Walsh created scrapbooks containing extensive information about her personal WAC experiences; photographs from her time overseas; and newspaper clippings about herself, other WACs, and the war in general. She continued her work as a linotype operator for newspapers in Iowa, Minnesota, and Florida, before developing her own successful business in real estate property management when she settled in Decatur, Georgia. She was a member of the Atlanta World War II Roundtable and Avondale American Legion Post 66 and was involved in the National Association of Women Veterans. Walsh died in Decatur, Georgia, on December 24, 2007, at the age of 93.


2.5 boxes (Gen Coll: [1] Full Box; PH Coll: (1) 1/2 box; AT Coll: [2] Full Boxes; Oversize Uniform Box 1; Gen Coll: Oversize Box 5; Uniform Rack 2)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Source of Acquisition

Helen E. Walsh

Method of Acquisition


Processing Information

Processed February 2017; Updated June 2020

Helen E. Walsh Collection
Gillian Morton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US