Here are two letters addressed to Mr. Nelson regarding the death of his son, Charles Leroy Nelson.
U.S.S. Oklahoma, Marine Detachment October 22, 1918
My dear Mr. Nelson:
Please pardon the liberty we take in sending this letter in the hour of your bereavement, but as your son was friend and comrade alike to all members of the detachment, we wish to join in expressing to his family our sincerest and heartfelt sympathies for an irreparable loss.
Although your son was with us only a few short weeks, he became as one of us, sharing our food, our quarters, our hard ships and pleasures with a true spirit of comradeship that, with his bright congenial spirit, soon endeared him to al his companions and won for him many warm friends who mourn his loss.
Enclosed we are sending two money orders to the amount of one hundred fifty-one dollars and fifty cents which was sacredly contributed in small amounts, each one of his comrades giving part, and it is their wish that this money be used to purchase a headstone for him and that it bears on some part of the stone the following inscription. “Dedicated to Charles Leroy Nelson, our comrade and friend, by his comrades and friends, The Officers and Men of the Marine Detachment U.S.S. Oklahoma, October 22, 1918.” Of course, Mr. Nelson the above inscription is purely optional and if you see fit to leave it off for any reason whatever, we shall not feel offended.
Expressing again our sincere regret at the loss of your son and our comrade and earnestly sympathizing with yourself, family and relatives, we are, sir, Your true friends, The Officers and Men of Marine Detachment, U.S.S. Oklahoma, W.H. Davis, commanding Capt. U.S.M.C.
U.S.S. Oklahoma, October 22, 1918
My dear Mr. Nelson,
While the Navy Department has informed you of your son’s death, I wish to write you and offer my sympathy and that of the officers and crew.
We are one large family and the loss of one of our members is felt by each.
Your son gave his life for our country while serving at the front, no one can do more. His last hours were peaceful and I can assure you that every possible attention was given him. All of us attended the funeral services conducted aboard and two of his friends will accompany his body to Queenstown.
In other correspondence will be given details of his estate and it is pleasing to me hat he was so thoughtful as to take out the full amount of insurance, $10,000, in your behalf.
Again, offering you and yours my sympathy, I am Very respectfully yours, Chas. B. McVay, Jr., Capt. U.S.N. Commanding