Artifact of the Month
Prisoner of War Parcel Labels
Donated by Marcella Sharum Estate
Charles Sharum (1922-1992) of Fort Smith, Arkansas, enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps January 12, 1943. Staff Sergeant Sharum was shot down over Germany on May 24, 1944, while flying with his crew in their B-17. At that time his unit was assigned/attached to the 8th United States Army Air Force, 92nd (Heavy) Bomber Group, 327th (Heavy) Bomber Squadron. Sharum spent almost an entire year in German prisoner of war camps, including Stalag Luft 4. During that time, his father Noah and his fiancee, Marcella Sharum of Springdale, Arkansas, regularly sent Sharum care packages. The U. S. government-issued labels seen here were required when sending items to prisoners of war. The label on the bottom was specifically for cigarettes, which had to be purchased through tobacco companies.
Russian forces liberated Charles Sharum from a boxcar abandoned by fleeing Germans on May 8, 1945. He received an honorable discharge at Sheppard Field, Texas, on October 15, 1945. In April 1946 Charles and Marcella (1923-2014) married. They lived in Springdale, where Charles worked for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway and Steele Canning Company, Inc., and Marcella worked for First State Bank.