‘Letters to Our Boys’

Saturday, October 31, 1942

The Express herewith presents a new weekly feature, “Letter to Our Boys,” a letter to be clipped from this newspaper and sent along with another in your son or brother or husband or uncle or cousin or friend in camp, on the ship or at the front. Any contribution you may have — a news item, a letter or an excerpt from a letter from one of the boys, or a suggestion — should be sent to Col. O’Corn, military correspondent, The Express, Lock Haven, Pa. Now clip the letter below, write the name of the man you are going to send it to and sign your name at the bottom. It won’t take more than a minute or two and he will enjoy hearing more from home.

Dear ­________________________

The war is having its effect locally. The Lock Haven youngsters are toning down their usual Halloween disturbances. The great number of young women in the city, many of them new here, shows the trend of the times as the local industrial plants are employing more and more girls.

Johnny McGhee, son of Captain Foster McGhee, who was retired from the army before Pearl Harbor, has joined up. The fleet-footed halfback of the 1941 Lock Haven high school football team followed in the footsteps of his father, expressing preference for the cavalry. Dr. French Dickey is in the army too, having left some time ago.

Bill Probst, the haberdasher, had a letter from Sgt. Stan Taylor, stationed with the local artillerymen in Northern Ireland. The former boxer and man-about-town reported there are a lot of beautiful Irish girls there. Stan walked in to a pub and ran across Lieut. Dick Seltzer. The message on the meeting was relayed to Dick’s wife, formerly Florence Fredericks.

Stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va., where he recentlycompleted officers’ school, Lieut. Jed Quigly is receiving best wishes on his engagement to Elizabeth Catherine White, of Philadelphia.

The New Castle merchants banned Christmas lighting in the business section for the duration and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Lock Haven business man did the same thing.

Some one of The Express’ customers advertised for sale an organ, gasoline motor, radio-phonograph, rifle, revolver and outboard motor. That’s going all-out in some kind of effort.

Renovo High came back to football after dropping it for the duration and lost to the powerful, unbeaten, Emporium team 28-0. Lock Haven High won 19-13 over Yeagerstown which had a well coached, hard-playing team. So far the Purple has beaten Conemaugh, Mt. Union, Northumberland and Yeagerstown while losing to Steelton and Milton. Lock Haven Teachers are unbeaten and untied having only West Chester and Mansfield barring the way to a perfect season and the state teachers title. They beat Shippensburg 33-0 last Saturday.

When classmate of the Rev. Graham Luckenbill, bridegroom of Dorothy McGhee this week, heard at his South American military post that the Lock Haven minister was to be married, he mention to his commanding officer that the then prospective bride was from Lock Haven. The aforesaid commanding officer was none other than Major Louis Coira.

Pvt. Ray Kreidler in a letter to his “Dear Boss” writes in part as follows:

“This past week sure was a tough one for me — the hardest maneuver we had so far. We had a lot of walking and carried full field packs. My pack consisted of three blankets, a set of khakis, toilet articles and my mess equipment. In all, the pack weighed about 60 pounds and I also carried a mortar on my shoulder.

“Our maneuvers started Tuesday morning and ended Thursday afternoon. When we started we walked through Lebanon (Tenn.) but the company didn’t stop until we were about eight miles from town. Then we camped and had to dig a slit trench. I was so tired that I just flopped down and went to sleep. We ate supper after dark and received six cans of rations each.

“At one o’clock Wednesday Morning we moved out to engage the Red army. We walked about a mile before coming to the river. From there we crossed in rubber assault boats. When I got off on the other side, I got stuck in the mud up to my knees. There I was with a mortar on my shoulder and couldn’t get out for awhile. I got mad and threw the mortar up on the bank. Then I pulled, grunted and strained before I finally got loose. I was then covered pretty well with the mud.”

Later in this letter, Ray gives an idea to chronic kickers in the war industries just what long hours are in the army. After telling of the 1 a.m. start on Wednesday, he adds: “The trucks (which picked him and the others up) came in around 8 o’clock Wednesday night and we rode until Thursday morning to the stockade. They gave out some blankets but I didn’t get any so I stayed up all night around the fire to keep warm. We got our breakfast at 8 o’clock. I cleaned my mortar, then shaved and tried to sleep through the day. xxx It was after 2 o’clock Friday morning when I got to bed.”

They had an air raid drill here Monday night and — I hate to tell you this — there were more than 20 violations by people who find it a tough assignment to do a little thing like turning out the lights.

Nickelless nickels are in circulation and will soon be in Lock Haven. They are made of silver, copper and manganese so that nickel can be saved for use in the war. The American Legion is going to place a stone memorial in City Park across from the Court House on Armistice Day to honor all the boys in the armed forces. That leaves Flemington and others of our suburbs way out ahead in erecting the nicer billboards with the names of the boys.

The Navy will have seven men here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to conduct a recruiting campaign.

Ardell (Doo) Passell, stationed at Scott Field, III., where he was attending a radio school preparatory to joining the Army Air Force, was married to Emma Williams a week ago today, it was announced Thursday. The wedding took place at St. Louis. Passell and Lawrence Dick, another Lock Haven Boy, graduated from the school this week.

More than a million Christmas parcels were shipped in the first 25 days in October to American armed forces overseas and I hope you get plenty for the big holiday. Red Skellton, the movie comedian, got his — his wife left him as a wife but stayed as his gag writer and manager. As the skunk said, some days you can’t lay up a scent.

— Col. O’Corn

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