A look back in time: ‘Letters to Our Boys’

This is the third installment of The Express’ weekly “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. We will bring the letters to you weekly, thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Snyder, who compiled the letters over several years of research and donated a full copy of them to the Clinton County Historical Society.

November 14, 1942


Clinton County is “in the scrap” having placed fifth among the old Keystone State’s 67 counties in the Newspapers’ Scrap Metal Drive. The Dunnstown School won The Express $25 War Bond for the best scrap showing among the schools.

There is lots of news about the war effort locally. The December draft quota for Clinton County is up 31 per cent to 152; the Navy just completed a drive for enlistment here and this week the Army Signal Corps started a campaign; the Kiwanis Club had a dance to raise funds for the ‘Pennsylvania clubs’ purchase of a Red Cross ambulance for use abroad; more local war units have been organized including a Speakers Bureau with Reagan Hoch as chairman; two more air raid drills are scheduled for this month; Avis was the most recent of several county communities to dedicate its honor roll board of men in the armed forces. (Lock Haven doesn’t have one yet but the Kiwanians are going to erect one).

There is a lot of news about other things too — Rauchtown School was closed with an outbreak of 14 cases of scarlet fever; an unexpectedly large number of hunting licenses were sold; the Lock Haven High School Alumni Association had a square dance attended by 150 on Tuesday; stores are already making Christmas sales — long before Thanksgiving — as war booms industry and puts money in many pockets previously empty or nearly so; the quiet-working, praise-worthy Needlework Guild of Lock Haven contributed 1,369 garments for charity.

Bill Poorman sold his trucking business to an Allenwood man; ten cars were damaged and one car wrecked in weekend motor accidents in Eastern Clinton County, 14 persons being hurt; the federal pen at Lewisburg celebrated its tenth birthday anniversary; Wabash Ind., was all in a stew about an escaped elephant; a Centre County man parted his wife’s hair with an ax — and so it goes.

A letter from Mrs. William H. Englert, of Woolrich, to The Express urges continuation of this letter every week. Said Mrs. Englert, proud mother of two sons in the Army Air Force:

“I think the Saturday letter to our boys in the service is a fine idea, and here’s my bit of news for it. “Our son Staff Sgt. Charles C. Englert, a bombardier, attatched to the 446th Bombardment Squadron, now station at Walterboro, S.C., enjoyed his first furlough over the past weekend, Nov. 6th to 9th inclusive. He enlisted Jan. 4, 1942.

“Our other son, Aviation Cadet William L. Englert, is also going to school to learn to be a bombardier. He is at Ellington Field, Tex.

“Both of them are going to enjoy these weekly letters very much you may be sure.”

Pvt. Bob Crosthwaite, formerly of Flemington and more recently of Chestnut Hill, was in town this week on furlough from Chanute Field, III. He says he’s through with his Link trainer work, and is going on for further study to prepare him for a flying instructor or as a pilot. Bob’s engagement to Miss Frances Roach, of Lock Haven, was recently announced.

Pvt. Sylvester (Johnnie) Haagen, of Howard, married Edith Burrell, of Salona, Oct. 19. Margaret Ann Thomas, the doctor’s daughter, will be the bride of Lieut. J. T. Mougey at Miami today. Corp. Ken Harris, of Lamar, married Virginia Thomas, of Bellefonte, last week at Heflin, Ala. Sgt. Leard (Bucky) Robinson, former district wrestling champion, state scholastic mat finalist and football player at L.H.H.S, is also took unto himself a wife — Mary Rodabaugh, of Jersey Shore R.D.

On the football front — Lock Haven Teachers won 20-18 from West Chester and only have to beat Mansfield today to claim the state title. Lock Haven High was idle last weekend but meets a highly rated Huntingdon team here today.

I suppose you remember how the boys used to angle for dates with Teachers College girls and how they always knew the dean of women even if they never met her. Well, there is a new dean — Dr. Agnes R. McElwee, 36, who had been on Penn State’s faculty. Genevieve Poole resigned to accept a Washington war job.

New Navy recruits are Francis Hartzell, Charles Grand, Jim Yost, Glenn Heverly, Pete Innocent, Joe Bitner, Art McCloskey, Jr., Tom Gummo and Dick Flanigan. Innocent was center on the Lock Haven High football team last year and one of the best players ever developed here. Bob Simcox and Dick Wentz, of Lock Haven, took examinations on Wednesday for the Sea Bees.

New marines — Walt Nixon, of Lock Haven; Charles Heckman, of Hublersburg; Paul Redos, of Renovo; George Heverly, of Beech Creek, and Fred Eggler, of Gleasonton.

Chet Viechnicki and Scott McLean joined the Navy as physical education instructors with chief specialist rating. Alice Fredericks, another teacher, will go in the WAVEs which Becky Gross, editor of The Express, joined last week. Viechnicki and McLean were athletic coaches but their successors have not been named.

Capt. Hall Achenbach wrote somehwere abroad that Tubby Jerles and J.D. (Pat) Walker Jr., were playing football with that group of our battery boys and in the opposing eleven recently was — of all people — Brunco Nagurski, former Minnesota and Chicago Bears back and heavy weight wrestler.

Home this week were Pvts. Ray Kreidler and Don Fisher, who had just got through scraping the mud of the Tennessee mountains off their heels following maneuvers, and Paul Mack, a warrent officer in the armored forces, who was also in the southern “battling” and went from here to California for more maneuvers.

The Silk Mill was the first local plant to win the Army-Navy “E” award which was made for delivery of parachute silk ahead of schedule.

Sgt. Albert Frable, 36, South Renovo, one of Renovo’s first draftees, having entered the service in April 1942, died suddenly in the Indiantown Gap, Pa., Hospital. He was buried at Renovo with military honors.

Beginning Dec. 21, draftees have one week at home instead of two after their examinations are passed at Altoona.

Harry H. Pinge, verteran of World War I now awaiting his call to join the Sea Bees, is writing a letter of record length to his son, Harry Jr., who is a marine at the New River, N.C., base. The old-timer has written 34,000 words on 40 feet of paper and expects to write 80,000 on 80 feet. A Philly man claims the record with 30,000 on 75 feet.

Gerard Petrucci, former sergeant with the local artillery batteries, was home this week, having earned his second lieutenant bars at Fort Sill, Okla. He has been assigned to Fort Braggs, N.C.

And that, as the radiomen say, “is the news from here.”

Well, so long, and I hope this finds you well. The home folks got a tonic yesterday with the announcement that the movies must suspend double features. Who said the war never did anybody any good?

— Col. O’Corn