Letters to our boys
(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of The Express’ “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. The Express will bring the letters to you occasionally, 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.)
July 21, 1945
Pvt. Bill BAGLEY visited HITLER’s hideout in the Alps and tells us about it;
“Yesterday I visited HITLER’s fabulous estate in Berchtesgaden. There is no doubt in my mind now. He was so crazy, batty, looney as they come! The only semblance of sanity was when he chose the Berchtesgaden area in the Bavarian Alps to build his home.
“This area is the most beautiful I have seen in Europe. The snow-covered Alps take your breath away. Berchtesgaden is a lovely little village. Right about it is HITLER’s estate. Once doubtlessly it was beautiful but now it is all wrecked. No one is sure which building was HITLER’s home. No one was allowed in, ever. Though the estate is a breath-taking height, HITLER’s favorite retreat is on the very top of Mount Kehlstein which rises from the estate. This mount is as high as the Empire State Building.
“We are all anxious to visit this high retreat, called the ‘Eagle’s Nest.’ It was too steep a road for trucks. We all got in a jeep (12 of us) and went up as far as you could. The rest of the way you had to walk. Of course, there is an elevator right up through the solid rock but it is not in use.
“The road is really a thrill. I was so dizzy I spun. At every place where the road was cut into the mountain, HITLER had the rocks painted brown and green for camouflage. Even the whole road was painted.
“There was lots of patches of snow as you went up and at the top it was about three inches thick. We had a big snowball battle — imagine, on the 5th of July!
“This little house at the top is darling — a room built out over for observation, porches and a wall surround the whole thing. You can look over the wall straight down and houses look like the size of a finger nail.
“HITLER’s conference room is beautifully done in walnut wood. We went through the whole house. It is lovely but any man who would build such a house on the top of the Alps, paint the whole mountain for camouflage, have the whole mountain honey-combed with networks of secret panels for escape — why he was out of his mind!
“In this innocent little house was planned may of HITLER’s attack. GOEBBELS had a room there.
“This Mount Kehlstein is not the highest mountain around but it is the highest one that is not completely covered with snow. You can look straight up behind the house and cannot see the top of the Alps behind because they go right through the clouds.”
T/Sgt. George HILL, 21, missing since July 8, 1944, following an attack on Chateau de Ribeaucourt in a B-26 Marauder. Lt. William GOLDEN, in Germany, Sept. 27; leaves wife, former Marion ARNDT; previously reported missing.
Sgt. Ray and Cpl. Bruce KREIDLER, after service in Europe. 1st Lt. James FERGUSON, Flemington, from Europe. James BOYER, BM2/c after duty with amphibious forces in Atlantic. Pfc. Richard BOWMAN, Mill Hall, after service as first aid man in Europe. S/Sgt. “Doo” PASSELL, after two years in England with Eighth Air Force. S/Sgt. George CONFER, Beech Creek, after 36 months in Europe with the Cavalry. Coast Guardsman Robert LAIRD, Mill Hall, after serving 18 months aboard a Coast Guard manned LST. Capt. Charles THOMAS, Charlton, after overseas duty. Sgt. Clair LYONS, after duty in Pacific. Pfc. George SCHLEISINGER, Avis, after 20 months in South Pacific. Thomas E. SHON, 19, Renovo, after tour of duty with Patrol Bombing Squadron 209. T/Sgt. Robert and Sgt. Harold BIERLY, Avis, after overseas duty. Cpl. Theodore FERREE, Mackeyville, after 6 months in France and Germany. Pfc. Charles CARIS, Tylersville, after overseas duty. Pfc. Joseph RIZZO, Jr., after 18 months overseas.
Truman KRAMER, Flemington, to sergeant. William MORRIS to first lieutenant. William HUNTER to RM1/c. Howard Van HORN to corporal. Charles WALIZER, Mackeyville, to fireman, first class.
Lt. William REARDON, Jr., Renovo, Bronze Star. Pvt. Carl MILLER, Rauchtown, Expert Infantryman Badge. Pvt. Richard BIERLY, Avis, Expert Infantryman Badge. Sgt. Grover FREEBURG, Renovo, Bronze Star.
T/5 Harry STROUP. Pfc. Michael BONADIO, Mill Hall. Pfc. Jesse LYON, Woolrich.
S/Sgt. John KELLER, Castanea, to Helen Louise KREIDLER, July 14. Aviation Cadet, Leon PIATT, Lamar, to Ruth Mae SHADLE, July 12. M/Sgt. Ray ALLEN to Mary MILLER, both of Flemington, July 18. S2/c Russell FISHER, Flemington, to Lois SHUBLEY, Laurelton, June 15.
Daughter to Lt. and Mrs. Lewis GIBB; daddy is stationed at Yuma, Ariz.
Cpls. Claude and Carl McCLOSKEY, in Germany; had met in France last July. Sgt. Harold BARTHOLOMEW and S1/c Merrill WERT, Rebersburg, in Pacific.
Pennsylvania Aviation Trades Association dines at Country Club with 105 present; Rep. Jennings RANDOLPH unable to appear to speak as weather grounds his Piper plane in Washington; Major Bill BROWN and Lt. Paul MACK sub for him in another appearance — before Rotary Club.
Charley DONAHUE named city assessor at $1,200; Policeman Bill RYAN named to be special investigator at $20 a month. City buys six fire-proofed canvas salvage covers to be used to cover furniture, etc., to prevent water damage.
City Fathers howl after some of Lock Haven’s more warm-blooded girls spark Mexican railroad workers, here to help out during the war; seems loose ladies enter the cars of the work train to spoon with Latin lovers. H. A. (Judge) MAGGS heads TB society again. Rubber check artist takes merchant for $70 but fails in trying to get others. T/3 Francis WISMETH, just back from overseas, slightly injured in minor car accident.
Frank KYLER, 44, and Mrs. Art POTRATZ, 42, this city; John AGNUS, 80, Johnstown, father of Henry ANGUS, and John KIPP, 69, Braddock, Father HIPP’s dad, die.
Clinton County goes way over top hitting 183 percent of individual sales 7th War Loan Drive quota; 162 percent of corporation sales.
Express opens drive for ‘Good Neighbors Club’ to form treasury to aid Clinton County communities in future promotions, parades, etc. Mrs. Claude BECHDEL, Beech Creek, unhurt as she sits in parked car; hit-run driver strikes car, snaps new power pole four feet from ground and continues on without stopping in almost unbelievable crash.
All five local state police officers take three-day refresher course at Indiantown Gap. 9,772 employed in Clinton County; expected to fall to 8,112 in first post-war year. Dorothy GRAVINA now in Germany working with State Department. Robert MILLER, veteran tobacco grower of Island, turns 85.
Jack YARNELL, who served four and a half years in the Army and was wounded in Germany, is back in civvies; gets tryout with Williamsport Grays. Combined Trinity Methodist and Evangelical team lends Church Softball League race as three-quarter mark nears; Flemington second.