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.)

Saturday, Nov. 3, 1945

Dear …..

Cpl. William Rickard writes from Okinawa: “I have been getting clippings about the airfield in the Azores and how the British let us use their bases there.

“That’s quite a joke. The 801st (Engineers Aviation Battalion) landed there Jan. 17, 1944. We built that field of theirs. They had steel mats down. It was the only level spot on the island.

“We cut away hills and filled in places that looked impossible. After 14 months there, we had three runways plus hand-standing enough to park any amount of planes. One asphalt runway was 10,050 feet and the other 6,600 feet.

“While our company worked on the field, the rest built hospitals, barracks for the air corps, hotel, officers club, laundry and dry-cleaning place. A complete army camp sits on the island of Terceira in the Azores.

“They used the base for planes to hut subs and protect convoys. Our bombers came in from Newfoundland and Bermuda depending on the weather. They fueled up and left the next morning for England or Africa. C-54’s carried supplies through and before June 6, 1944, a lot of last minute supplies went through. These planes returned carrying wounded. They were taken off, their wounds redressed and a new crew and nurse took over.

“The British were not in the game. Pan-American built on Santa Maria but ours was built first.”

“Four Pages — Price $10” says the masthead of the Shanghai Herald, a newspaper sent to Col. O’Corn by S2/c Paul Rizzo. He writes: “Enclosed a couple of the Shanghai newspapers, first and second editions, which might interest you.” The newspapers are all in English with the exception of some Chinese characters at the top of Page 1 to keep the Chinese postal clerks informed as to what they are handling.

Of the Chinese people, Paul says: “The suffering of these poor people can never be told in words. You must see it to believe it. The left-overs which we throw overboard are gathered by them. They wash them and eat them. They sure need help. Wish some of the people in the states could see it all. Expect to be home in January.”

F2/c Ardell Kling writes: “I have found out by receiving your newspaper, where a good many Lock Havenites are serving. I am sorry I never came across anyone from Lock Haven. I see they are working out here in the Philippines also.

“I thought sure when I went ashore in Manila where I spent a good many liberties, I would meet someone from home, but no such luck.

“We are working on this occupation now and I made a good many trips from almost any part of the Philippines to Korea escoting LST’s.

“I was with Task Force 58 for a long time operating around Okinawa. I saw quite a few of our shops being hit by the kamikaze planes, especially the carrier Franklin, which was about 800 yards off our starboard side. On the same day, we shot down two kamikaze planes.”


T/5 Edward Edler. Pvt. Harry Barton, Star Route. S/Sgt. John Seltzer. Sgt. William Keefer. Pfc. Warren Crissman. Sgt. Richard Sarvey. John Cox. Albert Hamm, R. D. 1. L. P. Linn, Em1/c, Woolrich. Dale Bowers. Cpl. Harold Emenheizer. Pfc. Robert Mapstone, Mill Hall. T/5 Melvin Weber, Flemington. Pfc. Herbert Brooks, Island Route. Pfc. Herbert Haines, Howard R. D. 1. Pfc. William Vogt. T/5 Russell Spangler, Howard R. D. 2. Cpl. Harry Masterson. Cpl. Charles Krise. T/5 Richard Seltzer. Pfc. Harry Grenoble, Flemington R. D. 1. Woodrow Guy Allen, Mill Hall. Max Fuller, Mill Hall. 2nd Lt. Thomas Lannen, Mill Hall.


S/Sgt. Judson Long, Salona, after seven months of overseas duty. Truman Moore, S1/c, Farrandsville, after overseas duty. Sgt. Ben Mancini, after liberation from Japs.


1st/Sgt. Paul Robb, Castanea, to Claire Harris, Williamsport.


Son to SK3/c and Mrs. Russell Courtney, Oct. 13; daddy is serving on LST in Pacific.


New local buildings planned include 60 x 108 storage house by William Yeagle at 20 North Hampton Street; new super-service station by Don Passell, Bellefonte Avenue and Commerce Street; garage and car-truck showroom, G. H. McCormick, owner of former Poorman drayline at Mill Hall on old Legion Park site; feed and farm machinery store, Frank Keller, near McCormick’s new building.

Bond sellers guests of The Express at dinner at Fallon celebrating success of Seventh War Loan and prepping for V Bond Drive. Ruth Simon to quit Dec. 1 as Chamber of Commerce secretary to take post as Huntingdon, W. Va., Trinity Episcopal Church secretary.

Halloween hectic this year with kids busier than ever putting zing on all the populace for “treats or tricks.” Paul Robb and Ray Merritts named LH police lieutenants by 4-1 count with Hamberger opposing move on ground while police department should be reorganized, new chief should be named to replace Martin Peters who quit and new policemen should be added to force; Hamberger suggests deferring action until beginning of new year.

City to sell two properties now unneeded — one is 20 x 30 at Grove Street and Mary’s Alley at the rear of Masonic Temple; other, eight lots in triangular section of land near Constitution Bridge. Dr. Francis Haas, state superintendent of public instruction, opposes TC expansion; presidents and trustees carry fight to Gov. Martin.

Morris Smith opens gas station on Church Street, west of Jay Street, on spot formerly occupied by Les Remick. Paul Mack becomes a partner in H. F. Hanna agency.

Mrs. F. M. Gummo opens fish market at old Oberheim stand, East Main Street. Neil Gallagher, state cop, moves to Montoursville; will live in Williamsport, his old home town. Vets Administration office opens here. Sam Heisey parks electric sweeper and other articles near his parked car in alley near Newberry store; returns in a few minutes to find them gone. Mrs. George Kauffman, former Eleanor Williams, dies of diabetes at age of 26.

Nearly 14,000 civilians eligible to vote Tuesday in county. Pennsylvania Spanish-American War Vets to convene here October 1946. Infantry Concert Group to appear at Garden Theater. Ray Farley, tailor at Weaver and Probst’s dies.

Doc. Hager’s wife better after attack of lockjaw in Kirkwood, Mo. Dr. Ed Widmann, dentist, buys Ploof building which now houses gas company office. Piper and union sign contract. Bill Piper, Sr., gets big play in Life Magazine.


LH Sr. High beats Lewistown 27-14. Jr. Hi defeats Jersey Shore 19-0. Small games scarce on opening day. Kelly Shadle buys two harness-racing horses at York; Mrs. Shadle, Graf Stewart and Wilbur McClellan, each one.


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