Andover Newsletter, Vol. 2, #11
Sponsored by the Democratic Town Committee
May 7, 1945
To the Servicemen and Women of Andover, Greeting!
It is safe to say that every radio in Andover is going full tilt today. The wonderful announcement (as yet unconfirmed by President Truman) that Germany has agreed to unconditional surrender has the whole town rejoicing. Whether formal announcement comes today, tomorrow, or next week, we can't help feeling deeply grateful that the show is nearly over over there. Everyone is wondering just how the next steps will be handled, who will come home, who will remain, who will be transferred to the Pacific Area, who will go to Europe to help with the reconstruction. As soon as the fighting really stops, we can draw a hearty sigh and begin to build and cease destroying. In the meantime, factory employees are on the job, the children are busy at school, Monday washes are whipping in the breeze, and the farmers are out fixing fences.
Just as all Andover is rejoicing today, so all Andover grieved when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died so suddenly. The children held appropriate exercises at Center School and Dr. Tuthill led a service at the Church at the hour of the President's funeral. To him, and to all the others who have given their lives for this day of victory, we pay our grateful tribute. There will be grief mingled with the hope of V-E Day. And now, "On to Tokyo!"
Move over, boys, and take heed, Japan! Here comes the Navy from Andover. Walter (Fuzzy) Tedford, Jimmy Grey, Homer Boyington, and Glenn Griswold have enlisted in the Navy since we last wrote to you. Glenn was sworn in on April 1. S 2/c StanleyGasper left good old Andover on April 21, and he is training with the Naval Air Force at Memphis, Tennessee. S 2/c John F. Phelps completed boot training at Sampson, N.Y., in April. Moreover, he was honor man for his company of 120 men. Nice going, Sailor! He had a five day leave immediately following his graduation, and he was home again this weekend. Now he is back at Sampson, wondering, "Where do I go from here?"
The UNRRA clothing drive was a complete success, and over 3000 pounds of clothes were collected. Mrs. E.M. Yeomans gives a great deal of credit to her committee of twelve, and to Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Schatz, who donated their services and their car to the collection and delivery of the bundles.
The Andover Fire Department was called out of church on April 22 to quell a fire at the Stratton homestead on Hartford Avenue. The wind was blowing a gale, and the roof was already ablaze when the trucks shrieked to a standstill at the scene. The boys scrambled to the roof and up the stairs, and hose carried water from the booster tank. Bob Seyd directed traffic, having been told that the job would last perhaps five minutes. An hour later he gave up and went to the fire. The damage was comparatively small, and the AFD has another saved house to its credit.
It was a perfect day for a good blaze, and the trucks were hardly cool before the sirens sounded again. The fire departments from three towns had been called to the Pease home in Bolton, on the Bolton-Hebron Road, but the AFD did the most effective work there. They pumped a well dry, and then laid hose to a near-by pond to save a great deal of the furniture, the barn, and the garage. Our men worked like heroic beavers--up on the roof and under the roof while it blazed and swayed.
The fire-eaters also had a practice workout at Harold Smith's when they burned over a patch of grassland. Refreshments were served when the fire hazard had been removed.
The baseball field has been cleared for action. It is level and rolled, and the diamond and pitcher's mound are ready for action. The backstop and bleachers are still awaiting construction. A complete line-up has at last been accomplished, and practice is scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
Mr. and Mrs. Francis Friedrich have received Russell's Purple Heart Medal, with the citation which reads, in part, "For Military Merit and wounds received in action, which resulted in his death." Rusty was reported missing on December 23, 1943 and declared dead in January, 1945. Mr. and Mrs. Friedrich will go to New York tomorrow to talk with Rusty's buddy, who was with him and his dog when they were lost on an island in the Pacific.
Cpl. Charles Johnson is attending Platoon Commander School at Quantico, Va. His mother recently heard all about the flight over Tunisia, which ended in combat and death for Charles' brother Billy, from a fellow airman who was with Billy at the time. Billy Johnson was killed on February 2, 1943.
Major Nate Gatchell is at home after nearly three years in the South Pacific, and we're mighty glad to have him here. He came home on April 17 on an emergency leave, because Avis has had a very serious operation. She is making a good recovery now. Nate went down to Center School one day and gave the children a big thrill by telling them something about his experiences and showing them his trophies. He has given similar talks before the student body of Manchester High School and the Columbia PTA. He says he expects to return to the Phillippines soon. Everyone who has seen him so fat says: "Just the same old Nate. Hasn't changed a bit."
Wedding bells rang out in Andover on April 25, for the marriage of Jane Nelson, daughter of Fire Chief and Mrs. George Nelson, and Harold Warren Corthell. The matron of honor was Mrs. Charles Humphrey of Newington, and best man was E.K. Seyd of Long Hill, Andover. Mr. Corthell is a civilian employee of the First Army Command. and the bride and groom are making their home at Old Town, Maine. Congratulations and all good wishes for a long and merry life to both of you!
Cupid has been around Andover Lake again, and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Cocking announce the engagement of their daughter, Marion Louise, to RM 1/c Theodore Lawrence Smith of New York. No date has been set for the wedding, and it's possible that it won't be set until the Japs holler Uncle.
That bird has been around again, too. He stopped at the Fuller doorstep, at Andover Lake and left a little girl for Annie and Harold Fuller. It happened on April 20, and Linda Ann found two little boys there ahead of her.
Ellwood Hudson's committee to raise funds for the Ecclesiastical Society did a fast job of reaching its quota. They have raised $1,040 in one month. Now they are making plans to enlist the support of everyone in town to increase the fund so that in 1947, when the Society will celebrate its 200th anniversary, there will be enough to build a parish room or house.
Pfc. L. a. Brown, Jr. 31378414, Sqdn. I, AAB (Congratulations on the new rating!) writes from Charleston, South Carolina: "...One item that caught my eye, and started my mental system to boiling was that little piece about 'sea-weed' JohnPhelps!...If it takes a special order from the War Dept. or an act of Congress to write to a 'sea-weed', then no letters will ever be written for my part, and my opinion of the War Dept. is lowered to a minimum!...I'm not throwing off on the entire Navy, because I have met several sailors who are swell guys!....I have seen a few of the horrors of war as I am a part of the crash crew and sub-depot here, and it is our duty to bring in any crashed aircraft in this section....But that has nothing to do with JohnPhelps and his 'orders from the War Dept.' You can pass on my regards to the rest of Andover's men in the Navy...I had quite a long letter from Walt Parks a week or so ago. He seemed a little discouraged at the fact that Don had beat him overseas...I have never heard from Hi Schildge...has he broken an arm?...Pass on my congratulations to Stan and Jean Nichols and Mr. and Mrs. Merritt. Also to "Bill" Bramhall...I guess old Charlie K. and I will have to be satisfied to be Andover's bachelors...By the way, tell that lug to drop me a line some day...
Hi Schildge says: "Hello, Andover, Just received four of you most wonderful Newsletters...The little booklet on A.F.D. was very interesting. Sure was a surprise to hear 'Gramp" Tedford has joined the Merchant Marine. Here's wishing him the best of luck..."
Rumor has it that Ed Whitcomb was seen picking and roasting a chicken, after midnight, somewhere in Germany. It is also said that he gave the Rainbow Division a fine turkey dinner. They would have had more if the flock had been larger. What's the secret, Ed? Red points are getting scarcer around here. Two of his buddies had a good drink of fresh milk, after Ed spied a passing cow. He hasn't lost any of his prowess as a hunter, either, for the Rainbow Division has also feasted on venison. Our last report has it that he's making big tracks in the snow on the Bavarian Alps. Say, Ed, tell us how it happened that you had to write home to have a skinning knife sent you from the good old U.S.A.
Lt. Bob Wilson, who used to live in Andover, writes from Italy (with the 15th Air Force): "Several copies of the Andover Newsletter have arrived here, and although my home address is Canterbury, I am interested in the Andover news. John's article, and also the rebuttal by Charlie Kukucka were of special interest. I was afraid someone would get 'burned' if I wrote an immediate protest to the swamp jockey's winning the war, but can't say that I wholly agree with Charlie either. We fly the heavies and have been giving the Jerries a rough time at many places all over Europe. During the winter we could have used a canoe to paddle around through the mud, but didn't have to call in the Navy for any assistance. Now the mud is a dust but there is so much vegetation that it's far from a desert.
"For all P.&W. employees we send our gratitude. Many times I had heard that those engines would take beating and come back running. Now from experience I know they will. I now have twenty-eight combat sorties--some of them rough too, and am getting to know my way around Europe pretty well....Right now like all of us I want to see Connecticut more than all the rest of the world..."
"The only souvenirs, I've collected from here are an air medal and a couple of clusters for it....After having dropped 'eggs' on the Jerries at numerous places this one is starting for Andover. Beware!!"
Cpl. Howard Chudoba writes from Grand Island A.A.F., Nebraska, "I've been here about six weeks now, and it sure is a change from that balmy Florida weather I was exposed to all winter. We've had several blizzards since I've been here, one of them leaving us with 14 inches of snow. Spring is just beginning to make its appearance on the windy plains of Nebraska. It really gets windy here, too. Last night we had gales of better than 50 m.p.h.
"As you probably know, I graduated from radar school in Florida about March 1st, and now I'm assigned to a B-29 outfit. Our training is nearly complete now so it won't be many months before we'll be flying over. I still have hopes of getting home once More before we take off...."
A post card tells us that Julian Krzewski, MoMM 3/c has been transferred from the Europe and to the Pacific Theatre of war.
Johnny Sprout sent his wife a huge package of souvenirs from the German battle front. It contained such items as a bayonet, medals, canteens and flags (all German). The flags, which are approximately 4 x 10 feet, are red rags, emblazoned with a black swastika on a white circle in the center. They have made the rounds of the Cheney Mills in Manchester, where they were a big attraction because no one there had seen a Nazi flag. One of the flags has found its way to Editor Gasper, and he is wondering what to do with the thing.
The Andover Sportsmen's Club met on April 10, to formulate spring plans and to elect officers. Officers are as follows: President, John Gasper; Vice-president, Ed Whitcomb; Secretary, Bill McCarroll; Treasurer, Earl Gallipo. Executive Committee: Harold Smith, Joe Carter, Steve Ursin, Tom Birmingham, and Clarence Goss. Steve Ursin and Andy Gasper were elected a committee to plan for initiation of new members. (Sounds sinister, doesn't it?) A committee to stock all the sizable streams in town consists of Mr. Phelps, A. Gasper, and Steve Ursin. The stocked streams will be posted. Plans are under way for the annual barbecue.
Our sincere sympathy goes out to Morse and John Pringle and Mrs. Claiborne Snead, for their mother, Mrs. Alta Pringle died, in Boston, on April 21.
Two youngsters from Andover have had successful operations for appendicitis during the past week. They are Steve Pease and Marjorie Rankin, and we wish them both a speedy recovery.
Donald Parks writes from Oahu, Hawaii, that it is a fine place in which to go "pineapple" (nuts, batty, crazy)..."but I am only crazy to get home". He calls it an island of liquid sunshine, because it rains so often while the sun shines, and it is not unusual to see two rainbows at once. "We live in tents, where it is nice and comfortable, but we have to spend most of our pay keeping ourselves supplied with envelopes, because the dampness...make all the envelopes flaps stick before they are used...P.S. The newsletters are getting better all the time."
F 2/c Joe Remisch, Jr. says, "Hello to all the folks back in Andover. The town news caught up to me, though it takes quite a while, because I am not in port very much any more...That water sure gets mighty rough at times, especially on a small ship... His address is Div. E., D.E. 450, U.S.S. Joseph E. Connolly, c/o Fleet P.O., N.Y.
Sgt. Stewart Dougan, with the 9th Army in Germany writes: "...Everything over here is going along fine, and we are all waiting for the end, which is very soon. Then back to the States to stay for a long time to come. Regards to all..."
Cpl. Duane Faulkner says: "I am now in China. China is...much nicer than Burma or India. I have a really fine set up. I live in a nice barracks and am not very far from one of the largest cities in unoccupied China. At present I am teaching Chinese soldiers..."
Duane's father, Major Lionel Faulkner, sends a V-Mail letter from the Philippines, saying, "You will hardly believe it, but it is a fact. I was quartered in a building with several majors. I was talking with one whose bed was only three feet from mine. He mentioned a small place in Connecticut and I asked him if it was near Eagleville. He asked where I was from and I told him, 'New Jersey'. Then he said, 'You are Lionel Faulkner, aren't you?' That's why you knew that small town'. I was talking to Maj. Nathan Gatchell whom I have not seen in 25 years. Having seen the results of the destruction of a large and beautiful city, as completely ruined as the Bass Barn, I can assure you we have much to be thankful for back home."
As the day has progressed the news of the surrender of the Germans has spread, and everyone is talking about it. The children have had a parade around the school house, with singing, a prayer, and a flag-raising ceremony. There are plans for a special service at the Church tomorrow night. Everyone is glad that much of it is over and some will be fairly mellow by nightfall. Yet everyone is conscious of the cost of victory and determined to pitch in harder than ever to keep the home fires burning till Japan is defeated, too.
It was fun to get so many cards and letters this month, and thanks to all of you who wrote. There are a few from whom we have not heard in a long time, and we'd like to hear from you, to know what you are doing, how you are, and even if we are still sending the Newsletter to the right address.
Vera Cross Taylor and John V. Gasper,