Brookline War Memorial
The Cannon and Veteran's Memorial Park

<The War Memorial>    <Casualty Lists>    <Remembrances>

<4.7 inch M1906>    <155mm Schneider>

The Brookline Monument.

The Brookline Monument, better known as "The Cannon," has been a mainstay on Brookline Boulevard for many years, dating back to 1935. It is the showpiece of Brookline's Veteran's Memorial Park, or Brookline Boulevard Triangle Park as it is officially known.

The memorial sits on the small island situated between Brookline Boulevard, Queensboro and Chelton Avenues. The cannon, a World War I artillery piece, stands quiet watch over the Commerical District and honors the legacy of Brookline's fighting men and women in arms.

Granite Bench with Memorial Plaques.    Granite Bench with Memorial Plaques.

At the entrance to the park is a fine pink granite Memorial Bench with three bronze Memorial Plaques. The one on the rear of the bench, above the flower planter, is "In Memory of All American Veterans" and another that rests on the lower part of the bench honors "The Veterans of Brookline," our local military men and women that have served in the various conflicts from World War I through the Persian Gulf War.

The most recent addition is a 48 X24 Honor Roll plaque, dedicated on August 31, 2019 on the front of the bench that honors the fifty-six local soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that lost their lives during the wars of the 20th Century. By the grace of God there have been no local casualties since during the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Brookline Monument.
Brookline's Veteran's Memorial Park in the 1970s. The original
white marble Memorial Bench is partially visible.

The park contains a few other park benches, a flag pole and a flower garden. Each year, the local Memorial Day Parade begins at the Veteran's Memorial. The parade is preceeded by a somber ceremony in honor of those who fell in battle. The Cannon is one of the most recognizable features on Brookline Boulevard, and has always been a favorite amongst the youngsters who like to climb aboard and turn the wheels.

Children play on the Cannon Monument in 2012.
For decades, children have been fascinated by the Cannon at Veteran's Memorial Park.

Many Brookline residents and casual passers-by, however, are unaware of the true significance of this small park, and the sacrifices made by Brookliners over the past century in the service of our country. It is in their honor that this park exists, and it is our duty to tell that tale on this webpage, thus keeping their stories, and memories, alive in our hearts and minds.




The Former Site Of Brookline's Freehold Real Estate Office

In 1905, when the Brookline section of the former West Liberty Borough was undergoing the transformation from a rural farming district into a modern residential and commercial community, the Freehold Real Estate Company established a small sales office on the triangle. The original one-room wooden shack was replaced by a two-room brick building in 1912. The office was a busy place for many years as the community grew.

Brookline Boulevard, 1910.    Brookline Boulevard, 1913.
The Freehold Real Estate office along Brookline Boulevard in 1910 (left) and again in 1913.

As for ownership of the triangle, Freehold owned the larger share of the property, and the City of Pittsburgh owned the rest, located near the tip of the triangle that pointed in the direction of the developing Brookline Boulevard Commercial district.

On October 20, 1917, the Boy Scouts held the first flag raising ceremony and in November 1919, a city ordinance was enacted allowing the Brookline Board of Trade to place a bronze Memorial Tablet "Commemorating the Achievements of Brookline World War Heroes." This was placed on the city owned portion of the triangle.

Original Brookline War Memorial Plaque.

Then, in 1932, as a result of the financial crisis caused by the onset of the Great Depression, the Freehold Office in Brookline was closed. Their land was sold to James McGaffin, a prominent Brookline businessman and owner of the McGaffin Construction Company. The old Freehold office was razed in the fall of 1933.

Despite the struggling economy, the 1930s were a time of great change in Brookline. The Joint Civic Committee was busy working on many initiatives to help modernize and improve the community. One such project was to establish a larger Veteran's Memorial to honor Brookline soldiers who fought in World War I.

On April 18, 1934, James McGaffin sold his portion of the triangle to the city for the purpose of establishing a permanent memorial. The cost of the transfer was $5750, and the land was designated as the Brookline Boulevard Triangle Park.

The white marble memorial bench.
Members of the local American Legion Post #540 dedicate the original white marble
Memorial Bench at the Brookline Boulevard Triangle Park on July 4, 1935.

On July 4, 1935, before the start of the annual Independence Day Parade, members of Brookline's American Legion Post #540, formed just two months prior to that in May 1935, dedicated a white marble Memorial Bench. Bolted to the bench was the original bronze Memorial Tablet originally dedicated in 1919.

Soon afterwards, The United States Department of the Interior granted the American Legion Post #540 the loan of a government surplus artillery piece to be placed on the triangle as another local monument to Brookline Veteran's. It was placed on a concrete pad with the gun barrel facing towards the Commercial District.

Other additions to the Veteran's Memorial continued in the years that followed. On Memorial Day, 1937, the American Legion Post #540 and the Brookline Americanism Committee, headed by Mary E. Laitta, dedicated a flag pole. In the spring of 1939, the Pittsburgh Department of Public Works spent $1600 to build a retaining wall along the Chelton Avenue side of the park to level the land, install additional concrete paving and metal fencing around the memorial, as well as providing new landscaping and other improvements.




The Original Cannon (1935-1942)

The present-day Cannon is actually the second rendition of the monument. The granite memorial bench itself is also a replacement. The original cannon was a surplus World War I American field artillery piece. It's official designation was 4.7 inch Gun M1906.

An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906.
An American howitzer, the 4.7 inch Gun M1906, is shown here on May 21, 1939
at the Brookline Veteran's Memorial in Triangle Park.

The original howitzer, dedicated in 1938, stood for eight years, until another global conflict called it back into service. This time, the cannon was not headed for the front lines in Europe. It was, instead, heading to Jones and Laughlin Steel. The World War I artillery piece was donated by the American Legion to the J&L Mill in Hazelwood to be melted down during a scrap metal drive for World War II.

The original Cannon in 1942.
American Legion Post #540 members stand by Brookline's original Cannon.

It happened on October 13, 1942, when John Renner, a foreman at the J&L 16-inch roller, and George Winslow, superintendent of the mill's Hazelwood polishing plant and senior vice-commander of the Brookline Legion Post 540, held a small ceremony before the 4.7 inch cannon was again carted off to war, this time against the empire of Japan. The cannon was inscribed "To Japan via U.S. Armed Forces."

The Brookline Monument heads back to war in 1942.
Brookline's original Cannon being hauled away for scrap metal on October 13, 1942.

After World War II, an Army surplus howitzer was obtained as a replacement for the original cannon. The current model 1917 Schneider 155mm Howitzer was installed and the park re-dedicated in 1946. The aging white marble Veteran's memorial bench was replaced with the present-day polished pink granite bench in 1995.

At that time the old World War I bronze tablet was replaced with two new bronze memorials, one to all American veterans, including references to the conflicts from World War I to the Persian Gulf War, and another dedicated to local veterans from the Brookline community.

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.
The pink granite bench in 2000 with the bronze veteran's plaques in the original configuration as installed in 1995.
The upper plaque was moved to the rear of the bench in 2019,
replaced by a larger Brookline Honor Roll plaque.




Old Soldiers

Brookline's Veteran's Memorial Park has always been popular gathering place. Several generations of Brookliners have uttered the words, "I'll meet you at the cannon."

Sometimes the park benches are just a nice place to sit down and enjoy a relaxing moment, either alone or with friends.

Old Soldiers - Print by Bob Daley.

For the three gentlemen captured in this Robert Daley print, entitled "Old Soldiers," this meeting at the park was something of a casual reunion of Veteran's. On a crisp fall morning, the old soldiers have gathered near the cannon to chat about the day's events.

The average pedestrian would pass them by without much thought, not realizing what sacrifices these brave men had made so many years ago on the battlefields of far away places. They had been to hell and back, an experience that only a veteran can understand. They share a common bond, one that is forged in the cauldron of war.

These fine men were part of our Greatest Generation and oh, what stories they could tell.

The Cannon - December 29, 2012.
Brookline's snow-covered cannon on December 29, 2012.




New Flags Installed - 2014

On April 27, 2014, new flags were installed at the Brookline Veteran's Park. The flags were hung by American Legion Post #540 members Dan McKeever and Joe Nellis. McKeever, a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran obtained the POW/MIA Flag, emblazened with the words "Gone But Not Forgotten," solely with the profits from aluminum recycling. The American Flag was provided by former State Representative Erin Molchany. Additional support was provided by Nathan Mallory, former Chamber of Commerce President, curator of the memorial grounds.

Brookline Boulevard, 1910    Brookline Boulevard, 1913
Joe Nellis and Dan McKeever were instrumental in getting new flags for the Veteran's Memorial Park.

The Community of Brookline has always been supportive of our proud veterans, who have served our country over the years with dedication and devotion. Brookline also honors the sacrifices of our young men who gave the ultimate sacrifice in times of war, and supports the ongoing efforts of veteran's organizations to account for those soldiers who remain unaccounted for, still listed as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.




Bus Crashes Into Veteran's Memorial - July 2017

On July 8, 2017, the calm summer morning was interrupted with the sudden crash of an out-of-control Port Authority bus as it slammed into the Brookline Veteran's Memorial. The bus didn't just wreck into the memorial, it drove right through it, then went over the embankment and smashed into the wall and railing across the street on Chelton Avenue.

The bus had made its' usual left turn off of Queensboro Avenue and then lost control. It continued into a full U-turn, collided with two parked cars then barreled through the memorial, hitting the 100-year old Cannon and dragging it along until coming to a complete stop.

By the grace of God, no one was in the normally busy park at the time, and there were no serious injuries to report among the passengers on the bus. When the wild ride ended, it appeared that the bus actually faired worse than the vintage French-built howitzer, which sustained only minor damage.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.    Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
It was a chaotic scene as the bus smashed through the small park and came to rest on Chelton Street.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.    Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
The Cannon's tow hook and recoil brace got lodged in the bus' window frame and was pulled along.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
The park fence and benches were mangled by the out-of-control vehicle as it smashed it's way through.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.    Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
McGann and Chester were called to remove the cannon and bus and take them to a Port Authority repair facility.

In addition to the cannon, other damage in the park included a couple crushed benches and a fence which was mangled and torn from its' foundation. Once police and paramedics cleared the area and the chaos died down, a crew from McGann and Chester loaded the wounded cannon onto a flatbed and delivered it to the Port Authority garage, where repairs could be made.

It took a while to negotiate the bureaucratic red tape to determine how to proceed with the cannon repairs. Still the property of the Department of the Interior, special care had to be taken during its' restoration to meet their strict guidelines and procedures.

By October, the Port Authority had made good on it's promise to repair the iconic Brookline landmark, and on the fifth of that month, a PAT maintenance crew returned the cannon to the Veteran's Memorial and placed it back on it's concrete pad. The Pittsburgh Department of Public Works had already repaired the benches and fencing.

To the astonishment of Brookline residents, the cannon looked brand new. The restoration went much better than expected. Years of rust, weathering and neglect were repaired. New tires were installed and the howitzer was painted in traditional Army green. For all intents and purposes it looked brand new!

It is amazing how some things work out. For several years a coalition of concerned veterans and citizens had been trying to get the cannon restored. Their efforts were always thwarted by government red tape and other frustrations.

In the end, it took a near tragedy to provide the urgency and lifting of restrictions necessary to effect the proper repairs and ensure that this community landmark, first brought to Brookline in 1946, is now in a condition to last another 100 years.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.    Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
The park looked a bit out-of-sorts for a couple months while repairs were being made.

Bus Wrecks Into Veteran's Memorial - July 8, 2017.
The damaged Cannon at the Port Authority maintenance yard awaiting restoration.

Cannon Returned To Veteran's Memorial - October 5, 2017.    Cannon Returned To Veteran's Memorial - October 5, 2017.
In early October the restored cannon was ready to be returned to it's location in the park.

Cannon Returned To Veteran's Memorial - October 5, 2017.    Cannon Returned To Veteran's Memorial - October 5, 2017.
After three months away from home, Brookline's cannon is back where it belongs, honoring our local veterans.

Cannon Returned To Veteran's Memorial - October 5, 2017.
Brookline's historic landmark French Model 1917 Schneider 155mm Howitzer hasn't looked this good in years.




The Annual Memorial Day Parade

Every Memorial Day, beginning in 1934, the South Hills Memorial Day Parade Association hosts the annual Memorial Day Parade. The event begins at the Brookline Veterans Memorial with the opening ceremony. The parade then follows a 2.2 mile route from the Brookline Boulevard Triangle Park along Brookline Boulevard, Pioneer Avenue and West Liberty Avenue. The procession ends at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, where a closing ceremony is held. The parade is a fun, yet somber event honoring local soldiers who gave their lives in the service of our country.

Frank F. DeBor laying wreath at the
 Brookline War Memorial    Bronze Memorial Plaque and wreath.
Frank F. DeBor, the owner of DeBor Funeral Home and Commander of the American Legion Post #540 lays a wreath
on the memorial bench in Triangle Park prior to the start of the 1954 Memorial Day Parade.

At the Memorial Day Parade in 2010, I was struck by the fact that nobody could recite the names of Brookline's fallen heroes, those whose sacrifice was being celebrated that day. My curiosity led me on fruitless searches to the local American Legion, nearby VFW and the Brookline library. It seemed so wrong that our proud community, unlike others like Beechview, Carrick, Dormont and Mount Lebanon, had no record of the native sons that died in war.

Memorial Day 1960
Brookliners gather at the Veteran's Memorial for the Memorial Day ceremony before the parade in May 1960.

With this in mind, Doug Brendel and myself took it upon ourselves to research this topic and learn the names. We scoured the casulty lists of old archived Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mount Washington Times and Brookline Journal editions. It took a few months, but in the end we had identified the names of fifty-six Brookline natives who perished during the WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Young girls salute the American Flag    A young boy salutes the memorial wreath
outside the Brookline American Legion Hall.

Along with these fifty-six brave souls, we also learned of many Brookliners who suffered wounds and many others who were held as Prisoner of War. By the time of the Memorial Day Parade of 2018, it was with pride that we could present the names listed below in the casualty section of this webpage. These are the names of those that are celebrated on Memorial Day, and may their sacrifices never be forgotten by the generations of Brookliners who live under the blanket of freedom they helped to provide.

Brookline Fallen Servicemen Memorial Banner




Dedication of Honor Roll Plaque - August 2019

At noon on Saturday, August 31, 2019, a dedication was held at the Brookline Veteran's Park and War Memorial to dedicate a beautiful bronze Honor Roll plaque listing the fifty-six soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that lost their lives during the conflicts of the 20th Century (World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam). The plaque was commissioned by Brookline Historical Society members Clint Burton and Doug Brendel. The names of those soldiers are listed on this page in the local casualty lists section.

Honor Roll Dedication - August 31, 2019    Honor Roll Dedication - August 31, 2019

Honor Roll Dedication Page with Recap and Over 150 Photos




PTSD And The Military

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that affects many of our veterans who have served in combat or other hostile environments. For anyone interested in learning more about PTSD and some avenues to seek assistance, check the following links:

Understanding A Veteran With PTSD

Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans and Families




Brookline Military Casualty Lists

<World War I>      <World War II>      <Korean War>      <Vietnam War>

<The War on Terror>

Listed below are many of the sons of Brookline who gave their
lives to preserve freedom and contain aggression during
World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
General George S. Patton
 

United States Army (1775-present)  United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Navy (1775-present)  United States Marine Corps (1775-present)
United States Coast Guard (1790-present)  United States Air Force (1947-present)  United States Merchant Marine (1775-present)

World War I (1917-1919)

Percy Digby

Digby, David P.
Mayville Avenue
Army

Details

Raymond P. Cronin

Cronin, Raymond P.
Berkshire Avenue
USMC

Details

Charles Luppe

Luppe, Charles
Ferncliffe Avenue
Army

Details


 History of Pittsburgh and Western PA Soldiers in World War I 

For a complete listing of World War I fatalities:
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume I
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume II
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume III

For a listing of World War I fatalities from Pittsburgh:
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume III

WW1 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War I Memorial - Washington D.C.

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World War II (1941-1945)

William H. Alm

Alm, William H.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details

Roy T. Arensberg

Arensberg, Roy T.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details

Bruce H. Bracey

Bracey, Bruce H.
Plainview Avenue
Army

Details

Edward G. Brickley

Brickley, Edward G.
Woodward Avenue
Army

Details

James J. Capogreca

Capogreca, James J.
Merrick Avenue
Navy

Details

Clarence R. Copeland

Copeland, Clarence R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details

Thomas J. Cullison

Cullison, Thomas J.
Birtley Avenue
Army

Details

Howard F. Dempsey

Dempsey, Howard F.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details

Walter F. Dempsey

Dempsey, Walter F.
Milan Avenue
Navy

Details

Edward R. Diegelman

Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details

Frank P. Dornetto

Dornetto, Frank P.
Jacob Street
Navy

Details

Joseph F. Doyle

Doyle, Joseph F. Jr.
Eben Street
Navy

Details

Gerald B. Fagan

Fagan, Gerald B.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details

Harold E. Falk

Falk, Harold E.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details

Robert M. Fehring

Fehring, Robert M.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details

Joseph J. Gmuca

Gmuca, Joseph J.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

Robert F. Heil

Heil, Robert F.
Bayridge Avenue
Army

Details

Richard E. Hynes

Hynes, Richard E.
Waddington Avenue
Army

Details

Paul C. Kestler

Kestler, Paul C.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details

Robert C. Ketters

Ketters, Robert C.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details

Michael J. Mahoney

Mahoney, Michael J.
Oakridge Street
Army

Details

Arthur B. Majestic

Majestic, Arthur B.
Starkamp Avenue
Army

Details

Alexander G. Mayberry

Mayberry, Alexander G.
Breining Street
Army

Details

John Mazza

Mazza, John
Alwyn Street
Army

Details

Robert F. McCann

McCann, Robert F.
Edgebrook Avenue
Navy

Details

Hugh R. McFarland

McFarland, Hugh R.
McNeilly Road
Army

Details

Walter F. Meisner

Meisner, Walter F.
Berwin Avenue
Merchant Marine

Details

William J. Miller

Miller, William J.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details

Edward J. Napier

Napier, Edward J.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

John D. Nicholson

Nicholson, John D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details

John R. O'Day

O'Day, John R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details

Andrew D. Orient

Orient, Andrew D.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details

Raymond A. Pisiecki

Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Wolford Avenue
Army

Details

Alfred M. Reeves

Reeves, Alfred M.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

John P. Reitmeyer

Reitmeyer, John P.
Bellaire Avenue
Navy

Details

Vern M. Rhing

Rhing, Vern M.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details

Roy J. Ruane

Ruane, Roy J.
Berkshire Avenue
USMC

Details

Harry C. Shannon

Shannon, Harry C.
Midland Street
Army

Details

Jack E. Shannon

Shannon, Jack E.
Midland Street
USMC

Details

James D. Simpson

Simpson, James D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details

Harry Spack

Spack, Harry
Linial Avenue
Army

Details

Paul M. Tobin

Tobin, Paul M.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details

Howard F. Vierling

Vierling, Howard F.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details

Ralph G. Wagner

Wagner, Ralph G.
Shawhan Avenue
Army

Details

Walter L. Wentz

Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details

Harold V. Zeiler

Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue
Army

Details


For a listing of World War II fatalities from Pennsylvania:
The National Archives
Army and Army Air Corps
Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard

WW2 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War II Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Korean War (1950-1953)

Patrick Gallagher

Gallagher, Patrick J.
Bodkin Street
Army

Details

James Gormley

Gormley, James W.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

Gerald Hilliard

Hilliard, Gerald G.
Edgebrook Avenue
Army

Details

James McKenna

McKenna, James E.
Bellaire Place
Army

Details


For a detailed listing of all Korean War fatalities from Pennsylvania:
The Korean War Project

Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Vietnam War (1965-1973)

James Robert Bodish

Bodish, James R.
Plainview Avenue
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Gilbert Collins

Collins, James G.
Dunster Street
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Charles Wonn

Wonn, James C.
Mayville Avenue
Navy

Virtual Wall
Additional Details


For a listing of all Vietnam War fatalities from Allegheny County:
Pennsylvania Geneology Trails

Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.

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The War on Terror (2001-present)

There have been no fallen Brookline soldiers in the Persian Gulf War (1991),
the War in Iraq (2003-2011), or the War in Afghansitan (2001-present).

 Pittsburgh Casualties in The War on Terror 

For a complete, sortable listing of Coalition fatalities in the War on Terror:
Operation Iraqi Freedom       Operation Enduring Freedom

US Army soldiers in the mountains of Afghanistan
United States Army soldiers resupplying in the mountains of Afghanistan.

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Editor's Note: These casualty lists were compiled from archived issues of the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette (March, 1917 - March, 1919), the Mount Washington Times (December 1941 - July 1946), the Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (December 1941 - July 1946), the Brookline Journal (1950-1954) and the Carnegie Library and ancestry.com online resources. All names listed have been verified as casualties through the National Archives (Army and Navy) or the Defense POW/Missing Persons Office online resources. The home of record is listed as the address of the soldier's next-of-kin.

As for our World War I and World War II research, we've made every attempt to be as accurate and thorough as possible. These daily published lists were the only consistant resource available for the Army and Navy's World War I and World War II records containing street addresses. Hence, it is possible that we may have omitted names that should be present on this record. It is also possible that Brookline natives who moved to another city or state may not be identified as being from Pennsylvania, therefore not recorded here. We really did do our best to get this right.

A Work In Progress

This page is an ongoing work in progress. If anyone has any information to add to this page, or notes any errors, please email us at memorial@brooklineconnection.com. With your help we can continue the evolution of this casualty list. Our goal is to present this record of Brookline's fallen servicemen with the admiration, respect and honor befitting their sacrifice.

Special thanks to Doug Brendel, Michael Brendel, John Rudiak, Carol Anthony, David Wonn,
and Rosario Scumaci for their research assistance.

Standing Guard
The National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota on a June morning.
Photo from the Minneapolis Star/Tribune - 2012.

Additional World War II Information

Our research into World War II casualty lists also uncovered several postings regarding local soldiers that were wounded, missing or held as prisoners. The following is a recap of information regarding Brookline veterans wounded in action, missing in action, or held as prisoner of war. This is not to be considered a complete accounting. These names were culled from the Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Our research is ongoing ...

Wounded: Aaron Paul S Jr - Starkamp Street, Bauer Richard A - Berkshire Avenue, Bishop William R - Rossmore Avenue, Bogart Larry - Breining Street, Bower Richard A - Creedmoor Avenue, Brown James R - Jacob Street, Brunk Carl A - Pioneer Avenue, Carrigan Joseph W - Brookline Boulevard, Copeland William M - Creedmoor Avenue, Cunningham Edward J - Brookline Boulevard, Czech George B - Bellaire Place, Dudics George Jr - Fernhill Avenue, Dunbar Frank - Woodward Avenue, Dunn Robert K - Woodbourne Avenue, Dye Charles L - Fordham Avenue, Elstner Francis L - Rossmore Avenue, Frediani Lawrence F - Merrick Avenue, Frew Jack R - Wedgemere Avenue, Gorski John F - Pioneer Avenue, Green Elmer D - Lynnbrooke Avenue, Gregg Paul - Saw Mill Run Boulevard, Hagel Robert L - Gallion Avenue, Haggerty Francis L - Chelton Avenue, Heck Richard N - Bayridge Avenue, Henry Robert P - Plainview Avenue, Herrle James J - Kenilworth Street, Hogan James T - Bellaire Place, Hogel Joseph A - Milan Avenue, Klaus Francis - Hobson Street, Kuntz William J - Brookline Boulevard, Land, William - Berkshire Avenue, Lang Charles H - Whited Street, Lutton James L - Brookline Boulevard, Mahoney David R - Berkshire Avenue, McKelvey Gene B - Bellaire Avenue, Moses William A - Fordham Avenue, Orth William J - Bayridge Avenue, Oswant John E - LaMarido Street, Quallich Robert P - Fortuna Street, Ruane Timothy F - Berkshire Avenue, Streicher Frederick E - Bellaire Place, Schilling Thomas M - Rossmore Avenue, Smith Harry A - Berkshire Avenue, Stull John R - Sageman Avenue, Sturm Jesse J - Edgebrook Avenue, Thom Albert - Timberland Avenue, Tobin, Paul M - Woodbourne Avenue, Trimble Arthur P - Bayridge Avenue, Troppman Daniel A - Chelton Avenue, Weber George - Norwich Avenue, Whetsell John W - Castlegate Avenue, Ziegler Maurice S - Woodbourne Avenue.

Missing: Benninger Robert J - Woodbourne Avenue, Brickley Edward G - Woodward Avenue, Burkley Joseph A - Whited Street, Kost William C - Linial Avenue, Linke Walter A - Ferncliff Avenue.

Prisoner of War (Germany): Butterworth Norman - Norwich Avenue, Courtney Samuel E - Greencrest Drive, Drexler Daniel T - Bellaire Avenue, Dudics Edward - Fernhill Avenue, Fluke Richard C - Woodbourne Avenue, Flynn William J - Woodbourne Avenue, Jordano Frank A - Fernhill Avenue, Kosinski Raymond J - Woodward Avenue, Kost Peter - Linial Avenue, Manners Christ D - Brookline Boulevard, Streicher Frederick E - Bellaire Place, Theis Richard C - Fordham Avenue, Trunzo Anthony F - Plainview Avenue, Walker Raymond L - Plainview Avenue, Watkins David A - Fordham Avenue, Welsh Richard J - Merrick Avenue.

Prisoner of War (Japan): Arcuri Louis - Bellaire Place.

NOTE: None of the soldiers listed above as Missing-In-Action have been found on military death rolls. All of the Prisoners-Of-War listed above were repatriated. Source - www.ancestry.com.

Additional World War I Information

Wounded: Boecking Guido C - Brookline Boulevard, Hamilton A W - Plainview Avenue, Knowlson Roscoe T - Berkshire Avenue, Steffy, John L - Brookline Boulevard.

Prisoner of War (Germany): Sheridan James L - Fordham Avenue.

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Standing Guard
A soldier of the Old Guard stands watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Photo taken during Hurricane Sandy - October 2012.




The Brookline Monument. Veteran's Memorial Park and The Cannon.




Remembrances

William H. Alm
Louis Arcuri
Roy T. Arensberg
Richard A. Bauer
James R. Bodish
Frank L. Bogart
Salvatore J. Bondi
Bernard J. Boyle
Bruce H. Bracey
Edward G. Brickley
Lawrence A. Bruni
Joseph P. Caldwell
Joseph Conway
James J. Capogreca
James G. Collins
Clarence R. Copeland
Raymond P. Cronin
Thomas J. Cullison
Howard F. Dempsey
Walter F. Dempsey
Edward R. Diegelman
David P. Digby
Frank P. Dornetto
Joseph F. Doyle
Gerald B. Fagan
Harold E. Falk
Robert M. Fehring

Jack E. Foley
Ernest M. Galko
Patrick J. Gallagher
Joseph J. Gmuca
James W. Gormley
Robert F. Heil
Gerald G. Hilliard
Richard E. Hynes
Paul C. Kestler
Robert C. Ketters
Richard J. Lacey
Joseph F. Loy
Charles Luppe
Michael J. Mahoney
Arthur B. Majestic
Alexander G. Mayberry
John Mazza
Robert F. McCann
Hugh R. McFarland
Walter F. Meisner
James E. McKenna
William J. Miller
Edward J. Napier
John D. Nicholson
John R. O'Day
Andrew D. Orient
Pete Patterson
Raymond A. Pisiecki

Alfred M. Reeves
John P. Reitmeyer
Joseph Reitmeyer
Leo J. Reitmeyer
Peter Reitmeyer
Ralph W. Reitmeyer
Tom Reitmeyer
Vincent J. Reitmeyer
Vern M. Rhing
Bruno P. Riccardi
Charles F. Roland
Roy J. Ruane
Harry C. Shannon
Jack E. Shannon
James D. Simpson
Harry Spack
Arthur B. Staniland
Frederick E. Streicher
John L. Steffy
Paul M. Tobin
Howard F. Vierling
Ralph G. Wagner
Richard J. Welsh
Walter L. Wentz
Carroll B. Westfall
James C. Wonn
Harold V. Zeiler

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The Saga of the World War I Bonus Army
and their War Bonus Bonds

USS Jenks (DE-665) - September 1943
The First Destroyer Built In Pittsburgh

LST-512 in Pittsburgh - October 1945
Great Lakes War Bond Drive

The bronze plaque honoring all American Veterans
on the Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

Some Remembrances are listed below. Others were moved to separate pages.
Click on links above to page down or go to the individual story page.




War Remembrances from the Pittsburgh Newspapers

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph - July 21, 1942.

Brookline Children Run Scrap Shop

This photo appeared in the July 21, 1942 Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. The caption read:

SCRAP - A swap shop to help collect scrap is operated in Brookline. Built by Abe Goldstein in the rear of his house at 1410 Wareman Avenue, it's run by his daughter, Janet, 11. Seen above, Dick Bradshaw, 3, and brother, Jim, 4, turn in scrap to the young business woman. Left to right are Janet Goldstein, Ellen Lowther, Bernadette Legler and Lois Lowther.

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Elizabeth Seton High School Junior Commandos - 1942

Junior Commandos in Brookline

This photo appeared in the October 1, 1942 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The caption,
along with the accompanying article read as follows:

Action on the home front, in the energetic Junior Commandos organization, is what these 126 freshman and sophomore girls at Elizabeth Seton High School in Brookline are prepared to further. Sworn in as Junior Commando privates under J. L. Boyle, colonel of the Brookline area, they will help in organizing JC units and serve as aides in the scrap collections.

Junior Commandos - 1942

Two Thousand, Two Hundred Junior Commandos dedicated a new "scrap corner" in Brookline on Tuesday evening with a jamboree that would vie with any football "pep" meeting you ever saw.

The the tune of "The Old Gray Mare," the army of boys and girls sane these words:

"The Stars and Stripes will fly over Tokyo, fly over Tokyo, fly over Tokyo." They repeated "fly over Tokyo" in time with their marching. The route of the parade led through neighborhood streets to the new scrap depot at Brookline Boulevard and Merrick Street.

Commando-In-Chief Frank Murray and Colonel John L. Boyle, Brookline district "commander," led the column with brisk step and pride in the thousands of Junior Commandos who were helping to "fly the Stars and Stripes over Tokyo."

The parade ended at the scrap corner which, incidentally, was offered for the purpose by a Brookline businessman, Serafino Gigliotti. Chief Murray than spoke to the boys and girls about the importance of continued effort in gathering scrap metal.

Junior Commando Application - 1942

"I am very well pleased with the splendid manner in which all of you First Class Privates, Corporals and Sergeants are turning in scrap. Remember, boys and girls, it is the scrap that makes the equipment which is necessary to win the war. Keep up the good work; but make sure you ask permission before taking scrap from any property.

"Also keep in mind that a Commando must be polite and courteous, and above all, must perform his or her job in a quiet manner.

All Junior Commandos who have reported collections of 200 pounds of scrap metal or more have been invited by mail to see the Pittsburgh Steelers wallop the New York Giants at Forbes Field on Sunday, October fourth. The squads of those who reported collections will also receive tickets - all for free!

Two Brookline Junior Commandos, along with their squads, have collected over a whopping 9400 pounds each. James McKenna and Herbert Swann will join 45 other commandos from around the city in ceremoniously having their names engraved on a 30-ton tank that will one day be trundling after the enemies of our country.

NOTE: James McKenna, an army Silver Star recipient, lost his life in the Korean War. His story is featured as part of this Brookline War Memorial.

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West Liberty Elementary School Scrap Metal Drive - 1942

West Liberty School Bell Scrapped

This photo appeared in the October 2, 1942 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The caption read:

This picture shows the original West Liberty School Bell, which had been summoning West Liberty children to class for seventy-five years. The bell was donated to the war effort, as well as the five tons of debris behind Miss Mary Jan Bartolotto of 222 Capitol Avenue. Altogether, the children of West Liberty School collected nearly seventy-five tons of scrap metal, all of which was transported and dumped in the courtyard of the County Courthouse.

NOTE: This was just the beginning. All of Brookline's schools took part in the home front effort to defeat the Axis during World War II, participating in Defense Stamp Drives, Scrap Metal Drives, Victory Gardens and Rationing.

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Pittsburgh Press - October 25, 1942.

This photo appeared in the October 25, 1942 Pittsburgh Press. The caption read:

JOINING THE ARMY were these five young men who have been "pals" for years. All nineteen-years old, the youths enlisted yesterday in the Army Air Forces as ground-crew mechanics and hope to be assigned to the same unit. Left to right, they are (front row) Charles Dimmock, 3038 Pinehurst Avenue, Dormont; Paul Bosted, 3215 Gaylord Avenue, Dormont; John McCahan, 2401 Woodward Avenue, Brookline; (back row) Robert Dobbins, 3120 Wainbell Avenue, Dormont, and Eugene Malarkey, 1214 Biltmore Avenue, Dormont.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - August 21, 1943.

Hula Comes To Brookline

This photo appeared in the August 21, 1943 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The caption read:

Miss Evelyn Hunzikes, left, and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Francis Hunzikes, right, of 725 Bayridge Avenue, Brookline, aren't certain the dance they're doing is the genuine hula, but they know their grass skirts and shell necklaces are the real thing. They received the costumes yesterday from Sergeant William Hunzikes, their brother and husband, respectively, who is in the South Pacific area, with an Army air-craft unit.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - February 7, 1944.

Navy Airman Enjoys Belated Christmas

This photo appeared in the February 7, 1944 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The caption read:

Although he was afloat on a life raft in the South Pacific for about twelve hours on Christmas Day after his plane was shot down by Japanese fighters, Aviation Radioman Second Class Kenneth C. Sherborn, 18, recaptured the thrills of Christmas in his home at 1434 Woodbourne Avenue, Brookline, yesterday. He is shown examining a gift scarf with his mother, Mrs. Christian R. Sherborn, beneath the branches of the family Christmas tree, decorated especially for him.

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Pittsburgh Press - April 13, 1944.

This photo appeared in the April 13, 1944 Pittsburgh Press. The caption read:

Mrs. Virginia E. Moore, left, of Aliquippa and Mary M. Boyle, 533 Brookline Boulevard, departed last night for Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Mrs. Moore husband, Captain Joseph H. Moore, Army Air Forces, recently was rescued from a raft after being shot down over the Pacific. She is assigned to the Air-Wac.

Women's Army Corp Recruiting Poster

Note: Both of these women were joining the Women's Army Corp. Some women, like Mrs. Moore were assigned as Air-WACs, working directly with the Army Air Corps, while Brookline's Mrs. Boyle was a WAC. The WAC were originally trained in three major specialties, switchboard operators, mechanics and bakers. This was later expanded to dozens of specialties like Postal Clerk, Driver, Stenographer, and Clerk-Typist. WAC armorers maintained and repaired small arms and heavy weapons that they were not allowed to use. Over 150,000 women served in the Women's Army Corp, with 32,000 in the Air-WAC.

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Pittsburgh Press - May 21, 1944.

Admiral Nimitz Didn't Fail Her

This photo appeared in the May 21, 1944 Pittsburgh Press. The caption read:

Martha Hufnagel wrote and told Admiral Chester W. Nimitz she had scrapbooks filled with news clippings of current events in the South Pacific, and was reserving the first page for him. He sent her a letter and an autographed photo of himself. Martha, 15, of 1406 Creedmoor Avenue, Brookline, began collecting the clippings after her brother, Lieutenant (JG) Charles T. Hufnagel, went to the South Pacific.

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Pittsburgh Press - September 6, 1945.

"Remember That Pub in England, Son?"

This photo appeared in the September 9, 1945 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The caption read:

This is the first beer this father-and-son soldier team has had together since they were both in Salisbury, England. Private First Class William Cotton, 24, left, was transferred to the continent first. His dad, Technician Fourth Grade Vince Cotton, honorably discharged a month ago, now works in the city register of wills office and lives at the Hotel Henry. His son, who lives with his wife, Doris, at 1314 Bellaire Place, Brookline, just returned after sixteen months overseas.

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Rationing During World War II

Immediately following America's entry into World War II, a rationing system was begun to guarantee minimum amounts of necessities to everyone and prevent inflation. Tires were the first item to be rationed, in January 1942, because supplies of natural rubber were interrupted. Gasoline rationing proved an even better way to allocate scarce rubber.

On October 28, 1942, the government instituted a national speed limit of 35 mph. This was an effort to both lessen fuel consumption and increase safety. Most Americans were allotted a mere three gallons of gas per week and, due to rubber shortages, most vehicles were driving on old, worn tires.

The National Victory Speed - 35mph

By 1943, consumers needed government issued ration coupons to purchase typewriters, sugar, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, fuel oil, silk, nylon, coffee, stoves, shoes, meat, cheese, butter, margarine, canned foods, dried fruits, jam, and many other items. Some items, like new automobiles and appliances, were no longer in production as U.S. factories turned completely to wartime production. The rationing system did not apply to second-hand goods, like clothing and used cars.

To get a classification and a book of rationing stamps, one had to appear before a local rationing board. Each person in a household received a ration book, including babies and children. When purchasing gasoline, a driver had to present a gas card along with a ration book and cash. Ration stamps were valid only for a set period to prevent hoarding.

WWII ration coupons

WWII ration coupons

Families kept a close eye in their ration booklets as they could not be replaced. When in need of a new pair of shoes or a dress, parents would carefully collect the requisite number of red or blue tokens and then redeem them, along with cash, for the requested merchandise.

Here in Brookline, families tightened their purse-strings and did their best to make do with less. The public transportation network became a prefered method of travel, and car-pooling became commonplace. Most homes grew Victory Gardens to help offset the shortage of foodstuffs. Parents learned how to mend worn clothing and repair broken appliances.

WWII poster for Victory Gardens

One thing that sticks out in most people's mind from the war years is a white vegetable substance, called Oleo Margarine, that became a common butter substitute. Many said that it did not taste like butter at all, and had the look and consistency of lard. In an effort to make the margarine look more palatable, there was a capsule of yellow dye inside each package. The capsule was broken and the dye kneaded into the oleo, making it look more like butter. The effort provided some relief, but most kids still considered it quite gross.

War Bonds and Defense Stamps

War Bond - 1944

Another thing that was commonplace during the years 1942-1946 was War Bond Drives. In order to finance the war effort, the United States government sold savings bonds. Because of rationing, families often had more money than they could spend, so they saved it, mostly by investing in these government bonds.

War Bond rallies were held in most cities and communities, often featuring Hollywood film stars and war heroes to help draw the crowds needed to make the program a success. The bond buyer paid 75% of the face value of the bond, and received the full face value when redeemed after a set number of years.

War Bond Rally - July 20, 1942
These uniformed pledge girls took orders for War Bonds and Defense Stamps at a bond rally held in Brookline Memorial
Park on July 20, 1942. Left to right are Florence Bergman, Dorothy Williams, Connie Adam and Martha Jane Tawney.
The rally was held by the Brookline Business Men's Association. This photo appeared in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph.

There were seven major War Bond drives, including the Great Lakes War Bond Drive in 1945. Pittsburgh was one of the stops along the way for LST-512, a D-Day landing craft that toured the Great Lakes waterways. The vessel, loaded with war exhibits, was moored along the Monongahela Wharf on October 17, 1945.

Brookline Elementary DefenseStamp Drive - 1942
A defense stamp drive at Brookline Elementary School in May, 1942.

Scrap metal drives and the sale of Defense Stamps were another option for the government to raise capital with the help of the general public. Stamp drives were a great way to get the nation's school children involved in the homefront war effort. All public, private and parochial schools participated in the Defense Stamp drives. Locally, among Pittsburgh Public Schools, Brookline Elementary was the top seller of defense stamps in 1942.

Scrapping along Norwich Avenue in 1945
The Stengel brothers, James Gillespie and other members of James Cowan's Boy Scout Troop collecting
scrap goods and other items for the war effort along Norwich Avenue in 1945.

While the Little Kids spent their time selling defense stamps, collecting scrap metal, drawing patriotic posters in school and learning how to distinguish between American, German and Japanese fighter planes and bombers, the Bigger Kids joined the military and were sent overseas to fight the war.

Pittsburgh Press newspaper carriers, also called Press Junior Merchants, also sold war stamps along their routes. The Pittsburgh Press highlighted a Brookline boy, Robert E. Templeton, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Templeton, on January 28, 1944, as one of the leading carriers in the sale of war stamps.

Robert Templeton - 1944

Templeton, a student at West Liberty School, delivered along Lamarido Street, Fernhill Avenue and Pioneer Avenue. Up to that date, he had sold 38,965 War Stamps to subscribers along his route, fourth highest among all Press carriers.

Besides being a newspaper carrier, Robert did odd jobs for neighbors and customers. With the money he earned, he bought War Stamps and clothing. At school, arithmetic was his favorite subject and he had ambitions of becoming an Aeronautical Engineer. As hobbies he built model airplanes and played the trumpet. Football was his favorite sport.

Service Flags and Service Banners

World War II Service Flag - 1944

Blue stars and gold stars began to appear in many of the neighborhood windows. By 1945, it seemed as though there were one or more stars displayed on every home in Brookline. Service flags, or service banners, were an official banner that families of service members could display in their front window. The flag or banner was adorned with a blue star for each family member serving in one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. A gold star represented a family member that fell in the line of duty.

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Girl Scout Troop #77 - Brookline Female Sharpshooters

Girl Scout Troop#77 Sharpshooters - 1942
A photo from the February 1, 1942 Sun-Telegraph showing Girl Scout Troop#77 sharpshooters Patsy Jean Moss,
Team Captain Jane Linder, Marilyn Galvin, Rosemary Shenkel and Patsy Shenkel.

Brookline's Girl Scout Troop#77 was formed in 1940 and hosted by the Episcopal Church of the Advent, located on Pioneer Avenue. The scout leader was Mrs. Florence Galvin and the troop consisted of twenty girls ages 12 through 18. Other assistant leaders were Mrs. Edna Shenkel and Mrs. Lucille Pfeiffer.

Along with the many diverse scouting related activities in which the troop participated, including camping trips to South Park, the girls also formed a sharpshooting team that participated in the American Legion Junior Rifle League. The rifle program was sponsored by the American Legion and approved by both the National Rifle Association and the United States War Department, which provided rifles and ammunition.

Girl Scout Troop#77 Sharpshooters - 1940
This December 31, 1940 Sun-Telegraph photo shows Troop #77 sharpshooters at the American Legion Hall. Shown here are
Virginia Linder, Barbara Blakely, Marilyn Galvin, Wilma Masters, Virginia Morrell and Rosemary Shenkel.

Known as "Brookline's Annie Oakleys," and trained by Edward Wilhelm, the rifle team from Troop#77 compiled a remarkable record of achievement, consistently finished among the top sharpshooters in the Pittsburgh area, and were recognized for their talents by the National Rifle Association. The girls trained once a week at the No. 1 Police Station shooting range.

Girl Scout Troop#77 Sharpshooters - 1941
In this December 21, 1941 Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph photo Rosemary and Patsy Shenkel receive
National Rifle Association medals from Troop #77 Scout Leader Mrs. Florence Galvin.

The Brookline girls were also very active during the war years holding benefit dances to raise money for special charities such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the March of Dimes. The ladies would knit and sew for the Red Cross and make holiday favors for the Veteran's Hospital. All of the girls were instructed in Red Cross home nursing and first aid.

One of their most successful projects was preparing gift packages for servicemen that were distributed at the USO lounge on Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. Each package contained three postal cards, three candy bars, cigarettes and chewing gum. The troop received many appreciative letters from soldiers who received these packages.

One of those letters read:

"I am a soldier in the Air Corps. I just arrived in Chicago from my home in Nutley, New Jersey, where I ahve been on a ten-day furlough. On my way home my train stopped in Pittsburgh for an hour, and I stopped at the USO there. I was given a package made up by you. I am dropping this letter to thank you for this swell gift. It made a soldier very happy, because I had no money to buy anything, and was glad to get the candy and cigarettes. Keep up your good work, and thank you girls. Signed - Private A. S.

Memorial Day Parade - GS Troop #77 - 1942
The girls of Troop #77 march in the 1942 Memorial Day Parade along Brookline Boulevard.




Lt. John L. Steffy
United States Army (1918-1919)

United States Army (1775-present)

John Logan Steffy

Brookline Physician Wounded in Action

This photo appeared in the January 17, 1919 Pittsburgh Daily Post. The caption read:

Lieutenant John Logan Steffy, 309th Infantry, who before entering the service was a practicing physician with an office at 111 Brookline Boulevard, was wounded on October 4, during action in the Argonne forest. According to letters to relatives he is recovering rapidly and his family expects him home soon as the division to which he was attached, the Seventy-eighth, has been selected for early return to this country. Dr. Steffy joined the medical corps in February, 1918, and went overseas in May.

NOTE: Dr. Steffy, his wife Marjorie and daughter Beatrice, lived at 111 Brookline Boulevard (now Bodkin Street), where he also had his physicians office. He suffered from the effects of a gas attack during the battle of the Meuse-Argonne. He returned home on April 28, 1919 and was discharged on June 5. Due to the the long-term pulmonary effects of his wounds, the doctor and his family soon moved to Santa Monica, California, where he lived until his passing in 1969 at the age of seventy-nine.




Petty Officer Louis Arcuri
United States Navy (1933-1945)

United States Navy (1775-present)

Louis Arcuri was born on March 7, 1910 in Pittsburgh. A sheet metal worker by trade, he was a six-year Navy veteran who returned to active duty on May 15, 1940, as a Radioman 1st Class. Louis lived with his brother Michael and sister Carmela at 1431 Bellaire Place.

When the Japanese attack on Luzon began, on December 8, 1941, Arcuri was stationed at a Communications Center in Manila. He retreated along with the rest of the Allied forces to the Bataan Peninsula, then to Corregidor, where the Battle for the Phillipines came to an end with the American and Phillipino surrender.

Radioman 1st Class

On May, 6, 1942, P.O. Louis Arcuri became a prisoner of the Japanese Empire. He survived the Bataan Death March, and in December of 1942, Arcuri wrote a letter home to his brother, Michael Arcuri of 1431 Bellaire Place. The letter arrived in July, 1943. The following article is reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press dated July 21, 1943.

Brookline Man Held In Japan Writes Parents

One of the first communications received in the district directly from a prisoner of war in Japan was received yesterday by a Brookline family.

The postcard, handled through the International Red Cross at Geneva, Switzerland, was from Petty Officer Louis Arcuri to his brother, Michael Arcuri, 1431 Bellaire Place.

Louis Arcuri

"I am well and safe in Japan," the card read. "My health is usual. I have had no news of the family since November 1941. How are you and the family, especially father. Remember me to father. Love. Louis."

The printed card was dated December 22, 1942. It bore a Japanese censor stamp and was forwarded from Prisoners Information Bureau, of the Office of the Provost General in Washington.

Petty Officer Arcuri, 33, was reported missing after the fall of Corregidor. He was reported a prisoner last January 4. A veteran of six years previous service, he returned to active duty in 1939, and served as a radio man. He was stationed in Manila.

Allied command center inside Malinta Tunnel.
Allied Command Center located in the Malinta Tunnel - Corregidor - May 1942

After the war, Petty Officer Louis Arcuri was repatriated and returned to the United States after nearly 3 1/2 years in captivity. He had spent time in POW camps in the Phillipines, Formosa, and Japan. The last camp where he was held was Tokyo POW Camp Branch #2 (Kawasaki) Tokyo Bay Area 35-139.




Corporal Joseph Conway
United States Marine Corps - (1942-1945)

United States Marine Corps (1775-present)

The USS Bunker Hill (CV/CVA/CVS-17, AVT-9) was one of twenty-four Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was commissioned in May 1943, and served in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning eleven battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.

On May 11, 1945, off the coast of Okinawa, the ship was crippled by Japanese kamikaze attacks, suffering the loss of 346 men killed, 43 missing, and 264 wounded. The USS Bunker Hill was one of the most heavily damaged carriers of the war.

Cpl Joseph Conway

Marine Corporal Joseph Conway, of 1504 Chelton Avenue, a member of the original crew since the date of the ship's commissioning, manned an anti-aircraft gun. Corporal Conway was at his station when the ship was attacked. The following article is reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press, dated June 28, 1945.

Brookline Marine On Carrier Only Survivor Of Gun Crew

Marine Corporal Joseph Conway, "plank-owner" on the Bunker Hill, was the only man in his gun crew to escape death when two Jap suicide planes smashed into the giant carrier.

Corporal Conway, 23, a "plank-owner" because he has been with the Bunker Hill since her commissioning, was one of at least eleven district men aboard the carrier, flagship for the famed Task Force 58. Presently, two of the eleven are listed as missing.

The Marine, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Conway, of 1504 Chelton Avenue, Brookline, is now in San Diego, California, waiting for the furlough which will permit him to go to Tennessee to marry the girl he met when he was a prep student there.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

Knocked Down

"I was the only man in my gun crew, maybe even on my side of the ship, that wasn't killed or badly hurt when they hit us," the Corporal wrote his brother Jim.

He said he was knocked down, and when he scrambled to his feet he found himself in a welter of death and destruction.

"I ran to my locker and that steel locker was melted right down. We had to use blow torches to cut the lockers open."

In Marines Three Years

Corporal Conway enlisted in the Marines three years ago.

Another Brookline man on the Bunker Hill, Seaman Paul Kestler, 18, of 1700 Creedmoor Avenue, is reported missing in action. He has two brothers in service, Corporal Edward and Private Albert Kestler.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)    USS Bunker Hill (Cv-17)
The USS Bunker Hill on May 11, 1945 after being struck by two Japanese kamikaze planes.

Corporal Joseph Conway, of Chelton Avenue, survived the Bunker Hill tragedy uninjured and made it home to marry his sweetheart from Tennessee. Seaman Paul Kestler, whose family lived a mere two blocks away on Creedmoor Avenue, was not so fortunate. Seaman Kestler was reported as Killed In Action a week after the above article was published, on July 5, 1945.

Other district natives aboard the Bunker Hill on May 11, 1945 included: Seaman Harvey Toms (KIA) of Mount Washington, Commander Joseph Frauenheim (Wounded) and Petty Officer Peter Chergotis of East Liberty, Seaman John Stevenson of Greenfield, Seaman James Seifert (Wounded) of Castle Shannon, Lieutenant Andrew Miklausen and Petty Officer Jacob Guzelle of Imperial, Seaman G. F. Weisner of Coraopolis, Petty Officer Charles Costello of Jeanette and Petty Officer Joseph Corea of Butler.




Sgt. Pete Patterson
U.S. Army Air Corps (1942-1945)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

Imagine being in the nose of an unheated B-24 bomber, flying at 21,000 feet over Romania, a most dangerous place to be in May of 1944. The temperature in the aircraft is twenty-five degrees below zero, and the only protection from the elements is a sheet of Plexiglas, a thin layer of aluminum and an electrically heated flying suit.

Breathing oxygen through a rubber mask and wearing goggles, movement is hindered by the cramped space, thick flight suit, and the bulky 50-caliber machine guns pointing menacingly towards the horizon. As anti-aircraft shells burst all around, the threat of enemy fighter planes has the crew's nerves on a frenzied edge.

This is what it was like for Brookline's Pete Patterson, a nose gunner flying a mission against the heavily defended Ploesti oil fields on May 18, 1944. It was Pete's first mission, and as he steadied his nerves, a bitter reality set in. If he survived, there were forty-nine such missions to go before he could "Go Home."

The crew of the B24 Liberator 'Worry Bird'.
The crew of the B24 Liberator "Worry Bird." Pete Patterson is top row, second from the left.

Pete Patterson was born on October 10, 1922. His family lived on the lower side of Edgebrook Avenue until his teen years, then moved to Plateau Street in Carrick. After high school, Pete worked at A.M. Byers Company, a pipe mill on the South Side.

Along with his brother and a few friends, Pete signed up for the Marines shortly after the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941. While waiting to be “called up”, he was drafted into the Army instead, and left for duty in December 1942.

After boot camp, Pete was selected for the Army Air Corps and sent to Texas for Aircraft Engine Maintenance School. While there, he was chosen for Aerial Gunnery School and assigned to Tyndall Field in Florida for training. Eventually he was assigned to an aircraft crew as a nose gunner.

Their plane was a B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber that they christened “Worry Bird.” They flew to an airfield near Foggia, Italy, in April 1944, to become part of the 15th Air Force. The tour would last six months, until October 4, 1944.

The 15th Air Force was responsible for bombing railway networks in southeast Europe in support of Soviet military operations in Romania. Throughout the summer of 1944, Austrian aircraft manufacturing centers at Wiener Neustadt were bombed and oil producing centers were attacked. The 15th also attacked targets in preparation for Operation Anvil, the invasion of Southern France.

B24 Liberator Heavy Bomber
A B24 Liberator Heavy Bomber.

Pete recalls how poor the Italians were, and how the retreating Germans had destroyed the villages and took most of the food with them. His crew helped a young boy by having him do errands while they supplied food and clothing for his family.

While on a seven-day break, after twenty missions, he went to the Isle of Capri and had a picture of his “sweetheart” (later to be his wife) painted on the back of his leather flight jacket. It cost $20 and six Hershey bars.

During his tour in Italy, Pete kept a log called “A GUNNERS LIFE,” where he recorded his feelings and some facts on each mission. From May 18, 1944 until October 4, 1944, Pete spent 240 tense hours in the air flying a total of forty-two missions, which equaled fifty because several “highly dangerous sorties” counted as double missions.

These were flights over places deep in Germany like Munich and Friedrichshafen, and four bombing runs over the Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania, which had a huge concentration of anti-aircraft weapons and large formations of fighters as protection. The dangers were enormous.

Some large-scale missions involved over 800 bombers doing formation bombing. If a plane was hit and went out of control, it risked flying into another bomber and they would both go down. Sometimes the bombers would receive a direct hit on their munitions and blow up like a “puff of confetti.”

Others drifted out of control and went downward in tight spirals until they hit the ground. Pete and his crew members would watch these aircraft go down and try to count the parachutes to determine who managed to “get out”

Meanwhile enemy fighters were attacking “out of the sun” and in a flash would riddle their aircraft with bullets. An alarming number of bombers were lost. By staying in formation, some safety was afforded from enemy fighters, but if a bomber lost an engine and fell behind, the German fighters would pick them apart.

B24 Liberator Heavy Bombers over Ploesti.
B24 Liberator Heavy Bombers in formation over Ploesti, Romania.

Pete is not sure how he managed to survive while others were lost. He had some narrow escapes, and still keeps a jagged piece of metal as a reminder. The flack shrapnel came through his position and knocked his headset off it's resting place.

In his log, he writes, “If my head was turned the other way, I wouldn’t be here to write this.” Twice his aircraft was so badly damaged they had to throw everything they could out the door to get the weight down so they would stay in the air.

Each time they landed, they would count the holes in the airplane and make “nervous jokes” about surviving the mission. Still, some crews were killed on their very last mission, and that fact haunted everyone as they counted down to their final one.

After receiving fifty mission credits, Pete wrote, “I’m about the happiest guy in the Air Force. What a feeling to know that I am all through. Boy, I could jump up and down, I think I will!”

Pete’s jubilation was short lived, for the war was not yet over. He was sent to a training base in Colorado to prepare for the Invasion of Japan. Pete recalls driving his 1941 Oldsmobile, for fun, up Pike's Peak.

Luckily, the War in the East ended and Pete Patterson was discharged on September 26, 1945. During his career in the Army Air Corps, Pete earned quite a collection of medals, commendations and Campaign Ribbons.

A stronger, more aware, and determined Pete returned home to marry his Brookline sweetheart, Cecelia Mancuso. The newlyweds bought a house on Creedmoor Avenue and raised two children, Kathy and Michael. Pete has led a busy life working at “The Mill,” doing painting and maintenance work, and golfing. Pete Patterson still makes his home in Brookline.

* Information obtained from The Brookline newsletter, May 2012 issue *




A Letter Home From Charles F. Roland Jr.
United States Army (1949-1952)

United States Army (1775-present)

Charles F. "Red" Roland Jr. joined the Army in January of 1949. He was sent to Japan in July of 1949, and moved into Korea in July of 1950. His Battalion was in battle continuously, fighting Northward all the way to Unsan, where they were caught in a trap. On November 2, 1950, during the Battle of Unsan Roland was wounded. From a hospital in Tokyo, Japan, he wrote the following letter home to his father, C. F. Roland Sr. of 832 Gallion Avenue. The letter was published in the Brookline Journal edition dated November 24, 1950.

Charles F. Roland Jr.

Toyko, Japan
November 9, 1950

Dear Dad:

Everything's under control! The Doc says it's a clean wound and will heal in good shape. My leg is plenty stiff right now, and it's too early to tell if any muscles were fouled up. There is a possibility that I may walk with a very slight limp.

It was pretty rough, pop. I got hit trying to break through a roadblock. You probably read of the 1st Cav. Battalion that was surrounded near Unsan. It was my battalion. That was a night of terror. I was the most surprised person in the world when I got hit. I was running when I got it, and it knocked me sprawling. I was up right away and managed to get the one who had shot me, and I guarantee he'll never shoot another G.I.

The Chinese were right on our heels, and it looked to me at the time that they were trying to take prisoners. Anyhow, I couldn't run anymore, so I fell into a small defilade and then I played dead. The damn place had water in it. The whole action took place alongside the river. Dad, I never prayed so hard in my life as I did the hour I laid there, every moment expecting a bayonet in the back or a bullet through the head. They were all around me. I could hear them moving and talking and they ran so close to me that they kicked sand into my face. All the while bugles kept blowing.

The enemy were on the high ground with automatic weapons and the force attacking where I was hit was the maneuvering element. They kept hitting us and then withdrawing. In the intervals when they were withdrawn, those on the high ground just raked the whole area. I don't know, that fire was what had bothered me the most up until the time I was hit. That's the reason I fell into the defilade.

Map of The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 Nov 1950
The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 November 1950.

Anyhow, for some reason, their fire lifted and those where I was withdrew across the river. I was lying about 100 yards from the road and when I heard some of our vehicles trying to make a run for it, I somehow managed to stumble to the road without getting shot again. I got aboard, but we only got a little way before they hit us again, so there was no other way but the hills. How we ever got through without running into more of them I'll never know.

The moon was at it's full brightness, and we could hear the shouting all around us. We had to wade the river. It was the coldest water I've ever been in. All this time I was getting weaker and weaker, through loss of blood, and my leg just wouldn't hold me anymore. I never would have made it if two guys whom I don't even know, hadn't half-carried me, half-dragged me up that last hill. I was out most of the way up. Anyhow, we rested about an hour on top, and I was finally able to put a dressing on my wound. Then with some help, I got down the hill and was picked up by a ROK jeep which carried me to the aid station.

Dad, I consider myself the luckiest guy alive. You can certainly thank St. Joseph for without Him and some others whom I asked, I wouldn't be here now. I never knew I had two holes in me until I got to the Med. Clr. Stations.

Take it easy ... Chuck

<><><><> <><><><> <><><><> <><><><> <><><><> <><><><>

After service in the Korean War, in which he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge, Charles Roland worked as a Quality Control Engineer. In this profession, he worked for US Steel at Westinghouse Atomic Power, where he was assigned to the development of the USS Nautilus. He also worked at Knox Glass in Industrial and Quality Engineering posts.

Roland moved to Cranston, Rhode Island in 1966 while with Knox Glass and joined Corning Glass Works in Central Falls as a Quality Control Supervisor in 1967. He traveled to and lived in Venezuela, Hungary and the USSR representing Corning quality interests. After GTE took over the Central Falls plant he retired in 1987.

Charles F. Roland

A graduate of the Providence Diocese Ministry Institute, he then took a staff position at St. Mark Parish in Garden City. He moved to Warwick, Rhode Island in 1999, where he was a communicant of SS Rose and Clement Parish.

Charles F. Roland, age 83, passed away on July 9, 2013, at his home in Warwick. He was the beloved husband of Joan E. (Bradley) Roland for sixty years, and was son of the late Charles F. Roland, Sr. and Wilhelmina (Snefsky) Roland. He was the beloved father of Charles J. Roland and his wife Diane, Richard M. Roland and his wife Barbara, Paul G. Roland and his wife Kathleen, and Barbara E. Fournier and her husband Peter. Loving grandfather of Kristen, Kristina, Andrew and Nicholas Roland and Daniel and Matthew Fournier. Cherished brother of John M. Roland, Sr. of Valencia, PA and the late Ronald W. Roland.




World War I Veterans Bonus Day
June 15, 1936

The Saga of the Veteran's Bonus Army
and their War Bonus Bonds

Monday, June 15, 1936, was a highly anticipated day among veteran's of the Great War. It was the day that they were to receive their World War I Bonus Bonds. The long road from Armistice Day in November 1918 until Bonus Day in 1936 for many of these deserving veterans was full of political intrigue, economic hardships, bitter bloodshed and plenty of controversy.

One of the most controversial events that happened in the United States after the end of World War I was the saga of the Bonus Army. It was a protest march on Washington D.C. by 17,000 World War veterans, their families and affliated groups in June of 1932. The purpose of the gathering was to pressure Congress into legislating early redemption of their service certificates (bonds) in order to deal with the effects of the Great Depression.

War Bonus March on Washington D.C. - June 1936    War Bonus March on Washington D.C. - June 1936
Veterans from all corners of the country set out for Washington D.C. in June 1936 to demand early bonus payment.

War Bonus March on Washington D.C. - June 1936    War Bonus March on Washington D.C. - June 1936
War Bonus Marchers on their way to Washington D.C. (left); Veterans and their
families gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on June 15, 1936.

Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945. Each certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier's promised payment compound interest.

Each veteran was to receive a dollar for each day of domestic service, up to a maximum of $500, and $1.25 for each day of overseas service, up to a maximum of $625. Amounts of $50 or less were immediately paid. All other amounts were issued as Certificates of Service maturing in twenty years.

Adjusted Service Certificate.

There were 3,662,374 Adjusted Service Certificates issued, with a combined face value of $3.64 billion. Congress established a trust fund to receive twenty annual payments of $112 million that, with interest, would finance the 1945 disbursement of the $3.638 billion for the veterans.

Due to the state of the economy and the hardships faced by many of the unemployed veterans, and their families, opinions around the nation were overwhelmingly in favor of an early settlement on the issue of the War Bonuses. The average veteran would receive approximately $550, a sizeable sum at the time, equal to over $10,000 in 2018.

The government refused the request, and in June the veterans marched on the Capital. Led by Walter Waters of Oregon, the so-called Bonus Army set out for the nation's capital from all parts of the country. Hitching rides, hopping trains, and hiking brought the Bonus Army to the nation's capital. Although President Hoover refused to address them, the veterans did find an audience with a congressional delegation. Soon a debate began in the Congress over whether to meet the demonstrator's demands.

Most of the Bonus Army, also refered to as the Bonus Expeditionary Force and soon numbering in the thousands, camped in vacant federal buildings and in an improvised "Hooverville" on the Anacostia Flats, a swampy, muddy area across the Anacostia River from the federal core of Washington, just south of the 11th Street Bridges.

Veteran's Camp on the Anacostia Flats.
The Hooverville camp of the Bonus Marchers on the outskirts of Washington D.C.

Veteran's Camp on the Anacostia Flats.
The camp along the Anacostia Flats grew in size each day as more marchers arrived.

The veterans, women and children lived in the shelters that they built from materials dragged out of a junk pile nearby, which included old lumber, packing boxes, and scrap tin covered with roofs of thatched straw. The camps were tightly controlled by the veterans, who laid out streets, built sanitation facilities, and held daily parades. To live in the camps, veterans were required to register and to prove they had been honorably discharged.

In the House of Representatives debate on the bill was marked by high drama. Representative Edward Eslick of Tennessee died of a heart attack on the House Floor while delivering an impassioned speech on behalf of the bill. A day later, on June 15, the House of Representatives passed the Wright Patman Bonus Bill to move forward the date for World War I veterans to receive their cash bonus.

WWI Bonus Army
Bonus Marchers parade in uniform through the streets of Washington D.C. and past the U.S. Capitol Building.

WWI Bonus Army
Daily parades through the city kept the veterans in the minds of the lawmakers debating the Bonus Bill.

When the measure passed, hundreds of veterans celebrated in the House Gallery. The Bonus Army then massed at the Capitol on June 17 as the Senate voted on the Bonus Bill. To the dismay of the ex-soldiers, the bill was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 62–18. This prompted more veterans to join the protest. By July the Bonus Army had swelled in numbers to 43,000 and they were camping out right in front of the Capitol Building.

Something had to be done. On several occasions, the veterans were urged to leave peaceably. At one point, they were even offered cash, and instructions to leave town on the first available train. Very few took up the offer. It was rumored that those who did, did so only in order to recruit more men.

WWI Bonus Army
Veterans camping in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.

On July 28, President Hoover ordered the Secretary of War to disperse the protesters. Police Chief Pelham Glassford, who had served as a brigadier general in World War I and had donated food and lumber to the Bonus Army, ordered the area around Pennsylvania Avenue evacuated. The vacant buildings were to be demolished and wrecking cranes stood nearby. Police roped off the area.

The evicted veterans began leaving quietly, then an angry group burst through the ropes, hurling rocks and bricks. One hit the police chief in the chest. Upon hearing of the incident, truckloads of veterans began streaming across the 11th Street Bridge from the encampment. Five hundred police officers were mobilized to counter the threat.

Veterans and Police scuffle - 1936
World War I veteran's scuffle with Washington D.C. police on July 28, 1936.

In the melee that followed, one veteran grabbed a policeman's nightstick. The officer, George A. Shinault, drew his gun and fatally shot two veterans, William Hushka and Eric Carlson. As ambulances carried away the fatally wounded men, General Douglas MacArthur was massing Army troops on the Ellipse.

Troops from Fort Myer and Fort Washington, along with a contingent of cavalrymen and tanks, positioned themselves to quell the disturbance. At 4pm, more than 200 soldiers on horseback, sabers drawn, descended on Pennsylvania Avenue from 15th Street and headed toward the Capitol Building.

The infantry with fixed bayonets followed, donning gas masks and lobbing tear gas. The tanks rolled along behind the cavalry. With brutal efficiency, they cleared Pennsylvania Avenue. Tanks rolled over the shacks while the occupants set fires, then ran with their belongings.

General MacArthur directs the attack.    Cavalrymen and Tanks on Pennsylvania Avenue.
General Douglas MacArthur directs the attack on the veterans, as tanks and cavalry move down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Troops use tear gas to disperse marchers.    Troops use tear gas to disperse marchers.
Troops with fixed bayonets use tear gas to forcefully disperse the veterans.

At 9pm, General MacArthur ordered his men to march on the main encampment at Anacostia. Ignoring direct orders from the president to stand down, the general sent his tanks to block the bridge and troops to raise the drawbridge, cutting off the veterans.

A National Guard unit turned a searchlight on the pitch-dark camp. As people panicked, infantrymen entered and lobbed tear gas. Moving down the rows of huts, the soldiers lit folded newspapers and systematically torched the camp.

With the camp destroyed and the veterans dispersed, the troops stood down and the incident came to an end. Casualties amounted to over one hundred, including the two dead veterans. In a news conference later that evening, MacArthur defended his actions on the grounds that the Bonus Army was guilty of subversion, and that they were a threat to "take over the government in an arbitrary way or by indirect means."

Burning the veteran's encampment.    Burning the veteran's encampment.
The encampment at Anacostia burns with the Capitol Dome and Washington Monumnent towering above in the distance.

In addition to General MacArthur, other notable U.S. Army personnel involved in the intervention was the general's junior aide, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower and tank commander Major George S. Patton. In a story full of bitter ironies, these officers had undoubtedly attacked veterans who had served honorably with them during the war.

With the rout of their main camp, the Bonus March had come to an end. Their shantytown burnt to the ground, the veterans left the Capital City and went back to their homes, without their war bonuses. Despite the overwhelmingly negative public response to the actions of the Army, the officers involved were not reprimanded.

The veteran's camp - 1936
The ruins of the veteran's encampment on August 8, 1936.

President Hoover, however, did not escape judgement. His handling of the marchers was a political disaster, and was a contributing factor in his crushing election loss in November 1932, despite Franklin D. Roosevelt's opposition to granting the War Bonuses.

A second Bonus March was organized in May 1933. This time the protestors were treated respectfully, provided with a campsite and three meals a day. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the site daily. Despite the good will, the president continued to oppose granting the bonuses. Instead, he offered 25,000 veterans jobs with the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Signing the Bonus Bill - 1936
Congressman Edwin A. Halsey signs the Adjusted Compensation Act of 1936.

Finally, in 1936, Congress passed the Adjusted Compensation Payment Act, authorizing the immediate payment of the $2 billion in World War I bonuses, payable in interest bearing government bonds, then overrode a presidential veto of the measure. Ironically, President Calvin Coolidge also vetoed the original World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924, only to be overridden by the Congress.

Bonus time had come, and veteran's around the country eagerly awaited its arrival via U.S. Mail.

BONUS DAY HERE IN PITTSBURGH

The Pittsburgh Press on Tuesday, June 16, 1936, reported that veteran's were jamming official pay stations for their bonuses. The former soldiers swarmed into the district centers, twenty-three of which were set up throughout the city. Postal workers, who were in charge of the distribution process, worked into the late hours to handle the volume of requests.

The postal service reported that 95% of the War Bonus bonds, varying in amount based on the individual serviceman, were delivered the previous day.

War Bonus Delivery - 1936
Fifteen month old Carroll Ann Letzkus holds the
envelope that holds several hundred dollars
of bonds for her daddy, John Letzkus,
of 1119 Chelton Avenue, Brookline.

Fearing a rush on cash reserves, authorities advised the veterans not to cash the bonds right away unless necessary. These cautionary warnings did nothing to stop a large number of the vets from demanding payment in full on the spot. False propaganda fueled the rush by claiming that the service certificates awarded were non-transferable, even in case of death.

Other leaflets warned bonuse recipients to be wise and cautious with their windfall. "A whole horde of financial sharpers is loose, anxious to induce veterans to 'invest' their bonus money in all sorts of schemes."

Redeeming Bonus Bonds in Pittsburgh - 1936
The Gold Rush of 1936 began on June 16. This photo shows a group of veterans and postal workers at the certification
station in the old Post Office Building in Pittsburgh. These ex-servicemen were surrendering their bonds for a check.

To receive the money, the veteran had to present himself and his bonds, be identified by his postal commander or someone known to the certifying officer, obtain a receipt and await a treasury check that would be mailed to his place of residence.

As easy as it sounded, the certifying process was cumbersome. Each bond presented, and that could be up to thirty per person, had to be signed by the veteran, the identifying witness and the certifying official, with the receipt signed by the official. As the day went on, the lines of anxious vets grew longer. Despite the heavy volume, well into the thousands at centers across the city, the anticipated critical cash drain did not materialize.

War Bonus delivery - 1936
Mailman Howard J. Hardt knows how Amico Iannacchione feels when he receives his bonus bonds. Mr. Hardt,
shown with Amico, his wife and three children, was also a serviceman and a bonus recipient.

BONUS DAY HERE IN BROOKLINE

In the same June 16, 1936 edition of the Pittsburgh Press, correspondents around the South Hills reported on the enthusiasm shown by veteran's and their families upon receipt of their bonds. "Here Comes Bonus Man' - And There Goes Gloom!" was the headline as millions of dollars poured into the laps of city veterans to be used to pay debts, buy clothes, finance homes and other needs or desires.

Postmen made special rounds with their sacks stuffed with square brown envelopes containing adjusted compensation certificates (bonds). In neighborhoods like Mount Lebanon, Dormont and Brookline, men and their families sat on front porches awaiting the arrival of the postal worker. With most veterans expecting more than $500, it was well worth the wait. Many took the afternoon off work so that they would be there when the package arrived.

Mailman John Slayton and John Hoelle.
The whole Hoelle family, of 1509 Creedmoor Avenue, turned out yesterday to greet the mailman, John W. Slayton,
as he delivered bonus bonds to John H. Hoelle. Mrs. Hoelle and her six children were delighted.

Nearly 100,000 packages were delivered, and the delivery men, although working overtime, found it a joyous affair all around. Many said they got as much pleasure from the experience as they would playing Santa Claus to the families on their routes.

Here in Brookline, Postman John W. Slayton, had approximately $35,000 worth of bonuses in his pack. Slayton knew most of his customers and spent a few moments with many of them, listening to their families talking about how they were going to spend their money. The phrase he heard most was "Don't think I can't use this. Things have been pretty tough!"

Mailman John Slayton and Fred Backer.    Mailman John Slayton and Charles Haas.
Mailman John W. Slayton stops at the Creedmoor Avenue home of Fred E. Backer (left), whose wife and daughter
were also on hand to greet the "Bonus Man." Slayton later met with Charles Haas, of 1127 Creedmoor Avenue.

A group of small boys accosted Postman Slayton, as he made his rounds through the streets of Brookline, asking for their bonus packets.

"You'll have to join the Veterans of Future Wars," advised the carrier. With a touch of bitter irony, some of these boys may well have gone on to serve in the next World War, or in Korea.

CLOSER TO HOME

My great-grandfather, father of my mother's mother, Jayson Patrick Ferns, was a Corporal in Company A 11th Regiment of the United States Marine Corps who served in France during the Great War. An electrician by trade, he returned home and worked as a Electrical Inspector for the City of Pittsburgh. Known by his middle name, Patrick suffered from the debilitating effects of an enemy gas attack in October 1918.

Only a few months before the Bonuses arrived, In March 1936, Inspector Ferns was one of those men in the boats that moved through the streets of Pittsburgh during the Great St. Patrick's Day Flood of 1936. He was taken around town checking the flooded building's electrical systems.

Jayson Patrick Ferns

Grandpa Ferns was not part of the Bonus Army, but he did receive over $500 worth of bonds on June 15, 1936. He promptly cashed in his bonds and purchased, among other things, an ornate dining room set, including a sleeved extendable table with six chairs, china closet and buffet table. He passed away on October 1, 1955. My great-grandmother brought it with her when she moved in with my grandmother.

This beautiful set has been in the family now for over eighty years and currently resides in my dining room. Along with his veteran's gravesite marker, the dining room set is a constant reminder of the sacrifice made by my great-grandfather and all of the other veterans who went "Over There" to help free the oppressed and restore liberty.

* Most information and photos from the Pittsburgh Press - June 16, 1936; Updated - November 24, 2018 *




The Invasion of Guam




American Legion Post #540
World War II Honor Roll

American Legion Post #540
World War II Honor Roll.
Click on image for a clearer view of the names.




The 4.7 inch M1906

The original cannon that was on display at the Brookline Veteran's Memorial was officially known as a 4.7 inch Gun M1906. The gun was produced between 1906 and 1919. Of the 960 guns ordered, only 209 were produced. Some of these saw action during the 1916 Mexican Border Campaign and in France during World War I.

Not many of the guns have survived the test of time. Three of these are still on display here in Allegheny County. There are two standing in South Park at the intersection of Corrigan Drive and Brownsville Road. One other is on display in North Park.

An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906.
An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906 was chosen to be the first cannon displayed at Brookline's Veteran's Memorial.

4.7 inch Gun M1906    4.7 inch Gun M1906
The two 4.7 inch M1906 guns on display in South Park at the corner of Corrigan Drive and Brownsville Road.

An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906.
An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906 being fired in Texas during the 1916 Mexican Border Campaign.




The 155mm Schneider Howitzer

The Cannon on display at the Brookline Veteran's Memorial is officially known as a Canon de 155 C modele 1917 Schneider. The 155mm heavy field howitzers were made in France and used by the Allies in World War I. The weapons remained in the U.S. arsenal for many years as training guns. These howitzers also saw action in World War II, used by France, Finland, Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Yugoslavia.

155mm Schneider in action - 1918    155mm Schneider in action - 1918
The 155mm Schneider howitzer was one of the most common field guns used by the Americans in World War 1.

155mm Schneider in action - 1918    155mm Schneider in action - 1943
Left - An American battery equipped with 155mm Schneiders at Varennes in the Argonne, 1918;
Right - Live fire training by the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Carson, 1943.

155mm Schneider - 1919    155mm Schneider - 1940
Left - 155mm Schneiders after WWI in 1919; Right - U.S. artillery training in 1940.




The Brookline Monument - The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982    The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982




The Brookline Monument - The Cannon - 2013

The Brookline Monument.
Brookline's 155mm Schneider howitzer watches over the Commercial District from Veteran's Memorial Park.

The Brookline Monument.
The Brookline Cannon stands silhouetted against a colorful sky in the Spring of 2013.




Brookline Veteran's Memorial Park - April 2014

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.




Decorated For The Holiday Season - December 2017

Veteran's Park Decorated For Christmas - 2017    The Cannon on December 31, 2017
Brookline's Cannon and the Veteran's Memorial decorated for the Holiday Season in 2017.




Under A Fresh Coat Of Snow - January 2015

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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