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
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.
At the entrance to the park is a fine
pink granite Memorial Bench with two bronze Mrmorial Plaques, one "In Memory
of All American Veterans" and the other honoring "The Veterans of Brookline,"
our military men and women that have served in the various conflicts from World
War I through the present-day War on Terror in the Middle East and
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
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.
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.
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 and a retaining wall built along
the Chelton Avenue side to level the land.
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.
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.
Members of the local American Legion Post #540
dedicate the original white marble
Memorial Bench at the Brookline Boulevard Triangle Park on July 4,
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 preparation for Memorial Day, 1938, the Pittsburgh
Department of Public Works laid a concrete pad and erected 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 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
1935, 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.
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
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 and bronze memorial bench in 1995, a few
years after the conclusion of the first Persian Gulf War.
Brookline's snow-covered cannon on
December 29, 2012.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Port Authority Bus Crashes Into Veteran's Memorial
On July 8, 2017, the calm summer morning
was interrupted with the sudden crash of an out-of-control PAT bus 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
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.
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
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.
It was a chaotic scene as the bus smashed
through the small park and came to rest on Chelton Street.
The Cannon's tow hook and recoil brace got
lodged in the bus' window frame and was pulled along.
The park fence and benches were mangled
by the out-of-control vehicle as it smashed it's way through.
McGann and Chester were called to remove
the cannon and bus and take them to a Port Authority repair facility.
The park looked a bit out-of-sorts for
a couple months while repairs were being made.
The damaged Cannon at the Port Authority
maintenance yard awaiting restoration.
In early October the restored cannon was
ready to be returned to it's location in the park.
After three months away from home, Brookline's
cannon is back where it belongs, honoring our local veterans.
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, 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
World War I
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
The World War I Memorial -
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World War II
Alm, William H.
Arensberg, Roy T.
Bracey, Bruce H.
Brickley, Edward G.
Capogreca, James J.
Copeland, Clarence R.
Cullison, Thomas J.
Dempsey, Howard F.
Dempsey, Walter F.
Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Dornetto, Frank P.
Doyle, Joseph F. Jr.
Fagan, Gerald B.
Falk, Harold E.
Fehring, Robert M.
Gmuca, Joseph J.
Heil, Robert F.
Hynes, Richard E.
Kestler, Paul C.
Ketters, Robert C.
Mahoney, Michael J.
Majestic, Arthur B.
Mayberry, Alexander G.
McCann, Robert F.
McFarland, Hugh R.
Meisner, Walter F.
Miller, William J.
Napier, Edward J.
Nicholson, John D.
O'Day, John R.
Orient, Andrew D.
Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Reeves, Alfred M.
Reitmeyer, John P.
Rhing, Vern M.
Ruane, Roy J.
Shannon, Harry C.
Shannon, Jack E.
Simpson, James D.
Tobin, Paul M.
Vierling, Howard F.
Wagner, Ralph G.
Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue
For a listing of
World War II fatalities from Pennsylvania:
The National Archives
Army and Army Air
Navy, Marine Corps
and Coast Guard
The World War II Memorial -
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For a detailed listing of all
Korean War fatalities from Pennsylvania:
The Korean War Project
Korean War Memorial -
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For a listing of all
Vietnam War fatalities from Allegheny County:
Pennsylvania Geneology Trails
Vietnam War Memorial -
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The War on Terror (2001-present)
There have been no
fallen Brookline soldiers in the Persian Gulf War (1991),
Pittsburgh Casualties in The War on
the War in Iraq (2003-2011), or the War in Afghansitan
For a complete, sortable listing
of Coalition fatalities in the War on Terror:
Freedom Operation Enduring
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The National Cemetery in Minneapolis,
Minnesota on a June morning.
Photo from the Minneapolis Star/Tribune - 2012.
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 ...
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.
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.
War I Information
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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A soldier of the Old Guard stands
watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Photo taken during Hurricane Sandy - October 2012.
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
Some Remembrances are listed below. Others were moved to
Click on links above to page down or go to the individual story
War Remembrances from the Pittsburgh Newspapers
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.
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
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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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, 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 a war bond, and received the full face value when
redeemed after a set number of years.
There were seven major War Loan
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.
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
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.
A defense stamp drive at Brookline Elementary School
in May, 1942.
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.
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
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.
Girl Scout Troop #77 - Brookline
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
The girls of Troop #77 march in the 1942 Memorial Day
Parade along Brookline
Joseph P. Caldwell - Grand Army of the Republic
Dedication of Honor Roll - September, 1943
Echoes of Three Wars punctuated
the ceremony yesterday when an honor roll was dedicated in Brookline. The
tablet bearing the names of 1500 men and women in military service,
sponsored by Post #540 of the American Legion, was unveiled on ground
adjoining the Post home on Brookline Boulevard. Joseph P. Caldwell,
96-year old Civil War veteran, watched the ceremony with Colonel John
H. Shenkel, post commander, beside him. Reprinted from the Pittsburgh
Press - September 27, 1943.
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Joseph Caldwell was born November
13, 1847, in Allegheny City (presently the North Side). When he passed
away in 1946, at age 98, Caldwell was the final surviving member of the
last Pittsburgh-area post, McPherson Post 117, of the Grand Army of the
Caldwell was sixteen when he
enlisted as a private in the third version of Captain Joseph M. Knap's
Independent Pennsylvania Light Artillery Battery, organized in Pittsburgh.
Members of the battery were on a 100-day emergency enlistment. The battery
was ordered to Washington, D.C. and attached to 3rd Brigade, Hardin's
Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington, then 1st Brigade, Hardin's
Division, 22nd Corps for garrison duty in the defenses of Washington
north of the Potomac. Private Caldwell served from May 19, 1864 until
September 15, 1864.
Joseph M. Knap's Independent
Pennsylvania Light Artillery
The Pennsylvania Artillery of
Hardin's Division was involved in the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11-12, 1864. The skirmishes were
part of the Confederacy's final invasion of the north, led by General Jubal
Early of the Army of Northern Virginia. President Abraham Lincoln rode out
from Washington to observe the artillery duels between the opposing forces.
The President stood on the parapets at Fort Stevens, in the line of fire of
the Confederate guns.
The Grand Army of the Republic was
a Union veteran's society, with membership limited to Civil War veterans
only. Posts continued until the last surviving member died. McPherson Post
117 became a bygone part of Pittsburgh's military tradition on August 30,
After the war ended in 1865, Caldwell
worked as a contractor in Butler County, where he owned a farm. He retired
in 1928 and moved to Pittsburgh, settling in the community of Brookline.
Joseph Caldwell spent the next seventeen years in Brookline. His final year
was spent at the home of his son in Overbrook.
For eighty years, Civil War veteran
Joseph Caldwell never missed a Memorial Day Parade. He was in attendance at
every South Hills Memorial Association parade in Brookline until failing
health kept him at home in 1946. That year, Major General Manton S. Eddy
came to visit Caldwell and made a short speech at his bedside.
Joseph P. Caldwell was the last man
surviving out of a total of 25,930 residents of Allegheny County who served
with the Union Army during the Civil War. Of those soldiers, approximately
3,000 were killed or wounded during the conflict.
Petty Officer Louis Arcuri
United States Navy (1933-1945)
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
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
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.
"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
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
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.
Lt. Richard A. Bauer
United States Army (1942/1945)
The following is an article from
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, dated September 14, 1945, detailing the
return home of First Lieutenant Richard Albert Bauer of Berkshire Avenue.
Lt. Bauer, a tank company officer, fought in the War in Africa and
Europe, from the initial Allied invasion on the beaches of North
Africa in 1942, to the mountains of Austria in 1945. After nearly three
years at war, Richard Bauer of Brookline was finally home.
Officer, Wounded Five
Times, Back At Home Again
Five times his wife and mother
endured the agony of reading War Department telegrams that First Lieutenant
Richard A. Bauer had been wounded - but last night they held him, hale and
hearty, in their arms.
No crowds lined Brookline Boulevard
as a motor caravan bearing the lieutenant home sped past. The war was over,
and people no longer became excited about parades - and dinners were cooking
in many a kitchen. Then, too, many other mothers were thinking of sons not
But once the husky, quiet-spoken
lieutenant reached the modest frame house at 1207 Berkshire Avenue, it
immediately became the mecca for hundreds of relatives, friends and clamoring
children to whom soldiering is still just play.
It hadn't been play for Lieutenant
Bauer. The Purple Heart with four Oak Leaf Clusters on his chest testified
to that. And it was just one ribbon on two solid rows that decorated his
Tears rimmed the eyes of his mother,
Mrs. Margaret Bauer, and his wife, pretty, chestnut-haired Mary Bauer, as they
hurried down the platform at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station to meet the
lieutenant. His wife had met the lieutenant in Harrisburg, but his mother had
yet to see her son.
A broad-shouldered, clean-cut soldier
in a smart uniform moved toward them, his eyes eager and searching. "It's him,"
whispered Mrs. Bauer, "it's my boy." The lieutenant saw her and quickened his
Without a word he crushed his mother
into his arms. His wife stood by, crying happily. When he finally lifted his
face, the lieutenant's cheeks were set with tears, and this time they were
Then the mob of welcomers enveloped
Lieutenant Bauer. "This is the worst battle I was ever in," he said, wiping
smudges of lipstick from his face.
The party walked past a train-bound
group of inductees who waved at Lieutenant Bauer without knowing who he was.
They saw the five gold stripes on his sleeves and the ribbons that splashed
his tunic with color.
At his home on Berkshire Avenue,
First Lieutenant Richard Bauer was mobbed by neighborhood children. Two-year
old Brian Fornear tugged at the soldier's legs until he was picked up. Then
little Brian, frightened by the noise, began to cry.
Curly-haired Mary Lou Cuddyre, 4,
was next. She kissed the lieutenant. He chuckled. "I'm glad you're too young
for lipstick," he said.
Lieutenant Bauer gets a welcome home kiss
from his mother and his wife Mary.
Everyone went to the basement in the
Bauer home, where an uncle, former Sergeant Edward R. O'Keefe, had built a bar
and festooned it with the approved forms of GI art. One sign read:
"There will be no need to dig
garbage pits or slit trenches tonight. By order of First Lieutenant
Lieutenant Bauer had a few beers while
he waited for his mother's chicken and spaghetti dinner. He didn't talk about
himself. He talked about his buddies in Company A of the Seventieth Tank
"They made it possible for me to be
here," he said.
Lieutenant Bauer, 26, who has amassed
148 points, expects to be discharged from the Army on Sunday. Formerly a clerk,
he said he will enter the University of Pittsburgh as a freshman.
The basement walls were covered with
German trophies he had sent home. Kids peered through the windows, fascinated
both by the trophies and by the man who won them.
For First Lieutenant Richard Bauer, a
decorated war veteran, a soldier that had fought from the sands of North Africa
to the heart of the Nazi menace in Germany, the war is over, and it's time to
prepare for civilian life.
It will be quite a lifestyle change
after the battlefields of Europe, that of a student rather than a soldier. A
welcome change, and one that will surely be surrounded by plenty of family
Richard A. Bauer was born February 27, 1919,
to parents Fred G. and Margaret C. Bauer. When war broke out, he was living at
1207 Berkshire Avenue with his mother. Richard enlisted in the Army on December 11,
1941. When he returned home on leave, on February 14, 1942, he married Mary Catherine
On May 10, 1943, Lt. Bauer shipped
out for assignment as an officer in Company A, 70th Tank Battalion, then stationed
in North Africa. After the war, he was honorably discharged on December 9,
Richard returned home from Europe and moved
into an apartment at 968 Brookline Boulevard with his wife and mother. For a short
time, he operated a store, Dick's Confectionary, and later organized the Brookline
War Veteran's Club. Richard and his family eventually settled at 816 Bellaire
In addition to his duties at the veteran's
club, he helped his father-in-law, George Kiefner, with the Kiefner Beer
Distributing, opened in 1953 and located on the ground level at 968 Brookline
Boulevard. The distributing company later moved to 962 Brookline
In 1964, the Brookline Veteran's Club was
sold and became the Brookline Young Men's Club. In 1985 it was renamed the
Brookline Social Club in 1985. Richard Albert Bauer died on October 31, 1984 and
is buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Coraopolis.
Notes on Company A, 70th Tank
The 70th Tank Battalion was formed as an
independent medium tank battalion in June 1940, equipped with M2A2 light tanks.
The Battalion began training for amphibious operations immediately. It received
M3 Stuart light tanks in 1941, and was redesignated the 70th Light Tank
The unit sailed with the 1st Infantry
Division, on January 9, 1942, for the French island of Martinique in the West
Indies. It was the only U.S. tank battalion combat ready for an amphibious
operation. Company A was detached from the battalion and landed in North Africa
as part of Operation Torch, attached to the 39th Regimental Combat
The M3 Stuart Light Tank was the
main battle tank of the
U.S. Tank Corps before the arrival of the M4 Sherman.
After the allied victory in North Africa,
the battalion landed in Sicily as part of Operation Husky, in July 1943. After the Battle of Sicily,
in November 1943, it was withdrawn to England, where it was re-equipped as a
standard tank battalion with M4 Shermans.
The battalion suffered some casualties
when, during Exercise Tiger on the morning of April 28, 1944. During
a D-Day training mission, German E-boats on patrol from Cherbourg spotted a
convoy of eight LSTs carrying vehicles and combat engineers of the 1st Engineer
Special Brigade in Lyme Bay and attacked. Several LST's were damaged or sunk,
and 638 casualties, both Army and Navy, were reported.
M4 Sherman of Company A 70th Tank Battalion
passes a squad of GIs
guarding several German POWs in Normandy, France.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the battalion
landed on Utah Beach as part of the 4th Infantry Division, supporting the 8th
Infantry Regiment led by General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.; For Operation Overlord, Companies A and B were equipped with amphibious DD Sherman tanks. Company A fought in the northward drive to Cherbourg, and in the breakout from Saint Lo. It battled it's way through France
and into Belgium, entering Germany on September 13, 1944.
Company A fought in the Hurtgen Forest in November 1944, and moved to the Ardennes a
month later. They fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and on March 29, 1945, crossed the Rhine River.
The Battalion moved quickly through Germany, reaching the Danube River on April
25. Company A of the Seventieth Tank Battalion ended the war near the
The following article
appeared in the January 5, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:
War Hero's Luck Holds
In Brookline Blaze
Seven Lives Saved When His
Buddy Is Awakened by Smoke; Two Rescued
The relentless death which pursued but
never caught up with a Brookline hero all through the war visited him again in a
flame-lit Sunday dawn, but brushed on past again.
This time it came to ex-Lieutenant
Richard A. Bauer, Brookline's "One-Man Army," in a roaring, four-alarm fire
which almost trapped the seven residents of his combination confectionery
and apartment house, at 968 Brookline Boulevard. But his own courage and
the quick action of Robert Weisman, 30, a wartime buddy who roomed at the
place, brought all seven to safety.
All Were Asleep
Bauer, 28, who was wounded five times
and in all won fourteen citations in the European theater for gallantry, was
asleep with his wife, Mrs. Mary Bauer, 26, and their year-old son, Dick Jr., in
their second-floor apartment above the store when the fire
Sleeping in a rear room were Weisman
and Regis Henn, 46, Bauer's uncle, while the veteran's mother, Mrs. Margaret
B. Garner, 48, and her husband, Andrew B. Garner, 48, were asleep in a third
Weisman awoke at 6:25am. He smelled
smoke. He threw off the bedclothes and roused Henn. By then they could hear the
flames eating their home from below.
Weisman rushed up the hall to the
Bauer apartment and roused them. They grabbed up the child and ran to the steps.
But they were almost cut off by the smoke which poured up. Wrapping the baby in
a blanket, they managed to get down, creeping beneath the smoke and out to
When Bauer counted noses he found all
his family there but his mother. Garner, who in the confusion, thought she had
come out, ran back in. His stepson followed but was driven back by flames and
smoke, but Garner fought through to the room. Bauer rushed in an adjoining
building up to the connecting sunporch, crossed over and came down the fire
escape at the rear of his store. He and Garner then brought Mrs. Garner down
Count Themselves Lucky
Later Saturday, safe at the home of
relatives at nearby 963 Woodbourne Avenue, they could count themselves lucky
that they even got out at all.
From another standpoint, however,
this was just another item in a string of bad luck which has dogged Dick
Bauer's footsteps ever since the Wehrmacht stopped shooting at him. First,
as a civiliam confectioner again, the ex-lieutenant couldn't get merchandise
for his store. Finally, after VJ-Day, things got better. He opened another
store at Knox Avenue and Charles Street, in Knoxville.
Sustain Heavy Loss
Then bad luck moved in again.
First there was an accident with the delivery truck. Then Bauer fell sick
again of an asthmatic ailment picked up in Africa. There was no one to run
the store, so the Bauer's were forced to sell out only last
Now he is out of business
completely. He estimated the losses at around $28,000, all insured, but
the family also lost their clothes and most of their other personal
Besides this, the blaze which
apparently began in the lower part of the establishment, wiped out a
lithographing plant operated in the sub-basement by Ben F. Dawson.
Although the yellow-brick shell of the store is still standing, it will
take weeks, if not months, to rebuild it.
During the war, Bauer, an
Armored Force officer, won, besides his five Purple Hearts, the Silver
Star and the Bronze Star with two clusters. He would almost trade them
all now for a good carpenter and a pile of building
Mary and Richard Bauer
NOTE: This was the second major fire
at 968 Brookline Boulevard in just a three year period. On January 22,
1945, a six-alarm blaze
swept through the building, then home to The Walnut Shop, as reported in the
Pittsburgh Press the following day.
The following article
appeared in the May 10, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:
War Hero Forming Club
For Vets, Boys
New Store To Include
Brookline's "One-Man Army" is branching
Dick Bauer, former Army lieutenant who
collected enough honors for a company in the war, has gone into the recruiting
He's organizing a club for boys and
veterans. The club, known as the "Brookline Veterans," has been incorporated as
a non-profit organization.
The idea came to him after a fire wiped
out his flourishing "Dick's Confectionery" at 968 Brookline Boulevard, last January
While recovering from an attack of asthma
in Aspinwall Veteran's Hospital, he mapped plans for rebuilding. "Why not include
clubrooms for boys and veterans to keep them out of trouble in their spare time?"
he asked himself.
Shuffle board, pool tables and other
amusements will be provided out of the 25-cent yearly dues. Boys from ages ten to
sixteen will be allowed use of the club three nights a week until 10pm. The other
nights will be for veterans.
Judge Lois M. McBride has been names
honorary president, with the "One-Man Army" as president, and George McHeffy
Leading a company of tanks through North
Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, Dick collected five Purple Hearts, three
Bronze Stars and a Silver Star.
Last January the Brookline hero displayed
his bravery again in rescuing his mother, Mrs. Margaret B. Garner, 48, when their
apartment home above his shop at 968 Brookline Boulevard was destroyed by
NOTE: The Brookline Veteran's Club was open
from 1950 to 1964.
Pvt. Carroll B. Westfall
United States Army (1944-1945)
The following article
and photos about Brookline resident Carroll Westfall, written by
Patricia Sheridan, appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on
June 30, 2014:
Carroll Westfall Continues To Restore
Artwork Into His Ninth Decade
The soul of an artist, the heart of a
warrior. That best describes Carroll Westfall, a decorated World War II veteran
who used his talent as an artist to help him cope with the violence he
"I wasn't drafted. I enlisted because
I heard about the bad things the Nazis were doing," he recalls.
At age ninety, he continues to work but says
the memories of those long-ago battles are "as fresh as if they happened
yesterday." His work as an artist and art restoration expert gives him an
opportunity to escape the memories.
"You have to concentrate. You get lost
in the detail and if you are restoring you must learn to imitate the artist.
It has been very helpful," he says.
As an infantry scout in the Army, he
went ahead of the unit, spending most of his time behind enemy lines trying
to ensure safe passage.
"A lot of times the enemy would let me
move ahead unharmed. I remember walking us into an ambush. At the last second,
I saw a glint of metal coming from a tank hidden in the trees. I fired to let
the troops know. The next thing I know, the nearest officer to me is hit by a
shell. He was there and then he was completely gone."
The Germans may have gotten the best of
him that time, but it was his skills that usually won out. He singlehandedly
took out three machine gun nests at different times and captured fifteen German
soldiers. Reluctant to talk about the war, he continued with his story after
"We were pinned down behind an embankment
and the SS were dug in on the other side of the ridge. Everyone who tried to
move was shot. After two days I had all I could take so I charged the machine
gun nest. They shot the rifle out of my hands so I threw a grenade,"
Mr. Westfall fought throughout Europe
and in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. He says he once eliminated a machine
gun position on a knoll when he surprised fifteen sleeping German
"They had dug a slit trench and were so
exhausted they didn't even hear the gunfire. I woke them up and was holding a
grenade. I pulled the pin and said if anyone moves we all die."
He held that grenade for more than fifteen
minutes waiting for his unit to reach his position.
"He killed many of them during the war,"
interjects his wife, Deborah, who has worked side by side with him for thirty-one
years. She is also an artist.
"It bothers me more now than it used to,"
He only did one painting from his war
years titled "Unburied." It depicted a friend of his who was shot while trying
to advance over barbed wire.
"It was bought by a naval officer, but
I didn't want to sell it for a long time," he says.
"It was very strong and the eyes followed
you," his wife says.
Mr. Westfall's bravery in battle earned
him the Bronze Star, two Silver Stars and several combat infantry medals. He
suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. "Sudden noises are a problem,"
says Mrs. Westfall.
It is his art, his work, that has
delivered him from the horrors of war, he says. Not long after returning from
Europe, Mr. Westfall turned to art restoration, specializing in Old Masters.
He continues to do restoration and his own work today.
World War II veteran Carroll Westfall and
the tools of his trade, at his Brookline restoration workshop.
"I enjoy working and have been doing it
nearly sixty years," he says, sitting at the easel in his home studio in Brookline.
"I remember starting to draw and paint when I was twelve."
A pen-and-ink drawing he did in 1938
sold at Dargate Auction Galleries earlier this month, inspiring a bidding war.
At the same auction, several other paintings he did and some he restored were
He began his professional artistic
career while still stationed overseas, attending the Wharton Technical School
in Wharton, England. He worked in London as an artist before moving to the
French Riviera, where he painted street portraits for a living in Nice and
Cannes. Finally he moved back to his hometown in Clarksburg WV, and in
1959 he made the move to Pittsburgh.
At one point, he had studios here and
in Manhattan, where he did restoration work with the big auction houses,
Christies and Sotheby's. He brings a portrait painter's eye for detail to his
restoration work. The oldest painting he has restored was one of Christ that
had been carbon-dated to the 1300s.
"I never felt intimidated by a work of
art I had to restore," he says. "Challenged and responsible, but never
Carroll Westfall works on a restoration
(left) while another artwork sits half completed.
Over the years his clientele have
included PNC Bank, Pittsburgh Field Club, Westmoreland Museum of American Art,
U.S. Steel and the Duquesne Club.
"When you are restoring a work, you feel
an immense responsibility to represent the piece as the artist intended it to
He takes that same tack with the
portraits he paints:
"A portrait is a very intimate
undertaking. You have much more of an opportunity to bring out the personality
than with a photograph."
"I prefer doing my own painting,
particularly portraits, but art restoration pays the bills."
A Short History Of The 100th
Infantry Division in World War II
Carroll B. Westfall was born in 1923,
the son of the Reverends Homer and Esther Westfall, of Sago, West Virginia,
in Kanawha County. He enlisted in the Army on July 5, 1943. After training he
was assigned to Company C, 1st Batallion, 398th Regiment of the 100th Infantry
Division, known as the Century Division.
The 100th Division embarked from New
York harbor on October 6, 1944, bound for the shores of France. After a short
time in Marseilles, the Division entered the front line on November 1, 1944,
near Baccarat, France, relieving the 45th Division.
The Division's baptism of fire came
only days later. Assigned as part of the U.S. Seventh Army’s VI Corps, their
mission was to penetrate the German Winter Line in the High Vosges Mountains,
on the edge of the oft-disputed province of Alsace.
The Vosges terrain was formidable
and the severe winter weather added hundreds of casualties to those inflicted
by the tenacious German defenders. Nevertheless, the 100th Division led the
attack through the Vosges Mountains.
Men of 398th Regiment advancing along
a roadway in eastern France.
For the first time in history, an
army succeeded in penetrating that vaunted terrain barrier to the Rhine Plain
and Germany. Within the first month of combat, the German Army Group G Chief
of Staff, General von Mellenthin, referred to the 100th as “a crack assault
division with daring and flexible leadership.”
While falling back toward Germany,
the enemy bitterly defended the modern Maginot fortifications around the
ancient fortress city of Bitche. After reducing these intimidating defenses,
in the last hour of 1944, the Division was attacked by elements of three
German divisions, including a full-strength SS-panzergrenadier division,
heavily supported by armor, in Operation NORDWIND, the last major German
offensive on the Western front.
As the units on the left and right
gave ground, the men of the 100th stood fast and the Division quickly became
the only unit in the Seventh Army to hold its sector in the face of the massive
In the brutal fighting which ensued,
the Division stubbornly resisted all attempts at envelopment, and despite
heavy casualties the 100th completely disrupted the German
Ultimately, the Division captured the
Citadel of Bitche in March 1945, and passed through the Siegfried Line into
Germany. The 100th Division was the first fighting force in 250 years to
capture the imposing Citadel, earning the victorious soldiers the title
"The Sons of Bitche."
The Division’s last major battle was
the attack on Heilbronn in April 1945, which required an assault crossing of
the Neckar River in small boats. This was done in full view of several German
artillery pieces which laid fierce direct fire upon the crossing site.
In over a week of savage urban combat,
the Division defeated elements of several German Army and Waffen-SS divisions,
seized the key industrial city, and pursued the beaten foe through Swabia
Pvt. Carroll B. Westfall saw action
throughout the entire 100th Division campaign. During the last Allied
drive, pursuing the enemy in the days before the German capitulation,
Westfall was awarded a Silver Star for heroism during the advance on the
town of Willsbach, Germany.
In combat for six months from November
1944 to May 1945, the Century Division advanced 186 miles, liberated dozens of
towns and cities, captured 13,351 enemy soldiers, and decisively beat elements
of five German divisions. In the process, the Division lost 916 dead, and
sustained 3,656 wounded and 180 missing in action.
Carroll Westfall passed away
on February 5, 2016, after a brief period in the
Shock Trauma Unit at Allegheny General Hospital following an accident.
Lt. Frederick E. Streicher
United States Army Air Corps (1944-1945)
Lieutenant Frederick E. Streicher
was a pilot in the Army Air Corps that was shot down over Austria on April 2,
1944 and listed as missing in action on the May 16, 1944 casualty lists. He
became a prisoner of war in Germany. While a prisoner he lost a leg due to
wounds suffered during his capture.
A graduate of South Hills High School,
Streicher was employed in the electrical department of Dravo Corporation before
the war, enlisted in September 1942 and was commissioned an officer at Freeman
Field on June 30, 1943. He left for overseas duty in December.
Lt. Streicher was liberated from German
captivity in February 1945. He returned home to his parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Frederick E. Streicher of 2637 Pioneer Avenue, in March 1945. Below is an
article reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press, dated March 4, 1945.
Freed Prisoner Home
Brookline Pilot Keeps Promise Pals Made
He didn't think he'd ever get back
after his capture by the Nazis, but Lt. Fred Streicher was at home with his
parents in Brookline today.
His right leg missing, Lt. Streicher
was one of nine repatriated Pittsburgh prisoners of was who returned last
week aboard the Swedish Exchange Liner Gripsholm. He is the son of Mr. and
Mrs. Frederick E. Streicher of 2637 Pioneer Avenue.
Shot down when he was on a mission
over Steyr, Austria, last April 2, Lt. Streicher was hidden by the Austrian
underground until April 18 when he was captured as the Germans raided the
town where he and ten fellow airmen were hiding.
B17 Flying Fortress Heavy
He had sprained both ankles when he
baled out. They were still painful when the Germans took the town and
caught him when he made an effort to escape. He was shot through the thigh.
Nazi bullets snuffed out the life of his co-pilot who was with
He related yesterday how a German
soldier had beaten him with the butt of his rifle, although he was bleeding
excessively from the leg wound. "Three of my ribs were broken," he
Carried back behind the lines by
the Germans, Lt. Streicher was placed on a pile of straw in a stable where
his right leg was amputated without benefit of an anesthetic, he
Later after he had been moved to a
German prisoner camp, Lt. Streicher underwent two more operations. He
described, too, how he and fellow prisoners had to live on potato soup
for two months and were dying of starvation when the first precious
Red Cross boxes of food began to arrive.
"Ten of us made a promise," said
Lt. Streicher, "that if we ever got out alive we'd make a contribution to
the Red Cross."
Lt. Streicher makes his donation
to the American Red Cross.
And that was one of the first things
on his itinerary when he arrived in Pittsburgh yesterday. He went to the
Dravo Corp., where he worked as an electrical wireman before the war, and
there presented $100 in cash to Mrs. W. J. Neuenschwander, a member of the
Red Cross Board of Speakers' Bureau.
After a thirty-day leave Lt. Streicher
will enter convalescence at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington,
Corporal Joseph Conway
United States Marine Corps - (1942-1945)
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.
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
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
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
"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
"I ran to my locker and that steel
locker was melted right down. We had to use blow torches to cut the lockers
In Marines Three
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
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.
Staff Sgt. Richard J. Welsh
United States Army Air Corps (1943-1945)
Staff Sgt. Richard J. Welsh
was a radio operator in the Army Air Corps serving in a medium bomber
group in the North African Theatre of Operations. During the opening
stages of the Italian Campaign, on September 29, 1943, Sgt. Welsh, a
veteran of nearly ten missions, was on a bombing run near Benvenuto,
Italy, when his plane was hit and seen plunging downward. A lone
parachute was reported to emerge from the stricken bomber before it
No one could have known at the
time, but it was the radio man, Sgt. Richard J. Welsh, of 1133 Merrick
Avenue, that had escaped the doomed aircraft. The following article is
reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press, dated November 8, 1943.
One Of Two Crash
Is Deserted By Lady Luck
Two 20-year old Pittsburgh district
Army fliers who survived a crash landing in Sicily recently have been parted
by the fortunes of war.
One of them is still flying, but
the other is now reported missing in action after another crash
The Army told of the crash landing
which ended safely for Lt. Ivor P. Evans of Aliquippa and Staff Sgt. Richard
J. Welsh, of 1133 Merrick Avenue, Brookline, but it remained for their
mothers to tell the sequel.
"My boy is now missing in action,"
said Mrs. James W. Welsh.
"My son is still all right",
reported Mrs. Samuel Evans. "We had a letter from him last
Lt. Evans, a navigator, and Sgt.
Welsh, a radio operator were members of the crew of "Old Shadrach," a
Mitchell bomber assigned to raid a target near Rome, the Army
While almost directly over the
target, flak "conked out" one engine, and the planed dropped out of
"We threw everything we could
overboard," the Army quoted crew members. "We even joked about throwing
our bombardier over because he weighed 200 pounds."
Steadily the plane lost
altitude until it was a bare 5000 feet over the fog shrouded mountains
"Dick Welsh kept in touch with
the American Air Sea Rescue Service at Palermo," the Army dispatch
continued. "The told us they were sending two Spitfire fighters to guide
us in. Then Dick threw the radio out the hatch to relieve the bomber of
B25 Mitchell Bomber
"As we prayed, the Spitfires
appeared and led the crippled bomber to an airfield at Palermo. The
pilot was compelled to crash land the ship, but all crew members got
out safely," the Army story said.
"Dick wrote us of that escape."
his mother said. "We were very happy."
But last week a letter came from
the Adjutant General's office to confirm a telegram which reported Dick
missing in action near Benvenuto, Italy, September 29.
" ... your son's plane was seen
to crash to the earth," the letter said. " ... a lone parachute was seen
to leave the plane as it plunged downward ... you will be notified immediately
when further information is received ..."
For Mrs. Evans, wife of a Jones
& Laughlin Corp. steel worker, word of Sgt. Welsh's fate magnified still
further her own son's "charmed life."
"This is the fourth time he's
escaped," she said. "A plane he was in crash landed last January in South
Carolina and he escaped."
"Shortly after he reached Tunisia
last summer he escaped death again when he was the only soldier to come out
uninjured after their army truck was sideswiped by a big civilian
Sgt. Welsh, son of a general
contractor, is one of two brothers in the Army. His older brother,
Lt. William Welsh, 30, is a flight instructor in Oklahoma. A 17-year old
brother, James, is now trying to persuade his parents to permit him to
enlist in the Navy, Mrs. Welsh said.
Sgt. Welsh graduated from South
Hills High School several years ago and worked as a surveyor for the
Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co. prior to enlisting October 13, 1942. He went
overseas last July 21.
Lt. Evans graduated from
Aliquippa High School in 1941, and worked in the mill before enlisting in
January, 1942. He went overseas last June, and has two brothers in the
Army, Pvt. William P. Evans, a paratrooper in England, and Corp. Gomer
Evans, in Ordnance at Philadelphia.
Sgt. Richard J. Welsh, the lone
survivor of the B25 Mitchell bomber that crashed near Benvenuto, was taken
prisoner by the Germans. At the time he was liberated in 1945, Sgt. Welsh
was being held at German POW Camp #091. Two other Brookline natives of the
Army Air Corps, also held as prisoners-of-war by the Germans, were liberated
from the same camp; Staff Sgt. Peter Kost of 424 Linial Avenue and Staff Sgt.
David A. Watkins of 500 Fordham Avenue.
It seems that Sgt. Richard J.
Welsh of Brookline wasn't deserted by "Lady Luck" after all.
Lt. Ivor P. Evans of Aliquippa,
Sgt. Welsh's crew mate from "Old Shadrach", also survived the war.
Gunners Mate Ernest M. Galko
U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy (1941-1947)
Born on June 22, 1922, Brookline resident
Ernie Galko was just twenty years old when World War II started. Shortly after
the attack on Pearl Harbor he joined the Merchant Marines. His first sea duty
was on a Liberty Ship that was sailing back to port in the Gulf of Mexico. It
suddenly was torpedoed and sunk by a German Submarine.
"It happened so fast, and without warning,
that there was no time to put down the life boats. The guys in the engine room
were lost. We managed to get some wooden rafts into the water and we hung on
them for three days before we were rescued."
After that experience, Galko concluded
that sailing on an unarmed Merchant Marine Vessel wasn’t for him, so he enlisted
in the Navy. He went to Boot Camp in Newport, Rhode Island and then to New York
for Gunnery School. The Navy, ironically, put him on another Liberty Ship, the
USS John Brown. This time, he and ninteen other Gunners Mates manned three inch,
four inch and 20mm anti-aircraft guns. All Liberty ships were Merchant Marine
so Ernie was technically back where he started.
His home port was Baltimore and each time
he returned, he was assigned to a new Liberty Ship. He went on to serve on the
USS Joshua Chamberlain, the USS B. F. Shaw, and the USS Sublette. His service
took him through the Panama Canal several times, down the coast of South America
to Cape Town, to ports in England, Russia, and the Middle East, dropping off war
materials and supplies along the way. He delivered tanks and ammunition to
Normandy several days after the D-Day Europe invasion and recalls going ashore,
standing atop the cliffs and looking out at the amazing display of ships and
equipment on the beach.
US Merchant Marine Liberty Ship in
Galko also served in the South Pacific,
delivering supplies to Australia, the Philippines and several island destinations.
With the Japanese vigorously defending the approaches to their homeland, Galko
and his crewmates saw plenty of action.
He recalls, "We got to fire the guns a
lot with all the Japanese aircraft we saw."
Still active in the Pacific Theatre when
the atomic bombs were deployed, his thought was, "I gave President Truman credit
for having the guts to use them. Otherwise, we would have lost hundreds of
thousands of our boys invading mainland Japan."
The aircraft carrier USS Tarawa (CV-40)
underway shortly after commissioning
in early 1946. Planes of Carrier Air Group 4 are visible on deck.
His final assignment was on the aircraft
carrier USS Tarawa. Discharged in 1947, Ernie returned to Brookline, married the
girl across the street, and raised his family here. He still lives in the house on
Edgebrook Avenue that his parents bought when he was fifteen years old. He is
retired from the Brookline Journal, where he worked as a linotype
Galko's only regret is that the crews of
the Merchant Marines have never received proper credit for their sacrifices and
bravery during the War.
"Without them the war would have been lost.
This country owes them a lot."
* Information obtained from
The Brookline newsletter, January 2011 issue *
Ernest M. Galko passed away
on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Husband of the late
Pauline; father of Donna Conneely (John) of Etna, Joanne Galko-Unrath (Bob) of
Denver, CO, and the late Mary Audry; caring grandfather of Patrick Conneely
(Sarah), Sean Conneely and Brian Conneely; devoted brother of Louise
Hogel and seven other deceased brothers and sisters.
Sgt. Pete Patterson
U.S. Army Air Corps (1942-1945)
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."
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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 *
Sgt. Bruno P. Riccardi
U.S. Army Air Corps (1941-1946)
Bruno P. Riccardi was a long-time
resident of Brookline and a Pittsburgh softball legend who spent
twenty-five years as a truck driver for the Pittsburgh Press. Those who
knew him best called him "Spot."
What many did not know was that
"Spot" Riccardi was also a highly-decorated veteran of the World War II
air campaign over Europe, and an honored recipient of the prestigious
Distinguished Flying Cross for "extraordinary achievement."
Bruno Riccardi was born in Mingo
Junction, Ohio. His family moved to Pittsburgh and he grew up in the Hill
District, attending Duquesne Prep High School. While in high school,
he lettered in three sports, playing football with Tom Rooney, brother
of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. During his senior year, Bruno
was the school's boxing instructor. He later won the AAU 126-pound boxing
championship as a member of the Irene Kaufmann Settlement team.
Riccardi later played center for St.
Peter's Preps in 1039-1940 against football teams the likes of the Beechview
Olsons, Etna Sycamores, Millvale Amicis, Butler Cubs and E.L.
In 1941, Riccardi joined the
Army Air Corps and was assigned as a B26 Marauder tail gunner. On April
22, 1944, Riccardi's B26, named "Geronimo," had just completed a bombing
run over a rocket installation near Cherbourg, France, and was returning
A B26 Marauder over Europe in
The plane had been badly damaged and
the crew was forced to ditch in the English Channel. All of the crew, except
the pilot, Captain Austin R. Jordan, managed to escape the stricken plane and
return safely to England. For his actions on that day, Riccardi was cited for
his extraordinary valor and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The nose art on Bruno Riccardi's
B26 Marauder, called "Geronimo."
A year later, in 1945, Riccardi's
squadron was awarded a Unit Citation by President Harry Truman for "helping
bring about the total defeat of the enemy." The unit also received
meritorious citations from General Hap Arnold, commander of the Army Air
Force, and from the Caterpillar Club.
In addition to the Distinguished
Flying Cross, Riccardi, a veteran of fifty-six missions, was awarded
a pre-Pearl Harbor Ribbon and the Air Medal with eight Oak-Leaf Clusters
and four Battle Stars.
Bruno returned home to Pittsburgh in
1946. Nine years later, in 1955, he married Irma Jean Augustine and settled
in Brookline to start a family. He was employed for twenty-five years as a
driver for the Pittsburgh Press and was a member of Teamsters Local 211.
Bruno and Irma Jean raised three children: Mark, Bruno and Gina.
An accomplished player and manager in
slow-pitch softball, his Skip & Hogan team won an ASA National Championship
in 1962, defeating a team from Toledo by the score of 5-4. For his contributions
to the sport of softball, Bruno Riccardi was a Dapper Dan Award winner.
Bruno Riccardi (front-right) and his 1985
Brookline softball team.
Then, in 1969, he was inducted into the
Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. This was followed up in 1992 when
Bruno was granted a spot in the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame - Western
In 1972, Bruno was honored locally for
his military achievements by the Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial, located in Oakland. Riccardi's photograph and the story of his
medal-winning heroics are memorialized in the Hall of Valor.
The Soldiers and Sailors National Military
Museum and Memorial in Oakland.
Bruno P. "Spot" Riccardi
passed away on February 9, 2004, at the age of eighty-four.
A Letter Home From Charles F. Roland Jr.
United States Army (1949-1952)
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.
November 9, 1950
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
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
The Unsan Engagement, 1-2 November
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Veterans from all corners of the country set
out for Washington D.C. in June 1936 to demand early bonus payment.
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
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
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.
The Hooverville camp of the Bonus Marchers
on the outskirts of Washington D.C.
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
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
Bonus Marchers parade in uniform through the
streets of Washington D.C. and past the U.S. Capitol Building.
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
Veterans camping in front of the U.S.
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.
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
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
General Douglas MacArthur directs the attack
on the veterans, as tanks and cavalry move down Pennsylvania Avenue.
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."
The encampment at Anacostia burns
with the Capitol Dome and Washington Monumnent towering above in the
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
"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.
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 *
American Legion Post
World War II Honor Roll
Click on image for a clearer view of
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
An American 4.7 inch Gun M1906 was chosen
to be the first cannon displayed at Brookline's Veteran's Memorial.
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
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.
The 155mm Schneider howitzer was one of
the most common field guns used by the Americans in World War 1.
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.
Left - 155mm Schneiders after WWI
in 1919; Right - U.S. artillery training in 1940.
Monument - The Cannon - 1982
Monument - The Cannon - 2013
Brookline's 155mm Schneider
howitzer watches over the Commercial District from Veteran's
The Brookline Cannon stands
silhouetted against a colorful sky in the Spring of 2013.
Memorial Park - April 2014
Decorated For The Holiday Season
- December 2017
Brookline's Cannon and the Veteran's Memorial
decorated for the Holiday Season in 2017.
Under A Fresh Coat Of Snow
- January 2015