Brookline War Memorial
The Cannon and Veteran's Memorial Park

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

<4.7 inch M1906>    <155mm Schneider>

The Brookline Monument.

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

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

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

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 Afghanistan.

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

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

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

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

The Former Site Of Brookline's Freehold Real Estate Office

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

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

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

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

Original Brookline War Memorial Plaque.

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

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

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

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

The Original Cannon (1935-1942)

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

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

The original howitzer, dedicated in 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Old Soldiers

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

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

Old Soldiers - Print by Bob Daley.

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

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

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

New Flags Installed - 2014

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

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

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

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

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 stop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annual Memorial Day Parade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brookline Fallen Servicemen Memorial Banner

PTSD And The Military

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

Understanding A Veteran With PTSD

Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans and Families

Brookline Military Casualty Lists

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

<The War on Terror>

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

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

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

World War I (1917-1919)

Percy Digby

Digby, David P.
Mayville Avenue


Raymond P. Cronin

Cronin, Raymond P.
Berkshire Avenue


Charles Luppe

Luppe, Charles
Ferncliffe Avenue


 History of Pittsburgh and Western PA Soldiers in World War I 

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

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

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

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World War II (1941-1945)

Alm, William H.
Pioneer Avenue


Arensberg, Roy T.
Fernhill Avenue


Bracey, Bruce H.
Plainview Avenue


Brickley, Edward G.
Woodward Avenue


Capogreca, James J.
Merrick Avenue


Copeland, Clarence R.
Creedmoor Avenue


Cullison, Thomas J.
Birtley Avenue


Dempsey, Howard F.
Berkshire Avenue


Dempsey, Walter F.
Milan Avenue


Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Norwich Avenue


Dornetto, Frank P.
Jacob Street


Doyle, Joseph F. Jr.
Eben Street


Fagan, Gerald B.
Woodbourne Avenue


Falk, Harold E.
Pioneer Avenue


Fehring, Robert M.
Fernhill Avenue


Gmuca, Joseph J.
Brookline Boulevard


Heil, Robert F.
Bayridge Avenue


Hynes, Richard E.
Waddington Avenue


Kestler, Paul C.
Creedmoor Avenue


Ketters, Robert C.
Berkshire Avenue


Mahoney, Michael J.
Oakridge Street


Majestic, Arthur B.
Starkamp Avenue


Mayberry, Alexander G.
Breining Street


Mazza, John
Alwyn Street


McCann, Robert F.
Edgebrook Avenue


McFarland, Hugh R.
McNeilly Road


Meisner, Walter F.
Berwin Avenue
Merchant Marine


Miller, William J.
Norwich Avenue


Napier, Edward J.
Brookline Boulevard


Nicholson, John D.
Woodbourne Avenue


O'Day, John R.
Creedmoor Avenue


Orient, Andrew D.
Fordham Avenue


Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Wolford Avenue


Reeves, Alfred M.
Brookline Boulevard


Reitmeyer, John P.
Bellaire Avenue


Rhing, Vern M.
Norwich Avenue


Ruane, Roy J.
Berkshire Avenue


Shannon, Harry C.
Midland Street


Shannon, Jack E.
Midland Street


Simpson, James D.
Woodbourne Avenue


Spack, Harry
Linial Avenue


Tobin, Paul M.
Woodbourne Avenue


Vierling, Howard F.
Fordham Avenue


Wagner, Ralph G.
Shawhan Avenue


Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Woodbourne Avenue


Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue


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

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

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Korean War (1950-1953)

Patrick Gallagher

Gallagher, Patrick J.
Bodkin Street


James Gormley

Gormley, James W.
Brookline Boulevard


Gerald Hilliard

Hilliard, Gerald G.
Edgebrook Avenue


James McKenna

McKenna, James E.
Bellaire Place


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

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

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Vietnam War (1965-1973)

James Robert Bodish

Bodish, James R.
Plainview Avenue

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Gilbert Collins

Collins, James G.
Dunster Street

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Charles Wonn

Wonn, James C.
Mayville Avenue

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

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

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

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The War on Terror (2001-present)

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

 Pittsburgh Casualties in The War on Terror 

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

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

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Editor's Note: These casualty lists were compiled from archived issues of the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette (March, 1917 - March, 1919), the Mount Washington Times (December 1941 - July 1946), the Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (December 1941 - July 1946), the Brookline Journal (1950-1954) and the Carnegie Library and 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 With your help we can continue the evolution of this casualty list. Our goal is to present this record of Brookline's fallen servicemen with the admiration, respect and honor befitting their sacrifice.

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

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

Additional World War II Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional World War I Information

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War Remembrances from the Pittsburgh Newspapers

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph - July 21, 1942.

Brookline Children Run Scrap Shop

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

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

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Elizabeth Seton High School Junior Commandos - 1942

Junior Commandos in Brookline

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

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

Junior Commandos - 1942

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

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

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

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

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

Junior Commando Application - 1942

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

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

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

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

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

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West Liberty Elementary School Scrap Metal Drive - 1942

West Liberty School Bell Scrapped

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

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

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

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Pittsburgh Press - October 25, 1942.

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

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

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - August 21, 1943.

Hula Comes To Brookline

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

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

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - February 7, 1944.

Navy Airman Enjoys Belated Christmas

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

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

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Pittsburgh Press - April 13, 1944.

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

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

Women's Army Corp Recruiting Poster

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

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Pittsburgh Press - May 21, 1944.

Admiral Nimitz Didn't Fail Her

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

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

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Pittsburgh Press - September 6, 1945.

"Remember That Pub in England, Son?"

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

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

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Rationing During World War II

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

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

The National Victory Speed - 35mph

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

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

WWII ration coupons

WWII ration coupons

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

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

WWII poster for Victory Gardens

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

War Bonds and Defense Stamps

War Bond - 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Templeton - 1944

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

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

Service Flags and Service Banners

World War II Service Flag - 1944

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

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Girl Scout Troop #77 - Brookline Female Sharpshooters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of those letters read:

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

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

Joseph P. Caldwell - Grand Army of the Republic
Dedication of Honor Roll - September, 1943

United States Army (1775-present)

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.

Joseph P. Caldwell, 96-year
old Civil War Veteran.

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Joseph P. 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 Republic.

Caldwell was just a boy when he went to war in 1863, replacing a soldier who had come home, under a practice permitted at that time. He re-enlisted on June 6, 1984 and was assigned 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.

He was part of D Company when the battery was ordered to Washington, D.C. and attached to 3rd Brigade, Hardin's Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington. He was then transfered to 1st Brigade, Hardin's Division, 22nd Corps for garrison duty in the defenses of Washington, north of the Potomac River. Private Joseph Caldwell served in the Grand Army of the Republic from May 19, 1863 until September 12, 1864.

Captain Joseph Knap's Independent
Pennsylvania Light Artillery Battery
Joseph M. Knap's Independent Pennsylvania Light Artillery

A month after his re-enlistment 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. Just ten miles from the outskirts of Washington D.C., President Abraham Lincoln himself rode out from the Capital to observe the artillery duels between the opposing forces. Caldwell witnessed the president standing 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, 1946.

GAR Ribbon McPherson Post

After the war ended in 1865, Caldwell worked as a contractor in Butler County, where he owned a farm. He married Clara Young and the couple had seven children. Joseph retired in 1928 and moved to Pittsburgh, settling in the community of Brookline, where he spent the next seventeen years. A member of the Brookline Boulevard United Presbyterian Church, his final year was spent living in the home of his son, Paul, at 246 Pinecastle Avenue, 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

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. Funeral services for Private Caldwell were held at Beinhauer Mortuary and he was buried in Summit Cemetery, Butler County.

Joseph P. Caldwell

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

United States Army (1775-present)

John Logan Steffy

Brookline Physician Wounded in Action

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

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

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

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

United States Navy (1775-present)

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

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

Radioman 1st Class

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

Brookline Man Held In Japan Writes Parents

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

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

Louis Arcuri

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

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

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

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

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

Lt. Richard A. Bauer
United States Army (1942/1945)

United States Army (1775-present)

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.

Lt. Richard A Bauer

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 yet returned.

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 tunic.

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 pace.

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 his own.

Lt. Richard A Bauer, center, gets a
welcome home kiss from his mother and wife.

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.

Lt. Richard A Bauer, center, gets a
welcome home kiss from his mother and wife.
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 Bauer."

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 Battalion.

"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 and friends.

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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 Ann Kiefner.

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, 1945.

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 Avenue.

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 Boulevard.

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.

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70th Tank Battalion Shoulder Patch.

Notes on Company A, 70th Tank Battalion

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 Battalion.

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 Team.

M3 Stuart Light Tank - 1942
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 Tank of the 70th Tank Battalion in
Normandy passes GIs and a wagon-load of German POWs.
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 Austrian border.

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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 began.

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 ground-floor room.

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 Brookline Boulevard.

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 to safety.

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 August.

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 belongings.

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 materials.

Lt. Richard A Bauer
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.

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The following article appeared in the May 10, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:

War Hero Forming Club For Vets, Boys

New Store To Include Amusement Rooms

Brookline's "One-Man Army" is branching out.

Dick Bauer, former Army lieutenant who collected enough honors for a company in the war, has gone into the recruiting business.

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 5.

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 secretary.

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 fire.

NOTE: The Brookline Veteran's Club was open from 1950 to 1964.

Pvt. Carroll B. Westfall
United States Army (1944-1945)

United States Army (1775-present)

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 witnessed.

"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.

Carroll B. Westfall

"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 some persuading.

"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," he says.

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 soldiers.

"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 confesses.

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.

Carroll Westfall in his workshop.
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 also sold.

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 intimidated."

Carroll Westfall - WWII Veteran
and Restoration Artist.    Carroll Westfall - WWII Veteran
and Restoration Artist.
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 be seen."

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."

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Booklet Cover of 100th Infantry Division History.

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.
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 enemy onslaught.

In the brutal fighting which ensued, the Division stubbornly resisted all attempts at envelopment, and despite heavy casualties the 100th completely disrupted the German offensive.

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 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 toward Stuttgart.

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.

Century Division Patch             198th Regiment Coat Of Arms

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.

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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)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

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 Minus Leg
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
B17 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber

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 him.

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 said.

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 said.

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. Frederick E. Streicher, left,
makes a donation to 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, D.C.

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

United States Marine Corps (1775-present)

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

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

Cpl Joseph Conway

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

Brookline Marine On Carrier Only Survivor Of Gun Crew

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

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

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

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

Knocked Down

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

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

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

In Marines Three Years

Corporal Conway enlisted in the Marines three years ago.

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

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

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

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

Staff Sgt. Richard J. Welsh
United States Army Air Corps (1943-1945)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

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 crashed.

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.

Sgt Richard Welsh

One Of Two Crash Survivors
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 landing.

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.

Missing - All Right

"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 week."

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 reported.

While almost directly over the target, flak "conked out" one engine, and the planed dropped out of formation.

"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 of Italy.

"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 the weight."

B25 Mitchell Bomber
B25 Mitchell Bomber

Make Crash Landing

"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 truck."

Brothers in Army

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)

United States Merchant Marine (1775-present)    United States Navy (1775-present)

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.

Sinking ship in the crosshairs
of a German periscope.

"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.

Ernest M. Galko
Ernest Galko

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.

A Liberty Ship of the US Merchant Marine.
US Merchant Marine Liberty Ship in 1945.

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."

USS Tarawa (CV-40) - 1946
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 operator.

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 *

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Ernest M. Galko

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)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B24 Liberator Heavy Bomber
A B24 Liberator Heavy Bomber.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sgt. Bruno P. Riccardi
U.S. Army Air Corps (1941-1946)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

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."

Tommy Cullison - 1941
Bruno Riccardi

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. McNamaras.

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 to England.

B26 Marauder
A B26 Marauder over Europe in 1943.

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.

Bruno Riccardi's plane 'Geronimo.'
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.

Distinguished Flying Cross

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 and his 1985 Brookline softball team.
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 Chapter.

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.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Oakland.
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)

United States Army (1775-present)

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

Charles F. Roland Jr.

Toyko, Japan
November 9, 1950

Dear Dad:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take it easy ... Chuck

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

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

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

Charles F. Roland

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

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

Captain Arthur B. Staniland
United States Army Air Corps (1943-1946)
United States Air Force (1947-1952)

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Air Force (1947-present)

Brookline Pilot Reported Missing

On October 6, 1952, Air Force pilot Captain Arthur B. Staniland of Brookline was reported missing after his F94 Starfire Fighter plane failed to return to Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage Alaska, after a routine weather observation flight over a mountainous region near the coast.

Arthur Bennett Staniland was born on February 22, 1925 to parents Albert E. and Jane L. Staniland of 124 Hughes Avenue in Carrick. He had one sister, Edith. The Staniland family moved to 2642 Library Road in Overbrook and Arthur graduated from South Hills High School.

On his eighteenth birthday, Arthur enlisted in the United States Army and entered the Air Corps, training to be a pilot. He received his silver wings and a commission as 2nd Lieutenant at Napier Field in Dothan, Alabama in January 31, 1944 after completing the advanced single-engine flying course.

Arthur B. Staniland

After additional training at Fort Myers in Florida flying multiple-engine bombers, Lt. Staniland deployed to Europe as part of the 12th Air Force. From October 30, 1944 to June 14, 1945, he flew missions over France, Italy, Germany and the Balkans. After the war in Europe ended, 1st Lt. Staniland returned to the United States on June 15.

Shortly after returning home, on July 7, he married Alice Edna Davis of 943 Woodbourne Avenue in Brookline, and the two bought a home at 961 McNeilly Avenue in Brookline. Lt. Staniland returned to Europe from September 16, 1945 to February 13, 1946, then returned home for good. He was discharged from the Army on December 1 of that year.

71st Fighter Interceptor Squadron

A year later, while attending classes at the University of Pittsburgh and starting a family, Arthur was called back to the new United States Air Force. He was re-assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron, part of the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Group stationed at March Field in California. He was trained as a fighter pilot on the P51 Mustang, then the F-80B Shooting Star jet. In 1949 the squadron converted to the F-86A Sabre swept-wing fighter.

In October, 1950, the squadron was relocated to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport in Moon Township as part of the 30th Air Division, which later was assigned to the 4708th Air Defense Wing. While stationed here in Pittsburgh, Staniland, who had now reached the rank of Captain, went back to the University of Pittsburgh and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron

Reassignment to the 66th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, a unit in the U.S. Eleventh Air Force, came in the summer of 1952. Now in the Northwest Pacific Theater of operations and part of the Alaskan air defense forces, Captain Staniland began training on the new F-94B Starfire fighter two-seat fighter inteceptor.

USAF F94 Starfire

It was on one such flight, on October 6, 1952, that 27-year old Captain Arthur B. Staniland and his radio operator, Lt. Charles L. Foster, of Clinton IA, disappeared over the bleak Alaskan terrain somewhere between Whittier and the Portage Pass, near the coast of Prince William Sound. Air rescue crews, hampered by dense Alaskan fog and the tricky air currents in this glacial region, found no trace of the missing plane or the fliers.

Captain Arthur Bennett Staniland's wife, Alice, and their two children, Shirley, 5, and Marcia, 15 months, had been living in Alaska on the base with him. In early November, Alice and the children returned to their home at 961 McNeilly Avenue in Brookline. Memorial services were held both in Alaska, and in Pittsburgh, for Arthur, whose body was never found.

* Information from the Pittsburgh Press - 10/13/52 - 10/31/52; Brookline Journal - 11/13/52 *

Capt. Bernard J. Boyle
United States Air Force (1964-1969)

United States Air Force (1947-present)

Bernard J. Boyle

Brookline Flier Killed Off Japan

Air Force Says Jet Crashed Into Sea

A Brookline man has been identified by the Air Force as one of two fliers killed when their jet plane crashed off the coast of Japan.

Officials said Captain Bernard J. Boyle, 26, whose parents live at 821 Rossmore Avenue, was lost when his aircraft went down on Tuesday, August 19, (Pittsburgh time) while returning from a training mission to Misawa Air Force Base.

The plane was piloted by Major Neal Graff of Riverside, California.

Captain Boyle's parents said his wife, Sharon, is expecting a baby soon.

A graduate of South Hills Catholic High School and Wheeling College, Captain Boyle entered the Air Force in 1964.

He arrived in Japan in October of 1967 and was assigned to the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Besides his wife and parents, he is survived by two brothers, William G. and Robert E. of Sufferin, NY, and two sisters, Mrs. Barbara B. Wikert and Mrs. Bernadette Delach of Waynesburg.

Memorial services will be held at the Church of the Resurrection, 1100 Creedmoor Avenue, Brookline.

* Reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press - August 23, 1969 *

356th Tactical Fighter Squadron

During the Vietnam War, the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, on March 16, 1965. Assigned to the 39th Air Division, the squadron's mission was to support Misawa in Japan, along with Taegu Air Base and Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, all of which had just been reactivated.

From Misawa, aircraft and personnel of the 356th rotated six F-100D aircraft every ten days to Kunsan and Taegu performing Nuclear alert duty. The 356th was on a TDY status to Misawa Air Base until August 13, 1965, when it was permanently reassigned to the 39th Air Division.

USAF F4 Phantom II

In August 1967, the F-100's were sent to Vietnam as replacement aircraft and the squadron converted to the F-4C-16-MC Phantom II. On January 15, 1968, the 475th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at Misawa and took over as host unit from the 39th Air Division.

On January 23, 1968, as a response to the capture by the North Koreans of the USS Pueblo, the 356th was immediately dispatched to Kunsan. For a week, the squadron was the only nuclear deterrent at Kunsan. The unit returned to Misawa and continued their operational duties until 1971, when it was reassigned to Myrtle Beach AFB.

World War I Veterans Bonus Day
June 15, 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adjusted Service Certificate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Jayson Patrick Ferns

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

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

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

The Invasion of Guam

American Legion Post #540
World War II Honor Roll

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

The 4.7 inch M1906

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

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

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

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

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

The 155mm Schneider Howitzer

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

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

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

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

The Brookline Monument - The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982    The Cannon - 1982

The Cannon - 1982

The Brookline Monument - The Cannon - 2013

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

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

Brookline Veteran's Memorial Park - April 2014

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

Decorated For The Holiday Season - December 2017

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

Under A Fresh Coat Of Snow - January 2015

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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