September 2, 2005
Oroville Mercury July 21, 1944, June 28, 1944
RED CROSS SESSION SET BY EAGLES LODGE
Members of the Eagles Lodge and their wives will meet at their regular
surgical dressing class tonight at 7 p. m. at Memorial hall. At
the last session the group made 1500 four by four dressings. The
Red Cross project has been carried out by the lodge for many months.
Looking Backward from the files of the Mercury and register
TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO
Another of Oroville’s war heroes returned last week in the person
of George Thurston, who went through every great American salient
during the war without receiving a scratch. He has the proud distinction
of reaching France with the first army…..
Little story of Daily life
THEY HAVE HIM ON K. P. DUTY
Lt. James Griffith, base adjutant at Oroville Army Air Field, took
his initial swim at Bed Rock pool in a manner he hadn’t expected.
Attired in his flying suit over his bathing trunks, the lieutenant
was standing on the riverbank and was watching the aquatic pursuit
of a group of air-field men. An attractive girl approached Griffith
saying she had a special request to make of him. “I would so like
to have my picture taken in a flying suit, lieutenant,” the girl
said. “I’d like to send the picture to my boy friend in the service.”
Quite willing to be of assistance in bolstering the morale of the
absent boy friend, Griffith acquiesced. He took off his flying suit.
The next thing Griffith knew he was several feet under the cold
waters of the Feather River. “I’m sure sorry, lieutenant,” a sergeant
said after Griffith had returned to shore, “we didn’t know it was
you. If we had seen your bars we never would have thrown you in.”
Lt. Benson In Chico After Italy Service
Lt. Norman L. Benson, formerly of Oroville, arrived at his
home in Chico Tuesday after completing 56 successful missions over
Italy as chief pilot of a B-25 bomber. Lt. Benson told of an exciting
incident when the hydraulic system of his bomber was shot out by
enemy fire and the bomb bay doors opened making it necessary to
release the bombs by hand before they exploded in the wrong spot.
He said that his bombardier, Lieut. Edward Penn of Texas climbed
down released a bomb while they were being engaged by the enemy
in the air and from the ground over Italy. The Texan was awarded
the soldier’s medal for his act of heroism. The bomber pilot said
that his buddy in Italy, was a doctor who spoke Italian fluently.
Because of this, Lt. Benson said, he really enjoyed the Italian
people and had a fair time in Italy. Lt. Benson entered the service
in April 1942 at San Francisco, by enlistment directly into the
air arm of the army. He received his commission and wings at Roswell,
Marine’s Sacrifice Earn Honor Medal
WASHINGTON (U.P.) The Congressional Medal of Honor has been awarded
posthumously to Marine Sgt. Herbert J. Thomas of South Charleston,
W. VA., who threw himself on a grenade to save his companions during
fighting on Bougainville, the Navy has announced. The 25-year-old
sergeant, who was killed in the Koromokina river area on Nov. 7,
1943, deliberately threw himself upon one of his own grenades, which
had ricocheted back into his group after he had thrown it.
Air Corps Captain, WAC Lieutenant Wed
Captain William Paule and Lt. Eleanor Burkholder, both of
Pennsylvania, were married in a simple ceremony Friday at 7:30 p.
m. at the Congregational Church parsonage here. The Rev. Mr. F.
E. Carlson performed the rite. Captain Paule, a pilot, is stationed
at Oroville Army Air Field with the 400th fighter squadron. His
bride, public relations officer in the WAC, is on leave from Craig
Field, Ala. The couple will spend their honeymoon in Oroville. Major
and Mrs. Paul M. Brewer Jr., attended them at the wedding.
Stu’s Notes: George Thurston, Oroville Hero who served his country
well in WWI, home in 1919. We don’t know much about the Oroville
men who went “over there”. We know of 7 that died during 1917-1918
from Oroville, thanks to Jan Rose Bales. Who was that pretty girl
that caused the Lt. to be thrown in the water? Did she marry her
boyfriend, or maybe the young Lt.? Somebody knows the “rest of the
story”. I asked myself, could I do what that young Marine did to
save his buddies? I don’t know. In our wars many went “above and
beyond the call of duty” less than 500 in WWII were awarded the
Medal of Honor. Oroville has strong ties to two of these men both
awarded posthumously. You can read their stories on our web, as
I have written about them over 2 years ago in this column. Thanks
again to Daryl Autry for a web site that keeps getting better and
Founding Committee member Darby Miller is home now mending from
Open Heart Surgery. Darby is tough, surviving the tail end of WWII
as a 17 year old kid (his words) who grew up fast. You might have
seen the movie of the rescue of American POWs in the Philippines.
60 years ago this week Darby was involved when they brought in the
POW’s from other camps, Camp O’Donald and Billabeen, two of the
worst Prison camps of all times. Darby helped set up temporary hospitals
at Luzon for them. One young seaman was killed unloading. Darby’s
words, the prisoner brought in looked like walking skeletons, eyes
sunk in all suffering from terrible diseases, rags for clothes,
you could count all their ribs. All were under 100 lbs. By morning
31 had died, they stayed alive for one day of freedom. Soon they
were put on the Hospital Hope and Mercy. As they were brought out
in small boats, because of lack of a dock. The nurses lined the
rails and waved, this meant so much to the men who hadn’t seen girls
in 3-4 years. Darby would not let me use his name if I didn’t say
that he was no hero, just did his job. Well, to me they are all
heroes all that served our country well.