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April 10, 2009

Oroville Mercury Register (OMR)
1946 Service Corner…
Chinese Poverty Acute, Declares Brereton: Butte Men Read Mercury
Poverty in China is unbelievable, according to Marine Pvt. Ralph E. Brereton, who is stationed with the occupation forces in North China. He writes from Tsingtao, in Shantung Province, North China that the city has large and beautiful buildings, some of them four stories high, but there are almost no plumbing or sanitary facilities, and very poor heating. The weather is very cold. The sidewalks are fairly clogged with sales booths, causing most of the pedestrians to take to the streets which are full of bicycles, rickshas, antique two-wheeled and one-wheeled carts, and a very few motor vehicles, with traffic taking the left side of the streets. A ride in a rickshaw from the Marine base to town costs several hundred Chinese dollars, the amount varying according to the fluctuating Chinese money value, but at any value it is just a few cents in U. S. money, he said.

Mercury Brings Introductions
The Oroville Mercury, which is mailed daily to Pvt. Brereton by his mother, Mrs. F. Giovannetti, is received about eight days after it is printed and is read first by himself and Anthony Bettencourt of Gridley, and then by all of the other California boys there. One marine, he said, who noticed the heading of the paper introduced himself as Frank Mills of Chico, nephew of Mrs. Gladys Mills Dealy of Oroville. Another Oroville boy who is stationed there is Richard Stenberg, nephew of Cliff Tessier, Oroville electrician. Pvt. Brereton just recently discovered that “Dyke” Donald Richter of Oroville is also stationed at Tsingtao with the Seabees, just about a five minute walk from the marine base, and these two old friends enjoyed a pleasant day together, each very much surprised to find that the other was there. Pvt. Brereton is in charge of the Diesel generators that provide the power for the marine base, is with the Sixth Marine Division. Division quarters are in the Shantung University buildings. A descriptive bit from one letter of Brereton’s said: “The sun has just finished setting here. I am observing this act of nature from my barracks window which faces west and overlooks Kiaochow Bay. Directly across the bay from me is a group of mountains not unlike the Sutter Buttes both in size, shape and lack of vegetation. The sun sets directly behind them and goes on its way toward San Quentin to be compared somewhat with what is seen when looking toward San Quentin from the Richmond Ferry at sunset.” His wife, Mrs. Betty Brereton, and two sons, Jack and Bill, are living in their home in Thermalito.

OMR March 31, 1943
C. A. Hedlund Killed In Jump Fort Bragg, N. D. –(UP)- Public relations officers here today reported Pfc. Arthur W. Elliott, 25, of Washington, D. C., and Pfc. Carroll A. Hedlund, 30, brother of Francis W. Hedlund, Magee Ave., Oakland, Calif., were killed during a parachute troop training problem yesterday near Camden, S. C. Hedlund lived in Richvale where he was well known. His divorced wife resides in Chico.

Stu’s Notes: Son, Jack Brereton has been a dedicated Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee member since the start 8 years ago. Before that he helped me build the Memorial to those that died will building the Oroville Dam. Thank You, Jack. There is a Great book that has been out for several years titled “Richvale”. Almost all of the history of that little town, 8 miles west of Oroville, is in the book, by the Richvale writing group, with Teresa Ward. My good friend, Dennis Lindberg is the Chair of the Group. Richvale, the book has Carroll A Hedlund on about 8 different pages in the book. He liked to duck hunt, so he joined the Army Air Force Paratroopers. You can read more about him in “Richvale”. Thank you, Dennis. By the way the Richvale committee donated $600 to the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Honoring all of Butte County, thank you. Last but not least, thank you to my Editor Steve Schoonover for putting up with me and my last minute changes.