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March 7, 2014
Oroville Mercury
March 21, 1946
Terrors of Luckenwalde Camp Told By Couris In Club Talk

By Naomi Cazier

(Continued from last week.)
Contact Yank Lines
“We got American uniforms from a Red Cross warehouse. We were pretty cocky. There is something about Americans that’s impressive. They have always been free and they look like it and walk like it. The Germans thought we were the troops that had linked up with the Russians. They pleaded with us to help them.”
From Luckenwalde, Couris and the others made their way to Dresden and then to Leipzig where they contacted the American lines. Of Couris’ original outfit, only seven men were not wounded or killed. Couris made a plea that the returning veteran be accepted just as he was accepted before he went away, and that civilians refrain from expecting little psycho-neurosis to crop out. “You just want to come back and pick up where you left off,” he said, “If you feel that you belong, that’s all that really matters.”

Oroville Mercury Register
April 30, 1946
Couple Given Son’s Award

Mr. and Mrs. John E. Rush of the Day Apartments on High Street have received the Purple Heart and certificate awarded to their son, the late William Evans Rush, who lost his life in January 1942, while a prisoner of war, by the Navy Department. Rush, who served as a Radioman First Class, in the United States Navy, was taken prisoner by the Japanese and was placed aboard a Japanese transport at Manila, apparently en route to Japan. On Dec. 15, 1944, this ship which bore no mark to indicate it was carrying prisoners of war, was bombed and sunk off Olongapo, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, with heavy loss of life. It was determined that Rush was among those who died in the sinking.
(Stu- The above dates don’t make sense, maybe a typo.)

Oroville Mercury Register
April 30, 1946
Service Corner

Clewe Now An Experienced Technician
Hailey Clewe, 20, radio technician 1/c, was discharged from the United States Navy Friday, April 12, after serving for 31 months. Clewe’s work in the navy consisted of installation of shore based radio equipment on various Pacific island bases. His most recent assignment was to aid in the installation of the radio equipment that will report to the world the results of the atom bomb tests in July. He was stationed either on Kwajalen Island or Hawaii during the major portion of the time he was in service. Clewe was graduated from the Oroville Union High School in 1943, joined the service in September of that year and received boot training at the San Diego Naval base. Stanford University is his goal this fall. In the meantime he intends to loaf a little and maybe take a temporary job. He will major in electrical engineering at Stanford.

Stu’s Notes:
“ If you feel that you belong, that’s all that really matters.” Words of Tom Couris. That’s what we must strive to do as our young men and women come home from the Gulf Wars. Welcome them home with open arms, make them feel like they belong. The Germans would do almost anything to be taken prisoner by the Allies at the end of the war. They knew what the Nazis had done to the Russians, up to 20 plus million Men, Women and Children killed since Germany turned on it’s ally, Russia at the start of the war in 1939 and invaded their country, June 22, 1941, Operation Barbaraosa,on a war of total destruction. A scorched earth policy, nothing was left and by winter millions of Russians starved. 100’s of thousands of German POW were marched off to Siberia, 90% never to return, worked to death. I talked to Ona Couris about Tom, she said he came home after V. E. Day, (Victory over Europe). Tom came home to Oroville, but his service to his Country was not over, after all he went through the army wanted to send him to Japan for the Invasion. It is hard to believe they would do that. Thankfully he was sent to Los Angeles as a M.P. (Military Police). Then back to Oroville he got a job at a service station down town, but his hands hurt so bad from Prison camp injuries that a doctor in San Francisco told him to find other work. So he and Ona opened a clothing store on Bird Street between J. C. Penney’s and Conner’s Jewelry store, called Tom’s Toggery. I talked to Tom’s Niece, Cynthia Slattery, she said he was a wonderful man, and she really enjoyed his and Ona’s company. He was a very witty and never complained about anything. He often took Veterans who couldn’t drive to the Veterans Hospital. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge here in Oroville and helped Cynthia with her homework. .

For years we have had the name of William Evans Rush on our list of those who died from Oroville in WWII, but that is all we had, now we have some of the “rest of his story”. Sad but true, not knowing there were P.O.W’s on some Japanese ships our planes had the job of sinking them which they did. I read long ago when this happened to a Japanese prison ship sometime the American Prisoners would cheer knowing that they probably would go down with the ship.