March 7, 2014
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
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.
“ 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.