World leaders gathered over the past weekend to commemorate the end of the Second World War II in Europe on May 8, 1945. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the news in a broadcast to the world, saying that "the Allied Forces formally accepted the surrender of the Armed Forces of Nazi Germany," ending the fighting in Europe. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945.
It seemed a very short time from May, 1944 to May, 1945 when one considers what happened during that one year. Following are excerpts of stories from the Enterprise and the Syracuse Post Standard of May, 1944.
Enterprise headline, eight columns, 72 point, page one: "U.S. Heavy Bombers Pound French Railyards" - "American Liberator bombers continued the systematic destruction of Hitler's western railroad system today, bombing three yards in France after Marauders and Havocs had thrown new blows at airfields near Paris and coastal installations."
From the Enterprise, April 22, 1944
Lake Placid hero
Now let's bring the war home - one month earlier the Enterprise carried this story:
Headline, page three: "Lt. R.K. Edgley Returns from 25 Raids on Germany" - "With 25 missions over enemy held territory in Europe to his credit, Lt. Robert K. Edgley, pilot of a Flying Fortress, has returned to Saranac Lake on leave.
"The bomber pilot is visiting his wife, the former Miss Kathleen Mannis, and their son, Robert K. Edgley Jr., at their home at 17 Olive Street.
"From the time he arrived in England until his leave, he participated in 25 raids against the Nazis. Flying in some of the largest scale raids of the war, Lt. Edgley and his crew bombed the important centers of Germany and their strongly defended industrial plants.
"He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Edgley of Lake Placid."
Ground fighting in Italy
A Post Standard headline: "Yanks Fold Back German Flank" - (the story bylined by another Edward Kennedy) - Allied Headquarters, Naples, May 20 - "American and French Troops, smashing thru the crumbling Hitler line, pounded the whole southern half of the German front back today in a wide swing toward a new defense system anchored in Terracina - only 25 miles from Allied might massed on the Anzio beachhead.
"The Germans lost heavily in men, tanks, and guns as they were being forced back in disorder up to 15 miles to a new 'switch line' from Pico to Terracina."
Service Notes from the Enterprise
"PFC. Winthrop Carter Lockwood of Saranac Lake has been transferred to a Radar School at Boca Raton, Fla., with the Army Air Force." "Cpl. George H. Sweet of Saranac Lake, who received the good conduct medal in February, has been transferred from San Bernardino, Cal., to Fort Warren, Wyo., with the Army.
"Lt. Grace Moore has arrived safely in England and is stationed at a base hospital with the Army Nurse Corps, according to word received by her sister, Miss Alice Moore of 10 Helen Street.
"Russell W. Perrotte of this village has been stationed at the Field Artillery Replacement training center at Ft. Bragg, N.C., for his basic military training.
"Staff Sgt. Thomas P. Ward of Saranac Lake, who is serving with the Marine Corps, has left this country for an undisclosed destination in the Pacific War Theater. Sgt. Ward saw service in the last world war and was in action in France." (Tom Ward was a former Mayor and postmaster of Saranac Lake.)
Notes from the natives
Jan Lynch in California - "I just read your column and thought that you might like to hear: My sister-in-law, Tom's wife, asked me to try and locate Joe Benero. Joe was Tom's godfather when he was baptized a Catholic, and Joe visited us whenever he was in the San Francisco area. I searched 'Joe Benero' and found VMFA-251 had an e-mail address for him. Joe was a Marine fighter pilot (Jan also served in the Marines). Turns out Joe lives in Dallas about ten miles from my daughter and her husband. I was just in Dallas, to see my new grandson Dean. I called Joe and, among other things, he told me he reads the Enterprise every day just like me. We may be gone but we are still interested in what's happening at home. As you said in today's column, I don't recognize any names anymore except in your historical notes." (Jan's brother Tom was my best friend in high school. Later I had a great time playing in the Veteran's Club Drum & Bugle Corps with his brother Dean, riding to parade events on the back of his Harley.)
Gene Walsh in California - "Greatly enjoyed your telephone book column today in particular your observations about folks of 50 plus years, and especially your on-the-mark comments about Edith Flagg of Montgomery Ward, and for whom I worked in the Summer of '48. A dynamo!"
Everyone mentioned above graduated from Saranac Lake High School.