75th anniversary of the end of WWII

This continuation of the history of World War II was prompted by my friend Tim Fortune, who gave me a copy of the Enterprise dated Feb. 25, 1941.

The war in Europe officially ended May 8, 1945, and the war in the Pacific officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed the surrender documents.

The actual end of that war was Aug. 15, 1945. I am looking at the front page of the New York Daily News of that date with huge headlines that read, “IT’S OFFICIAL: JAPS GIVE UP”

The lead paragraph in the lead story, by Jack Doherty and Ted Lewis of the News bureau, reads:

“Washington, D. C., Aug. 14. — Japan tonight swallowed our all-out surrender terms making Emperor Hirohito a puppet, and peace at last came to a world long tortured by war.”

Andy Fortune

Tim’s father Andy Fortune was a leader in establishing the Adirondack Airport at Lake Clear.

Sometime in the late 1930s, Fortune and Lee J. Gladd went to Plattsburgh where their Saranac Flying Club had purchased a new, 65-horsepower Aeronica airplane for $1,750. Fortune flew it back here and landed in a field across from Major Dawson’s Bar and Restaurant in Lake Clear.

He was a pilot, a WWII veteran, and after the war he was company commander of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division of the United States National Guard when about a dozen of us 17-year-old high school boys joined up in 1947; I served until 1956.

Andy was a tall, handsome guy, a captain with an Air Force patch on his shoulder. (Remember, it was then the Army Air Force.) We were all impressed with him and all our other officers and non-commissioned officers, combat veterans of the war that had ended two years before.

The local news in 1941

Let’s get right to the politics — what else?

“Alfred W. Currier was nominated for mayor and Syriac Duprey and Burton F. Moody were nominated for village trustees last night in an abbreviated republican caucus shorn of fireworks.

“About 150 persons attended the caucus, held in the Harrietstown town hall. The meeting lasted barely 20 minutes.

“The meeting proceeded as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. Clifford W. McCormick [an attorney and a relative of attorney Bob White], chairman of the Village Republican Committee, opened the caucus and called for an election of caucus officials. Frank Sheldon was elected caucus chairman, Alfred H. Breier was elected secretary, and John Liscomb and Earl Smith were appointed tellers.”

Mr. Currier was a village trustee, director of the Adirondack National Bank and executive vice president of the Federal Savings and Loan Association. Mr. Duprey was foreman for Branch & Callanan and one of the founders of the defunct Taxpayers Association, and Mr. Moody was a carpenter.

I believe Mr. Currier lost the election for mayor to Democrat George Carson.

Local doctors in the service

“The third Saranac Lake physician to be called for active military duty is Dr. Bruno Harwood, who received an order yesterday to report to Plattsburgh Barracks on March 14. After his temporary duty assignment at Plattsburgh, Dr. Hardwood will go to Camp Croft, Spartanburg, S.C.

“Dr. Harwood who holds the rank of major in the Army Medical Reserve Corps, was preceded into service by Dr. Edward N. Packard and Dr. E. M. Jameson. Dr. Harwood is now a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army at Ft. Dix, N.J., Dr. Jameson, who holds the rank of Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy is now on duty in Washington, D.C.”

Ex-soldiers registered

“More than 125 Legionnaires and other ex-servicemen have registered here for possible national defense duty, according to Harry Zerbe, commander of the local American Legion.

“Registration, which started here February 22, will continue all this week at Zerbe’s service station on Church Street Extension, the commander announced.

“The Saranac Lake registration is part of a nationwide survey to learn how many men are available for national defense auxiliary tasks, and what the abilities and experiences of the men are.”

Essex County growing

“Essex County showed a gain of 210 persons in the last ten years, according to the final report of the 16th census, made by William Austin, director. The total count of population was 34,178 in 1940, compared to 33,950 in 1930.”

The population of Essex County today is 37,300.

Page 1 headlines

“Arms Orders Get Monopoly on Aluminum”

“4,000 Warplanes in U.S. Force Says Stimson”

“$31 Billion in Budget Already for Defense”

“250,000 Tons of Ships Claimed Sunk by Nazis”

“Droves of RAF Bombers Hit French Coast”


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