HONORING OUR BRAVE
They Fought on Land, Sea and in the Air
In our downtown is a small “Common” area that is literally the town center on the map as well as in practice. On this common, our early settlers set up their meeting house which served as their place of worship as well as the place of government (both of which still take place there today). The early industries also started there – fishing and furniture making. And finally the three main roads leading into (and out of) town all meet there as well. What better spot than in the heart of Manchester-by-the-Sea would there be to place a memorial to the brave men and women who took those roads leading away from “home” to serve our country fighting for freedom?
Many may remember the Honor Roll that listed those who served in World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars that once stood on our common. Unfortunately that wooden structure had to be removed due to damage and rot. The later stone memorial didn’t include the Honor Roll. The Amaral Bailey American Legion Post 113 headed up the project to replace that Honor Roll with a more durable permanent memorial. The 2019 summer exhibit was just a small closer look at some of the many names from the Honor Roll as well as some who served in town during these conflicts. We hope you enjoy putting a face to some of those brave people while learning a bit more about them.
WORLD WAR I
The First World War, also known as “The Great War,” was a global war that began in Europe on July 28, 1914, and lasted until November 11, 1918. World War I began after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand—heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire—who was shot to death along with his wife Sophie by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. Princip and other nationalists were trying to end Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
During the conflict, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Serbia, Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers). The United States stayed out of the conflict until 1917. Due to new military technologies and trench warfare, World War I saw unprecedented levels of carnage. By the time the war was over, more than 16 million people—soldiers and civilians—had been killed. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, with the unfulfilled hope of ending “the War to End All Wars.”
Manchester sent 173 soldiers to war – some conscripted, some enlisted. At home, residents made bandages, knitted socks and scarves for soldiers and grew Victory Gardens. Everyone was encouraged to purchase Liberty Bonds to help fund the war effort.
THE HOME GUARD
While the United States was fighting for freedom overseas, the mainland was left unprotected from foreign attacks. With the 1916 National Defense Act, members of the National Guards were designated as reserve units of the United States Army. Thus in 1917, the Home Guard was re-established to protect local areas which included. Manchester’s Company I of the 15th Regiment of the Massachusetts State Guard, otherwise known as CO. I, 15TH REGT., M. S. G. – Seen here getting ready for a group photo in front of the second Story High.
Within a week of its first meeting on May 11, CO. I, 15TH REGT., M. S. G. had 153 men volunteer and Companies A and B were formed (alongside Companies K and L of Gloucester and M of Rockport). By May 18, the number of volunteers had grown to 212. Under the leadership of Alexander Robertson, these men trained on the Essex County Club grounds.
Besides training, the duties of Co. I included parading to increase morale and surveying the area for potential threats. One of these threats came with the arrival of the influenza pandemic, or “Spanish flu.” Infecting over 500 million people from 1918 to 1920, the virus resulted in the death of between 50 to 100 million people around the world. The pandemic was so widespread that many countries limited information to the press regarding the number of deaths attributed to the flu in an attempt to keep the public calm.
In Manchester, those infected were taken to the Horticultural Hall, which was made into a makeshift hospital. To protect the site and contain the spread of the disease, Co. I was tasked with having guards stationed outside the building throughout the day and night as seen in this image.
When WWI ended in 1918, following the surrender of Germany, Co. I began to discharge its service members; it was finally disbanded on June 23, 1919. Captain Alexander Robertson reflected on the end of Co. I in the publication Manchester Roots:
“In the winter of 1918-19 I received a confidential letter from Col. Eldridge, telling me that the Regiment was to be cut by three companies, and urging me to keep Co. I going, but I had to decline for I knew it would be impossible to keep a Company up to standard in peace time in such a small town. So, on the completion of the two full years, and the expiration of our term of service, we received our Discharge with the Endorsement: Service: Honest and Faithful, Character: Excellent. One could hope for no more than that.”
IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
Manchester lost 5 servicemen during WWI. They are honored at a number of places throughout the town, including Rosedale Cemetery.
Frank Brown Amaral
Frank Brown Amaral was the first man from Manchester to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country during the Great War. In 1917, Amaral became one of the first 31 men to enlist in the Great War. He served with the Co. H 104th Infantry Regiment, part of the 52nd Brigade of the 26th Division, also known as the “Yankee” Division.
Corporal Amaral fought German soldiers in a battle at Bois Brule, near Apremont, France, from April 10–13, 1918. The German forces bombarded the area heavily; however, the 104th Regiment was able to push German troops back with bayonets and hand-to-hand combat. On April 26, the 104th Regiment was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) for its courage and fortitude.
Frank Amaral, however, was injured during the attack and succumbed to his wounds on April 15, 1918. The news was received by telegram by Mrs. Perry in Manchester, the woman who treated Frank like a son for 6 years. The Manchester Cricket published his obituary on April 27th, 1918, lamenting the loss of one of its valiant soldiers. Following is an excerpt from the newspaper.
“It is such messages as these that bring the war and all its horrors home to us and make us realize that it is very much nearer than it seems. The shock and sting of it can only be mitigated by the thought that he died bravely for his country, glorying in the opportunity to do his bit and give his all and his name as others who have laid down their lives will always be held in grateful remembrance.”
Amaral’s death was also felt by his fellow soldiers. Harry D. Baker, a veteran of World War I, wrote home to his mother on May 8, commenting on the death of Amaral and his role in the 104th Regiment.
“Did I tell you in my last letter of our Sun. afternoon ceremony when our regimental colors were decorated? One hundred and seventeen officers and enlisted men also received the Croix de Guerre. I suppose you had the whole story in the papers before now. Frank Amaral was one to receive the war cross but his place was a blank file. He did his duty nobly. Can’t you express my sympathy to Mrs. Perry and Ethel Andrews in some way, for I can’t.”
Michael J. Coughlin
Nearly a month after Amaral’s sacrifice, Manchester was rocked by news of a second death, that of Michael J. Coughlin. He was an apprentice carpenter at Roberts & Hoare. Coughlin had been living in Vallejo, California, when he enlisted with the army in 1917.
Private Coughlin was in Co. A, 1st Engineer Regiment, which was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Force s. He was active in the Picardy Sector of France, where he worked to push back German troops. On April 28, 1918, Michael Coughlin perished when hit by German shell fire. Manchester heard the news from a telegram received by his father, James Coughlin:
“Pvt. Michael J. Coughlin was an excellent soldier and well-liked by all who knew him. His loss in the field of honor for his country is one of the sad incidents in the history of our organization and his memory will long be fresh with his friends.”
The death affected many people in Manchester and Vallejo, both of which Coughlin thought of as home. The Vallejo Times published an obituary in May, where they described him as being “a very popular young man being of a genial, open nature, a clean cut fellow in every way and was a general favorite with all.” In his hometown, The Manchester Cricket said he had a “care-free and happy disposition, and that he did not know what fear meant … all are satisfied that he died a heroic death on the battlefields of France.”
Enlisting along with Frank Amaral and Michael Coughlin in 1917, Edward Goldthwaite was another Manchester resident who gave his life during the war. On June 18, 1918, Edward Goldthwaite was traveling from France to Newport News, Virginia, on the SS Dwinsk (spelled Dvinsk in article). Originally sailing under the name SS Rotterdam in 1897, the Dwinsk came into British control in 1917. Sailing under a British-flag and the command of Captain Henry Nelson, the Dwinsk was torpedoed by U-151, a German U-Boat, about 400 miles from Bermuda. The Dwinsk sank and survivors were found by the USS Von Steuben on June 19; unfortunately, Edward Goldthwaite was not among them.
Joseph J. McNeary
Unlike the other men who sacrificed themselves for their country, Joseph McNeary was not on the front lines. McNeary enlisted in the First Corps of Cadets in May 1917. Working alongside French troops to build barracks and hospitals, they also rebuilt roads and constructed pillboxes (low-roofed concrete structures used for machine or antitank guns), unfortunately sometimes within line of fire from German troops. It was during an attack that McNeary lost his life on January 1, 1918. His memory is honored in the Chapel of Belleau-Wood, where his name is listed alongside the names of other soldiers who gave their lives during the Great War.
In remembrance of Joseph McNeary, George R. Dean, on behalf of the Manchester Board of Selectmen in 1918, was quoted as saying: “My boy, the only regret I have is that you cannot come back that I might thank you for giving your life for your country. So our regret today is that the young man, Joseph McNeary, cannot come back that we might give him our thanks.”
Ammi W. Lancashire
Living on Summer Street in Manchester in 1917, Ammi W. Lancashire enlisted in the military. He worked as a cable censor in New York for a time, where he removed sensitive information from cables coming in and out of the country, protecting the people of the United States and its troops. During his time there, however, he trained in navigation, and in July 1917, he entered the Naval Reserve, serving on the battleship Kansas.
While aboard the Kansas, the rest of the world was struck by the 1918 influenza epidemic—often referred to as the “Spanish flu.” The effects were felt globally. (You can read more about the impact in Manchester with the Home Guard) In autumn of 1918, Lancashire was taken to a Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, having acquired pneumonia following a battle with influenza. On September 27, 1918, he succumbed to the illness and was buried in Detroit, Michigan.
SOME WHO SERVED
James MacGregor Means
One of the special units of WWI, called the “Reserve Mallet,” was responsible for transporting trucks for the French army and later the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). The 1100 men not only delivered food but also guns, munitions, shovels, picks, lumber and wire. At times they transported infantry units and tanks using U.S.-made Pierce Arrow trucks.
Serving in this unit, James Means (seen with his truck) had a close call incident in November 1917 when his truck convoy was attacked with artillery. Several trucks were hit, and Means was grazed. He recovered from his wounds and helped refugees return home in December 1918. To the right are letters he sent home to his parents. At the end of WWI Means received a medal from the American Field Service as well as a Victory Medal.
Dr. Frank A. Willis
Frank Adelbert Willis graduated from Tufts Dental School in 1913 and moved the following year to open a dental office in Manchester. Dr. Willis enlisted in the army in 1917 and served in France in field hospitals. He also performed dental duties and oversaw medical supplies. Some days he was Officer of the Day (O.D.) of his camp. One of his duties was censoring letters—removing information related to the war to keep it secret.
Dr. Willis wrote about the experience in a letter dated October 17, 1918. “For the last week every morning has been taken up by censoring letters. At first it was interesting but now it is real tiresome. I am my own censor but of course have to abide by the rules laid down for us. We are not allowed to write any names of places, dates of arrival, or anything pertaining to the war. I wish the war was over.”
Later in the same letter, he elaborated: “Things are going on about the same as when I wrote you last. I have a very bad cold, but so has everyone of our boys. It rains every day. It’s raining now. It’s terribly damp and muddy all the time. They call this place sunny France, but I don’t believe the sun ever did shone on France. Guess I feel gloomy today.”
Fortunately for Dr. Willis, he returned to the sunny shores of Manchester in 1919, where he would live for the rest of his life (next door to our Trask House).
Mark Lodge Edgecomb
Mark Lodge Edgecomb received a letter from King George V after WWI. These handwritten letters were sent to each of the soldiers in Mark’s unit for their contribution in helping win the war. These men were stationed in France fighting in the trenches. The entire unit was honored at the end of the war with a ticker tape parade in New York City.
MANCHESTER WOMEN GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND
Smith Point resident, Elizabeth Lowell Putnam (Mrs. William Lowell Putnam), served with the Civil Defense during WWI. She chaired the Relief Department of the Special Aid Society for American Preparedness. Later she was appointed Acting Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by General LeRoy Sweetser. Putnam also founded the Women’s Auxiliary of the Intelligence Bureau.
Putnam’s cousin, Charlotte Read, once borrowed a car from a Ford dealership and taught herself to take it apart and put it back together again. She used that knowledge when she joined the Hackett-Lowther Ambulance Unit in January 1918. The unit was an attachment to the French Army with 23 English women and three American women. The Croix de Guerre was awarded to this unit for their services during the war.
Harriet (left) and Margaret Curtis (right) of the Sharksmouth Estate and golfing fame, volunteered their services during the war to assist where they could. Harriet served as the Director of Boston’s Associated Charities to help raise funds and medical supplies for the Red Cross. Margaret went to Paris at the outbreak of the war to work for the Red Cross. She served as the Chief of Refugee Affairs and was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government for her accomplishments.
SPIES AMONG US!
Many in Manchester may remember residents from the Putnam and Read families, but few may have known that some of them were war heroines who served as US “spies” here in Manchester!
Helen Read Burnett (recruited by cousin Elizabeth Lowell Putnam) secretly was an agent in the Massachusetts Intelligence Service known as Agent No. 67. Burnett’s responsibilities included keeping an eye out on Manchester’s shore for suspicious wartime activities, especially among the numerous foreign summer guests. Her careful observations and reporting paid off!
In 1918, German U-boat 156 was patrolling off the New England coast, sinking a number of vessels and attacked Orleans on Cape Cod. Unknown to most, Manchester may have had an integral part in U-boat 156’s activities.
Oswald Kunhardt (a former Consul-General for Germany and Austria) was a summer resident here in Manchester In 1918. At the time, he was a representative for Berlin Aniline Works, a New York Corporation which came under suspicion for wartime activities. On July 24, 1918, Kunhardt was arrested on Singing Beach by Manchester’s Chief of Police William Sullivan for being “wanted” by the U.S. government. A subsequent search of his home at 62 School St. (and 2 other residences) revealed signaling equipment and valuable papers. The following month, Berlin Aniline Works president and general manager was also seized as a dangerous enemy alien, and the company stock confiscated.
Discovered much later in Burnett’s records were handwritten notes telling of her part in alerting her superiors about the secret signaling to the U-boat. The notes written on a copy of the Cricket article describing the arrest has a personal account that tells a different story:
“The assist of this arrest was my contribution to World War I under the embryo Women’s Division of [the] Mass. Military Intelligence Division. My immediate chief Elizabeth Lowell Putnam. (Mrs. W.L.P) Information supplied by me of Kunhardt’s activities resulted in his apprehension at Singing Beach, just as a submarine was to take him off Eagle Head. However, I was not informed of my successful efforts until World War II when the Department asked me to rejoin & I demurred from lack of experience. He was removed to Georgia.”
The Burnett family later also found letters from the government acknowledging Helen Read Burnett’s work during the wartime, confirming her heroic work.
World War II: 1939-1945
World War II was a global war started when Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) rearmed Germany and signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to further Hitler’s goal of world domination. After his invasion of Poland in September 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, increasing the expansion of the war. More than 30 countries eventually formed into two opposing military alliances: the Allies (led by France, Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (led by Germany, Italy and Japan). In 1945 the Allies won World War II with the surrender of Nazi Germany in May and the surrender of Japan later in August (after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan). World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, with 50 to 85 million fatalities from massacres, genocide (Nazi campaigns against ethnic groups including Polish, Romani and Jewish [Holocaust]), bombings, starvation, disease and the first use of nuclear weapons.
Manchester sent many men and women to serve during World War II. A number of the Story High School graduating classes saw a major percentage sign up. Numerous homes in Manchester proudly hung their service flags showing how many of their children were fighting.
Manchester had its share of heroes, as well as casualties, from this war. Thirteen men lost their lives and are remembered on various monuments throughout the town. Those who remained behind also helped by manning the observation towers, serving as Air Raid Wardens and even some espionage work.
REMEMBERING THOSE LOST
Richard E. Bailey was born in 1923 to Leone E. Bailey and Agnes M. Edgecomb, living at 12 Pine Street and 32 Lincoln Street during childhood. He attended Story High School. Bailey enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he attained the rank of Seaman Second Class. He was killed in action on August 9, 1942, aboard the USS Quincy, but was officially recorded as missing in action.
Bailey was awarded the Purple Heart for his service.
Robert S. Crane was born on January 28, 1919, to Joseph and Mary Crane, living at 77 Summer Street during childhood with his sister, Marjorie. Crane enlisted in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He was killed in action on January 13, 1943, in Guadalcanal, but was officially recorded as missing in action. Crane was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
John D. Kelleher was born in 1909 to Michael Kelleher and Katherine Lynch. Prior to enlistment, he lived at 11 Brook Street and was single. Kelleher enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he attained the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. He was killed in action on October 12, 1943, at Portsmouth Navy Yard.
Russell C. Noyes was born in 1918 to James F. Noyes and Marin Kitfield Noyes, living at 75 School Street during childhood.
Noyes enlisted in the U.S. Air Corp where he attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He was killed in action on February 15, 1944, in a plane crash.
Jarvis H. Saulnier was born on November 30, 1923, to Joseph C. and Mary T. Saulnier. Saulnier enlisted in the U.S. Air Corp where he attained the rank of Private. He was killed in action on April 17, 1944, in an automobile crash.
Charles E. Saco was born on February 5, 1919, to Thomas W. and Julia A. Saco, growing up with many siblings. Saco enlisted in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Corporal and later Sergeant. He was killed in action on July 28, 1944, in Burma (now Myanmar). Saco was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his service.
Compton Sargent was born in 1920 to Fitzwilliam Sargent Sr. and Bernice H. Wellington. He married Gertrude Breckinridge of Kentucky and was a summer resident of Manchester-by-the-Sea (primarily making his home in Pennsylvania).
Sargent enlisted in the U.S. military. He passed away on December 23, 1944, in an automobile accident in South Carolina.
Harry Mercer was born in 1913 in Canada to Sophia B. Norman and Bethlehem Mercer. He arrived in the United States in 1930 and became a naturalized citizen in 1931. Mercer lived with his cousins, the Crane family.
Mercer enlisted in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Corporal. He was killed in action on January 11, 1945, in Leyte, Philippines. Mercer was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.
John H. Gavin Jr. was born on February 15, 1922, to Elinor and John H. Gavin Sr., living at 46 Union Street during childhood. Gavin enlisted as a Combat Engineer where he attained the rank of Private. He was killed in action on January 24, 1945, in Colmar, Departement du Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France, but was officially recorded as missing in action.
Gavin was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his service.
Otis H. Stanley was born in 1923 to Walter M. and Laura M. Stanley, living at 11 Washington Street during childhood with his brother Robert. Stanley enlisted in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Private First Class. He was killed in action on March 7, 1945, in Ormont, Germany.
James A. Murray Jr. was born on August 26, 1910, to James A. Murray Sr. and Mary Francis Regan, living at 93 Summer Street. He married Lucile Smith of Gloucester. Murray enlisted as a Tech Engineer where he attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. He was killed in action on March 16, 1945, in Luzon, Philippines, after sustaining grave wounds in battle.
Anthony Santamaria was born in 1923 to Catherine and Paul Santamaria, living at 66 Pleasant Street during childhood. Santamaria enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he attained the rank of Watertender 3/c. He was killed during a kamikaze attack on the USS J. William Ditter on June 6, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Charles Russell Lowell Sturgis was born in 1913 to Edward Sturgis and Josephine Putnam, living at 18 Harbor Street during childhood. He attended the University of Virginia and married Barbara Brewer. Sturgis enlisted in the U.S. Marines where he attained the rank of Private First Class. He was killed in action on June 16, 1945.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN ARMS
Many Manchester families had more than one child serve “Uncle Sam” during this war. Young men served in all branches of the military. Realizing that servicewomen could also offer wartime help, President Roosevelt signed into law on July 30, 1942, the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), a unit of the U.S. Naval Reserve Corps. By early August 1942, a great number of women from every state applied for the general navy service positions offered; by fall 1942, the U.S. Navy had produced a record 10,000 women for active service. The WAVES performed jobs in the aviation community, medical professions, science, technology and communications with such duties as control tower operations, nurses, and many others. The Army followed suit with the Women’s Army Corps (WACS) as did other branches of the service. A number of Manchester women signed up to serve in all branches of the armed service during the war.
PROTECTING OUR MAINLAND
Ground Observer Corps and the Aircraft Warning Service Observation Towers
The Aircraft Warning Service began on December 8, 1941, when thousands of Americans sprang to the defense of their country. This system of 850 aircraft warning posts was constructed immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and served as the nation’s first line of defense against enemy aircraft. Army officials referred to it as “the nerve tip of the defense system.” The service, manned by civilians, was charged with the goals of watching for enemy planes entering American airspace.
The first observation tower in Manchester, a simple structure built in the fall of 1940, was located on Town Hill behind the Manchester Historical Museum. The Frank B. Amaral American Legion Post volunteered to serve at this tower. Chief observers, H. Walter Heintz and John Karlen, were assisted by over 200 members, including Charles E. Dodge, Clarence H. Mackin, Leo S. Chane, Charles E. Smith, Linwood Mitchell, Robert Evens, John Murphy and Emory Eaton (pictured).
In 1943, the first tower was joined by the second tower, a more elaborate structure at the cost of $2,100, all raised by public subscription. The towers were supplied with a telephone, field glasses, and a wood stove and were active 24 hours a day. The two towers were decommissioned in 1944, following a shift from defensive to offensive measures. “It is my conviction that there never existed a more sincere and loyal group of Americans than those who volunteered for this work,” praised Stewart W. Towle, Col. Air Corps, at Headquarters–Fighter Command, Office of the Commanding General. One tower burned down in the 1950s and the other in 1960s.
Both of these towers were “base-end stations” (triangulation towers) built as part of the Boston Harbor Defense Command (BHDC) and used to protect the harbor by allowing for better accuracy for artillery weapons. Luckily the artillery weapons were never needed.
Coolidge Point Tower (“Location 134, Site 1A”) was a 5-story concrete square tower built in 1943.
Gales (Smith’s) Point Tower (“Location 133A, Site 1A”) was a 10-story reinforced concrete tower with a square base and octagonal top, built in 1944 on the R.C. Curtis property. It was designed to be equipped with radar, but, because it was built so late in the war, it was never activated. Hermann Wolff Calnek was the warden of the WWII Gales/Smith’s Point watchtower, looking for submarines. He was the only warden since his family (and the Noonan family) were the only year-round residents on Smith’s Point at that time.
This service began immediately after WWII was declared. Manchester had 4 air wardens who trained for over a year and served through the entire war. Their responsibilities were to make sure everyone was following wartime protocol, such as blackout procedures. In his “World War II Notes,” David A. Ryan reminisced, “The air raid wardens patrolled during tests and made sure no lights were visible. They yelled at any one that didn’t have blackout curtains.”
These wardens were (from left to right):
Precinct 1: Ocean St/Summer St/Smith’s Pt – Helen R. Burnett
Precinct 2: Middle Town – Kenneth Ward (no image)
Precinct 3: The Plains – Herbert Dean Hoyt (principal of Story High School)
Precinct 4: West End to Beverly – Bruno Tosi
A Special Policeman
J.C. Howatt served as a Special Policeman during the 1940’s. His wartime assignment was ensuring that all cars were equipped with special “blinders” that covered most of the headlights during blackouts to prevent enemy eyes from identifying any landmarks on our shore.
June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953
This was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations, with the principal support from the United States). Korea had been split into two sovereign states in 1948 with the boundary set at the 38th Parallel. The war began when soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army crossed that boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. America saw this as a fight against the spread of Communism. An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, ending the war. The agreement drew a new boundary near the 38th Parallel and created a 2-mile-wide “demilitarized zone” that still exists today. 5 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives during the war.
Manchester sent quite a few servicemen to this conflict, many who were re-activated from previous active duty. Although some were wounded, Manchester was extremely fortunate that none of those who served were killed in action.
Littleton W. T. Waller, a summer resident off Proctor Street, fought with the Marines and was wounded as his unit was battling their way through a bitter winter near Chosin Resevoir.
Renee Imbeault, Jr. lived his early years on Summer Street with his aunt and uncle. By the time the Korean War broke out in 1950, Imbeault, who had already enlisted, was a corporal in the Eighth Calvary Regiment of the 1st Calvary Division. On September 11, 1950, Rene was shot in the upper shoulder. Bleeding heavily, Rene walked three miles to an aid station to receive proper bandaging before he was taken by a “litterjig” to Taegu. Rene’s transport was attacked by North Korean mortar fire, forcing them to abandon the litter and travel cross country to the next aid station. Rene was taken the rest of the way to Taegu by truck, a less than pleasant experience, and from there by train to Pusan. He was still wearing his blood-stained uniform and a now ragged bandage. After being “slapped in a cast,” Rene was sent to a hospital in Osaka, Japan, for further recuperation. While “flat on his back” in Osaka, Rene wrote about his harrowing experience on the front lines. The letter was printed in The Manchester Cricket (September 29, 1950). Rene remained in the army until his discharge on April 30, 1953.
The Vietnam War would usher in a new generation of young men and women into the armed forces, either by enlistment as their fathers had done through conscription or the increasingly unpopular draft. Like all recruits, however, the new members of the military were soon put through the rigors of training. John S. Baker, of 34 Pleasant Street, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and spent 8 weeks at boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina.
Of the many fresh-faced soldiers from Manchester, three were wounded on the battlefields of Vietnam. Joe Lazisky, who grew up on Summer Street, became the second man from our town to be wounded in the war. On June 19, 1967, while fighting alongside his unit against the Vietcong in the Delta region, Lazisky took shrapnel wounds from a heavy mortar attack. He was evacuated to an army hospital, where doctors decided that the shrapnel embedded in his inner thigh was too deep to remove without harm. After a few days of respite, Joe was able to return to his brigade.
Lawrence Kirby Jr. was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, rising to the position of squad leader. While on patrol duty near the demilitarized zone (DMZ), he was wounded by a land mine. Kirby was med-evacuated to Japan and from there to the United States. He would later receive the Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained. Among his other wartime decorations were the Bronze Star for Valor for his 13 months of service, and the Air Medal for participation in 24 helicopter assaults.
Another Manchester resident who saw action was William K. Hinckley Jr. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1963, he attended Massachusetts Trade School in Boston. In 1965, Hinckley enlisted in the United States Navy and trained to become an airman.
Hinckley served aboard the USS Forrestal and was aboard her during travels to Cuba and Mexico. The Forrestal was sent on active duty to Vietnam in 1967, but not before Hinckley married Elsie Gould, also a resident of Manchester, in early January.
The Forrestal was on duty in the Gulf of Tonkin on July 29, 1967, when a rocket was accidently fired on deck, destroying a fuel tank that set off a chain reaction of explosions and fire across the entire ship.
In the midst of the flames and smoke, Hinckley suffered a fatal asphyxiate attack. He died that day at the age of 21, one of the 134 sailors killed in the accident and Manchester’s only fatality in the conflict. Hinckley’s body was returned to Manchester and buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
We would like to acknowledge the many people who helped with this exhibit:
Bruce Heisey and Allan Kirker from the Amaral Bailey American Legion Post 113;
Doug Hotchkiss and Craig Lentz – our veteran advisors;
David Gain – our Salem State University intern who took a major lead with this by scanning, cataloging and organizing all the museums’ war records and information as well as writing;
Libby Graves – our MERSD SCORE student who researched each veteran name to add more information to our veterans’ database;
and our museum volunteers and staff for their photographing, collecting, researching, writing and editing: Leslie Beatty, Cole Caviston, Lynda Griffiths, John Huss, Susan Parker, Steve Rosenthal, Christine Virden, and Beth Welin.