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Linda; This is not my work. I believe it's a site for the Carmen Schools. The first paragraph is what I responded to. The photos are NOT of the Dacoma school students.
 ~Rod Murrow regarding Okie's story from Vol. 9 Iss. 15 titled UNTITLED

The owner, Anita Rennebohm, was in the process of selling the property, but it was not finalized [more]...
 ~Rodney Murrow regarding Okie's story from Vol. 9 Iss. 2 titled UNTITLED


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NW Okie's Journey

Vol 17, Iss 3 Alva, OKlahoma - We have been down in Northwest Oklahoma for the last week working on a long overdo makeover of our home in Alva, Oklahoma. When we arrived in Alva last week it was bone-chilling and cloudy. But this Monday, 26 January 2015 seems a lot like Spring (or maybe even Fall) with temperatures in the low 70's and sunshine.

Last week we updated our OkieLegacy newsletter database with World War II (WWII) and Prisoner of War (POW) history information. This week we continue with more stories from WWII.

You can thank my Texas sister, Ellen, for the updated "NW Okie" photo, which I took into my Adobe Photoshop to make a few changes into a charcoal drawing. Thanks, Sis.

Good Night! Good Luck!
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NW Okie's Journey

Vol 17, Iss 2 Houston, TX - We have been in Northwest Houston, Texas (near the Vintage area and Tomball Parkway) for almost a week ... visiting friends and my cancer sister. It was cloudy, chilly and rain the first half of the week, but by Friday the sunshine began to peek through the clouds with a warming trend this weekend. Ain't the sunshine, mid-60 temperatures grand!

As the January, 2015 goes, we are continuing transferring data from our other websites into the Okie Legacy newsletter database. This week we have some World War II Prisoner of War (POW) camp stories for POW camps in Oklahoma.

Thanks for your patience and understanding for the missed newsletter last Monday. We were on the road to Houston from NW Oklahoma.

The First 100 Years of Alva, Oklahoma states that the Prisoner of War (POW) camp during WWII was best known to POW's in other camps as, 'Devil's Island' or the 'Alcatraz' of prisoner of war systems in the United States. It was built to hold only Nazi's and hard-core sympathizers. But we have connected with some POW's that say it was not all hard core Nazi sympathizers. It stood south of Alva (Oklahoma, USA), westside of highway 281, in the area now used by the Airport on the east and the Woods County Fairgrounds on the west.

Good Night! Good Luck!
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NW Okie's Journey

Vol 16, Iss 31 Bayfield, CO - This NW Okie has been busy re-inventing herself in her aging years. Or should I say, "re-educating, re-entering into the art world of watercolor painting." So ... You can teach an old dog new tricks if you go step-by-step.

During our daily walks through the Colorado Rocky trails of the Vallecito campground, we have started collecting photographs of trees, skys, rocky streams and rivers for future watercolor projects. Besides practicing our watercolor wash techniques that we have not done for years ... since we graduated from college.

The image on the right is a sketch of the above digital photo image on left. We are finding new ways of looking and breaking down the shapes, lights and darks of things around us to see what we can incorporate into a beautiful piece of artwork (watercolor artwork, that is.)

On another note not related to art, we heard from a lady who is looking for information concerning the World War II, Trinidad Prisoner of War (POW) camp, from 1943-1946, in Trinidad, Colorado.

Joyce Bacon McElroy's grandfather, Wilbur D. Bacon, was a Captain and part of the building of the Trinidad POW camp during WWII. Joyce would like to know if anyone has any information on the military people, civilians that may have worked at the Trinidad POW Camp, located in Trinidad, Colorado. Joyce's grandmother, Josephine Bacon, worked at the camp as a civilian. Joyce would also love to have copy of photos of the place during its construction.

Can anyone help with some or all of her requests? Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

Good Night, Good Luck searching for your roots! View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


NW Okie's Corner

Vol 15, Iss 33 Bayfield, CO - Another week and another day or three days later, we are up and running again at The OkieLegacy. Maybe you noticed in the past few days or over last weekend, if you typed in okielegacy.org into the browser, it did not take you to our website. It took you to readyhosting.com website.

We got that worked through and fixed the this last Tuesday after spending a couple of days uploading a good backup to our OkieLegacy website. The readyhosting server did a scan of the website and found a malware and removed it, temporarily shutting down my site so I could re-upload a good copy of the site. How the malware got to the "wwIIpowcamp" subdirectory, I do not know. I scanned my Mac and found nothing harmful either. I am still scratching my head as to how the malware got there.

Anyway! While I was uploading, fixing the site, I did a bit of moving some family genealogy items over to my ParisTimes Pioneers website. So now if you are looking for Vada's Diary, Gene's Legacy, Uncle Bob Legacy's, Grandma's Legacy, Grandpa's Legacy, you can now find them at the links associated with each above.

For the last few days (Wednesday through Friday Noon) we have been on the road, heading towards Denver for a check-in (follow-up) with our doctor after surgery three weeks ago. Taking the western scenic route out of Denver through through Copper Mountain, Leadsville, Gunnison, Lake City, Slumgullion Pass, Creede, South Fork, and back home to Vallecito Lake. Medical-wise, everything is looking "A-OK!" [See digital image above, left for a view of "Windy Point Overlook" on the way to "Slumgullion Pass," north of Creede, Colorado.]

This week's OkieLegacy newsletter is devoted mainly to a small prairie town in Labette cpunty, Kansas, concerning Kate and William Bender family, and the numerous murders that took place near Cherryvale, Kansas, as travelers stopped at the Bender's lodging on the prairie of Kansas. It was a den of thieves and murderers with almost fourteen or more bodies in all found near Osage Mission, on the prairie of Kansas, April, 1873.

Thanks Goodness for Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security and AARP!

Good Night & Good Luck throughout your Life! View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Duchess NW Domain

Vol 12, Iss 40 Alva, Oklahoma - When the winds come sweeping down the plains . . . The Northwest Oklahomans living around the area of Ft. Supply and perhaps Buffalo, Oklahoma, in the vicinity of highway 183, might get their electrical power generated from these "Wind Turbines!"

Except, On Friday, October 1, 2010, late morning, along highway 183, somewhere between Ft. Supply and Buffalo, Oklahoma these turbines were not moving too fast and some not at all. One was being worked on at the ground base. AND . . . Friday morning there was very little breeze, if any, Friday morning, on the first day of October.

Did you Oklahomans like the cool weather we conjured up after we arrived in Northwest Oklahoma? Hear tell Wednesday should bring a slight warming trend back up to the 80s.

NW Okie says this Duchess Pug (that is me) snores louder and more in the Oklahoma plains than I do in the Colorado Rockies! Who knew!

How many "baby boomers" out there grew up watching the actor, Tony Curtis, on the movie screen? Curtis was one of my favorite actors! Especially, the movie, Defiant Ones, with Sidney Poitier. I did not realize until after reading the article about Tony Curtis, he served in the Pacific during World War II. Now I wish I could go back -- see if my Uncle, Major Robert Lee McGill, ever bumped paths with Curtis while he was stationed for a time in the Pacific during WWII.

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Duchess & Sadie's Spring Domain

The Mtn Pugs

Vol 12, Iss 23 Bayfield, Colorado - The end of last week the temperatures in Durango, Colorado got up into the mid-90s. It seems awfully earlier for it to get that warm around here.

Last week we experienced an afternoon sighting of Mr. & Mrs. Mallard taking a swim around a Weaselskin Pond up at Vallecito, North of Bayfield, Colorado.



We also received a link to a Time Magazine article concerning the World War 2 bombing of a community out in the far end of "No Mans Land (Oklahoma Panhandle), entitled, War: The Bombing of Boise City - "The bombing of Boise City, OK WWII - A fledgling from the U.S. Army Air Base at Dalhart, Texas last week bungled his navigation by 45 miles. He mistook the lights of Boise City, Oklahoma (pop: 1,144) for his practice target. Aiming straight at the Baptist church and Forrest Bourk's garage, he loosed six practice bombs (each bomb: 4lb. of powder, 96lb. of sand and shell). The noise of the explosions roared through the sleeping town."

We also heard from Ylova Jean (Jaquith) Mayes concerning memories and photograph of Vada Paris.

OU T-shirt Quilt Our oldest son took this photo of the OU quilt made of OU T-shirts by Maris Ward, who made it for her brother Bill Jackson for Christmas 2009. This quilt was one of many that appeared at the Nescatunga Art Festival, 5th June, 2010, on the downtown square, in Alva, Oklahoma.

That gave me an idea to collect all my OU, OSU and Other T-shirts and make a specialty quilt for the cold Winters in the San Juan mountains.

SEE ALSO OkieLegacy Set - Flickr View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Oakie & Duchess' SW Corner

Vol 6, Iss 52 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2005!

Since this is the last day of December, 2004, we thought perhaps we could catch many of you tonight before, after and/or at midnight to ring in the New Year for 2005. I guess you could say that this is a No frill or "vanilla" version of the OkieLegacy in Summary.

The Pilgrim Bard (Scott Cummins) says it best in his 1926 poem about New Years Eve & New Years:

"Another year its shuttle threads
The twelve month spool we all unwind;
Fate's calendar hangs o'er our heads,
Time's scythe is mowing close behind;
Yet enter we the glad New Year,
Filled with fond hope devoid of fear"
-- by The Pilgrim Bard (Scott Cummins)

We saw where last year at this time that our OkieLegacy visitor counter clocked a total of 200,000 visitors. I believe our counter today was something like 325,000 plus.

January 2004 -- Remember Fort Reno, Oklahoma? Fort Reno - fortreno.org - a military camp in 1874 -- was established as a military post in 1875 with construction of permanent buildings began in 1876. The Fort and Darlington Agency served the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians across the Canadian River. Together they preserved the peace and directed the orderly transition of that part of Indian Territory from reservation to individual farms and ranches. Troops from Fort Reno supervised the first Great Land Run of 1889 that opened the Unassigned lands for settlement. Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Reno (Companies of the 9th & 10th U.S. Cavalry) were made up of Six black regiments, two of cavalry and four of infantry, and were authorized by congress in 1866 and stationed at Fort Reno. The name was given by the Indians to the black regiments for the color and texture of hair between the horns of the buffalo. The Buffalo Soldiers had the reputation for effective, consistent fighting against the lawless whites, Mexicans and Indians.

Then later in mid January we experienced the Red Hat Ladies (Okie Dokies) in Alva (Oklahoma). It was their monthly group gathering for dinner at the Alva Bowl Cafe. The ladies included in this "Red Hat Club" are: Barbara Case, Liz Stanaway, Ginny Hubbert, Eleanor Ring, Rose Elmore, Verla Vogts, Viola Marquette, Betty Cushenbery, Joan Nelson, Agnes Pemberton, Doris Marcus, Phyllis Devery, Leona Corbin, Dottie Gatz, Emily Rathgeber, Jane Gaskell, Jean Rose.

Also, in January we learned of another NW Oklahoma mystery of an abandoned boy in Waynoka between 1939 or 1940. Nancy Eddy was wondering, "If anyone had ever heard any stories about a small boy being abandoned in Waynoka, Oklahoma? I now live in Topeka, Kansas and just started doing some Genealogy work. My step-father, Jack Beaman, is from Waynoka. He was adopted about 1939 or 1940. He was abandoned by his father with last name Ray when Jack was about 3-years-old. We know they came from California and stayed at an apartment in Waynoka for about 2-months. One morning little Jack Ray woke-up and his dad was gone. He never heard or saw his father again. The people who owned the apartment had the last name of Beaman which they gave to Jack at age 13 or 16 when they adopted him, thus he became Jack Ray Beaman. Maybe there might be old registers around somewhere? I know at some point Jack went into the airforce, his social security number comes from Kansas. Even his own children don't remember anything. To them that was in the past. I don't know if I told you he was a twin. He also remembered that they (he and his dad) came from California and his mother was a concert piano player. Now... how hard would it be to find a concert piano player who gave birth to twin boys." -- Nancy Eddy -- Email: neddy1115@hotmail.com

January brought us a new connection via a descendant of Harry Short. Harry had played on the Austin Senators (South Texas League) baseball team at the same time as our grandfather (Wm J. "Bill" McGill) in 1906. The great-grandson of Harry Short was Andrew Short that had contacted us. This is what Andrew had written, "My name is Andrew Short. I believe my great-grandfather, Harry Short, was a teammate of Will McGill's on the 1906 Austin Senators. I wanted to send you a note to thank you for the wonderful website you have put up - oakielegacy.org - honoring among other things your grandfather, his life, and his baseball career. In trying to do some research on my family history, I found your website and with it a great deal of history about my great-grandfather as well. I was wondering if it would be okay for me to download a copy of the 1906 team photo (backside of photo with names of players) so that I might be able to add it to the documents I am collecting about our family history? There is a story in my family that, like Will, my great-grandfather at one time was called up to play with St. Louis in the Major Leagues. Although, for which St. Louis team I'm not sure. When he told his wife, she refused to move to St. Louis, thus ending Harry's Major League baseball career. He became a player/manager in the Texas leagues instead, in addition to other careers. I have at home some newspaper clippings and stories from various Texas newspapers in the early 1900s about Harry's baseball career. I will go back and review them to see if any of them mention Will McGill as well. If they do, I would be happy to copy them and send them along to you. In addition to playing baseball in Texas, I know that my great-grandfather and other relatives also lived for awhile in Oklahoma. Again, I simply wanted to thank you for all the hard work and effort you've put into your website. In doing so, you have allowed me to reclaim a piece of my family history. Best regards." -- Andrew H. Short

February 2004 -- We thought we had found the whereabouts of the old Woods County fountain that once graced the downtown courthouse square, but it was not the three-tiered big fountain after all. It turned out to be only the Dragon Head fountain that now resides in a prominent Albuquerque, New Mexico private courtyard. We found out from one of our readers, "It (Dragonhead fountain) was a drinking fountain that stood on the walk outside the west steps of the courthouse and adjacent to the goldfish pond. The fountain, pond and dragonhead drinking fountain were located on the westside of the old Woods County courthouse square in downtown Alva, Oklahoma. We do NOT know where the towering, three-tiered fountain that once graced our courthouse park is located today? Jim Barker sent us a picture of his brother and sister (Bill & Ruby) posing on the railing of the courthouse fountain.

The 75th Anniversary of the Great Race/Run of 1893 in Oklahoma Territory brought back memories when we shared tidbits from a local newspaper printed in Alva, September, 1968, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the "Great Race of 1893. -- okielegacy.net/75thanniversary-1968.html

Remember when one of our readers sent us a doc-file of his father's memories during WWII when he was stationed at the prisoner-of-war camp in Alva, Oklahoma from September 28, 1944 to September 17, 1945. Memories of Cpt. Miles W. Kelly's Year in Alva... "After service in North Africa and Italy during World War II, my father, Dr. Miles William Kelly, was stationed at the prisoner-of-war camp in Alva, Oklahoma from September 28, 1944 to September 17, 1945. He was one of the medical officers at the facility. For the most part, this account is based on the letters that he wrote home to my mother. At least one local history, newspaper articles, and a small amount of government documents also added much to this narrative. Before relating his story, however, a few words must be said on the history of the prison camp itself. The following paragraphs are largely a paraphrase of a section of the camp in Alva, Oklahoma: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (1987) by Seekers of Oklahoma Heritage Association augmented by some of the government documents mentioned above. -- Bruce - Email: brucekelly@hotmail.com -- okielegacy.org/WWIIpowcamps/Alva Year.doc

Towards the end of February we learned from a 1939 news article in the Waynoka News, dated Thursday, June 15, 1939 about the biggest privately owned man-made lake in the state that was in the Dust Bowl of area of Oklahoma's Panhandle, on the 3200 acre farm of O. W. Tucker, in Cimarron County. It's dam was 45 feet high and would hold 900 acre feet of water and would irrigate 300 acres of alfalfa (started in 1937) through ditches running from both sides of the dam. The 1939 news article mentioned that C. T. Sturdevant was extension service engineer of Oklahoma A & M College back in 1939 and was assisted by someone called "Uncle Bill" Baker (Cimarron County agent) and Tucker's two sons when they made the original survey for the lake, dam.

Remember the link to the 1930's Dust Bowl Stories with excerpts from The Dust Bowl, Men, Dirt and Depression by Paul Bonnifield. The 1930's Dust Bowl was a term born in the hard times from the people who lived in the drought-stricken region during the great depression. The term was first used in a dispatch from Robert Geiger, an AP correspondent in Guymon, and within a few short hours the term was used all over the nation. The Dust Bowl Days, also known as the Dirty Thirties, took its toll on Cimarron County. The decade was full of extremes: blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and dirt storms. Early Thirties Economy -- In 1930 and 1931, the decade opened with unparalleled prosperity and growth. NATION'S BUSINESS magazine labeled the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas as the most prosperous region. The Panhandle was a marked contrast to the long soup lines of the Eastern United States. -- www.ptsi.net/user/museum/dustbowl.html

April 2004 -- Alva was in the process of beginning another mural (Castle on the Hill) at 5th & Oklahoma Blvd. with local artists, Jim Richey, Warren Little and Rod Dunkin. They began by outlining the design for the Castle on the Hill mural at the corner of Fifth Street and Oklahoma Boulevard.

It was in April 2004 when K101 Radio Early Morning Show, 20 April 2004, talked about the OkieLegacy and the Ann Reynolds Story mysterious fiery death in 1956. -- okielegacy.org/mystery/annreynolds/index.html

May 2004 -- The artist, Don Gray, and the Alva Mural Society finished the Charles Morton Share Mural on the Professional building in downtown Alva, OK.

July 2004, Waynoka, Oklahoma celebrated seventy-five years (July 8, 1929) when transportation history was changed for travelers from the east and west coasts when a 2-day air and rail trip was established that would take them across America in 48 hours. Charles Lindbergh was an officer in Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT). TAT was the company that developed the service and selected Waynoka as the western terminus of the eastern division. It was a place where passengers would switch between trains and planes, morning and evening -- eating breakfast, dinner at the Harvey House. It began in June and continued into July when we made our move from Oklahoma to SW Colorado. This was one of those months that found us on the move between Oklahoma andColorado. Duchess' favorite spot outside was sitting, waiting by the pickup door for hints of our next journey.

September 2004, We received 1926, 1937 and 1938 Northwestern State Teachers College yearbooks that we began transcribing shortly afterwards (beginning with the 1926 yearbook). We are still transcribing on the '38 yearbook from Northwestern's College, in Alva. Check out our Old Albums -- OkieLegacy.net -- http://community.webshots.com/album/187403166kaVbcy

We did finish scanning the 1926 NSTC Ranger Album. We learned that 1926 was the first year of the Junior High School (7th, 8th, 9th grades) on the campus of Northwestern with Miss Ann K. Wilke as Director & Principal. The large room on the second floor of the Science Hall was formerly occupied by the library and had been assigned as a study hall for this department. October 2004 -- We started transcribing the 1937-38 Student Directory of Northwestern State Teachers' College and found our mother's name, address where she was living in '37 & '38 while going to College. We also recognize lots of other names listed in the student directory. We had started transcribing the 1937 Ranger album. By mid-October we were still transcribing the 1937 Ranger annual. -- okielegacy.net/NSTCRanger1937/index.html -- okielegacy.org/DOC files/StudentDirectory37-38.doc

We finished the transcribing of the 1937 Ranger yearbook, learning that the Northwestern Alumni Association was established in the spring of 1934? A banquet was held at the Presbyterian Church to organize an alumni organization to include the alumni back to 1921. In the spring of 1935 the alumni association enlarged the group to include the classes receiving degrees, diplomas each year from 1900 to 1937. In 1936 the alumni held its annual banquet in the Bell Hotel dining room, and included all the graduating classes from 1900 to the present day in the mid-1930s. They held their alumni banquets each spring and sponsored the biggest event of the year for Alva and Northwestern -- the annual Homecoming event.

Remember When Thelma DeGeer Lippincott celebrated her 100th year in June, 2004 and past away Oct. 28, 2004 as her family and friends gave celebration to her 100+ years.

November 2004 -- The latter part of November we were trying to find the descendants/families of the 1930s NSTC Students so we could return the original photos taken at Ellis Studio in Alva and Saunders Studio in Woodward, in NW Oklahoma during the 1930s. Most of them have a firstname signed on the photo while others might have a first and lastname. BUT there are two photos that had NO names on them - unknown male and unknown female. We hope someone out there can help us locate their descendants. We did find a couple of homes for a few of the photos. -- www.okielegacy.net/slideshow.htm

December 2004 -- We did have some success in finding a home for the Roberta Edwards and Reo McVicker 1930s photos with descendants of the Edwards and McVicker families.

Also, in December we found out that the 1st graduating class of Northwestern High School (NWHS) was 1937? It was located in the NEW Horace Mann building on Northwestern's College Campus. We found this little tidbit in the 1937 Ranger Album when she was reading about the Training School they had on the Northwestern State Teachers' College campus to train future teachers. You can read more about the Demonstration School & Class History of NWHS over at our NW OkieLegacy website - 1937 Ranger Album.

We didn't get started transcribing the 1938 Ranger yearbook until around mid-December. We also put the 1926, 1937 & 1938 Ranger yearbooks into a pdf file for your Christmas present to share with you all. You can now view them over at pbpartnersllc.org by clicking on the "Old Albums" link. We are still in the process of scanning the 1938 Ranger yearbook. -- pbpartnersllc.org/OldAlbums.html -- pbpartnersllc.org/pdf-files/Ranger-1926.pdf -- pbpartnersllc.org/pdf-files/Ranger-1937.pdf -- pbpartnersllc.org/pdf-files/Ranger-1938.pdf

Duchess and The OkieLegacy family would like to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2005. We thank you for sharing your Okie Legacies throughout the past year and hope to hear from you in 2005. See you next weekend and next year with our regular HTML format. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Duchess' SW Corner

Vol 6, Iss 46 Bayfield, Colorado - From wild turkeys in Freedom, Oklahoma on the 15th November to a visiting bull and bursting cattails in this SW Colorado pasture on the 19th November and 3 to 4 inches of snow the next morning (20th November) by 8:00 a.m. in this little rural valley in SW Colorado. This is just one of the many things this Pug writer experienced this week. Will any of these wild Freedom Okie turkeys find their way to the Thanksgiving table next Thursday?

20 Nov. 2004, 8:00a.m. Snowing in the ValleyYep! Oakie rustled me out of bed this Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. to see this gorgeous white stuff falling from the sky. Attired in my little red coat and camera in tow we hurried out into the white fluffy stuff.

This sauntering Pug reluctantly went out in it and around the corner of the house, but hastily came back to the porch while Oakie was snapping a few shots.  Oakie says, "I just love the snow and the mountains!"

What's it doing up in your neck of the woods? Looks like approximately 4-inches of the white fluffy stuff fell from the sky by 8:00 a.m. before the sun broke through and started melting in the valley! They report that if you are traveling over Wolf Creek Pass this weekend, Chains are Required!"

We made it back to SW Colorado about noon, Tuesday of this week in fine shape by taking the northern route through Dodge City, KS -- through Pueblo, CO and Salido and Poncho Springs and over Wolf Creek Pass. We did get to see some snow skiers and sledders around Wolf Creek. Oakie brought back a head-cold she has nursing for the past four days. That is why this delightful Precious Pug is taking over for awhile. Oakie says, "The head is clearing and the snow is breathe taking!

Vallecito's Little Bighorn ... We had a website we want you to check out concerning a modern day Custer and hopefully his Last Stand at Vallecito's Little Bighorn. This Custer fella and developers want to ravage, rape the natural beauty of nature's wilderness and wildlife habitats. To do what? To develop condos and a golf course in the mountain wilderness at Vallecito, in SW Colorado. Who needs a golf course and 300 condos (condo built on 1/10th acre) crowded together? I hope the mountain peasants at Vallecito achieve their goal to stop Custer. These mountains are too gracious, beautiful to be ravaged raped ruins for crowded condos, golf courses. What will become of Natures REAL Wildlife?

1930 Mystery in Alva -- as anyone out there ever heard about someone being accidentally killed sometime in the 1930s? One of our OkieLegacy readers had memories of this incident while his grandfather worked on the police force of Alva. Edwards' memories can be read in the Mailbag Corner below.

Old NW Oklahoma Slideshow -- We need to find the families of these 1930s NSTC Students so we can find a home for the original photos taken at Ellis Studio in Alva and Saunders Studio in Woodward, in NW Oklahoma during the 1930s. Most of them have a firstname signed on the photo while others might have a first and lastname. BUT... there are two photos that had NO name on them - unknown male and unknown female. We hope someone out there can help us locate their descendants.

1938 NSTC Senior Play (Vanity) -- We have also come across a program for the NSTC Senior Class play - 1938 2nd page of Senior Class Play. It was a 3-act comedy, directed by Nora B. Martin, May 10, 1938. The entire action of the play takes place in the same room, being the drawing-room in Vanity's flat in London, at the present day. Vanity Fayre was played by Zelma Fisher. Zelma also played Vanity's Quaker Aunt (Miss Fry, Aunt Heppy). Other Senior class members in the play were... Ramona Baker (Vanity's Maid, Dickson); Gerna Lee Stambaugh (Vanity's Sister, Prudence Fry "Prue"); Earl Sargent (Vanity's Brother, Pilgrim Fry "Pilly"); florine Harper (Vanity's Sister, Hope Fry); John Smith (Vanity's victim, Lord Cazalet Cassy ); Max Jack (Vanity's Solicitor, Dick Broderick); Geraldine Somers (Vanity's Press Agent, Ada Kemp); Kenneth Wilson (Vanity's Fiance, Jefferson Brown); Mary Allen (who never heard of Vanity, Lady Holland); Ralph Herren (Vanity's Manager, Augustus King).

Alva Mural Society Schedules for 3 Murals -- We hear thru the local newspaper in Alva that the Alva Mural Society received a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council group for three more murals to be painted on buildings in the Alva area... Coronado's Journey thru Woods County -- Battle of Turkey Springs -- WWII POW Camp at Alva. Alva is becoming a Mural City, isn't it?

Before we head out of here for the weekend... We hope this week's ezine/newsletter makes it through to all those AOL email addresses on the mailing list... unlike last week when for some unknown reason they bounced back.

NOW... Have I left out anything that Oakie told me about this week? If I did, we will stick it in next week's ezine. As you head over the hills, mountains, rivers, fly-ways and by-ways to grandmother's house this Thanksgiving holiday, remember... Thanksgiving is a special time for family, friends getting together in peace and harmony. We wish you all the best and give thanks to all of those readers who have shared their memories and comments throughout the year -- have had patience with us as we switch from Friday send-offs to Saturday send-offs.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! See Y'all next Saturday evening with more Okie Legacies! ~~ Linda "oaKie" & Duchess ~~ View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Duchess & Oakie's NW Corner

Vol 6, Iss 35 Bayfield, Colorado -

As the last weekend of August 2004 is beginning, we find ourselves (Duchess included) still enjoying the cool, dry temperatures near Ignacio, in SW Colorado. Is Fall just around the Corner?

We find ourselves waking at 6:30a.m. MDT -- doing our chores -- keeping our hummingbird feeders full for the fluttering occupants that flock towards the feeders filled with the sweet nectar for their energy. At least seven have been seen at one time waiting in line for the sweet nectar. Here is our pink adobe abode we are staying at while here. Our front porch, windows look to the east taking in the morning sunrise -- evening moon rising over the Stone Mountains east of Ignacio, Colorado. This photo was taken looking towards the northwest. If you roll your cursor over the photo to the right, you may see a close-up -- Click photo for a larger view.

For All those Victorian Festival enthusiasts out there... Jerseyville, IL - Labor Day, Sept. 4-6, 2004 - Victorian FestivalDon't forget to mark your calendars for Labor Day weekend, September 4-6, 2004 for the annual Jersey County Victorian Festival near Jerseyville, Illinois. We would love to be there this year at the Festival, and maybe someday we will get that way. If there are any Illinois residents or anyone interested in going, we have four (4) complimentary tickets for you. Just email us your snail-mail address and how many tickets you want ASAP (As Soon As Possible) -- we shall try to rush delivery by snail-mail the tickets to you. So Hurry! OR... If that doesn't look possible, For more information: Call (618) 498-5590, Historical Steam & Living History (not-for-profit corp.), 25007 U.S. Highway 67, Jerseyville, IL. 62052 -- e-mail: hazel_dell@jvil.com - www.greatriverroad.com. SEE Schedule of Events in Mailbag Corner below.

Congratulations to Freedom (Oklahoma) and its citizens!... You have succeeded once again at your Annual Rodeo, Shootout & Cowhand Reunion! We hear from some of our readers that the Freedom Rodeo, Reunion & Shootout was a great success and the crowd that gathered had a ball. Don't forget to send us some photos of the event to share with our other readers who couldn't make it this year. 2004 Honored Cowhand, Helen Snapp London's Story.

OkieLegacy Remake... Maybe some of you have noticed that we have been busy doing a make-over of our front pages for the okielegacy.org & okielegacy.net. We are doing some cleaning, re-organizing to remove the slow-clutter of our frontpages so they will load a bit faster -- be more trim-line. We have placed the "Legacy Links" of OkieLegacy on their own pages. If there is something you can not find, try out "Our FreeFind Search Engine" listed on both front pages of the OkieLegacy.

WWII German POW Prisoner & Artist in Alva POW Camp... Remember back to the OkieLegacy, Vol. V, Iss. 42, when the son of Friedrich Wilhelm Rohrlack submitted a painting done by his father of a blonde German teenage of one of the other German POW's? Friedrich Wilhelm Rohrlack would sign his paintings with his initials "fwr." Can you help or know of anyone who can help us find the family of this young German girl so Rohrlack's son can give the painting to them? Thanks!

Druces of Slapout, OK... There is a young (25-years of age) lady that is researching history of her biological father, David Druce who passed away in 1979. Stormy Dawn Druce would love to know more about her Druce family history. If you have any information for Stormy, her email is in the Mailbag Corner below.

Edith, Oklahoma Story & Dixon family... Once in awhile you are touched -- overwhelmed by the connections you make across this magnificent world. That is the case with the Edith, Oklahoma story & photos that another one of our viewers from Victoria, British Columbia happened across this week. The grand-daughter of Alice Dixon ran across some photos of her grandmother and other Dixon family in the process of researching, making a collage of family photos for her mother, Icey Batson Huddleston. If you happen to have any photos to share with her, she would love to hear from you. Check out her family story in the Mailbag Corner for her e-mail address.

Remembering Alva's 1st Hospital... Have your ancestors ever passed along any tales of Alva's first hospital?... Doctors? Remember when... the the old Alva Library was used to house the hospital in 1914 and it was privately owned by John Mary Felton? Remember hearing stories about Dr. Bowling, Dr. Herod as the first doctors that established the hospital? Remember when... the first hospital was on the south side of the square in a building owned by Anton Shafer? Remember when... it consisted of 8 or 10 beds and Miss Ada Eaton, a graduate nurse, was in charge? Remember when... Miss Ida Ferguson of El Reno was called in when needed? Remember when... Mr. Glenn Woolley was the first administrator? ... CLICK HERE!

Before we head out of here for the weekend and the last weekend of August... here's what we know so far of Moman Pruiett, Indian Territory (Pauls Valley & later Oklahoma City) Lawyer.

Here's to making America Stronger at Home - Respected in the World!
Believe In America! We can do better! AND... Hope is on the way!

See Y'all next weekend with more Okie Legacies!
~~ Linda "oaKie" & Duchess ~~ View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Oakie's NW Corner

WWII POW caps - OK Map

Vol 5, Iss 2 OKC, Oklahoma -

The cold winter winds having been blowing across Oklahoma this week reminding us that it is still Winter, BUT... the sun has been shining. You just had to hang on to things when venturing outside. *Smiling*

Thanks to you all who sent heartfelt condolences concerning the death of my horse, Moon. I really do appreciate hearing from you and everything you have to share with us at The Okie Legacy. You are Wonderful and GREAT!

I have been keeping busy transcribing some information passed down to me by one of my readers. It concerns the WWII POW Camps in Oklahoma - 1943-45. Click the Oklahoma Map on the left to catch a better glimpse of the POW camps that dotted our State. You can read more about the Barbed Wire & Nazilagers POW Camps in Oklahoma written by Richard S. Warner, a free lance writer in Tulsa who has been collecting information on POW camps for many years. - printed in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. LXIV, No. 1, Spring 1986.

I am going to keep this short this week because there are lots of things to read in the newsletter: NW OK Marriages of 1941, WWII POW Camps in Oklahoma, Wiley H. Cowan Obit, Home Comfort Range, Old Alva Photos (help find a home) and many other family inquiries. Speaking about the Old Alva Studio Photos ... I have also stuck them on Oakie's Webshots in an Album of their own and will be adding more later. If you have any Old Photos to add, Email Linda a jpg file. Thanks!

Before I send you off to explore ... Nadine from Germany, lived in Oklahoma for 11 months and is now studying English at an University in Germany and is working on a Presentation of the History of Oklahoma. If anybody could help her, contact Nadine at N.Holtrup@t-online.de.

~ No matter what you read or hear ~ The Eagle Still Soars Above It All! ~~ Linda "Okie" ~~

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Duchess & Sadie's Domain

Vol 11, Iss 36 Well! College football has arrived. Oklahoma State (OSU) beat Georgia 24-10 at home in the new Pickens OSU Stadium, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. BYU beat Oklahoma University (OU) 14-13 this last Saturday, September 5, 2009, when Sam Bradford, OU's Heisman Trophy quarterback, suffered joint strain to his shoulder when Bradford got pounded into the ground. Let us hope that the time out will be short for Bradford and OU football.

This NW Okie's Pug Underdogs came in 3rd out of 5 in her Yahoo! Fantasy College Football Group with Moshers taking 1st out of 5. If it had not been for OU and Bradford being pounded into the ground by BYU, Moshers would have picked a perfect score in the Fantasy Football league. BUT ... IF's don't count, do they? Do you belong to a Fantasy Football College league?

Dale in Stillwater, OK says, "We have lots of hummers at Yost Lake near Stillwater, OK. I have six feeders around my cabin. FUN ... FUN ... FUN!"

As to the Alva WWII POW Camp, Leonard says, "We were very close to the airfield. There was a huge concrete water tower which I suspect was to supply water for the camp not far from where the converted barracks were located. I don't know if it's still there or not. My brother and I climbed to the top via an inside ladder that went up to a hole in platform that must have supported the water tank. Never did tell our parents about that insanity!

Leonard continues, "The paintings we saw were in the two remaining buildings which I think were used for truck maintenance, as there still old truck parts scattered inside one of the buildings and two abandoned military trucks just outside this one structure. There were several paintings in at least one of these shop/barracks and as there were no other buildings left except for the ones we were living in I would venture a guess that they are the ones in the Waynoka Museum."

It is also Labor Day weekend! Hope if you are out driving on the highways and byways that you are watching out for other drivers and being courteous. Labor Day weekend in SW Colorado, particularly Durango and Ignacio, means biker and their hogs gather from all over. NW Okie did not get into Durango to check and see the gathering of motorcycles lining the Main Street this year.

Before we head out of here, we would like to wish J. T. Colon a Happy Birthday today, September 7, 2009.

HAPPY LABOR DAY to ALL! If you don't have a job to labor yet, we wish and send you hope that you will find one soon!
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Is This Fall - 2004...

Vol 6, Iss 31

Is this an early Fall of 2004? As we travel through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado -- settling down in SW Colorado for a few weeks to celebrate our 35th anniversary, we have been noticing the green grass pastures across these Heartlands. The July rains are unbelievable! This whole weather is unbelievable! Everything is so green and beautiful during what should be one of the hottest, dryest month of the summer.

It is seems to this NW Okie like an early fall has settled upon us during the Summer of 2004. I have never seen so much rain in July. Actually, I don't remember it ever raining in July. BUT... this weather has been great for the farmers/ranchers -- their livestock -- farm ponds. It will be tough when that mercury soars above 100 again.

I am going to try and keep this short and send you onto the Mailbag Corner, because lots of you sent in some interesting memories of NW Oklahoma ghost towns along hwy 64 west of Alva. For instance, did you know that the building that housed the Hilltop Gas & Grocery 11 miles west of Alva on the hilltop was a part of the Old Alva POW WWII Camp?

Leslie and Golda "Goldie" Lyons owned and ran the Hilltop gas and grocery and motor shop from '46 to '67 where later they did motor rewiring jobs that came into the shop. Today if you drive west out of Alva it would require your imagination to see what might have been. There is just a grass, fenced pasture with a gravel pull-off area with a view looking down the hill, east towards Alva. I found it very interesting to learn that in the old days... that the reasons stations along highway 64 were at the top of the hills were because the old cars were usually steaming by the time they got to the top and needed water.

If you travel another mile west from Hilltop on hwy 64, you might catch a glimpse of a deteriorated old building on the North side of the highway where Setmore was located 12 miles west at the highway 14 & 64 junction. I am told that in the 1930s it was a station/store ran by E.H. (Hack) and Mary Lyon. Later a blacksmith/repair shop run by Harry Lyon and later by Frank McMurphy.

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Pugster's Report...

Vol 8, Iss 8 by - Duchess & Sadie, Pugsters

Ooops!... This Sadie Pugsters got caught letting NW Okie's age & birthday out of the bag last weekend. BUT... no harm was done. Thank goodness! She (NW Okie) still scratches us behind the ears, rubs our bellies and lets us be her lapdogs. So... these pugsters are taking over this weekend while NW Okie is taking this birthday weekend off. HAPPY 58th BIRTHDAY to that NW Okie!

We found some more WWII German POW artwork & murals this week lingering in our archives and webpages. One wood carving of "Afrika" came in from a reader this week. AND... we are hot on the trail of some more Alva WWII camp barracks that were moved to other towns around NW Oklahoma. If you have any information about recycled WWII POW barracks in your neck of the woods, let us know -- if they are still standing, get a photo of it.

AND... we have heard from the Rialto projectionist the truth about the twin booths of Alva (Oklahoma). It was NOT the "Ranger" theatre, but the "Pix" Theatre that had the twin booths in this NW Oklahoma community long ago. This is the 1950 photo that the Rialto owners supplied us that shows the twin booths of the Pix Theatre. Notice the Jetts building on the right and what we presume is the Huff building on the left of the Pix, on the west side of the square, College Avenue (6th Street), in the middle of the block. Today an Antique store occupies the spot that once housed the Pix and later the Faires Cafe. Just north of the Pix Theatre was the Jett building where an attorney (Rick Cunningham) has his law office today. AND... The Pix was never owned by the Jones Amusement Co. (Rialto) until they purchased the Drive-In -- The Pix theatre was thrown into the deal for the Drive-In.

Have you ever heard of a little cafe that used to be operational in Freedom, Oklahoma. It went by the name of "Ma South Cafe." We learned about the name of this cafe this week. It was owned by the South family that settled near the Freedom area in NW Oklahoma. Henry "Ed" South was night watchman for the town of Freedom, Oklahoma in the late teens and early 1920's, and his wife, Alice Tyler "Allie" South, ran Ma South Cafe. Does anyone out there have an old photos of "Ma South's cafe?" Where in Freedom was it located?

In last week's comments one of our readers mentioned that the Golden Krust Bakery was located in the building just east of the Old Surety building around 1940. These are two pictures of the bakery of Golden Krust Bakery that the Henry's loaned us from Marvin Henry's website.

As to the Old Surety Life building... back in 1910 we know that the NW corner of 5th & Flynn Avenue housed the "Woods County Bank" downstairs with the "Republican Headquarters" upstairs.

The Cigar Store (pool hall) building on the NE corner was "Snyders Cigar Store." There was a grocery store just to the west of the cigar store, but we are not sure of the name at present. If you traveled about a half-block north of Snyders Cigar store you might have seen the "Mistletoe Express" office. The Mistletoe Express was where the Oklahoma City paper was dropped off about 5:30a.m. every morning for local paperboys to pick up and deliver around town ... after they went to the back door of the bakery and got a fresh, HOT donut, of course.

In the middle of the 500 block of Flynn Avenue was the Beegle Bros. Drugstore. We found this 2002 snapshot of the the 500 block of Flynn Avenue showing the Rialto building in the center. Beegle's drugstore must have been next to it or just west of it at one point in time.
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Weather Dog Report & More...

Vol 8, Iss 7 by - Sadie Sadie, intern weather pugster

Shhhhhh...... Do NOT tell Duchess! We have been thinking about getting her an "Honorary Phd" (Pugster of history Doctorate) from the OkieLegacy University (OU) for all the hard work she has been coping with from the NW Okie & this Sadie Sadie (intern Weather Pugster). Another Shhhhhhhh... Do NOT tell that NW Okie. We hear that she (NW Okie) will be reaching the magic number of "58" next Saturday, February 25th. Don't tell her this Sadie Pugster told you!

As to Gas Prices & Weather... We understand that Oklahoma's gas prices are quite a bit lower than ours in SW Colorado. Roy in Perry, OK says, "Perry's gasoline prices have continued to bounce up and down. Tuesday they dropped to a low of $2.02.9 and then Wednesday they bounced back up to $2.06.9 which is where they were last time I checked today (Friday, Feb. 17th.). We finally have some cooler weather (33 degrees when I checked around noon today) and they said there might be some snow flurries in the next day or so, but I doubt it. We still need moisture and will take any kind that's possible."

SW Colorado's gas prices have been hanging around $2.32 to $2.35 for the last few weeks around Bayfield & Durango, Colorado area.

As for the Weather... Early in the week from Maine to North Carolina a Winter watch dumped over two feet of snow in some places for those New Englanders. If you live in those areas and have some spare snow, please send us some Winter snow ... snapshots, of course. We haven't seen that much snow since... Well! Can't remember how long! We need moisture, also.

SW Colorado's weather burst in Wednesday as blustery, windy day that began the movement of Winter back on the scene around here. By Friday morning, we wokeup to a cold, cloudy day, but by mid-day the snow started to fall in tiny, miniscule flakes that you needed a microscope to see. By 5:34p.m. MST, Friday the flakes were bigger and sticking to the ground. Saturday morning we had sun again with scant snow down in the valley. Sounds like Oklahoma will get some of this Saturday. Boy howdy!... Did Texas's 80 degree temps fall Thursday night into the 40s on Friday. There will be some head colds out of this. BUT... that sounds like heartland weather to this intern weather Pugster.

NWOSU's Oklahoma Hall Update... We hear that NWOSU's Oklahoma Hall became just another pile of rubble towards the end of this week as the demolition crew finished the smashing job on this women's dormitory. Yep! the old NWOSU women's dormitory, is officially now a pile of rubble. The last standing portion of it was knocked down Friday, 2/17/2006. All that remains now is to remove the debris and see what happens next at that location. Some are hopeful that they will still have access to the parking lot there at least for the remainder of the current semester, though there is no assurance of that. The last word others have heard, as late as Friday morning, is that it will become a "green space" until such time as a decision can be made concerning the use of the location.

Back Bar Nude Scenes... Does anyone know or have any information of any "Back Bars Nude Scenes" that artist, John Noble, painted in Oklahoma and maybe into Kansas? We understand that Noble was famous for painting these "nude scenes" in the bars. One of the Balmer Fund board members is researching this artist. If you know anything about this artist and his back bar nude scenes, please contact: Rosalea Hostetler - EMAIL: wepreserve@balmerfund.org.

Alva, OK - Downtown, 504 Flynn & 430 Flynn... We received an email from an owner of a couple of buildings in downtown Alva, Oklahoma. The buildings are located at 430 Flynn, (formerly Old Surety Life) and 504 Flynn avenue. Is 504 Flynn Ave. that old cigar store that once resided on the NW corner of 5th & Flynn Ave.? Was 506 Flynn Avenue, in Alva, Oklahoma, a grocery store. Guess we need to look back through our thousand of web pages at the OkieLegacy to refresh our memory, huh? If some of this information jogs a few old memory cells out there, jot them down in an email, letter or story with a snapshot or jpg file -- send it our way so we can share some of those memories with our OkieLegacy readers -- AND... you can have your own "by-line" in the OkieLegacy Ezine.

Northwestern (NSTC) Army Air Cadets... In 1944, Tom McCarrick was in Alva with the 92nd training detachment of the Army Air Corp (cadet training) and going to Northwestern (NSTC). He sent us awhile back some photos of the air cadet training corp that can be seen at this Link: Oakie Pics Webshots. Here is a link to Tom McCarrick's story about 1944 and NSTC as seen in one of our the past issues - Vol. III, Iss. 32. How long did the army air cadets training continue at Northwestern (NSTC)? Was it into the mid-1950s?

With the mention of WWII & POW camps this week, we have been gathering, organizing all our WWII information -- placing it on The NW OkieLegacy Blog to have it in together in a database for searching. Don't forget to check out the WWII information at this URL - WWII & POW Camp History. View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Cool Fall Temps Hit Alva

Vol 9, Iss 37 We either followed a cool front of Fall into northwest Oklahoma last week, OR... it followed us! The grass pastures look more like Spring than September and August, though.

All that moisture they have received this Summer has the weeds almost as tall as an elephant's eye By the way, "How tall is an elephant's eye, anyway?"

Ever since we got back to northwest Oklahoma the high weed pollens, moderate meldew levels have had these NW Okie eyes itching the whole time. The Pugs have enjoyed it more, though, with the comfortable cool weather and being able to be outside.

Before we send you off for another Oklahoma history lesson, we want to thank the city council of Alva for their patience, understanding while we waited for the Fall, cooler temperatures to do the clean-up, demolition on our 12th street houses.

A BIG Thank You, Alva City Council! Thank You!

Oklahoma Pioneer Tidbits
Here is a tidbit of pioneer legacy that concerns some information about the Alva Pioneer newspaper. It appeared in The Alva Pioneer, dated September 22, 1893, Alva, M County, O.T., with this headline: "Pioneer Pointers" concerning the Alva Pioneer printing house in Alva, Oklahoma Territory.

    "The 20x40 two story printing house of the Pioneer, on the south side of the square, will be ready to occupy by November 1st (1893), and the printing material will be promptly moved in."
We Need Your Help
We need your help in research of a WWII POW Camp at Windfall, Indiana. Does anyone out there have any information concerning the prisoner of war camp and a list of POW's at Windfall, Indiana? One of our readers has a few pictures, and would like to find a list of names of the prisoners -- all that has been written about POW camps. Thanks for any research you can share with us.

Happy 114th birthday to the Pioneers of the '93 Cherokee Strip Run, September 16, 1893. AND... Congratulations to Northwestern on their upcoming 110/100 1st Day of Class celebration (September 20, 1897-2007).
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Walking With Sadie

Vol 17, Iss 2 Bayfield, CO - Woof! Woof! This is the Lady Sadie Pug all the way from SW Colorado where we received over a foot of snow last weekend. NW Okie missed it though, 'cause she was somewhere between Oklahoma and Texas. But the sunshine has come out since. This Lady Pug is energized by the snow. Woof! Woof!

We have included some WWII POW camps of the 1940's in this week's newsletter. Both Colorado and Oklahoma and the center of the "Heartland" had POW camps scattered through their states during WWII>.

We heard from Michael Wolf who corrected one or two little details about his father Werner Wolf, who was a POW in the Camp Alva after having surrendered as officer of the Afrika Korps (10. Panzerdivision) in Tunesia 1943. Indeed he managed to escape, as is mentioned in your article, but he was not recaptured in Kansas City but in a little town just before he attempted to cross the border towards Mexico (he had the idea to reach Argentine in order to search for a possibility to get back to Germany). Werner Wolf reentered the german army in postwar 1955 as Major and ended his military career as Colonel at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels 1971 (where Michael used to go to school), he died 1973. His son, Michael would like to add that as far as he knew the POWs of Camp Alva, weren't all 'Nazi's and hard core sympathizers.' Instead, it might be true that the camp exclusively contained officers of the Wehrmacht.

Cpt. Miles W. Kelly's Year in Alva, September, 1944 thru September, 1945. After service in North Africa and Italy during World War II, Dr. Miles William Kelly, was stationed at the prisoner-of-war camp in Alva, Oklahoma from September 28, 1944 to September 17, 1945. He was one of the medical officers at the facility. For the most part, this account is based on the letters that he wrote home to his wife.

Good Night! Good Luck! Woof! Woof!
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Walking With Sadie

Vol 16, Iss 31 Bayfield, CO - This week we have for you some history on early Oklahoma and the Louisana Territory, with the fight between the French and Spaniards.

We also have some history of World War II Prisoner of War (POW) camps across America during 1943-1946. We are also throwing in a request by someone looking for information, photos of the Trinidad POW camp in Trinidad, Colorado.

And . . . with one hundred years after World War I, we continue with front page headlines of the WWI over in Europe in 1914.

We end with the Indians history and the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. Did you know that in colonial times, the Osages were semi nomadic and eventually controlled present day Misssouri, southern Illinois, northern Arkansas, northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas?

Woof! Woof! Good Night & Good Luck View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Lookin Back ... To the Future!

Vol 11, Iss 16 Mike says, "It was actually April 28, 2000 in the 3rd Volume and 17th Issue (see Archives) where the name changed to The Okie Legacy. I was in DC. Where were you?

That next week Okie was busy welcoming Cindy's new filly colt, Chestnut Starz, (born April 29, 2000) as well as helping locate the final resting place of a WWII German POW's that died in McAlester and was buried in Oklahoma for Vernon Dennis.

NW Okie was helping Vernon Dennis search for a German POW, Paul Kurt Leonhardt, that was buried at Ft. McAlester, Oklahoma. A nephew of Leonhardt was wanting to see if he could locate his uncle's gravesite.

Some comments in the following Vol #3, Iss #5 of Transition from Heart to Heart Journal: LW said, "Really like your new site format and M.Wags contribution. I have nothing to say about the Super Bowl: don't want to jinx either side. As to the Super Bowl... Looks like Baltimore Ravens ran away with the game from the NY!

Flatlander said, "Oakie -- New HTML format of your newsletter looks great!"
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Do You Remember When...

Vol 6, Iss 27

Dacoma. Oklahoma had a hotel and Mrs. Haines was proprietor of that hotel (Rambler Hotel) in Dacoma, 16 miles southeast of Alva. I wonder if that Haines is the same Haines that had the E. A. Haines store in downtown Alva?

Transcontinental Air Transport... TAT passenger station, ticket officeWe were glancing through our copy of the Waynoka Chronicles this week to learn about Waynoka's Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) history. Did you know that the TAT erected a 58'x26' brick passenger station, ticket office south of Waynoka's Harvey house and 1200 citizens were at the dedication of the TAT Airport, June 22, 1929? The passenger building provided a place for passengers to rest between plane and train trips. After the TAT was closed 18 months later, the passenger station was moved to a new location on highway 281, serving for many years as the American Legion Hut until it was torn down in the 1970s. After 18 months of operation, TAT was loosing money. They sought other mergers. On October 1, 1930, a lucrative contract was awarded to Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). By the end of October an announcement was made that TAT or TWA would cease it operations in Waynoka, Oklahoma.

PFC Simerly & Alva POW Camp... One of our readers is looking for the family of an army private (PFC Conley E. Simerly) who served at the Alva POW camp during WWII. All that is known at this point is that Mr. Simerly lived, at the time of his discharge from the Army, in Hampton, Tennessee. Rod Murrow bought some items on ebay and is trying to located the family of PFC Simerly to return the items. If you can help in this search, contact Rod or email us and we will pass along the information. Thanks!

A NW Oklahoma Ghost Town Mystery... Another one of our readers wrote and asked about a ghost town located northwest of Waynoka and northeast of Mooreland. About 30 years ago there were some foundations -- a stable. The main feature that stuck in this persons mind was a statue or monument that stood about 6 feet tall with a rifle implanted in the top -- the stock on the rifle had worn away but the rest was still there -- it was possibly a Sharps rifle. He recalls climbing down a ridge to get into the town, but that is about all the information that he can remember. Does any of this ring a bell with anyone out there? If you can help, please email us. Thanks.

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The 75th Infantry Div. In Combat -- WWII

Vol 10, Iss 30 This little WWII book of the 75th Infantry Division was put together by Major Ray E. Porter during the Colmar Campaign, and written up 4 June 1945, headquarters of the 75th Infantry division, office of the Commanding General, APO 41, U. S. Army.

It includes the Battle in the Ardennes, 23 Dec. 1944-27 Jan. 1945; the Colmar Pocket Battle, 30 Jan. 1945-9 Feb. 1945; the Battle for the Ruhr, 31 Mar. 1945-15 Apr. 1945. It starts out with a Foreword written by Major General Ray E. Porter, U. S. Army.

"To all Members of the 75th Infantry Division and Attached Units:
I have directed that this farewell message shall not be published in the form of any routine official military document. It is my desire that it be considered as a personal letter from me to every officer, warrant officer, and enlisted man.

"Orders have been received assigning me to a new duty. I must depart immediately. I have never appreciated any other military assignment so much as I appreciate the opportunity that I have had to serve with you. I have never so thoroughly enjoyed any other service. I feel that with you I have rendered to my Country the most important and the most effective service of my career as an officer. Feelings of loneliness ad sadness fill my soul as I leave you.

"I met you first near the end of those bitter cold and hard fought days of the Ardennes. You had come through that vicious introduction to war with great credit to yourselves. Since then you have constantly improved your skill in the art of war. You have learned to win more readily and at lower costs. Your confidence and morale have soared to heights rarely attained. In the Colmar Pocket, where you saw war in its ugliest aspects, you performed excellently under the French First Army. Operating with two veteran American and two veteran French divisions, you contributed your full share to that complete victory. On the Maas River under the British Second Army you established an unpenetrated wall against every hostile threat and you mastered the difficult technique of reconnaissance across a formidable stream. Moving to the U. S. Ninth Army, you mapped up the Roer-Maas Traingle. Your next assignment was to screen the assembly of the XVI Corps for its crossing of the Rhine River and collect the information of the enemy and the terrain on which the detailed plans for the crossing were based. You achieved unparalleled success in the accomplishment of those missions. Crossing the Rhine you attacked successfully for fourteen successive days against the determined resistance of four German divisions, two of them being among the enemy's best remaining divisions. You destroyed the bulk of the hostile forces north of the Ruhr River. You drove the remnants across the river with such swift and skillful maneuvers and with such powerful and relentless attacks that you were able to secure intact certain of the all-important Ruhr bridges. With the threat that you had set up on his north flank, the enemy south of the river threw down his arms and surrendered the largest number of men ever captured in a single operation.

"You have been tested in battle by the commanders of British and French armies as well as by our American high commanders. That you constituted one of the best divisions ever to have served our Country is attested to by the mass of commendations received from those senior commanders and by unsolicited high praise from officers and enlisted men of many units that have served side by side with you.

"When the early surrender of the remaining armed forces of Germany became inevitable, the division was moved into that portion of Westphalia situated south of the Ruhr River. You were charged with the maintenance of security and the operation of military government in a vast area including millions of recently conquered people and with the assembly and care of 175,000 Allied prisoners of war and displaced persons. This mission in a wholly unfamiliar field was in its immediate urgency and in the long range influence of its execution on the reconstruction of Germany as well as on Allied relations more important than any combat mission ever given to you. Every individual in the division immediately recognized the tremendous importance of his job and every individual has worked with energy, endurance, and personal enthusiasm far beyond the cal of duty. The result has been another cherished triumph for the division.

"Proud as I am of our achievements in combat and of your success in handling the problems incident to the occupation of a conquered territory, I am equally proud of our exemplary personal characteristics. In your high intelligence, in your clean living, in your good behavior, in your cheerful acceptance of dangers and hardships, in our friendly attitude and your thoughtful consideration of others, in your loyalty to each other and to your leaders, and in your high standard of discipline you excel any equal number of young men I have ever known.

"Regardless of where we may be called to serve during the remainder of this war, each and every one of us will be 7th Infantry Division men as long as we live. I am exceedingly anxious that at an early date you will initiate the organization of a division association through which we may meet and renew old acquaintances during the years to come.

"I leave you knowing that neither as a division nor as individuals, neither in war nor in peace will you ever accept failure or be content with mediocre performance of your tasks. I shall follow with pride and pleasure your future achievements in this war and the active leadership which I confidently expect you to assume in civil life when you have returned to your homes. I shall always be glad to hear from any of you and I do hope that none of you will ever fail to visit me when you are in a position to do so. Happy memories of our months together will brighten the remaining days of my life.

"With my most fervent wishes for your future success and happiness, I bid you, Good-Bye!" -- Ray E. Porter, Major General, U. S. Army

For all those of out there who might have had an ancestor who fought with the 75th Infantry Division during WWII, I have scanned the booklet compiled by Major General Ray E. Porter into a PDF file that is about 330-megabytes. For now it is too big to upload to my site and I am working on compressing it down to a smaller file (or files) for easier upload/download. Meanwhile, If anyone is interested in a copy of the pdf file, I will copy to a CD disc and send it to you if you give me your snail-mail address.
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Go-Dogs & NW Okie Travel East...

Vol 7, Iss 28 Yep! Here it is mid-July already! AND... Duchess, Sadie and this NW Okie headed East again for NW Oklahoma, early Wednesday morning, July 13, 2005. We did okay until we crossed Wolf Creek Pass and started downhill towards South Fork. There is this tunnel and a 45 minute wait while road crews were working a few miles north of the tunnel. They are in the process of blasting edges of the mountain to widen the road up the pass between South Fork and Wolf Creek. This photo shows a snapshot of waiting motorists rambling, stretching during that 45 minute wait.

Did you ever hear WWII & VJ-Day stories where they gathered in the town centers to celebrate and set their hats on fire? How about some memories of the WWII POWs at the Waynoka Ice Plant? Those are just some of the many Mailbag Corner memories we have for you this weekend.

Ranger Football Players of 1920s... We need your help here for one of our regular readers from NW Oklahoma. Rod has supplied us with a photograph of some Ranger Footballs players dating back to the 1920s. He needs help identifying them. We know who two of the players are: #20 Sam Riggs and #6 Floyd Coldiron. Do you know of someone that could help us identify these Rangers? Check out another mystery in the Mailbag Corner of an unidentified woman with two young men: Haskell REED on the left and Bertsell RIGGS in the center. Thanks for any help you can offer.

We heard from a OkieLegacy reader about having lunch with OSU's Pistol Pete Mascot this last week. It seems that this years Pistol Pete comes from Alva, in NW Oklahoma, as does his parents and grandparents. We hear that this Alvan, Eric Stroud, has only been Pete for a few months but has attended many, many functions in that time. Congratulations to Eric and the STROUD family of NW Oklahoma!

Have a Great Weekend and KEEP COOL during these Dog Days of Summer!
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NW Okie's Corner

NW Okie in New Hampshire 1999

Vol 14, Iss 1 Bayfield, CO - Happy New Year 2012! It is a New Year, a New beginning of only great things to come our way as we all speak out in the Todays; remembering the friends of Yesterdays as we soar into the Tomorrows. Bringing with us the high hopes as we stand proudly with the 99% of OWS! Thanks to those of OWS for All they have done in 2011 to show we still have a strong voice when we stand united, together! Hope this finds you with a good start to the New Year. GO POKES of OSU!

We are still updating our websites over at Paris Times Pioneers, Prairie Pioneer News, SW Colorado Weather Cam, The OkieLegacy, NW OkieLegacy and McGill Sisters US, which will be merged into the "SW Colorado Weather Cam" web site.

If you can not find something that was on the okielegacy.org website, it probably got moved to the Prairie Pioneer News or "NW OkieLegacy" website. If you find a broken link in the OkieLegacy Ezine or Tabloid pages, send us the URL (LINK) to the page you found it on and help us update our links. We are halfway through our Volume 7 and moving forward so far this 2nd day of January 2012.

Here are some legacies we are moving over to the "Prairie Pioneer News" web site:

  1. NWOKmarriages
  2. PoliticalLegacy
  3. Woods
  4. Woodward county
  5. Fair Valley
  6. Normal school (Castle on the Hill)
Those legacies that will remain on The OkieLegacy web site are: OkieLegacy Ezine, Vada's 1938 Diary, Gene's Legacy, UncleBob's Legacy, Grandma's Legacy, Grandpa's Legacy, WWII POW Camp Legacy, Okie Mysteries of 1910 & 1954 (Mabel Oakes and Ann Reynolds).

I leave you with these lines, "And there's a hand my trusty friend / And give us a hand o' thine / And we'll take a right good-will draught, / for auld lang syne." . . . Long, Long Since!

GO POKES (OSU vs. Stanford)!

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Painting From WWII POW Camp @ Jerome, Arkansas

Vol 16, Iss 9 Jerome, AR - Brenda came across a painting that was painted for my dad by a German officer in 1945, and sent us an image file of a landscape painting done by a German officer and prisoner of war in 1945 at the Jerome, Arkansas POW Camp during World War II (WWII). The transcription on the back of the painting (on the right) reads: "Painted 1945 for B. J. Kerley, German POW Camp, Jerome, Ark., Painted by a German Officer."

The painting on the left was painted for Brenda's Dad, B. J. Kerley, who worked at the Jerome, Arkansas WWII POW Camp in 1945. Brenda is researching and looking for more information concerning the Jerome, Arkansas POW Camp and information about her dad's employment at the camp during World War II. If anyone runs across any information concerning the POW Camp mentioned above and B. J. Kerley, you may contact Brenda at her email: brendacole@gra.midco.net. Thanks for your help! View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


NW Okie's Corner

Vol 14, Iss 17 Bayfield, Colorado - A few weeks ago someone contacted us about a German/English booklet they had found at a secondhand store in Germany to see if we wanted it. It was interesting to this NW Okie because on the inside cover it had stamped on the upper-left corner, "Camp Alva 23.4.45." It has 100 brief English for export and Import.

On that same page in the center it was stamped with a German POW's name and POW number, stating "Prisoner of war camp, Camp Polk, LA, Personal property of Gerhard Widmann, 8WG-16811, By order of the stockade commander."

I am wondering which POW World War II camp came first: Camp Polk in Louisiana or Camp Alva (23.4.45) in Alva, Oklahoma. I would love to find out more about they Gerhard Widdmann and what happened to him and his family after World War II. Has anyone run onto any POW camp records in Louisiana and Oklahoma showing the time that POW's were listed?

I do know that in December, 1941, Uncle Bob McGill was leaving Leesville, Louisiana via train through New Mexico to San Francisco, before being deployed to Hawaii. As to NW Okie's Uncle Robert Lee McGill WWII timeline, Robert McGill was in training at Leesville, Louisiana around 1941. In a letter dated 19 December 1941 to his mother Constance Warwick McGill. Uncle Bob mentions that he was on a train from Leesville, Louisiana headed west towards San Francisco and passing through New Mexico. He gave is mother instructions as to car keys, insurance, etc. that he left in Leesville with a LT. Robert Kalbfell at 753 tk bn.

Tell the GOP, "Stop the War On Women, Senior Citizens & Poor!"
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WWII POW Reunions & Guards

Vol 3, Iss 4 Jersey City, New Jersey - Recently, I have received an Email from a filmmaker from Jersey City, NJ.  Roland Millman  is looking for people, organizations with any kind of information about the German POWs and POW camps in the U.S. during WWII. Mr. Millman is the owner of Brightscreen Productions.  They produce films, videos for corporate use - motivational, sales, promotion, advertising and training.  If you can search for "They Were Not Silent" and "Roland Millman ", you will find fesitval references concerning his last documentary film, "They Were Not Silent:  The Jewish Labor Movement and the Holocaust." 

The project he is working on now concerns the WWII POW camps in the USA.  It is being co-produced by Millman's Brightscreen Productions and Dieter Marcello.  Dieter's company is Filmmedia  GmbH in Marbach, Germany.

Millman has been doing research at the National Archives which has provided a good base for the film.  He has been in contact with a number of former POWs and ex-U.S. Army guards. A number of researchers and scholars have agreed to help with the endeavor.

Millman says, "Financing for the project will be financed through production grants from foundations supported by the German government, U.S. public and private arts and humanities grants, private donations and distribution proceeds.  The film will be produced as a project of a U.S. non-profit organization."

Millman would like to hookup with people, groups and organizations with any kind of information about the German POWs and POW camps in the USA during WWII.  He partically interested in speaking with people;  interviewing them on-camera; and filming at reunions, gatherings and ceremonies surrounding the former POWs and POW camps.

For more information, you may contact Roland Millman to check out his credentials via E-mail ruvn@aol.com

OR... Snail-mail....


Brightscreen Productions
144 Morris Street, 2nd Fl.
Jersey City, NJ  07302-4443
201-451-6984
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Ardmore Army Air Field Memorial Site & Blog

Lt. Loren Crites

Vol 12, Iss 19 Gene Autry, Oklahoma - Gary S. googled and found an old Cape Girardeau newspaper article with this picture of Lt. Crites, "It is not a good one it but sure beats nothing. He was on the same aircraft as Lt. Boyer and Sgt. Petersen so I am including a similar narrative for it." "The 11-member crew of B-17G (42-102786) from Ardmore Army Air Field died, April 24, 1944, at approximately 3:40PM. Lt. Loren Crites, 25, who previously served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, was the assigned co-pilot for the aircraft. He was from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

"It is assumed that he was not occupying that position on this flight. An instructor pilot, Lt. Milton Hansberry, 23, who flew with different crews each day, was at the controls. Lt. Charles H. Boyer, Jr, 27, the assigned pilot of the training crew, was probably flying as co-pilot. It is not known if Lt. Crites was standing behind one of the seats, flying as assigned co-pilot or was elsewhere in the plane.

"The aircraft had left the base ten minutes earlier with full fuel tanks on a crew indoctrination training flight. This flight was probably the first flight of this aircraft with a training crew. It was delivered new a few weeks earlier and only had 85 hours on the aircraft and engines. The plane was circling the Dornick Hills Golf Course, north of Ardmore, at an estimated altitude of 800 to 1,000 feet, apparently sightseeing. After a few circles, the heavy aircraft exceeded 90-degrees of bank, spun into the ground and burst into flames. Hoping to prevent similar accidents, the base commander, Colonel Donald W. Eisenhart, used this crash as an example of what not to do in a heavy aircraft close to the ground."

History of ARdmore Air Force Base

Wikipedia states, "Ardmore Air Force Base (IATA: ADM, ICAO: KADM, FAA LID: ADM), was a United States Air Force base located 10 miles (16 km) northeast of the central business district of Ardmore, (near Gene Autry, OK) cities in Carter County, Oklahoma, United States. It was later redeveloped into Ardmore Municipal Airport.

During WWII, Ardmore AAF was used by the Fourth Air Force an aircrew training base initially for glider pilots, then bomber aircrews. It was also a POW camp for German prisoners of war late in the conflict. The field operated from 1942-1946.

The 394th Bombardment Group (Medium), martin B-26 Marauder trained there during 12 July 1943 thru 19 August 1943. It served in combat with the Ninth Air Force in England, France and Germany.

From 25 October 1943 to 1 April 1944, the 395th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress served as an operational truing unit (OTU) at Ardmore, later becoming a replacement training unit (RTU) and did not serve in combat.

SEE ALSO: Our Little Memorial blog for more special stories of those who died in service and were connected with the Ardmore Air Field, north of Ardmore, Oklahoma.
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WWII POWs & Haskell, OK

Vol 11, Iss 17 Susan says, "Is there a place to post notices for folks who were either related to POWs or lived in the towns where the camps were? I was a baby, living in Haskell, OK when the POWs were staying in the National Guard Armory, just ? block from our house.

My mother walked that way to town every day and somehow, (I guess the prisoner spoke some English) struck up a conversation with this POW. He was talking about his own daughter who was about my age and how homesick he was.

Long story short, he painted a picture of his home and gave it to my mother for me. I would LOVE for someone who was related to that POW to have something their father or grandfather painted. It is stored in my rafters, but if someone out there has an interest, I can get it down and see if we can read the painters signature, if any exists." -- Susan Dalberg at Email: wolfpaw81@aol.com
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WWII - Alva POW Camp...

Vol 8, Iss 7 by - Rod Murrow, Freedom, OK

I know there are several folks with an intense interest in the old POW camps that were located in the USA during World War II, one of which was 'Camp Alva' located south of Alva, Oklahoma in the area now occupied by the Woods County Fairgrounds.

I believe it would be a worthwhile project to compile a database and/or photographic file of all of the remaining buildings from that camp, including the ones still on the old site (including the old VFW building and the water tower), but also including the buildings that were sold and moved from the site. (If such a project has ever been undertaken, it is being kept a secret!).

I know of at least three buildings that can be accounted for:

  • The home that my grandparents owned in Dacoma (one block south and one block east of Whittet's Cowboy Grill, just across the street west of the baseball diamond) was one of the barracks buildings from the POW camp;
  • The Freedom United Methodist Church is actually TWO of the buildings, joined together in a 'T' shape, though another addition was built along the west side of the facility in more recent years.
There must be more of the old POW camp buildings scattered about Woods county or elsewhere. I honestly believe that some sort of documentation of these historic structures should be made - to the point that perhaps a permanent marker could be placed at each location (with permission of the present owner/owners) and the location of each one identified on a map or listed in a brochure.

Such a thing could easily become a 'booster' for the tourist/historic interest in the area and might be of interest to Oklahoma Today or similar magazines, certainly to the 'Red Carpet Country' annual publication.

I'll do what I can to get you pictures of the two (actually three) that I have mentioned here. I'll also make further inquiries to learn what the original use of the buildings were (barracks, dining, recreation, etc.). View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII Nazi POW Camp of Broken Arrow...

Vol 6, Iss 14

In the Mailbag Corner there is someone looking for information on an old WWII Nazi POW Camp in the Broken Arrow area of Oklahoma. If anyone out there has any information or history, photos, you might contact us. I did a little search of my own on-line and found where the Nazi POW Camp of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma may have some ghosts haunting it. This is what I found at - The Shadowlands - Ghost & Huntings... "Broken Arrow Nazi POW Camp is just north of the Arkansas River, south of a neighborhood there is an old military installation that has been shut off for years. Supposedly it used to hold Nazi POWs from WWII. If one goes there late at night you get a bad feeling from the place, and sometimes you can hear things from behind the locked gate."

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Fort Reno & Fort Sill - WWII...

Vol 6, Iss 2 Fort Sill's telephone line installed in 1879 soon linked Fort Reno and the Darlington Agency and eventually Fort Supply; Amelia Earhart landed her autogiro at the Fort Reno airstrip in the 1920's; During WWII the famous Lipizan horses were held at the Fort Reno riding hall for a period of time; Black Jack, the riderless horse in President John F. Kennedy's funeral procession was born and raised at Fort Reno.

The German WWII internment camp was erected in 1943 on the eastern edge of the Fort property. Prisoners began arriving July 4, 1943. By August 30 of that same year, 1000 prisoners arrived at Fort Reno POW Camp. It included 65 temporary structures including an administration building, barracks, hospital, canteen, guardhouse, shops and mess halls. Originally the POW Camp was intended for Japanese soldiers, but the increasing numbers of German and Italian prisoners captured by the Allied Forces in North Africa changed the nationality of the occupants. The 435th Military Police Escort served as guards for the camp and included 130 men and two officers. The only remaining landmark of the Fort Reno POW Camp is the concrete water tower. There were over 1000 Germans who were captured in North Africa that were imprisoned at Fort Reno. It was during this time that the German POW's were hired as laborers by local farmers and worked as farm hands for the Remount Station, and built the Fort Reno Chapel located on the north side of the Parade Grounds. The west side of the Fort Reno Post Cemetery is the location of the POW Cemetery where 70 former prisoners are interred. 61 of the 62 Germans came from POW camps located in Oklahoma. The 8 Italians came from the POW camp locaed in Herford, Texas. The most famous German buried at the Fort Reno POW Cemetery was Johannes Kunze of the Tonkawa Camp. Kunze was beaten to death by fellow POW's who accused him of being a traitor. Those charged with Kunze murder were found guilty, executed and buried. The death of Kunze is the subject of a novel by Vince Greene entitled Extreme Justice.

The WWII POW's worked at a variety of locations and were paid 80 cents per day. Many worked as farm laborers at Fort Reno. Local farmers paid the government $1.50 per prisoner per day. The government paid the prisoners 10 cents per hour in script money which could be used to purchase items from the Canteen. The farmer provided transportation to and from the camp for the prisoners and a guard. Other prisoners worked at Tinker Field and Douglas Modification Plant in Oklahoma City. 250 to 260 German prisoners each day performed jobs at Fort Reno that included carpentry, bakery, shoe repair, auto mechanics, tailoring, butcher, and hay hauling. The prisoners constructed two buildings at Fort Reno... Lucas Hall, the Chapel and enlarged the Officers' Club. The German POW's planted trees on both side sof the entrance road to the Fort Reno post. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWI I - POW's Murals & Artwork...

Vol 8, Iss 8 We have decided to insert here a few of the WWII German POW murals and artwork left behind by those who were held at the WWII Alva POW Camp, in Alva, Oklahoma after 1945 (end of WWII).

Monte & Rosalind Lopshine bought ten lots and two old ramshackle apartment buildings August, 1981. When they were remodeling in May, 1982 they found 24 paintings painted by a German prisoner of war that resemble tour posters with scenes of Austria and the Berlin area. The paintings were found between the studs of one of the old buildings. The two apartment buildings were originally one long barrack for the POWs held at the Alva Camp during WWII. C. E. Buckner bought one of the barracks, chopped it in half and moved it to Waynoka back in 1945. The property changed hands a few times before the Lopshires bought it in 1981.

The article stated... "Buckner set the the building halves on two separate foundations, added a floor and ceiling and converted the edifice into four apartments. He knew the paintings were there 30 years ago, but he covered them with sheetrock. Buckner said he never thought to mention it when the building changed owners through the years... At the time, we were not impressed with pictures of Germany. We were tired of the war." Most of the paintings were found in perfect condition with only a few shows of water-stained reminders of a leaking roof and cracked paint on another.

The paintings measured about 19 by 34 inches and were painted on masonite between the wall studs using three colors of oil (burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and white). The article quoted Mrs. Lopshires, "There is one older man who lived around here that said he helped tear the camp down. He said there were some whole-wall murals, but when he tried to save them the supervisor told him there was not time for that. They were just working by the hour and had to get it done, so those were destroyed."

Millard Curtis was quoted as saying, "I haven't thought about it for ages, but I remember the paintings. They were in the work building, I think it was." The article stated, "The Lopshires, who recently converted one of the uildings into a beer tavern, have plans to turn the old barracks into a German beer garden with an outdoor restaurant adjoining.

Some other art work (sculptures) that the German POWs did was a six-foot, walnut eagle carved from packing crates and stood in the German Officers POW compound during WWII. It now has a home in the Cherokee Strip Museum at Alva, Oklahoma along with other artifacts of Alva's POW Camp during World War II.

This German, medieval castle was hand-carved from scraps of wood by one of the German POWs from his memory of his homeland. These art collections were created under difficult circumstances and have had a spiritually and romantically value placed on them. None of the paintings were ever signed. The Lopshires and a lot of Woods Countians in NW Oklahoma would love to discover the artist after all these years to fill in the blanks of what is not there anymore.

Rod Murrow found this next POW artwork on Ebay. This shows the front and back sides of a POW piece of art from Camp Alva that he found on eBay, with the desire to donate it to the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva - which I have not yet done. I'm curious to know if this fellow, or any of his family members, may still be living and if it might be possible to return this artwork to him/them. His name is WILLI EMMERT and the date is 1944.

Werner's father, Friedrich Wilhelm Rohrlack, born 1918, was a prisoner at Camp Alva 1943-1945. He was also an artist, mostly landscapes and scenery and he was from Berlin. Werner was sent copies of the wall paintings and they could have been painted by his father. One other note: While his father was at the Alva Camp he painted a portrait of a teenage blond girl who was the daughter of one of the prisoners. Werner's father, before he died, asked that Werner try to find who this person is and send the portrait to her. Werner had tried to get this organized a few years ago, but his mother, who had Alzheimer's, stopped him from following through. The last that he remember is that the picture was painted from a photograph of the daughter of a German prisoner. Werner's father's request was that he try to find the person in this picture, somehow, and Werner would then forward it to them. To, however, ensure that he has the right person, he covered up the neck as this girl was wearing a rather unusual necklace. The person that claims this picture should therefore be able to describe this necklace in detail or provide a photograph that would show who this person is. The actual painting is 21" X 27", plus matting and frame. The other matter... Werner would like to pursue, is the inner wall paintings found in the huts. My father was a very good artist, mostly scenery and mostly from German themes. I should note that he was a Berliner, and he understand that some of the art work was from Berlin. His father's name was Friedrich Wilhelm Rohrlack born 1918, died 1995. Werner knows this could be a long shot, but he would very much like to succeed in this endeavor. Thanks from Werner Rohrlack - Email: w.r.accounting@shaw.ca
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What's Happening...

Vol 7, Iss 31 Let's see! As to what this week has brought to our Mailbag Corner... We have someone looking for a list of WWII POWs at Camp El Reno (Oklahoma).

We heard from the daughter of Lt. Ephraim Lubritz. We are assuming that Lt. Lubritz was a physian and surgeon at Camp Alva during WWII. His daughter is looking for anyone who might have information as to his tenure at Camp Alva.

We have heard this week from a lady whose great uncle was a part of the Anti Horsethief Association that was used as a posse to hunt for the Black and Yeager gangs. This same lady had great grandparents that were in the Stampede of '93. They staked a claim in some good black bottomland, but ended down around Fairview and Longdale in the red dirt country. Their ancestors are BAUM, GREEN, WINTER, LEE AND KUSCH.

Don't forget to check out the April 20, 1970 newsclipping that another person sent us of the demolition of the Dixie Sherman Hotel in Panama City, Florida.

We did hear from Reta with more information concerning the DeGeer Grocery Store, on Barnes Avenue, in Alva, Oklahoma.

If you are in search of immigation records of your ancestors, there is a NEW website - CastleGarden.org - that you can access information on over 10 million immigrants that passed through Ellis Island from 1830 thru 1892.

Our condolences goes out to the Daniel Shorter family this week. Daniel Albert Shorter died Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City at age 78. He was born May 20, 1927 in Goltry to Edna I. Mason Shorter and Wiley B. Shorter. He graduated from Northwestern State College in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He obtained his Masters in Science Degree from OSU in 1960 and received his Doctor of Philosophy from OSU in 1966. He served proudly in the United States Navy during World War II. He married Margery Jean Peck on January 13, 1946 in Goltry. After moving to Anthony, Kansas then to Stillwater, they settled in Alva in 1960. Daniel Albert Shorter, 1927-2005 - Obituary

Have you made your plans to attend the Waynoka and Freedom Rodeos coming in mid-August 2005? We understand that Vernon Bliss is Freedom's "Honored Old Cowhand" this year. Congratulations to Vernon Bliss! View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII - Nazi POW In America

Vol 8, Iss 33 On Thursday, August 17, 2006, the History International channel had a segment about the Nazi POWs In America during WWII. It was quite interesting to this NW Okie. About halfway through the piece it showed an old government film of the Alva (Oklahoma) WWII POW Nazilager camp with a brief mention of it's legacy in our own back yard. The old film strip showed an aerial view of the camp and POWs marching through the streets. If you go to the History International website -- click their "store" menu and/or do a search for "Nazi POWs In America" on their website, you will find where you can order a vcr or dvd of that showing. They mentioned camps in Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Alva Nazilager Camp in Oklahoma, and the train trip through Kansas and the Heartland to various camps. it was a very interesting story and to see the mention of Alva, Oklahoma's WWII POW camp was a big plus for our old neck of the Woods County.

You can read what the OkieLegacy has collected about the WWII POW camps in Oklahoma at this link - WWII POW Camps.
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WWII Friendly Fire (5 July 1943)

Vol 17, Iss 8 Boise City, OK - Back in July 1943 there was bombing of Boise City in Oklahoma, while at the other end of the world the U.S. was involved in a bitter war against the Axis forces during World War II (WWII). [Information taken from the following link: WWII Bombing of Boise City, OK.]



Back then the Axis forces wanted to control Europe and the Pacific, while the Allies fought for peace. It seems the Nazi's had began their last offensive against Kursk, and the Australian and U.S. Army forces under Gen. MacArthur were struggling to fight back the Japanese at Buna in New Guinea.

Meanwhile, back in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Boise City, the citizens were following the news, and pilots at Dalhart Army Air bAse in Texas were preparing four B-17 bombers for a practice run in a nighttime training mission a few hours after dark.

B-17 navigator was to lead the flight group from Dalhart base to drop bombs on a range near Conlen, Texas (a small square area, lit by four lights at each corner).

It was a simple mission that went wrong. The training mission began as scheduled, late in the evening, as the young navigator felt confident in his abilities. The pilots were well prepared that night as they took to the skies.

Most of the 1,200 residents of Boise City had gone to bed, and the lights of the small town had been shut off, except the lights that surrounded the courthouse square. If you know the layout of Boise city, Oklahoma, the courthouse sets at the junction of two highways in the center of town, navigated by a one-way circle around the courthouse.

It was just after midnight when all hell broke loose in this sleepy little town that night in July, 1943. Stories mentioned the first bomb thundered through the roof of a garage and exploded, digging a four foot deep hole in the floor. The B-17dropped a second bomb that struck the white framed Baptist church, exploding beside the building, braking out several windows, and was three feet deep.

After the first bomb fell, the town's air warning office manned by John Adkins, phoned the FBI in Oklahoma and sent the Adjutant General a wire: "Boise City bombed one A.m. Baptist Church, garage hit."

There was a third bomb that struck between the sidewalk and curb in front of the Style Shoppe Building, just a few feet away from where a driver of a gasoline tanker was rushing to get out of the city.

The fourth bomb came close to striking a parked fuel transport truck, striking the ground, exploding yards froth McGowan Boarding House.

After the light and power man for Boise City flipped the town's master light switch, the town was thrust into complete darkness. They report the only lights that could be seen were from the remaining two bombs as they struck the ground in small explosions.

Whether it was the blackout or radio message to the pilot in response of Adkins' wire, the navigator of the B-17 realized his almost fatal mistake. After leaving Dalhart base, the young navigator had made a 45-mile mistake as he mistook the four lights centered on Boise City's main Square for the intended practice target. Afterwards, the pilots quickly departed back to Dalhart, Texas.

The 100-pound practice explosives dropped that night left numerous craters in the town of Boise City, Oklahoma, and thankfully no one was actually injured. Each bomb was filled with four pounds of dynamite and ninety pounds of sand.

This accidental bombing made Boise City famous. It was the only continental American town to be bombed during WWII.

And ... A year after the misguided bombing of Boise City, the same bomber crew led an 800-plane daylight raid on Berlin, becoming one of the most decorated of World War II. All crew members survived WWII, going on to tell stories about their slightly misguided raid on a small town out in the western edge of the Oklahoma panhandle.
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WWII (1942-1945) Balloon Bombs In America

Vol 17, Iss 3 USA - In the waning days of the Pacific War Japan tried a last ditch ploy to hit the United States with a terror weapon. That weapon was the Balloon Bomb, or Fugo. It was supposed to set fire to the West Coast and drop anti-personel bombs randomly on the U.S. In research after the war it was found that the Japanese built 15,000 of them but only launched 9,300.

A little over 300 Balloon Bomb incidents occurred in the U.S. and Canada. The only casualties were a woman and five kids in Bly, Oregon on a church picnic, who found and moved one. It exploded killing them all.

The Japanese have been using balloons in war since the 1800s. At Port Arthur they were used for observation of troop movements. The Japanese air force came out of the balloon society.

When the US first heard about the balloon bombs they didn't believe it. After a few were found things changed. They were considered a threat and they outlined it well in an unpublished manual called BD-1.

The Japanese Navy made the Type B balloon out of rubberized silk. It carried a radio for telemetry but no weapons. The Army version (Type A) was constructed of six hundred pieces of mulberry paper and filled with hydrogen gas. It carried five incendiary bombs and one high-explosive anti-personnel bomb. It was hoped that the incendiaries would start vast fires in the great forests of the western parts of the U.S. and Canada.

However, in the winter months when the prevailing winds were best suited to carry the balloons to their destination most of the target area was damp and/or covered with snow.

Officially, no forest or grass fires were started by Fugos. There was also the real threat of chemical and biological warfare agents being released by these primitive ICBMs but none appear to have been used. Although, they were developed at the infamous Unit 731.

Some of the air balloons did contain a celluloid container holding 1120cc of a greenish-turbid liquid. A major concern by Intelligence Officers was that the containers of liquid were, in fact, biological bombs that could spread cancer and bubonic plague in humans and foot & mouth disease in animals.

The U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Agriculture and the Canadian equivalent, conducted testing on this substance by injected it into mice, guinea pigs and a calf. Charles A. Mitchell, Dominion Animal Pathologist from the Animal Research Institute in Hull, Quebec, Canada reported in a letter dated July 12, 1945, that no evidence of an infective agent was found (Report on Specimen #21 from Fort Ware, B.C.). A broth was also made out of sand bag contents and tested on animals. Again, with no infective agents were found.

If the Japanese had known of their success with the balloons it is possible that the greenish liquid found in the celluloid containers may have been replaced with disease causing bacteria.

On January 4th, 1945, the Office of Censorship censored the air balloon topic. The purpose of the censorship was to avoid panic and to assure that the Japanese had no knowledge of their success. Everything about the Japanese air balloons - the landings, or even deaths should one occur - would fail to reach the public eye.

Discouraged at not hearing any reports of destruction and death on the American continent, and with other war concerns demanding thy're dwindling resources, the campaign was abandoned in the spring of 1945 until the very last days of the war.

There may have been as many as 15,000 or more of these balloons built and up to 10,000 launchings. Including Canada and Mexico where there were over 300 incidents reported.

The only casualties I have found occurred May 5, 1945 when a woman and five children on a church picnic were killed after a balloon bomb they had drug from the woods exploded. These were the only known fatalities occurring within the U. S. during WWII as a direct result of enemy action.

None caused stoppage of war related activity, except for one case where a balloon landed on a power line at Cold Creek in Washington State. It caused the first SCRAM in history, taking down the first reactor used to make plutonium. The launch of this intercontinental threat was a carefully planned act of retaliation in response to the Doolittle raid.

The Japanese first tried attacking North American forests with incendiaries by launching two bombing attacks with submarine launched seaplanes over the state of Oregon.

The Doolittle raid, better known as "30 seconds over Tokyo", was lead by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle who led sixteen B25 bombers on a surprise attack on Tokyo, Japan on April 18, 1942. This attack was in response to Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Without enough fuel to return to their launching sites, these airplanes, after dropping their bombs, flew into unoccupied China where they were able to bail out or crash-land. Doolittle was the first to fly a land-based bomber off of a carrier ship for a combat mission.

In all, the results on North America were inconsequential. Designing a way to get high explosive bombs into the heart of North America became their focus.

The result - "Pieces of Paper" (the North American code word used regarding the balloon bombs) - had the ability to succeed. By luck and timing, it didn't.
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WWII POW - Karl Friedrich Koenig

Vol 15, Iss 16 Okmulgee county, OK - Perhaps there are still some WWII old-timers who might remember Karl Friedrich "Charlie" Koenig was a POW in Oklahoma. Koenig said, "I liked the people here, I liked the way they lived, you know, they were open-minded and friendly."

In the News On 6,newson6.com article, by Scott Thompson, they reported that Koenig, who calls himself Charlie, joined the Germany army when he was 18 years old, and spent 2 1/2 weeks of his time as a POW at the Watson ranch, that Fred Watson (doctor, oilman and rancher) had down near Pumpkin Center, in Okmulgee county, Oklahoma.


NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com

The article mentions why, how Karl Friedrich "Charlie" Koenig came to be a POW during World War II, at Doc Watson's ranch near Pumpkin Center, Okmulgee county, Oklahoma. Most of all the American hired hands were in the service, and to keep the Watson ranch going Watson provided accommodations for the POWs and for two guards.

Charlie went through a series of POW camps in Africa before coming to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas and even spent some time at the Alva, Oklahoma WWII POW camp. He had a short side trip to Okmulgee, then to Fort Polk, Louisiana. At the end of war Charlie went to Belgium and England, before being allowed to return home to Germany in 1947. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII POW (Hans Henle) - Alva Camp

Vol 13, Iss 51 Alva, Oklahoma - We had an interesting email this week from someone who had met in 1978-79 with a former Prisoner of war by the name of Hans Henle, who was a POW in the Alva Camp. David Earl goes says, "During 1978,79 I met a former POW from the Alva camp. His name is Hans Henle. He was representing a German firm during the construction of the Chesterfield Cylinder plant in Enid." Does anyone else out there remember Hans Henle?

David goes on to state, "Subsequently, he was a guest in my home for dinner a few times. Later I went to the Manesmann De Magmeer plant in Monchen Gladdbach, Germany. While there my wife and I were guests in his home for dinner. It was very interesting to meet some one who was a POW. I moved to Alva after the war so have no direct memories of that period." View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII German POW Paintings by Wilhi Sachs

Vol 13, Iss 32 Shirley comments on Feature #525 of Vol. 7, Iss. 32, dated 2005-08-13, titled What's Worth of WWII German POW paintings, "I have portrait of me at age 3 done by Wilhi Sachs. Contacted German records, German museums and got all dates, birth, death, where he lived, etc. I will share, email me. To have it appraised on August 6, 2011 in Atlanta (Antique Road Show). ~ Shirley Hensley (shirl21@aol.com)." View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Worth of WWII German POW Paintings

Vol 13, Iss 25 America - An archived issue of an earlier feature concerning the worth of World War II German POW Paintings has brought on this comment from Julia Clark-Foster as she asks in an OkieLegacy Ezine Feature #525, "My father was a major in the army and was responsible for some of these POW Germans's. My father commissioned Willie Sacks (the German artist) to do a series of artwork for him. How can I research if Willie Sacks is alive and what has happened to him. Are his artwork worth anything? Daughter of Myrvin C. Clark" View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII - Bisby Oklahoma POW Camps Remembered

Vol 6, Iss 35 Bisby, Oklahoma - "Wonderful accumulation of data. My husband was raised south of Bixby and remembers POWs coming to their farm. He said one took him to the pond and washed dirt off his feet. He would like to locate him." -- Janice Flud - Email: janandrus@sbcglobal.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Remember May 18, 1950...

Vol 6, Iss 25

That was the date of a forest fire that left a small bear cub with burned paws orphaned. That little orphaned cub became known as "Smokey, The Bear." Smokey's mother was killed in the forest fire and this poor tiny cub's paws were badly burned and painful. So painful, in fact, no one could even hold him. During a promotional by the Forestry service for a visit with 'Smokey the Bear,'Smokey and this group were at an airport in the Howard (type of plane).  The bear just signed an autograph by posing on the plane." This was sent in by one of my readers. She found this picture of her father that had been taken back in May, 1950. Her father was Stanley C. Nicola, the pilot and 2nd from left.

Those pictured in the above photo - left to right: Mrs. H. W. Harts, S. C. Nicola (the pilot), L. M. Mauney, H. W. Harts; Plane: Howard DGA15P N22420. On top of plane - Smokey, The Bear, found in forest fire by rangers the day before, May 18, 1950.

As to other reader's inquiries... if you know anything about the European WWII, Pacific Theater, and where we can find a copy or two of the Panhandle (Oklahoma) History book, we would love to hear from you.

Before we head out of here for the weekend and Father's Day... I would like to drop one of my fans a special "Woof! Woof! Hello, Bennie! Thanks for taking the time to write."

Here is a little Self Empowerment poem that we wanted to share with Y'all... "Being Self-empowered, is knowing Who You Are, living life as you choose, connected with 'Afar.' This consciousness of Spirit, partners 'us' with you, you follow Self-desires, with a focused view. The more Self-empowered, the more you can lead, with this Loving guidance, this planet you will seed. Enjoy your Self-connection, as freely as you Know, nothing is impossible, let imagination flow." -- Eric M. Bordsky - Poetry of the Angels II

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY... to all those fathers out there this weekend!
See Y'all Next Weekend!

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Back Issue Comments...

Vol 8, Iss 8 If you haven't already noticed, when you leave a comment under a feature of the OkieLegacy newsletter -- sign your name and use your own email -- you will automatically get an email from us when someone else leaves a comment under the same feature article. Just another way that you can stay in touch with other subscribers out there. We have made it possible for You to unsubscribe at any time.

AND... your email is protected from outside sources and is NOT sold to any mailing lists out there. As you may have noticed, your email does NOT even appear in the comment under the article unless you place it yourself in the body of the comment.

Back Issues Comments:

Termination of WWII POW Camps

NWOSU's Oklahoma Hall Demolition

Green Valley School - December 22, 1896

Weather Dog Report

Training Pilots at Northwestern State College (NWOSU)

Alva, OK - Downtown History

WWII - Alva Camp Barracks
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Alva POW Camp Timeline - Alva, OK...

Vol 8, Iss 7 This is an aerial shot of Alva's WWII POW Camp, located South of Alva, Woods County, Oklahoma. The water tower (painted white) was in the center of the camp. The POW's barrack compounds were on the south half (right side of photo). The administration & army barracks on the north half (left side of photo).

Alva's POW Camp Timeline... December 15, 1942 - An announcement of it's opening was made. By July 31, 1943 the first 19 German POW's arrived by truckload. Later the POW's started arriving by train and they were quietly marched from the railroad station up Seventh Street while guards lined the streets and Alva Citizens stood back behind the guards to get a curious look as these hard-core Nazi POW's marched quietly to the camp south of town. What the Citizen's of Alva only knew that some type of military post was going up. They learned later that they were getting a POW camp to hold the most mad of German POW. They were unaware and kept in the dark until an announcement was made by the camp commander that the POW camp would be opening December, 1942.

November 15, 1942 - After the Army took over from the civilian ontractors, the first American troops that arrived were 25 men of the Quartermaster Corps under the command of Lt. Luther Guess and Oscar B. Cruell. Six men of Medical Corps under the command of Lt. Ephraim Lubritz also arrived at that time.

December 15, 1942 - Lt. Col H. R. Roberts was Camp Commander, but there was still NO sign of American guards or German POW's.

January 3, 1943 - Lt. Joseph Moses and Lt. Dwight Slovens arrived from Ft. Bliss, TX with 140 men of the 401st MP Escort Guard Company.

April 18, 1943 - The Second MP Escort Guard (MPEG) Company arrived (391st from Camp McClain, Mississippi under command of Lt's. Ryper Powell, Terry Wise, and Lewis A. Erbs). Still NO German POW's had showed up yet.

May, 1943 - The second opening date was set for May 2, 1943. Lt. Col. Roberts transferred to camp at Ft. Reno, Oklahoma. Col. A. M. Risdon brought in as commander for a short time and then was transferred to a camp at Hereford, TX. Col. Ralph Hall was the 3rd camp commander and during that time a Col. Cecil E. Tolle of Medical Corps arrived to take charge of the hospital.

July 13, 1943 - The first 19 German prisoner's arrived by truck to the camp. When the rest of the POW's started to arrive by train, they had a regular marching path from the railway station, up Seventh Street to the POW camp in the south part of town. Long columns of POW's marched up Seventh Street in complete silence and looking only straight ahead and carrying personal belongings in a small bag. The only sound that was heard was the clop-clop of their boots and commands to turn when a corner was reached. They had not had a bathe and carried the smells of the battlefield and strong odors when they first arrived.

September, 1943 - The capacity of the camp increased by 1000 when 117 new buildings to hold the German Officer's prisoners of war was built east of the three compounds for the non-commissioned and enlisted POW's. POW's arrived slowly, but steadily. The army issued a directive to allow the POW's to be contracted out to work on farms and other jobs away from camp as long as they did not compete with the local labor. This directive did not apply to Alva's POW camp. The only POW's who worked away from the camp were a group of 80 or 100 whom were trucked to Waynoka to ice rail cars. On May, 1945, a small camp was set up in Waynoka, Oklahoma to house them and daily truck movements ceased. The POW's did work outside of camp, but only under guard in camp or at railway stations.

November, 1943 - The third MP Company (650th) arrived and two more 454th and 455th under the command of Capt. Fred Staedler transferred to Alva from Ft. Custer, MI, before the end of the year. The camp was built to house five guard companies. The army acquired the prime farm land for the camp from local farmers in the Alva area. The north 320 Acres was acquired from the Wiebener family and the south 320 Acres from the Peterman family. After the war, neither family was given chance to regain their land. It was given to the City of Alva. The buildings covered less than half of the north Section and were sold and removed after WWII. The land not used for the camp was left under cultivation. The Recreation Hall of the Alva POW camp was moved to Kiowa, Kansas after the war and used by Kiowa American Legion as a meeting hall.

December 12, 1943 - There were 1,035 in camp.

22 January 1945 - The Daily Oklahoman, Letter to the editor concerning the Battle of Alva. The Daily Oklahoman first learned of the Alva disturbance in the letter to the editor. It adds few facts to the Dallas announcement, but we think you will agree it is more graphic.

February 23, 1945 - There were 1,002 officers, 2,477 non-commissioned officers, and 1,478 enlisted men confined at the Alva POW camp. Each compounds were identical and contained 32 one-story wooden barracks; mess halls; other buildings used by the POW's. Each barrack held 50 men and gave camp the original capacity of 4,800. Officers compound contained 100 or more buildings as compared to only 52 in each of other compounds. The POW Officers barracks only had capacity for 1000 officers. The officers had much more room. Space was assigned in accordance of their ranks.

POW's were permitted to retain and wear their own uniforms and insignias. Obsolete and repaired American uniforms were provided for the prisoners to wear, but the POW's at the Alva camp wore their own uniforms and officers wore their high boots. All outside clothing was marked with a "P" or "PW" to denote prisoners.

The original three compounds were surrounded by two 8-foot high fences that were separated from each other by a single 8-foot fence. Officers compound also surrounded by two 8-foot high fences. There were 13 guard towers arranged along the fences. The compounds extended 700 feet to the west and 1100 feet to the east and 700 feet to the south of the concrete water tower. The hospital stood just north of the prisoner compounds and west of Washington Avenue with service and supply areas between it and the Section Line Road.

Each WWII POW compounds were identical and contained 32 one-story wooden barracks; mess halls; other buildings used by the POW's. Each barrack held 50 men and gave camp the original capacity of 4,800. Officers compound contained 100 or more buildings as compared to only 52 in each of other compounds.

The POW Officers barracks only had capacity for 1000 officers. The officers had much more room. Space was assigned in accordance of their ranks.

What do you think about starting a campaign to get a historical monument placed on the site of the Alva WWII POW camp or some of the old barracks relocated to other communities? Good idea? Bad idea? We need your help to find and discover where all Alva's POW barracks were relocated? We have found a few, but have lots more to go. We need your help!
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More WWII POW Stories

Vol 17, Iss 3 Kiowa, Kansas - Kiowa, Kansas Veteran Talks of WWII POW Experience - (story from the Alva Review Courier, Nov. 10, 1995, by Yvonne Miller) -- As a prisoner of war in Germany, this American Lt. (Mike Rose) lost 100 pounds in his 100 days of captivity. "There was lots of marching and very little eating," Rose said as he recalled those horrid days.

When the POWs did eat, Rose said it was usually on a very thin, unseasoned soup made from barley or whatever was available to the Germans. Larvae floated atop the soup which Rose admitted he ate in a desperate attempt to take in some protein.

"They also fed us meat from horses that had been dead and bloated for quite awhile," he recalled in disgust.

"We slept on the ground or in old buildings just like hogs and dogs."

The Road That Led To Rose's Captivity As a 1937 graduate of Kiowa High School, Rose was one of eleven children, eight of whom were boys. Two of the brothers served in WWI while two of them fought in WWII.

Rose entered the US military in the later part of 1940 as one of the first drafts to attend camp in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he earned $21 per day. He trained on the West coast and at "Little West Point" in Georgia where he graduated fourth in his class and was named lieutenant. He entered the 9th Armored Division at Ft. Riley, Kansas, where he became a company commander. At Ft. Knox, KY, Rose became a first lieutenant. He returned to Ft. Riley where he commanded Company L which consisted of 300 men and seven officers.

When his company heard of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Rose said, "We knew we were finally in." They left for New York, their port of embarkation to go overseas.

He commented that he was thrilled to death to set sail and was in love with what he was doing. Aboard the Queen Mary, Rose and his men made a six-day trip across the Atlantic, landing at a bay area known in Europe as the Firth of Clyde.

The troops journeyed across England. "From the white cliffs of Dover to South Hampton the sky was covered with all types of US fighter planes. The sight had hair standing up on my neck," Rose recalled.

In a storm on the channel, his company landed on the Omaha Beach of Normandy in liberty ships. He remembers braving water chest high from the ship to the beach. They were there at the tail end of the Normandy mess and were there to clean up.

Rose admitted, "Anyone who has been in that kind of mess cannot say they weren't scared." He said there was "comfort in numbers," but he lost even more men going further inland.

After crossing the "Sigfried Line" he led his men into enemy territory to spy under the cover of darkness.

Meeting General Patton...

Rose had the privilege to set across the table from renowned General Patton during a strategy session over the Battle of the Bulge. Rose described General Patton as the finest officer and man and he tried to pattern himself after him.

After the strategy session with General Patton, Rose said his company was given a tank destroyer battalion, medium and light tanks, engineers and medics. By the cover of darkness they traveled 18 kilometers northeast of Bastogne, Germany.

That's when they met a German 3rd Panzer Division that stormed and bypassed them. They were annihilated and lost lots of men. The survivors took off in every direction hiding wherever they could. He and one other soldier hid in a manger in an old cow shed, but the Germans found them anyway.

"It was snowing . . . a blizzard," Rose remembered as German soldiers led eight American POWS to an unknown destination. Eventually they joined a group of nearly 300 POWS of both American and British descent.

One POW recommended they run for it. Rose vehemently disagreed because he feared the consequences of being shot as they ran. The two leaders fought. "The one leader was going to have me court marshaled," Rose said. Most agreed with Rose, and none of the soldiers ran.

The POWS marched up a mountain following a snow plow deeper into German territory. "We met a bunch of German tanks and those 'krauts' actually waved at us because we waved at them."

All of a sudden American P38s flew overhead and fired, not realizing they were killing their own. Rose said once those pilots understood what they had done they often flew in low "to check on us." "Hitler Youth" took charge of the POWs.

General Patton's son-in-law Colonel Waters was taken as a POW so Patton sent in troops. Rose said the troops shot the guards and "liberated the camp." Soldiers scattered everywhere.

Rose left with two other POWs. They traveled on a main road Germans used to go to the front. "We followed them in line and hid in the bushes when needed," Rose said. That worked for a while, but finally the Germans figured them out. They were transported in old trucks to another POW camp.

The POWs were in sorry condition ... "We were covered in lice," Rose said. The men were actually thankful to arrive at the next POW camp. An old bakery building that was heated had been converted into the camp. There the men were stripped of their clothing and their heads were shaved. The clothes were baked in the ovens to kill the lice.

For the first time in nearly three months, Rose was able to take a shower, but it was in ice cold water. The soap burned his skin and they dripped dried.

The Germans strictly told the men not to go outside the barracks. "One guy went outside to the latrine and got shot in the head," Rose said grimly.

Although he was still a POW, Rose said he felt good as he started out on another march, this time to Mooseburg, Germany to a different camp. To his surprise a man came looking for him. It turned out to be Tom Logan, a classmate from Kiowa who was also a POW.

A German who spoke fluent English approached Rose, who was then a Captain. The Germans were picking out American officers to be in charge of their peers because soon the camp would be liberated. The time was 1945 and the war was about over. "The Germans wanted us to be organized," Rose said.

During those days before liberation, Rose remembers playing poker with the Germans. "We played for cigarettes," he said with a chuckle. "On the day of liberation when the US flag went into the air, we cried like babies," Rose said. With a very big friend at his side, Rose talked a German officer out of his new pair of boots and his saber.

Finally free, the Americans traveled to Camp Lucky Strike in France in preparation to go home. Rose was in charge of taking 150 high point enlisted men and 150 POW officers home to Leavenworth, Kansas. Aboard the S. S. Daniel Heister, the Americans sailed for 31 days. Rose said the food was bountiful, but after their starvation ordeal, they had to learn to eat again.

Upon seeing the Statue of Liberty, the men cheered. Rose said there were "bands and beautiful women" waiting to greet the soldiers. The group endured a two-day train trip to Leavenworth which Rose said "seemed to take forever."

When we finally returned home, Rose anxiously threw his arms around that son who was already two years old. "we got to be pretty good pals," he said of his son who as an adult lost his life to cancer.

Rose was in the service station business until his retirement. Before his release from the military, Rose became a Major. He wished his military career could have advanced further, but thinks his time as a POW hindered his advancement.
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World War II POW Camp Stories

Vol 17, Iss 2 Alva, OK - Alva's German Prisoner of War "POW" Camp, Alva, Oklahoma, Woods County, June, 1942 - November, 1945, "Hitler's Hard-Core Troops Held in Alva."

In the Alva Review Courier, Sept. 10, 1995 Helen Barrett wrote an article concerning the POW tower and VFW Post. According to Helen Barrett, "In June 1944 the United States had nearly 300 prisoner of War camps in secret locations. By 1945 that number had increased to 666."

She goes on to say, "Camp Alva, called 'Nazilager' by other German prisoners, provided housing for the dedicated Nazis, SS and Gestapo stalwarts and confirmed troublemakers. Many of the men were from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, the German force that fought in North Africa."

In the Time-Life Books publication titled "Prisoners of War" by Ronald H. Bailey, the author wrote, "Camp commanders tended to send to Alva anyone who proved troublesome regardless of his political bent."

Because Alva was so far from either coast, it was ideal just in case prisoners tried to escape. Some tried, but only one nearly succeeded in his attempt to return to his homeland. Helen reported that, "The Aug. 9, 1946, issue of 'The New York Times' reported the capture of one German prisoner of war from the Alva camp."

The United Press article datelined Aug. 8, 1946, Metz, France, stated, "A German prisoner of war who escaped from a prison camp in Oklahoma and made his way around one-fourth of the globe was arrested today on the threshold of Germany by French police. The prisoner was taken into custody at Forbach, near here. He said he had stowed away on a Portuguese cargo boat to Lisbon. From there he entered Spain and crossed the border to France. The trip across France took 78 days."

Leo Meyer Stationed in Alva

An Alva resident, Leo Meyer, manned the switchboard for fourteen months at Camp Alva during WWII. People from Alva who served at this location include former guard Richard Kirkham, the late Dub Myers, and others now deceased.

Meyer was quoted as saying, "They asked me if I could operate the switchboard. I told them I'd never looked at one before, and they said 'You're just the man we need.'"

Meyer and two other soldiers, manned the switchboard in eight-hour shifts, two on, four off. Although he knew some of the incoming calls were undoubtedly highly confidential from defense officials in Washington, DC, he was very careful not to listen to any of the conversations.

"We would ring an officer's phone and a light would come on when they picked up," he explained. "When that light came on, we had to close the key."

"If we were caught with the switch open, it would be the end," he said. "You'd better not do that to an office!"

Few Escapes

Meyer remembers prisoners attempted to escape by tunneling under the barracks. Dirt from the tunnel was either spread over the ground beneath the buildings or flushed down the toilets creating a plumbing nightmare. One escapee made it as far as the Texas border.

One German escapee became hungry after days without food and found an area farmhouse to wait for it's occupants to return home. The Alva family, of German descent, was able to communicate with the prisoner. Soon he was back in custody.

"One made it as far as the Texas border," Leo recalled. "About 2,000 POW's were continuously hosed at the camp, which had a capacity of 5,800 men,"

Meyer's only contacted with the prisoners was when he helped show movies in the camp theater. "The German enlisted men couldn't understand the films, but they sure enjoyed them and laughed a lot. The Officers didn't even smile. They thought it was a waste of time." Meyer said.

It has been reported that, "The German POW's were innovative in their attempts to make home-brew. Potato peelings were hoarded from the kitchen and blended with smuggled fruit and raisins to make a form of wine or beer."

Meyer's also got to take a few of the prisoner's photographs as they were being processed when they came in by the trainload. He was known as the camp photographer.

Prisoners at the Alva site were segregated into groups of officers and enlistees. Meyer recalls that some of the German Officers were really mean.

Meyer was sent to the German officer's quarters once and caught a glimpse of the seven foot tall walnut Swastika eagle statue the prisoners had made. The seven foot tall walnut wood Swastika eagle statue that a German SS troops imprisoned at the camp, hand carved from wood scraps and glued together. it is now housed at the Alva Cherokee Strip Museum along with other artifacts from the camp.

[The hours at the Cherokee Strip Museum are 2pm-5pm, Saturday and Sunday. During the Weekdays, Clubs and Organizations coming through can call ahead to make appointment to view during the weekdays if necessary.]

Meyer's commented that he felt so uneasy the entire time he was in the officer's building that he asked his captain not to send him there again. His request was honored.

Helen also reports, "Records show five prisoners died at Alva, including one man shot in an escape attempt. One prisoner died of a heart attack, one from complications from an appendectomy, and two prisoners committed suicide by hanging themselves."

[Other sources report that the two suicides were questionable, but no facts to back it up were ever disclosed. Do we have any investigative reporters out there that need an assignment.]

The camp site closed November 1945. All that remain of the camp site is the now remodeled VFW Post, the concrete water tower, and scattered throughout the Alva area are homes remodeled from buildings formerly serving as barracks at the camp.
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1960s Politics In Oklahoma

Vol 16, Iss 33 Little Dixie, OK - Remember the 1959 "prairie fire" and "Big Red E" campaigns of J. Howard Edmondson, who was inaugurated in January 1959? Edmondson won the general election by the largest majority ever given a governor in the state of Oklahoma. He was also the state's youngest governor in history, at age of 33 years.

Back in the 1960's, even though the country had repealed Prohibition years earlier, the state of Oklahoma was still "dry." But the state did not enforce the law. Edmondson promised he would either enforce or repeal Prohibition, and ended up doing both. Edmondson said that "every Oklahoman who votes dry will drink dry." It was a time when Law enforcement officials raided bars and nightclubs which illegally served liquor. The law enforcement also targeted bootleggers for breaking the law.

For the first time, citizens knew what it meant to be "dry." The people learned what true Prohibition meant. The actual enforcement of Prohibition was expensive. Most sheriffs and police were busy full-time with busting bars. But who was going after the real criminals?

Any teenager, previously, with the right information and enough money could buy alcohol. Adults began thinking regulations might protect teenagers better. Legislators wrote a referendum for a Liquor Control Act. They suggested an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board could license liquor stores. It was on 7 April 1959, the question went to the people in an election. It carried 386,845 votes to 314,830 votes, and added the 27th Amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. The first package (Liquor) stores opened on 1 September 1959.

In 1960, the voters approved Question 391, forming the Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority, that allowed it to issue up to $10 million in bonds to develop industry, and also approved a $35 million bond issue for state buildings.

The "winds of politics" changed directions midway through Governor Edmondson's term. And opposition to his programs began to grow. Because of the population shift from rural to urban areas, the governor asked for reapportionment. Gov. Edmondson wanted to re-map congressional districts to give urban areas more votes. Edmondson also asked for a highway commission set up by the State Constitution. It would have administered funds and handled other matters usually handled at the county level. The legislature refused these proposals, and the governor took them to the people. The voters turned down Edmondson's ideas, too.

The governor and legislature reached a stalemate or stand-off. Edmondson became less active. Legislators made changes to weaken the State Merit System and Central Purchasing System, but the programs survived. A federal court ordered reapportionment of the state.

Senator Robert S. Kerr died in 1963, and the Oklahoma Governor had the power to appoint someone to finish the senator's term. First, Edmondson resigned from the governor's office. The lieutenant governor, George Nigh, succeeded him. Then, as governor, Nigh appointed Edmondson to finish the senator's term in Congress. Edmondson served two years as a U.S. Senator. Then he ran for the office in 1964, and was defeated.

The youthful energy of Governor J. Howard Edmondson appealed to many Oklahomans. When President John F. Kennedy won the presidential race in 1960, he was a great contrast to his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Kennedy urged young people to make the world a better place through programs like the Peace Corps overseas and VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at home. Kennedy also challenged America to enter the Space Race and put a man on the moon within 10 years, and made the younger generation feel hopeful and powerful.

In the 1960's political passions ran high in Oklahoma. At one point, a near riot occurred in a confrontation between Democrats and Republicans. It was on 5 November 1962, Republicans marched through downtown Oklahoma City in a pre-election, torchlight parade. They met up with a group of Democrats, and both sides jeered at each other. There was pushing and shoving, and the police reported two hundred people involved.

Then there was the time that the Republican party unloaded three elephants in front of the democratic headquarters. This, naturally, angered the democrats and helped stir the battle, and the police arrested the elephants and held them in a local garage until Clyde Brothers Circus reclaimed them.

Henry Bellmon achieved, accomplished what many people thought impossible in Oklahoma in 1962, he became its first Republican governor.

It was during Bellmon's campaign that he told a story about a farmer with a cow for sale. It went something like this, "The first man who looked at the cow wanted to know about her pedigree. The next fellow inquired about the butterfat content of her milk, and another one asked about her annual milk production. 'All I can tell,' said the farmer, 'is that she's and honest, hard working old cow, and she'll give you all the milk she's got.'" Bellmon promised to be like the cow - honest and hard working.

As for the democratic primary, it had several candidates, including former governor Raymond Gary. Gary lost to W.P. "Bill" Atkinson, who became the Democratic candidate. Atkinson supported a one-cent increase in sales tax. Bellmon preached no new taxes and won the election.

It was on 14 January 1963, when Bellmon took office, He was younger than all but one previous Oklahoma governor, J. Howard Edmondson.

Gov. Bellmon did prove to be hard working, even though he served with a Democratic legislature, he signed more bills than any of the three previous administrations. One was a public housing bill. Despite pressure, Bellmon kept his word about no general tax increases. But Bellmon did increase the cigarette tax as a fund raiser for education.

Many changes in the legal field as a result of the work of the 30th legislature. It replaced the county attorney system. The new system divided the state into 27 districts, each one hired a district attorney, instead of having 77 counties with their own attorney.

Scandal also shook the State Supreme Court in the early 1960's, when a federal court convicted Vice-chief Justice Nelson Corn of income tax evasion. Corn gave evidence of other justices accepting bribes. Justice Earl Welch resigned from office to avoid impeachment, but was later convicted. Justice N. B. Johnson was impeached, convicted and removed from office.

Gov. Bellmon inherited the problem of reapportionment, and with the legislature tried to work out a solution. They passed a law in 1963, but a three judge panel ruled that it was unfair. The judges themselves divided the state. The first elections under the new plan were in September of 1964.

The Oklahoma schools operated in the Bellmon years by getting a lot of attention. The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) called for a $1,000 raise for teachers. The legislature refused. The OEA asked the NEA (National Education Association) to investigate the state's schools. NEA report placed Oklahoma on a national blacklist. It imposed professional sanctions, saying working conditions were sub-minimal. The report also pointed out that Oklahoma was fortieth among states in spending per student and 37th in salaries for teachers.

It was during Gov. Bartlett's term, the OEA specifically demanded statewide kindergarten system. But Bartlett vetoed that plan. The OEA asked for more funds for a special education program. They asked the state to improve school libraries and to require smaller teacher-student ratios. The OEA again sanctioned Oklahoma because of what was a disinterested legislature. Bartlett and several legislative leaders were later able to pass a program to improve the schools, including a $1,300 annual salary increase for teachers.

It was during Governor Bellmon's term that nationally, the most controversial issue was civil rights for African-Americans. President Kennedy won election during Edmondson's term of office. Kennedy pushed for a bill granting equality of Citizenship and rights to African-Americans. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, but Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A young African-American minister named Martin Luther King Jr. urged people to use non-violence to claim their rights, and whites began to join their cause.

Clara Luper continued leading students in local protests. It was 5 years after their first sit-in at the Katz Drug Store, all restaurants in downtown Oklahoma City were integrated. Bishop's restaurant was the last one.

The protests, marches began drawing attention to all kinds of civil rights as women and sexual minorities spoke out against discrimination. Latino migrants organized a union to protect their rights. Their efforts were peaceful but controversial as they angered some and gave hope to others.

The 2nd republican governor was Dewey Bartlett. Bartlett became the second Republican governor in 1967.

The court scandals in the early 1960's brought about the legislature wanting to reform the courts. It sent proposal to the public soon after Bartlett took office in 1967, and the measure passed. It eliminated the justice-of-the peace system in Oklahoma. It also created nonpartisan election of judges.

Bartlett's administration was on of investigation. It charged several officials, including State Corporation Commissioners, with conflict of interest. Bartlett vetoed a bill to increase salaries for state officials.

Mike Monroney was a long time senator from the 5th district. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives form 1939 to 1951. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1951 through 1968. He also received Collier's award for distinguished congressional service in 1945. Monroney had a great personal interest in aviation, and sponsored legislation to protect, develop the industry.

By 1963, there were thousands of American advisors in South Vietnam, but the general public barely heard of the place. It was in 1964, the Maddox, an American ship, was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Viet Cong (communists from North Vietnam) thought the ship had been sent to assist the South Vietnamese. In truth, the ship was only on a scientific mission.

As a result of the attack, Congress sent a message to President Johnson to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the force of the United States, and to prevent further aggression. The American involvement escalated. Within the year, Johnson sent 30 thousand troops to Southeast Asia.

When Gov. Bartlett took office, in 1967, Vietnam was a household word in Oklahoma. In 1968 there were 540,000 Americans fighting the war, part of an international force of 1.6 million soldiers. But the U.S. officials were committed to "limited involvement." It was the same kind of policy that had existed during the Korean war. The draft called up more and more young men.

Since the war was a central issue of the presidential campaign of 1968, the Democratic Convention in Chicago was disrupted with a week long protest. That protest brought on more protest, and bonfires were lit so young men could burn their draft cards; musicians played anti-war songs. Veterans of WWII could not understand how people could criticize their own country, but the opposition was too large to ignore in the 1960's. The tension in America grew worse, as did the gap between the generations.

It was in 1968 and 1972 that Nixon began the first and second terms as President of the United States. Nixon's administration was riddle with scandals, as his running mate Spiro Agnew was investigated for accepting bribes and not reporting income while governor of Maryland. Agnew resigned in 1973, and Nixon appointed Gerald Ford as new vice-president.

Nixon's campaign for re-election in 1972 included authorizing a break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. It was a series of dirty tricks that became more obvious, and Congress had to consider impeaching the President. Instead, Nixon resigned in August of 1974.

In the midst of those dramatic events, leaders of great integrity stood out. One was Carl Albert from Bugtussle, Oklahoma, who achieved the highest office ever attained by an Oklahoman. In 1971, Albert became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Carl Albert was a man of small stature that held great power. Albert was known affectionately as "The Little Giant from Little Dixie." Albert retired in 1972, but continued to be influential in Oklahoma political circles until his death in 2000. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


25 February 1948 News

Vol 16, Iss 8 Czechoslovakia, - Sixty-six years ago today, Wednesday, 25 February 1948, the day in early morning that NW Okie was born in Northwest Oklahoma. It was also when the Communists were taking power in Czechoslovakia.

NW Okie's Maternal ancestors (HURTOSCI or HURT)on the HURT's side of the family were from the Austria-Hungary (Bohemia & Moravia) area. These Bohemians came to America in 1876, settling in Nebraska and some settling in Northwest Oklahoma Territory, near Orion, Oklahoma in Major county.

The Wikipedia webite states, Czechoslovakia (or Czecho-Slovakia; Czech and Slovak: Ceskoslovensko, Cesko-Slovensko) was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. On 29 June 1945, a treaty was signed between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, ceding Carpatho-Ukraine to the USSR.

It was this day, 25 February 1948, that President Eduard Benes was pressured from the Czechoslovakian Communist party, and he allowed a communist dominated government to be organized. But the Soviet Union did not physically intervene. Western observers decried the virtually bloodless communist coup as an example of Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe.

We find the political scene in Czechoslovakia following WWII was complex. Eduard Benes was head of the London based Czech government in exile during the war, and returned to his native land in 1945 to take control of a new national government following the Soviet withdrawal in July of that year. National elections in 1946 resulted in significant representation for leftist and communist parties in the new constituent assembly. Benes formed a coalition with these parties in his administration.

Czechoslovakia was not formally within the Soviet orbit, though, and American officials were concerned with the Soviet communist influence in the nation. They were also particularly upset when Benes' government strongly opposed any plans for the political rehabilitation and possible rearmament of Germany. In response, the United States terminated a large loan to Czechoslovakia. Moderate and conservative parties in Czechoslovakia were outraged, and declared the U.S. action was driving their nation into the clutches of the communists. The communists made huge electoral gains in the nation, as the national economy spiraled out of control.

When moderate elements in the Czech government raised the possibility of the nation's participation in the U.S. Marshall Plan (a massive economic recovery program designed to help war torn European countries rebuild), the communists organized strikes and protests, and began clamping down on opposition parties. Benes tried desperately to hold his nation together. By February 1948, the communists had forced the other coalition parties out of the government. On February 25th, Benes gave in to communist demands and handed his cabinet over to the party. Rigged elections were held in May to validate the communist victory. Benes resigned and his former foreign minister, Jan Masaryk died under very suspicious circumstances. Czechoslovakia became a single party state.

Both the United States and Great Britain denounced the communist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia, but neither took any direct action. Putting too much faith in Czechoslovakia democratic traditions, or possibly fearful of a Soviet reaction, neither nation offered anything beyond verbal support to the Benes government. The Communist party, with support and aid from the Soviet Union, dominated Czechoslovakia politics until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 brought a non-communist government to power. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII German POW's Watercolors (1945)

Vol 15, Iss 10 Center, CO - We heard from a woman a few weeks ago concerning a number of German POW's that helped with the potato harvests at her grandfathers ranch in Center, Colorado. Karen Paul (email: Karen Paul karenp@sebastiancorp.net) inherited some watercolor sketches painted by Herr Weidenmann, German POW in 1945.

One of those POW's was Eugene Wiedenmann who had done a few watercolor sketches while he was helping with harvest. Karen was wondering if anyone could help point her in the direction as to how she might find out something about Herr Wiedenmann, and if he might have become an artist of some renown.

[This image on the left shows the signature of the artist and the date "45."]

Karen had her daughter take some photos of the sketches. She says they are cartoon style drawings, and show not only the prisoners, but her Uncle Herb Bowers, with his back to the artist, and her elder cousin Pattie Bowers with the yellow pigtails. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Capt. Miles W. Kelly's Year In Alva (1944-45)

Vol 14, Iss 26 Alva, OK - Captain Miles W. Kelly's Year in Alva, September, 1944-September, 1945, written by Bruce A. Kelly. The doc file can be viewed at okielegacy.org/WWIIpowcamps/Alva Year.doc -

After service in North Africa and Italy during World War II, my father, Dr. Miles William Kelly, MD, was stationed at the prisoner-of-war camp in Alva, Oklahoma from September 28, 1944 to September 17, 1945. He was one of the medical officers at the facility. For the most part, this account is based on the letters he sent home to my mother.

At least one local history, newspaper articles, and a small amount of government documents also added much to this narrative. Before relating his story, however, a few words must be said regarding the history of the camp itself. The subsequent description is based on the following sources. Some of it is largely a paraphrase of a section on the camp in Alva, Oklahoma: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (1987) by Seekers of Oklahoma Heritage Association. Also used here are various government reports based on visits to the camp. The first followed a September 21-22, 1943 visit by Rudolph Fisher, representing the Legation of Switzerland in charge of German interests and does a good job of describing some of the physical layout of the camp. The report, written by Carl M. Marcy, Special Division of the U.S. State Department, who accompanied Fischer on the tour, chronicled the visit which took place less than two months after the first prisoners arrived and thus at a very early stage in the camp's development. Another report of more uncertain origin (there is a line in the report alluding to it possibly being a Red Cross visit) adds a little information about the camp. This one followed a visit by Mr. Paul Schnyder on September 27, 1943, a few days after the above-mentioned one. Who he was and for whom or what he was visiting the camp is not shown. A January 26-28 visit resulted in a February 19, 1944 reported written by Major Frank L. Brown, CMP, but it doesn't indicated who he was. Fischer evidently came back for another visit February 9-11, 1944, though this report is referenced little here. The report of an April 18-19, 1945 visit obviously came later. Visiting the camp then were Mr. Othon Goetz, representative of the Department of German Interests of the Swiss Legation, accompanied by Mr. Van Arsdale Turner of the American State Department. It is hereafter referred to as the Goetz-Turner report.

Though there were other prison camps in Oklahoma during the war, the one at Alva was thought by many as being the most important. Known as the "Nazilager," it has often been referred to as the Alcatraz or Devil's Island of such camps, that is to say known for its rigorous conditions. These conditions eventually gave rise to complaints among prisoners of Alva being a "punishment camp." Many felt they had been moved from another camp to Alva as a form of retribution for their behavior in the from which they were transferred. A 1943 report discussed later argued that German spokesmen at other camps "are evidencing a tendency to be fearful that they may be sent to Alva." This could in turn affect the manner in which prisoners were treated once they arrived at Alva. The report "noted that the American officers at Alva realize that they are receiving men who are not wanted at other camps and, therefore, have a justifiable tendency to view their prisoners with more suspicion than ordinarily." Thus, some American personnel might come to view the prisoners as "criminals" rather than prisoners of war. This could result in all sorts of difficulty somewhat unique to Alva.

Containing German prisoners, generally Nazis, the prison camp to which my father was assigned was located some two-and-one-half miles south of Alva on the west side of Highway 281. The Alva Regional Airport and the Woods County Fairgrounds currently occupy the location where the camp stood nearly sixty years ago at this writing. The only remains of the camp today are a brick chimney, a building now used as a VFW post, and a large concrete conduit-type structure serving as a base for the water tower. Authorized on June 30, 1942, the camp was envisioned to house 4,800 prisoners, though the eventual capacity was 5,910. The scheduled opening date was December 15, but no prisoners were there then. In late-1942 and early-1943, military police units began to arrive to guard the eventual population of the camp. The first nineteen prisoners did not appear until July 31, 1943, while the camp was still under construction. Though the first prisoners were likely trucked in, later ones were brought to Alva by train and marched out to the camp. By February 23, 1945, as the war was ending, 1,002 officers, 2,477 noncommissioned officers, and 1,478 enlisted men occupied the camp, they being guarded by five companies of MPs. The camp contained four POW compounds, three for noncoms and enlisted men and another, furthest toward the east and built later, for officers. Each of the compounds for the noncoms contained thirty-two one-story wooden barracks and a mess hall and other buildings. Each barracks could hold fifty men. The eventual officer prisoners' compound contained one-hundred-and-fifty buildings, about three times as many as each of the others, though they were fewer in number. A large amount of space is the privilege of rank, it would seem. Although there were escape attempts, eight-foot high fences and thirteen guardhouses successfully contained the best of the remnants of Rommel's Afrika Corps, among others. In organizational terms, the camp was under what was called then the Eighth Service Command which was headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Dad mentions it periodically.

Though V-E Day brought the release of many prisoners, 2,192 of them remained on September 16, 1945, the day before my father left Alva. By October 1, only forty-five were left. The last camp commander, Harold H. Richardson, Colonel, Infantry, announced on September 20 the camp was to close. All of the POWs were gone by October 15, and the camp was officially decommissioned on November 15, 1945. Thus, the camp existed for only two months after my father left, though for all practical purposes it was no longer functioning thereafter. As a result, this brief history will comprise the last year of the camp's existence. When one considers, however, the camp's "real" existence was a two-year and two-month period from the time the first prisoners came in late-July, 1943 until it was closed essentially in September, 1945, my Dad's tenure there comprised nearly half of the camp's entire life span.

While the prisoners' compounds were located south of the still extant water tower, the quarters for the American personnel and the administrative buildings were essentially north of it. As mentioned above, the only building remaining today is used as a VFW post. The history from which this information is taken identifies the building as having been the Officers' Club, with their quarters located across the street to the east. Some newspaper articles this writer has found, however, claimed the building was actually a mess hall. A large recreation building, eventually moved to Kiowa, Kansas, stood near the abovementioned building.

Though somewhat lengthy, the following excerpt from the report of the September 21-22, 1943 visit by Rudolph Fisher, does a good job of describing some of the physical layout of the camp. Marcy began his report by describing the camp as

an independent establishment situated about two and one-half miles south of Alva, Oklahoma. The terrain in which the camp is located is flat and predominantly agricultural. The camp is at an altitude of 1,454 feet; the average temperature in July is 84 degrees; the average temperature in January is 38 degrees and the average annual precipitation is 32 inches.

The military reservation covers an area of one square mile. The prisoner of war enclosure which forms a part of the reservation is divided into three compounds, 680 feet by 1025 feet, each compound being designed to accommodate four companies of 250 prisoners each. Construction has just begun on an officers compound which will accommodate 1,000 prisoners. At the time of the visit the officers were held in Compound A in which the ordinary type of enlisted men's barracks have been altered to provide five three-room apartments to each barrack building. Each compound has a work shop and each company within the compound has a recreation room.

Barracks are of theater of operations construction, 20 by 120 feet, and are faced with sheet rock covered with tar paper. The principal differences noted between the interior of the barracks at this camp and at other camps was the fact that the ceilings were somewhat lower than elsewhere. The result was that the upper bed of the double bunks, which are now used, was so near the ceiling that a prisoner can not sit upright on his bunk without hitting the ceiling. Another variation in the layout of the barracks was the fact that the beds were placed horizontally by the 120 foot axis of the building rather than cross-wise as at other camps. This gave the barracks a very crowded disorganized and unattractive appearance resulting in narrow aisles and in general unsatisfactory to the prisoners. The representative of the Swiss Legation after consultation with the prisoners suggested that a trial be given to rearranging the beds in one of the barracks to conform with arrangements which have been seen at other camps in the belief that such arrangements would prove more satisfactory. The camp authorities said, however, that they had instructions from higher authority on this matter and that they could not vary this internal arrangement.

This was the only camp of five visited by Dr. Fischer in which bed sacks had not been issued to the prisoners. Dr. Fischer pointed out that failure to issue sacks caused the comforters to soil and that they are very difficult to clean.

The September 27, 1943 Paul Schnyder report noted the officers' area was separated from that of the non-commissioned officers and enlisted men by barbed wire, though the 1945 Goetz-Turner report did not indicate this was still the case then. Also, the Schnyder report went on, each of the "apartments" for the officers contained a bedroom and a small living room. The prisoners have access to hot and cold water "at all times." According to this report, each "sector" (compound) contained 4 buildings for showers, toilets and basins; 4 buildings for kitchens and mess halls; 1 building for the canteen; 1 building for the infirmary; and 1 building for the recreation hall. With regard to the mess facilities, the Schnyder report said "the kitchen and mess halls are in the same barracks, separated by a counter to which the prisoners come to serve themselves. Everything is immaculate."

The Marcy report went on to say the camp's water supply came from city wells and the city also took care of sewage. There were twenty-four lavatories for each company of 250 men, and thus the latrine facilities were "considered adequate." The laundry facilities were "inadequate," however, as there were only two wash tubs available for each company. The Schnyder report indicated the "soldiers do their own laundry in large concrete tubs located in the shower barracks." The sheets belonging to the officers are washed outside of the camp, but their linens are done by soldier prisoners for which service they are paid. With regard to the dining facilities, prisoners considered the food to be satisfactory, though they expressed a desire for more potatoes and bread. "The kitchens were well equipped," the Marcy report concluded, "with the exception of metal pitchers." It is difficult to determine if these were wanted or not wanted.

The prisoners had adequate clothing then, the Marcy report went on, though the reader will recall the camp's population was still small at the time. Winter clothing was then being issued. The 1945 Goetz-Turner report reported excess clothing, especially civilian clothing, was confiscated. This produced complaints on the part of some prisoners who had actually bought the clothing and saw its confiscation as a "hardship."

The Schnyder report said there were also canteens in the camp, though Marcy pointed out there were separate ones for officers and enlisted men. The Marcy report states these canteens were first opened on September 3, 1943, so they had been open for less than three weeks when the visits took place and were thus "inadequately stocked." The Schnyder report noted the prisoners could buy "paper, pencils, tobacco, and toilet articles" in the canteens. Those for the American guard personnel were better stocked than the others, and it was the source of goods for the prisoners' canteen, though they complained they were not able to buy such things as sweets, writing materials, art supplies and clothing items. This seems in partial conflict with the Marcy report. The prisoners evidently bought their products with something called "canteen checks."

The Goetz-Turner report made an interesting comment on what prisoners could not buy. What was called Regulation Change No. 6 to the Prisoner of War Memorandum No. 1 dated March 31, 1945, the report tells us, "prohibits the sale by canteens operated for non-cooperative, non-commissioned officers of war of beer, candy, soft drinks and manufactured cigarettes after present stocks of these items are exhausted. Enlisted men and officers other than non-commissioned officers are allowed a few cigarettes and a bottle of beer each week."

Prisoner officers and enlisted personnel had also been provided with tools, which were being used to build furniture.

In terms of prisoners' recreational opportunities, the September, 1943 Marcy report revealed such activities "have not been greatly developed." This was doubtless partially because the camp was relatively new. However, this report tells us the undeveloped condition of such activities was because "there has been plenty of Class II labor." What this means is unclear at this point. Schnyder reported the prisoners had "some alma games, Chinese checkers, cards, etc. but they do not have many diversions yet as they have not so far been able to organize theatrical performances or concerts." According to his report, the prisoners had also asked to have "moving picture shows." The report showed the prisoners had "several small fields," but the equipment was not adequate for the number of prisoners. The report of the April, 1945 visit, again occurring seven months after my father had arrived, pointed out each compound had a "sports field and highly organized recreation program." Each compound had a theater, though the one in the officers' compound lacked benches, the 1945 reported noted. As you'll see, Dad appears to bear this out, as he mentions sitting on a box to watch movies.

There were books in the officers' compound but "practically none" in the enlisted area, though according to the Schnyder report, there was no library. Though the prisoners had no access to newspapers with a national circulation, they were able to read the local Wichita paper "at irregular intervals." The Schnyder report related, perhaps with a certain amount of humor, "(t)he prisoners would also appreciate receiving the New York Times." Interestingly, books on the history of ancient art were prohibited by censorship regulations, for whatever reason. The lack of books doubtless retarded any educational efforts, at least at first. The Schnyder report revealed only English and French classes were under way when the September, 1943 visit took place. This had apparently changed by the time of the April, 1945 visit. "School work has been organized by the prisoners of war," Goetz and Turner observed, "and a number of flourishing classes are in swing."

Though the Marcy report mentioned nothing about religious services, the Schnyder one noted in late-September, 1943, a Protestant service was held each Sunday. There was at the time no Catholic service, however the report indicated "from the following Sunday," mass would be said by a Catholic priest who would come to the camp, presumably from Alva. The following Sunday would have been October 2, 1943, and thus we can assume the Catholic services began then. By February, 1944, when the Frank L. Brown report was written, religious services were being conducted "in a building which is outside of the compounds but within the fenced area," though it doesn't seem to make clear if both Protestant and Catholic services were being held in the same building. At the time of the 1944 visit, there was a German chaplain and "several priests" in the camp to provide services. "Supervision of religious activities," the 1945 Goetz-Turner report explained, "is given by the American chaplain of the camp and by a civilian Catholic priest from the town of Alva." In addition to church services, the report indicated a "theological study group is active." A January 28, 1944 officer roster mentions there being an American chaplain, the position then being held by Lieutenant Verner T. Jordahl. Dad's mid-October, 1944 letter mentions a chaplain, but it's hard to know if this was Jordahl. Another roster dated September 17, 1945, about the time the camp was closing, listed no chaplain. As an editorial note, from now on these rosters will be referred to as the 1944 and the 1945 ones. Remember, though, these rosters are not necessarily complete nor really reliable. In passing and for future reference, the following are the only officers who were on both rosters, thus the only ones there during the entire period from January 26, 1944 to September 17, 1945. They are listed here with their ranks according to the 1945 roster: Captain Walter W. Rollins, Captain Bennett C. Lambert, Captain Thomas Laughlin, Jr., Captain Roland J. Howe, 1st Lieutenant Garnette Janssen, and Captain Merle Kay.

The camp hospital where my father worked was located just north of the prisoner compounds and west of what was referred to as Washington Avenue, now Section Line Road. According to the 1943 Marcy report, it was a "regular, completely equipped, cantonment type hospital." There were then "five wards set aside for prisoners of war with a total of 151 beds." Another ward comprising 26 additional beds was authorized, and, indeed, the report of the April, 1945 visit identified six wards, though at the latter date, three were unused for reasons not explained. This would seem to bring the hospital up to a capacity of nearly 180 beds. The latter report indicated each ward contained "ten private rooms and twelve beds in an open ward." The hospital was fully-equipped, including X-ray equipment, operating rooms, and dental facilities. The 1945 report also mentioned "out-clinic and laboratory" facilities, though it is difficult to say if these were added later on or simply not mentioned in the earlier report. There was also an infirmary in each compound, and they were open twenty-four hours a day. We'll get to Dad's description of the medical facilities later.

In terms of medical personnel, the September, 1943 visit found there were three American medical officers and one dentist in the camp. Though it doesn't mention who the other physicians were, the camp surgeon was Colonel Cecil E. Tolle, and the dentist was Major I. W. McQuone. There were no German doctors in the camp then, though thirteen German enlisted men worked as orderlies in the hospital. When the April, 1945 visit took place, there were four American doctors, including my father by then, and a dentist. Though the name of the dentist was not included in the report, the "medical officer" was shown to be Major Arthur D. Sewall, of whom more is mentioned as this story progresses. Among the reports I have, Tolle was last listed as the camp surgeon in February, 1944, and Major McQuone was still listed as the dentist then. In a February, 1945 letter, Dad mentions a dentist by the name of Captain Berry. More will be related specifically on the names of the medical personnel when we get into my Dad's letters. As of April, 1945, there were also four German prisoner doctors working in the hospital and four others working in the compound infirmaries. At the time, there was also a German enlisted man working as an optometrist. This writer could only wish his father were alive today, as his prodigious memory could add much to the above description of the camp and its personnel, especially regarding the hospital.

Before relating my Dad's story, some caveats must be made. First of all, he was at Alva during roughly the last year of the camp's existence, so his experience there reveals nothing about its first one-and-a-half years or so. Second, he was a medical officer, and therefore many other aspects of camp life would not be revealed in any detail in his letters. This also means he related very little of the activities of the enlisted men other than as a doctor. Third, whatever he included in his letters home would comprise his perceptions of events and people, and other people present at the time would possibly differ with his view of things. Lastly, he was not as detailed and descriptive in his letters as my mother was in hers to him, and thus what he does say should not be viewed as containing exhaustive information about even his area of the compound. With all of these qualifications in mind, my father's contemporaneous observations of Alva can be a valuable, if limited, glimpse into life there. Following his North African and Italian service, Dad was stationed for a short time at Camp Barkley, Texas, his duty there extending from May 31, 1944 until his transfer to Alva in September. He first informed my mother of his impending move to Alva on September 15 of that year. The next day, he wrote, "it doesn't sound like too good an assignment but it is in the U.S.A. and not Camp Barkley." His first letter from Alva recounted leaving Abilene, Texas on Wednesday, September 27, staying overnight in Kiowa, Kansas, about twenty-two miles north of Alva, and arriving in Alva at about 10:30 on the morning of Thursday, September 28, 1944 by staff car. A late train accounted for his circuitous journey to Alva. His September 29 letter contained his first impressions of the camp:
It is a large P.O.W Camp and has at the present time about 4000 prisoners. We have a very nice small hospital (about 200 beds) to which I have been assigned. Counting myself there are four medical officers, one dental, one veterinary, two medical administrative and two nurses. The CO is Lt. Col. Gill and (he) seems to be very nice. Capt. Greenfield and Lt. Wichman are the other two. Altogether there are about forty officers here at the camp, most of whom are married and have their families in Alva. We have a very nice club, average quarters and mess, god (sic., good) theater and a very good post exchange. . . . Everyone is very friendly and I'm sure I'm going to like it. Haven't had time to check on the housing situation although have been told it isn't too good. There has been a rather rapid turn over in medical officers and it is difficult to know how permanent this assignment will be.

The Lieutenant Colonel Gill mentioned above, of whom more is written hereafter, is not listed on the 1945 roster, doubtless the last roster before the camp closed. He was probably gone by the time it was compiled, thus, I cannot give his first name nor any other official military information on him. Also, Google came up with nothing on him. Dad mentions him as this narrative goes along, which would place him there during at least some of the time Dad was at the camp, but it's impossible to be very specific in terms of when he was there. It should be emphasized here Gill was the CO at the hospital not over the entire the camp.

An October 4 inspection tour gave Dad the opportunity to describe his new duty station more:
The camp is divided up into four compounds each enclosed in barbed wire. In each compound there are four companies of prisoners and (each) contain(s) 100-1200 men. Two of the compounds are for non-commissioned officers, one for officers and one for privates. They have three square meals a day, a good place to sleep and only the privates do any manual labor outside the compounds.

When he used the 100-1200 figure above, it was likely a mistake, and he probably meant 100-120.

In a letter written on September 30, he identified his duties as "ward officer on two wards, and responsible for all of dispensaries in the camp area and the sanitation of the prisoners' area." His responsibilities being mainly supervisory, he went on to write he wouldn't be as busy as those duties might indicate. He suggested there were about twenty German doctors in the camp who did almost all of the medical work on the prisoners, however the February, 1944 report said there were only four. Dad was to oversee them in their work. His two wards included only American patients. The opportunity to once again practice medicine appealed to him after having had so many essentially administrative jobs before. In an October 1, 1944 letter, he went into some detail describing the hospital, writing the following:
There is a good surgery, X-Ray, Pharmacy, laboratory and Dental clinic. It is built on the same general plan and type of buildings as the new hospital at Fort Devens and is much better constructed. The floors including the corridors are all oak and they keep them waxed. With all of the prisoners there is plenty of help and everything is kept spotless. It is a pleasure to see a place so clean after some of the places I have been in.

In describing what I assume to be the officers' club, he wrote in early-October, "(w)e have a very nice club for a small post. One large room with easy chairs and bridge tables and the mess is out on a glass enclosed porch. There is a small bar, pool tables, piano and is quite attractive." In his October 27 letter, he made a parenthetical reference to the library being in the colonel's office. It will be recalled the 1943 Schnyder report revealed there was no library. In his May 31, 1945 letter, he commented "(o)ur tables in the mess hall hold ten each."

He had been at the camp for a month before he got around to describing for our mother the town of Alva and the surrounding country. Its population, he estimated, was about 5,000, and the town was "not very attractive." Though there was "a fairly good G.I. bus service," he saw little point in going into town. It was about two miles from the downtown to the camp, he explained. In describing the area surrounding the camp, he felt "(t)he country here is 'not so hot.' It is mostly flat as you might expect and not very pretty. It is good farming country and the people seem quite well off." With regard to his difficulty in finding a place for the family to live in Alva, he added, "the people are quite particular about children as usual," though this seems unclear. His October 28 letter described the community's "strong feeling against renting to people with children." As we will see, he would ultimately not find accommodations in town for his family. The first chance he had to actually see the town of Alva came on October 6, ten days after his arrival. His main objective in going into town was to find a place big enough for his family to join him. Again, he was unsuccessful, as all he was able to locate were two- and three-bedroom apartments, too small for his family of six.

In describing the hospital commanding officer and the other medical staff, Dad wrote that Lieutenant Colonel Gill, the hospital head at the time of his arrival, let the physicians "do what we think is right and he doesn't interfere in any way." The surgeon, Lieutenant Wickman, was described by Dad as "quite competent in general surgery." Regarding the camp psychiatrist, Dad blended a little humor with some anti-Semitism in writing, being a psychiatrist, Captain Greenfield "is a bit screwy. . . . I guess they have to be a bit nuts to take up that field of medicine. He is a typical Jew although a bit better than average and I get along with him very well." As you'll see, though, this will change. In a subsequent letter written on October 26, he said Greenfield "is not liked very well." Neither Wickman nor Greenfield are listed on the 1944 nor the 1945 roster, and therefore I cannot give detailed information on them. But, it does narrow down a bit when they might have been there.

The camp seemed to have a good deal in the way of entertainment. Dad described the camp theater as a "rough old thing" which showed movies on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. It was not air-conditioned, which made for uncomfortable movie-watching in the summer. On October 1, 1944, he suggested he might go to see Greenwich Village, which he indeed did. This was a 1944 film starring Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, and William Bendix, among others. In terms of other forms of entertainment, he informed his wife on October 3 they were to have a U.S.O. show that evening in addition to a movie. The next day, he opined the show "wasn't too bad but would have never gotten to Broadway." The movie on October 5 was Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant, Peter Lorre and Raymond Massey, and Dad said he "laughed myself sick." On October 7, there was a dance at the officers' club with a juke box substituting for an orchestra, though Dad didn't go. Attendance at such events was compulsory, but, he explained, "I have been in the army too long to be told how to conduct my purely social activities." The movie on October 12 was Since You Went Away, which starred Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton and Shirley Temple, among many other contemporary stars, though Dad didn't go to this one. It was too long and sad, he concluded. "My spirits aren't too high anyway and would rather not be depressed artificially."

He also played bridge a good deal, as well as chess. On the evening of October 16, he mentioned playing bridge with a Major Draper, whom he identified as one of the compound commanders; a Lieutenant Loughlin; and Captain Greenfield, the psychiatrist. Draper is not listed on either of the officer rosters, and a Google search came up with nothing on him. With regard to the second name mentioned, the 1945 roster identifies a Captain Thomas Laughlin, Jr. In his letter, Dad refers to him as "adjutant at the hospital." The Laughlin listed on the 1945 roster was identified as Registrar, Station Hospital, among other duties. These two names are very likely one and the same, despite the spelling difference. He was also listed on the 1944 roster as a 1st Lieutenant and was then also Adjutant at the Station Hospital, so he was apparently at Alva during much of its existence doing pretty-much the same job. "Lieutenant Loughlin is very good (at bridge) having played a good bit of tournaments around Philadelphia," Dad opined, "the rest (being) average." In an October 20 letter, Dad made reference to the "usual foursome," so it seems likely the above four men played bridge frequently. They played two or three times a week, an October 24 letter indicated, though occasionally others joined in. He also reported playing pinochle. His October 24 letter claimed he was "about eight dollars ahead."

Dad gave a number of examples of the medical cases with which he dealt. On September 30 at 9:30 PM, he was called to the hospital to deal with a German complaining of stomach pains. Dad "(f)ussed around with him until about midnight and finally decided that he didn't have appendicitis." At around midnight on October 1, "a drunk came in and needed a few stitches after having been in a fight. He was one of our American personnel and a bit difficult to handle." On October 12, he mentioned an operation that morning for the removal of a tumor, though he didn't indicate if the patient was a German or an American. Two "small operations" took place the following morning, the beginning of a "very busy day," and they "got along very well."

Related to the weather, he mentioned on October 2 it started raining "pitchforks and hammer handles" in the morning. One of the enlisted men loaned him a coat so he could get to breakfast relatively dry. "It stopped during the day," he added "but is still quite cold and it will feel good when we can get into wool clothes again about the 15th (of October)." Indeed, the following day, Lieutenant Colonel Gill and Lieutenant Wickman went to Enid to procure winter clothing. "I suppose that we will get some more warm weather before winter sets in," Dad thought, "but it certainly looks like fall now."

Judging from his letters, my father had O.D., Officer Of The Day, quite frequently, giving him the opportunity to write letters. For those untutored, this duty involved him staying at the hospital all night.

The first bit of excitement after Dad arrived came on October 5. As he described the incident, during the 5:00 prisoner count, one of the German enlisted men was discovered answering for one of the officers. The missing officer caused the siren to blow. A "complete shake-down count" resulted, and the officer was located in one of the other compounds around 8:00 that evening. Two men were still unaccounted for, and "it is thought that they are hiding out in one of the compounds. . . . I got pretty hungry," Dad confided, "by the time we could finally go to supper."

There was a change of command in the camp on October 4, 1944, when Lieutenant Colonel Harold H. Richardson took over. The September 17, 1945 roster of the camp identified him as Colonel Richardson, so either Dad had his rank wrong, which I would doubt, or he was promoted during his tenure as commander. The post commander from at least September, 1943 to at least March, 1944 was Colonel Ralph Hall, Infantry. An April 8, 1944 Army memorandum, however, identifies Murray F. Gibbons, Colonel, Infantry, as the post commander. According to sources on the Internet, he may have been the commanding officer of the Roswell, New Mexico Prisoner of War Camp earlier. It would seem likely this was the officer whom Richardson succeeded, but more research needs to be done.

Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Wickman's name was submitted in response to a request from higher headquarters for a medical officer qualified for overseas service. His departure would leave the compound with only three medical officers until Wickman could be replaced. It would also leave them without a surgeon, Dad commented, meaning a civilian one from Alva would be summoned in case of emergencies. Wickman left the evening of October 10, though he had not received his orders yet. He was able to get ten days leave, which, Dad commented, "is quite important because he is going over-seas and his wife has recently had a baby that he hasn't seen yet." On October 10, Dad and the chaplain were invited to the home of 1st Lieutenant Dorst F. Baumgartner, Assistant Executive Officer, for dinner. "His wife," Dad opined, "is rated as a very good cook." Baumgartner is listed on the September, 1945 roster so evidently was there when the camp closed, though he wasn't on the 1944 roster. Dad subsequently gave no details of the evening's activities. Throughout his letters, Dad never identifies the chaplain by name, but it might have been the Verner Jordahl mentioned earlier.

In mid-October, Dad had what seemed at the time a good opportunity to see his family in upstate New York. Though it didn't work out, it is more interesting because of how he made the announcement in his October 12 letter. "I have a little good news," he began. "We have an officer prisoner of war who went insane the other day." Though Dad was doubtless not euphoric at the man going insane, he did see it as a chance to get home for a while. It was planned for a medical officer to accompany the man to Mason General Hospital in Brentwood, Long Island for treatment, and Colonel Gill said Dad might be able to go. This was a psychiatric hospital operated by the War Department from 1944 to 1946 mainly to deal with American soldiers suffering from psychological problems related to war. He planned to meet our mother in New York (City?) and then go on to Avoca if it all worked out, which it didn't. The prisoner was not taken to New York after all.

In his October 20 letter, Dad made reference to there being an "officers' school" at 7:00 (AM?) every Monday and Friday. Officers apparently took turns discussing different sorts of topics. His subject that day was to "review the current events for the week," a rather vague description. Though he was evidently prepared for his presentation, "(s)everal of the officers asked to be excused to go to a football game and at the last minute they called the meeting off entirely so yours truly was lucky."

On Tuesday, October 17, Dad was invited to dinner at the home of Captain Arnim and his wife. An inspection tour required Arnim to postpone the dinner until the following Thursday. According to the 1945 roster, Victor T. Arnim, Corps of Engineers, was the post engineer, the same designation Dad used in his letter, though he wasn't there when the 1944 roster was complied. He described Arnim and his wife and the dinner in some detail:
They are both very nice, in their early forties and have no children. I'm sure that you would be very surprised to see Mrs. Arnim because she could be a twin sister of the girl Kitty who worked at the I-R (ED: Ingersoll-Rand plant in Painted Post, New York). She has the same premature grey hair, facial expression and jovial manner. Incidently (sic) she is a very good cook and we had an excellent meal. Roast beef, brown potatoes, cauliflower, black-eyed peas (beans to us damn Yankees), hot biscuits and a baked apple (pie?) for dessert. We sat around and chewed the fat until about eleven and they brought me back to camp.

Dad mentioned in his October 20 letter, "the past week or so" had been very busy. Colonel Gill had evidently been away often, leaving just two medical officers to keep up with the work. On that evening, a new officer arrived, probably Wickman's replacement. He was a major, and Dad identified his name as Goeth though pronounced Gate. He was a surgeon, and though only having seen him for a few minutes, Dad commented "he seems very nice." The September, 1945 roster mentions no one with anything like his name, so he was probably gone by then. Three days after Goeth arrived, Dad was invited to Colonel Gill's for a chicken dinner "and all the fixings." However, he was called back to the camp in the afternoon to help with an appendectomy on a German prisoner. "It was Major Goeth's first operation (since arriving)," Dad observed, "and he did a very nice job. From first appearance we are going to like him a great deal." Needless to say, Dad appreciated his presence, because it cut down on the work for all of the medical staff.

In his October 23 letter, Dad talked about vague problems with some of the GIs. "We have a good bit of America personnel that (sic) aren't much good for anything," he declared, "and we are going to try to get rid of some of them." The officers' board convened to deal with these men was composed of Major Goeth, Captain Greenfield, and Dad. Nothing else came through about the matter in his letters.

Something with which people, both civilian and military, had to contend during the war was the limited supply of certain commodities. Much of the country's productive capacity had to be diverted into war production. As many know, one of the restricted and scarce items then was rubber. Most of the available rubber was used to make tires, treads, etc. for military use. This meant such things as rubber bands were hard to find. Dad included a few of them in his October 24 letter to my mother. "Some of them are off the edge of rubber gloves," he explained; "(o)ne of the nurses gave them to me and said that they were better for holding hair in place because they are smooth." He sent more to her on later occasions.

October 26 was a busy day. In the morning, Dad had to follow a sanitation inspector around the camp. In the afternoon, the board of medical officers had to examine some "supermen," i.e., Germans, who had requested repatriation back to Germany under the Geneva Convention. Later in the day, he had to make his last rounds at the hospital before going to bed.

On November 9, Dad's October 27 letter reported, they were expecting a demonstration by the prisoners commemorating Hitler's 1923 Beer-Hall Putsch, his failed attempt to take power from the Weimar government. "Tomorrow morning," he revealed, "it is planned to have a big shake-down inspection of all the compounds to see what preparations they have made for the celebration." No serious trouble was contemplated, but it was better to be safe, they felt. It was at this point, he explained "(t)his camp has the reputation for having the worst element of the German army," a statement oft repeated in other descriptions of the camp I've read, as indicated above. He went on:
This is due to the fact that when they have trouble with a prisoner in another camp he is transferred here. On the whole they are very easy to handle and don't cause much trouble. One has to be here awhile in order to sense the undercurrent of subversive activity and it is fairly strong. When you first arrive it is calm and peaceful and you have no idea that there is anything going on. As far as I can see there is nothing to be afraid of and it never worries me in the slightest.

His October 28 letter related they had one more medical officer than they were entitled to, and one of them would probably be transferred soon. He went on to say, "(s)ince Capt. Greenfield is not liked very well (he is the only Jew here) and if they simply request any one officer he will probably go." Needless to say, Dad hoped any transferring of medical personnel would result in him being closer to home, which did not happen.

There was a dance at the officers' club on October 28. Dad didn't go, as he rarely did, if his extant letters are an accurate indication. Major Goeth was OD but was anxious to attend the dance, so Dad said he would take Goeth's calls so the major could go. "That gave him the opportunity to tie one on for himself and from all reports he did a good job of it," Dad recalled later. He went on to explain the dance was a birthday celebration for Colonel Richardson, the post commander. Colonel Gill also evidently tipped a few. Goeth wanted to tell Gill Dad was taking his calls so he, Goeth, could go to the dance. Consequently, Goeth told Gill there had been a change in the O.D. roster. "Without waiting for the explanation," Dad related, "the colonel immediately said, "Gosh, you didn't put me on call tonight, did you?'" Later the same evening, one of the cooks, a sergeant, invited Dad over to the mess hall "for a snack," which turned out to be a tenderloin steak sandwich, coffee, two glasses of milk and cookies. Dad worried about his weight if too many such repasts took place.

The last movie of October, 1944, on the 31st, was National Barn Dance.

As October, 1944 drew to a close, Dad reported they were having wonderful fall weather. "The days are warm," he described, "with plenty of sunshine and the nights cool enough for good sleeping."

At this point, an editor's note must be made. While Dad sent Mom a letter nearly every day during October, 1944, thus providing much of the detail for this narrative thus far, for some reason there are few letters for November extant. There are specifically only three, those being for November 3, 9, and 11. Given my mother's penchant for saving letters, where the others are, I cannot imagine. Part of the reason for the paucity is Dad was evidently on leave during much of late-November. Nevertheless, scant details of the month's events were the result. The reader should not conclude from this little was happening in the camp. Indeed, much may have been going on but the details cannot be drawn from Dad's letters. Though not as plentiful as in October, letters from December are numerous enough to give some details.

Other than mentioning it rained all day and a nice fall was becoming what appeared to be a cold winter, Dad's November 3 letter related nothing of interest about the camp. The rain was the first since shortly after he arrived in late-September. He indicated he had tried to get leave to come home for Christmas, but Colonel Gill had arranged his leave for then which meant Dad would have to come home before then.

On November 9, the medical staff had to examine some new German prisoners who were officers fresh from France and who had come directly to the camp. In this regard, it might be mentioned the September, 1943 Marcy report indicated "(a)ll prisoners are given a physical examination at the time of their arrival and are given a check-up examination once each month thereafter." Echoing what he had said before, Dad explained their arrival directly from France "is a bit unusual because we usually get them here after they have caused trouble in some other P.W. camp." Interestingly, he described the medical examination given to them as "the same type as we did the other day" and "is highly secret." He told my mother she would learn more about it when "I don't have to put it down on paper." Being so hush-hush, it would be interesting to find out what the nature of the examination was. As far as I know, he never mentioned to our mother what the secrecy was all about.

Only two items of any note appear in Dad's November 11 letter relating to non-personal matters. First of all, he agreed to take Colonel Gill's O.D. that evening so the colonel and his wife could go to a dance at the officers' club. Gill said he would take one of Dad's the following week. The other item in the letter was a rather cryptic reference to a "rather sick boy" on his ward, whose ailment he had thus far been unable to diagnose. The reader will recall Dad was on leave for much of the remainder of November, and thus there are no letters to describe the goings on at the camp before early-December.

The narrative regarding Alva picks up again with Dad's December 7 letter, evidently the first he'd written since arriving back from leave. That evening, he reported, there was an alert caused by two missing men. The identity of the two men was known, Dad went on, but "they are pretty good at hiding." There were rumors, however, they had been killed and secretly buried, by the Germans he seems to imply, though he doesn't say. While he was away, two other men were picked up by the FBI even though the camp authorities did not know they were gone. "All of this doesn't set very well with the C.O.," Dad revealed, "so that is the reason for all the search. Confidential."

On Saturday, December 9, Dad got what appears to be his first non-leave opportunity to get away from Alva. He had written on the 7th of a need to go to Glennon General Hospital fifty miles southeast of Tulsa to deliver a "Kraut Colonel" as a patient there. A Google search today brings up nothing on this hospital. It was a six-hour ride, and he planned on being back on Sunday. "Will get six dollars a day extra for the trip," he commented, "and can ride in a nice staff car." He arrived back in camp about 4:00 Sunday, afternoon, December 10 and the trip went well. His return found the weather "has turned quite cold here and there is a little snow."

The movie that evening was Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, but Dad didn't go. "Can't stand war pictures anymore," he concluded.

The socializing among some of the camp personnel continued, and this gives the opportunity to provide a little more detail about some of them. On December 6, Dad and Major Goeth were invited to Lieutenant Wolf's for dinner. Going by the September, 1945 roster, this is a reference to now-Captain James W. Wolf, the compound's veterinarian. He was also listed as the Agricultural Officer. Wolf was not on the 1944 roster. Goeth was unable to attend as he had an emergency surgery on one of the German prisoners. Dad was served what he called a "fine" waffle supper. Both Captain and Mrs. Wolf
are in their middle thirties and after being married a long time they finally had a daughter. She is four months old and they are scared to death that something will happen to her. If she even whimpers the slightest bit in her sleep they both jump to see what is wrong. Most of the evening was spent in answering questions about every phase of baby care. It is very funny to see them.

Judging from Dad's December 14 letter, things had been busy in the camp for the previous few days. The Swiss legation had visited the camp on an inspection tour and to hear any complaints by the prisoners. Any report of this visit is not among the documents in my possession. "They went away satisfied that we are carrying out the provisions of the Geneva Convention and that everything is under control," Dad commented. Soon, thereafter, what he called the Mixed Medical Commission arrived. Composed of two Swiss doctors and one American medical officer, they examined the prisoners for possible repatriation to Germany. At this time, I do not have a copy of the report of the visit either. Some sixty prisoners went before the board, and the medical personnel in the camp had to do what Dad called the preliminary work. He reported only eleven of the sixty were approved for repatriation. All of this, needless to say, added to the medical staff's workload.

There was a bond drive at the camp in December, and Dad bought $100 worth.

As Christmas, 1944 drew closer, it was not surprising all of the officers and men wanted to have it off so they could be with their families. However, this wouldn't have been realistic. Dad's reference to the "smug people" who had decided they would have their leaves at Christmas seemed to be a veiled reference to the camp commander. On December 15, the camp received a letter from the 8th Service Command Headquarters in Dallas informing them, "due to the volume of travel during the holidays, all leaves between Dec. 15th and Jan. 8th would be canceled." Colonel Richardson was going to call to see if this was really serious. "If he can't get it changed," Dad worried, "there are going to be a bunch of disappointed officers and perhaps I was the lucky one after-all." This is apparently a reference to his leave happening earlier. As it turned out, Dad wrote on December 17, "everyone" was able to get their leaves. When the colonel called, he was told the aforementioned instructions had been rescinded. "However," he added, "they called him back later in the day and said that his 15 days had been cut to 10." Needless to say, the colonel was disappointed, however Dad "wasn't particularly sorry for him as you can imagine."

Mid-December saw two humorous occurrences take place, both of which are better told in my Dad's words. The first related to a rather unorthodox medical treatment for an American enlisted man.
A sergeant came in my office and told me he had a stiff neck. It had appeared when he got up in the morning and was causing a bit of trouble. I examined his neck and the muscles seemed all right and the cause was apparently in the spine itself. I took him in to see Major Goeth to get his opinion. He tried to get it back in place and in so doing hurt the boy some. We decided that he needed a heat treatment so walked out leaving the patient standing there. No sooner than we were out of the room and there was a crash and (we) look(ed) back to find the patient had passed out and was lying on the floor. In falling he struck his head on the door. When he got up he found that he could move his head perfectly in any direction and was completely cured. We have taken a good bit of riding from the other officers about our methods of treatment and they all swear that they will never dare come in the hospital.

The other incident related to Dad's efforts to deal with his dandruff.
The other morning I wrote a prescription for some stuff to try to clean up my scalp. When the enlisted man in the Pharmacy gave me the bottle the label read "Capt. Kelly's Sure Shot Dandruff Remover." I thought it was a good joke and had quite a laugh about it. Then I found that he had recommended it to a couple of the other officers and had dispensed it with the same label. Now everyone accuses me of being in the patent medicine business, and don't know whether I can live it down or not.

On the evening of December 17, the film was Together Again with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer followed the next night by None But The Lonely Heart with Cary Grant and Ethel Barrymore. The latter one was "a bit too long and dramatic for me," Dad criticized, "Would rather see something funny." The movie on December 21 was Meet Me In St. Louis." The next to the last film of the year was Wilson, an epic about the former president starring Alexander Knox. Dad said he would have enjoyed it if it weren't quite so long. The last picture of 1944 at the Alva camp was Something For The Boys starring Carmen Miranda and Phil Silvers. Both of the last two films were in Technicolor, which must have been a treat then.

Colonel Gill left for his Christmas leave December 18, so the remaining medical personnel would be busier and have O.D. more often. Dad explained each would have an O.D. every third day. So many officers being on leave at the same time, the workload on those who remained must have been somewhat great.

The colonel evidently came to the conclusion in December the officers weren't getting enough exercise, and Dad agreed with the conclusion. Colonel Richardson scheduled volleyball twice a week. Dad played some on December 18, though not many other officers turned out. Later during his time at Alva, he mentioned playing softball a good deal.

On December 21, Dad got into some sort of a row with Captain Greenfield. The reader will recall Dad had made a number of comments in his letters regarding Greenfield's Jewish ethnicity. In at least one subsequent letter, Dad used the plural "rows," which seems to indicate this was not the only incident between the two. The argument was "on an old subject of policy and it was a beauty," though Dad wasn't specific about the policy difference. "He called me a hot-head," Dad went on, "and I told him (that) if he had better manners and didn't shoot his mouth off so much he would be able to get along with people."

Christmas Eve was "about the same as any other Sunday night," Dad lamented then. "I am O.D. and things are very light," he added. There was a Christmas dance at the club the previous evening, but he didn't go. "They said the liquor flowed very freely and it turned out to be quite a party," he recalled later. They also had a Christmas party for all of the children on post on the afternoon of the 24th. When telling our mother about the plans, he had written on December 15, "I think they said that they are going to mail presents to the children that aren't here." Christmas carols were sung, and Santa Claus gave out presents to the kids, and "ice cream and cake was had by all." On Christmas Day, he said he could participate in two dinners, one at the hospital at noon and another at the officers' club at 6:00 in the evening.

As will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been in the service away from home, Dad bemoaned Christmas at the Alva camp "wasn't very exciting." He made his rounds, went to church and then had the two aforementioned Christmas dinners, both of them being turkey. In a subsequent letter, he reported two days before Christmas they received more than 5000 pounds of turkey, "which made a pound apiece for our dear Christmas P.O.W.s." He played pool in the evening and then read. "You can see it wasn't much of a day," he concluded. He was planning to send our mother another package and saw some handbags at the PX she might like.

As is the case wherever armies have gone, Dad had some experience treating GIs for venereal disease. In late-December, a soldier was admitted with syphilis, which he had gotten from a girl in Alva. As a result, Dad and the provost marshal, 1ST Lieutenant Garnette E. Janssen, had to go into town to see the sheriff on the 27th. A local physician had given her a clean bill of health, but this evidently did not end the matter. She came out to the post later in the evening, Dad went on, to find out why she had been barred from the camp. He put the matter into context by writing, "as usual these things kick up a good bit of stink and this one is no exception," continuing with "(i)magine she is married, her husband is overseas and she has five children. The deputy sheriff said he served the warrant when this fellow was forced to marry her when she was fourteen years old. Nice people. Join the medical profession and see how the other half of the world lives." He did not go on to say how the situation was resolved, but it is probable she remained barred from the post.

As the reader will recall, during this general time period the Battle of the Bulge was going on in Europe, and consequently the war news was not good, at least from the Allied point of view. "It is interesting," Dad commented sarcastically on the last day of December, after the German counteroffensive had failed, "to watch their reaction as the news changes from day to day on the western Front. When the news of the German counteroffensive came in they all became quite arrogant, held their heads high and seemed very happy. Right at the present time they are a bit down in the dumps, again and I certainly hope they stay there"

Dad reported on December 29 the hospital had been very busy lately, and he had worked until 10:00 that night. They had to give all of the American enlisted men examinations and classify them according to their physical condition. "We finished about eighty today and have around four hundred yet to do," he explained to Mom. The process went well, and out of the first group only three were qualified for overseas duty, "so you can see the type of soldiers that are here." His January 5 letter gave some more details about the examinations they were doing. He said it had been discussed in that week's edition of Yank magazine. The type of physical exam they were giving was called "The Profile." The purpose of the physical was
to examine the individual in a more or less superficial way and grade him according to his physical ability in each of the following categories: eyes, ears, arms, legs, psychiatric and general physical stamina. In each category he is placed in either Class I, II, II or IV and this is plotted on a rough graph. The resulting line determines whether he is in general service, limited service (either here or overseas) and below the minimum requirements. It sounds as if it were a big job but it is really not too bad, there are just a lot of them to be done.

The year 1944 was to be rung out with a dance at the officers' club, but Dad was O.D. and didn't go. "The party will probably be a brawl," he predicted, "as nothing special has been planned and the music will come from the juke box." It was listed as being informal, the only distinction being in the formal dances, a small orchestra plays. "That is just how tough it is to find entertainment in this neck of the woods," he concluded.

The new year of 1945 began on a busy note. Things were evidently already hectic at the hospital, and Dad mentioned Major Goeth was to begin a fifteen-day leave on January 5, which would, needless to say, increase the workload on the other medical officers. On New Years Day, he "worked until almost eleven (PM) getting ready for our physical examinations today. Tomorrow will see most of that job done and the few that are left we can get from time to time." His January 4 letter explained they
operated all morning until one o'clock, had a late dinner and began physical exams at one-thirty. The rest of the afternoon was full until five-thirty. There is at least four hours work on my desk which I planned to get partly done this evening. Finally decided to chuck it all and relax at the movie. It was "Hollywood Canteen" and good relaxation. I don't know what tomorrow is going to be like. Col Gill hasn't returned from leave. Major Goeth has left and the adjutant is going away for the day. This leaves me in command and under ordinary circumstances it would be alright, however, there is an Inspector General from Washington in camp. He may decide that he wants to take a look around and bother us a while.

Probably as a result of the busy schedule, on January 8, Colonel Richardson ordered the staff not to "take any more half days," Dad recounted, adding, "so we will have to find some excuse to get down town." Presumably this meant they couldn't obtain half-day passes to get off-base.

In early-January, relations between Dad and Captain Greenfield were still "far from cordial" since their argument of December 21. Dad felt the only way to avoid difficulty was for them not to speak at all. "All of our professional contacts are carried on by means of an intermediate officer," he explained. "Have you ever heard anything more childish?" According to Dad, Major Goeth was also fed up with Greenfield and called him "that Jewish bastard." They hoped Colonel Gill would get rid of Greenfield as soon as he arrived back from leave. On January 5, however, Dad reported he and Greenfield carried on a "small conversation," so he hoped the situation might be improving. Three days later, Dad went into another aspect of the conflict telling something about the camp's operation and also affecting the organization of the medical staff and thus Dad's role in it. During one of their "rows," Greenfield had "said that I (Dad) didn't know how to handle Garman P.O.W.s." He said Dad
'
considered them too much and should get more hard-boiled. He was, of course, completely off the beam as usual and today's events were quite ironical. The Colonel called me in as (sic, and) said that due to the fact that Greenfield caused so much friction on the German wards that we were to change places. He will now have the American ward and I well supervise all the German medical wards. I guess he doesn't like having it thrown in his face but there isn't much he can do about it. I'm getting a bit of free amusement out of it and it is very enjoyable. Nothing like a small place to have petty troubles. This evening I came over to get the ward ready to turn over to him. . . .

This is all important for at least two reasons. First of all, it means Dad would have more contact with the German prisoners than had been the case in the past three-and-one-half months. Thus, what we get from his letters might change in terms of its focus. Unfortunately this was probably not the case. Secondly, it raises the issue of a Jewish doctor supervising wards populated with German prisoners. In other words, to what extent was the colonel motivated by the row between Dad and Greenfield in making the staffing change, and to what extent might he have been motivated by the racial-religious issue? This is something almost impossible to clarify now.

On the morning of January 5, Dad reported another shipment of prisoners had come in. He explained to our mother that American personnel, possibly including him, had to "go down and pick out the potential Gestapo as I told you about doing before. There were 16 good possibilities out of 70 so you can see the percentage is quite high. Greenfield is doing another bunch that came in tonight."

Dad's failure to write Mom during the four days from January 8 to 12, 1945 was caused by another spurt of heavy work then. He was "going every minute." Major Goeth, the surgeon, was on leave, so Dad had to take the emergency surgeries, and he was not a surgeon by specialty. On the evening of the 11th, a strangulated hernia came in. Dad didn't feel fully qualified to perform the operation, so he called in one of the surgeons from Alva, something apparently not out of the ordinary. The previous night there was an emergency acute appendix, which Dad did with the aid of one of the German doctors. "Everything went off alright," he recalled after all of this, "and the patients are doing very well." He didn't say whether the patients were Americans or Germans, but one might assume the latter. He looked forward to Goeth returning from leave so he could take over the surgeries. "The days have been very full," he commented, "and I'm pooped at night."

On the morning of January 12, 1945, Dad reported there was "a little trouble in one of the compounds," though he wasn't more specific. The result, however, was the entire compound being on bread and water. As a result, all of the American officers and enlisted personnel were restricted to the camp. Colonel Richardson was evidently concerned there might be more trouble and didn't' want to be caught unawares. A further result was the officers' club being unusually full that night. The restrictions evidently also applied to married officers living off post, because in his January 14 letter he mentioned, "(t)he officers are . . . getting a bit anxious to go to their respective homes." "It seems strange," Dad wrote in the January 12 letter, "to see so many officers here in the evening." He casually commented to our mother that everything about which he was writing her was "confidential" but went on to say "there was nothing to worry about. It (is) just the sort of thing that happens every once in a while."

He elaborated on this difficulty on January 14, and I shall let him describe it in his own words. He began by writing, "(t)he following information is confidential and please don't repeat it."
This morning they ordered the Germans in Compound #1 to go to the recreation area in preparation for a "shake down" inspection of their barracks. They (we) had just made a previous inspection about three days ago and the Krauts didn't like to have it repeated. In order to get them out the C.O. mobilized the entire guard and gave each man a good supply of tear gas grenades. At about 10:30 this morning we evacuated all the American patients and personnel out of the hospital so (that) if the wind changed they wouldn't get the effect of the gas. Then the show began and they really turned out in record time. It was fun to see the "square-heads?" making for the recreation area. After they cleared the barracks a very thorough inspection was made and I imagine it will take some time to get them back in order. As a result of the events today the "Krauts" agreed to cooperate and they are back on three meals a day. Never a dull moment in a P.O.W. camp.

Again, he didn't specify the nature of the difficulty, nor did he say what, if anything, was found as a result of the inspection.

On January 18, he told of a German prisoner being admitted at 10:00 AM with abdominal pain. The condition had some of the symptoms of acute appendicitis, but they weren't sure. The next morning his temperature was normal, so he assumed it must have been something else. Major Goeth returned from leave on Saturday, January 20, 1945, and Dad turned all of his cases back to him. "It seems good," he mentioned with relief, "not to have the responsibilities of the surgery on my shoulders. We had an appendix (operation) this afternoon so I guess he got back about in time." Dad felt the strain was beginning to take its toll on him and was glad to have Goeth back.

In terms of entertainment in late-January and early-February, the movie on January 23 was Walt Disney's The Three Caballeros. On the 27th, there was a March of Dimes dance, and they sold chances on a war bond. Proceeds from the event totaled about $70.00. "From all reports," Dad observed, "it turned out to be the worst drunk that has been put on yet so I'm glad I didn't go." While all of those festivities were going on, Experiment Perilous with Hedy Lamarr was playing at the theater. On February 1, the movie was Winged Victory, "strictly corn on the cob," Dad critiqued. The film starred Lon McCallister, Jeanne Crain, and Judy Holliday, among others. "I hope they don't make the poor boys overseas see in it addition to all their other hardships," he commented wryly. The movie on February 4 was Can't Help Singing with Deanna Durbin.

Dad was invited to Lieutenant Carter's for dinner on January 24. The 1945 roster identifies a 1st Lieutenant Floyd J. Carter as the Post Exchange Officer, the same designation Dad put in his letter. He was not listed on the 1944 roster. The occasion was a surprise birthday party for Carter's wife. In addition to the aforementioned Provost Marshall, Lieutenant Janssen, and his wife, a Captain and Mrs. Howe also went. The rosters for both 1944 and 1945 list a Roland J. Howe, AUS. In the former, 1st Lieutenant Howe was POW Camp Canteen Officer, and in the latter, Captain Howe was Personal Affairs Officer in addition to a long list of other duties. A Lieutenant Mack also went. Dad identified him as Special Service Officer. The 1945 roster included 1ST Lieutenant Arthur F. Mack, Infantry, identifying him as the "Cpd O O's Cpd," whatever that means. However, the same roster also listed a 1ST Lieutenant, CAC, Albert C. Fankhauser as Special Operations Officer. There seems to be some confusion here as to who had what jobs. Perhaps Mack was Special Operations Officer then but was reassigned later, and Fankhauser took over the job. Neither Fankhauser nor Mack was listed on the 1944 roster. Google came up with nothing on these men. With regard to the festivities, because his focus was on a migraine he had developed toward the end of the party, Dad mentioned nothing about its activities, only writing they "(h)ad a lovely dinner."

The town being currently off-limits, a significant issue was the availability of various kinds of commodities on the post. In various letters, Dad gave isolated examples of what could be procured, though this recitation should not be considered neither complete. "It is possible for us to get eight (packages of cigarettes) a day, four at the Px and four at the club. Someday that good thing may end," he explained on January 8, 1945. Four days later, he commented "(t)he supply of Kleenex was bought up immediately and hope(d) they get another shipment soon." Judging from the number of times he mentioned it, Kleenex must have been hard to come by. Later, in a March 27 letter, he opined "I am sure it is a very scarce item in the stores." He seems to have sent Mom a good supply over the months. "Our supply (of cigarettes) is still good and you may as well have the advantage of it," Dad remarked on January 12, 1945; "I guess I have about twenty packages at the present time." He also explained he was continuing to get the brand she liked. Two days afterward, "(o)ur Px officer says that he is expecting a new shipment of watches and perhaps there will be something good in the next few days."

In a rather unusual exchange, Dad's January 25 letter recounted asking a Mrs. Weilenmann, whom he identified as the wife of the Commissary Officer, if she could procure some women's hose for him to send to Mom. Though Dad's spelling of this name is questionable, there is no officer on the 1945 roster who bears a name anything similar to it. The roster lists no commissary officer, though, again, Lieutenant Carter was the PX officer. The 1944 roster, however, has a 1st Lieutenant Charles Weilenmann who was Salvage Officer and Sales Officer then, and this was probably the man to whom Dad referred, but he was gone by the time of the January 25, 1945 letter. It is further puzzling why he would direct such a query to the wife of the Commissary Officer rather than to him directly, but there's probably a logical explanation. "This evening she brought out two pairs of 45 gauge," Dad wrote Mom. "She said they looked good in spite of it and will get some 51's when they come in."

Dad was also able to get "a large box" (emphasis added) of Kleenex. He commented in his January 25 letter he soon might find himself in Tulsa, to take another prisoner to the Glennon General Hospital, and would do some shopping there. A two-day school of some kind would take him to Oklahoma City, and he might find some items there, too. A February 5 letter made reference to sending his children some candy. "I can always send more if you want it," he went on, "as there is plenty here although the choice is not too broad." In the same letter, he also reported, "(o)ur Post Exchange has a shipment of "Samsonite" suitcases and are (sic) selling them at quite a reduction from the usual price."

Also in the January 25 letter, Dad gives some illuminating information on Colonel Gill and leads us to a humorous anecdote. Once again, Gill is not mentioned in the September, 1945 roster, so information on him is scant other than being the CO at the hospital. Thus, what Dad includes here is helpful. Gill had begun another two weeks leave after receiving news his mother, "somewhere up in her eighties," was "quite ill" in San Antonio. "He is getting very fed-up here," Dad explained,
and I guess it was a good excuse to get away. I think he is going to stop at Service Command Headquarters in Dallas and try to get a transfer. He was in the Regular Army for several years and apparently has some good connections. He would like very much to be a civilian especially when his brother, a doctor, wrote and said that he had to pay $13,000.00 income tax last year. Well, wouldn't we all like it?

The tax comment is puzzling. Does he mean were Gill a civilian, he would pay less in the way of taxes?

For some time, Dad had been making comments in his letters about the worsening weather as winter progressed. "It snowed quite a bit," he observed of January 27, "and the ground is white this morning (January 28). The sun came out quite warm and it is practically gone now."

In his February 1, 1945 letter, Dad made a parenthetical reference to something he had started that, as far as I can tell, had not been mentioned previously. He remarked of a "soldier's dependent clinic" he had started and which "seems to be growing all the time." He speculated it would probably slowly grow and eventually "become a fair part of my regular work." He enjoyed it, and it also provided him the opportunity to refresh his knowledge of the diseases of women and children. In addition, he was also going to start a small prenatal clinic, though he wouldn't do deliveries. "It's good experience," he concluded, "that is going to come in handy as I was getting very rusty." In other words, when he returned to private practice after the war, the skills he was developing there would be of help.

A February 1 anecdote of a relatively inconsequential nature in itself is important here because it introduced a camp term with which I was not familiar. Dad was eating either in the mess hall or more likely the officers' club. The facility was evidently small and people were closely placed to another, as he said there were but "three good-sized tables." The wife of an officer who was sitting at his table began complaining about the food, causing Dad to move to a different table, sitting with Colonel Richardson. Dad felt the food was not so bad, and the woman was simply a "constant griper." At any rate, he described her as living on "soap-suds row." In parentheses, he identified this with the phrase "former regular army enlisted man" housing. His February 3 letter adds a little in the way of explanation. He begins by mentioning three officers were being transferred. "It is welcome news," he opined, "because they were three old regular army sergeants who had been given commissions." They are more highly paid, Dad said, because of their length of time in the service. "These 'soap-suds row' officers are the poorest group of officers that I've ever seen." Thus, the term evidently refers to enlisted men who were given commissions.

Dad mentions very little in his letters about chapel. He attended services on Sunday, February 4 "like a good boy." The chaplain "has a rather poor turn out as a general rule," and Dad felt sorry for such sparse attendance. You'll recall the 1944 officer roster indicates 1st Lieutenant Verner Jordahl was the chaplain then, though it's hard to know, again, if this is the man to whom Dad is referring here. As you know, the 1945 roster lists no chaplain, though whoever it was when Dad was there, like him, he must have left by the time the roster was compiled.

A new shipment of prisoners came to the camp on the afternoon of February 4, and Dad gave them physical examinations. Immediately after mentioning about the examinations in this letter, he wrote he had "(w)orked up a couple of cases that are to be transferred on Tuesday so guess I'm already (sic, all ready) to start out a fresh week." The assumption here is the "couple of cases" were from among the new prisoners.

There was a U.S.O show at the camp on February 7. Dad didn't provide much detail, though he did like the entertainment. It "turned out a little better than some of the others," he concluded. One of the acts involved doubletalk, and another "did a very good imitation of a "Zort Snit Hep cat(?)." Perhaps this relates to some comedic skit or person of the day, but nothing turned up on the Internet.

On the morning of February 7, the camp veterinarian, Lieutenant Wolf asked Dad to accompany him on an inspection tour of some dairy farms in the area. Even though he had more important work to do, Dad decided to go along. On the way back for lunch, Wolf wanted to visit one more farm, so they took a short-cut over a very bad country road. The car became stuck in the mud, and they had to call the camp to have someone come and pull it out. They didn't get back to camp until 12:45 PM, and Dad once again busied himself with his duties. "It seemed like old times in a country practice," he reminisced of the incident.

Due partially to some leaves and personnel changes, early February, 1945 became evidently rather busy for the medical staff. Major Goeth was transferred to Fort Sam Houston and left on Sunday, February 11. Because Colonel Gill was still gone on leave, Dad was the "big boss" at the hospital. The adjutant, according to the 1945 roster a Captain Dwight E. Slavens, was also gone, which made them three officers short. Slavens wasn't on the 1944 roster. The medical officer who was to replace Goeth arrived February 13, he being a Captain Francis X. L. Baurichter. The 1945 roster cryptically identified his primary duty as Ab Sk Borden GH, Chickasha. Though the first part eludes me, the last is in reference to Borden General Hospital. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society website, it was established in 1942. Dad reported Baurichter lived in Ohio and came from a P.O.W. camp in Huntsville, Texas. Dad also said he graduated in 1929, though it's unsure if he meant from undergraduate school or medical school. At any rate, this would make him older than my father who graduated from undergraduate school in 1931 and medical school in 1935. Though I'm not sure what he based it on, Dad observed, "(h)is training is apparently none too extensive so guess he is the average G.P. who did some surgery among other things." In a February 15 letter, Dad commented Baurichter was "a fair surgeon although he probably won't set the world on fire."

In his February 15 letter, Dad identified the dentist as a Captain Berry but doesn't give his first name nor any details about him. The 1945 roster identifies no dentist, though this doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't there. You'll recall the dentist according to the 1944 roster was Major I. W. McQuone. He had probably left by the time of Dad's letter and been replace by Berry. He, in turn, was probably gone toward the end of the camp's life and thus no listing for him in the 1945 roster. In subsequent letters, Dad mentioned dental work Berry did for him for which Dad paid just $5.00.

Colonel Gill, the hospital chief, returned from leave on February 16, and Dad was glad to turn the responsibilities back over to him. As he had predicted, Gill had stopped at the 8th Service Command Headquarters in Dallas, evidently on his way back. Dad thought the colonel had "set the ball rolling" to obtain a transfer (for himself) and thus would not be at the camp much longer. While in Dallas, Gill also talked to "some General from Washington" who told him doctors who had served overseas wouldn't be sent back over again, to the obvious relief of my father who was not anxious for another overseas tour. Any of the other doctors in similar situations doubtless felt likewise. Dad also stated, "a good share of the medical officers will be retained on active duty for some time after the war," which, as you'll see, Dad would be, and some of the other medical officers had probably already reconciled themselves to being away from their families even after hostilities had ended. We will return to this issue later.

In the meantime, on February 20 Dad and Captain Arnim, the post engineer, went to Oklahoma City to attend the two-day school mentioned above, among other activities. Dad's letter of that date was written to my mother from the Will Rogers Air Base in Oklahoma City. They had left Alva about 1:00 PM and arrived there around 5:00. "They let us use the sedan so we had good transportation," he noted. After signing in at the headquarters, they found their quarters. "The room isn't bad," he explained, "and since it only costs $.50 a night we can't complain." It appears dinner for the two of them at the officers' club was only $.45. The conference began at 8:00 AM on the 21st, and they would be there until Thursday night. The only hint of what the conference was about was a comment in Dad's February 23 letter indicating, "(i)t is going to help things here this summer now that we know how to control flies and mosquitoes." Following the conference, they were to go to the Branch Camp at Chickasha for a day's worth of inspections. Chickasha is a few miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Not a very exciting trip but "at least away from Alva," Dad concluded. They arrived back there on the evening of Friday, the 23rd, one day early.

There is a gap in Dad's letters for the rest of February and possibly the first couple of days of March, because he was on leave. Thus, we cannot recount the goings-on in Alva from his perspective during the near-week period. He arrived back in camp on March 6, and a good deal of work had piled up in his absence.

Gill was not back for long before he was indeed transferred. Within no more than three days of his return, he was on his way to Fort Sam Houston. The most immediate result of this from Dad's point of view was the possibility he might be able to get Gill's house and move his family down to Alva. This he thought unlikely because of the children and indeed did not occur. It also raised the issue of who would replace Gill, Dad thinking it might be him, though this, too, wouldn't happen. If I am reading his handwriting correctly, a Major Sunall, M.C. reported on February 19 to replace Colonel Gill. There is no such name on the September, 1945 roster. At first, I thought he had meant Major Sewall, the surgeon, but his actual words were "(a) Major Sunall (spelling?) reported today," appearing not to be in reference to the already present Sewall. The 1945 roster, however, lists Major Sewall as "CO STA Hosp and Cp Surgeon." This remains an area of confusion. In his February 19 letter, Dad expressed some disappointment at not getting Gill's post, writing "that leaves me out again."

In an experience I'm sure many of us could relate to, once he was there, the new major summoned the medical staff to his office and said he was going to make some changes. "He thought the place needed some organization," Dad related, "all though (sic, although) he frankly admitted that he hadn't much experience in operating a hospital." Dad commented he was much too "bull-headed" to understand things would be better left the way they were. Dad informed him of his disapproval of the changes he was making. "Unless he takes a different attitude his days are numbered here," Dad concluded, adding "(t)he service command headquarters (in Dallas) knows that this hospital has functioned smoothly in the past, and if it doesn't in the future the responsibility can be easily determined." If my father's comments are any indication, the new hospital chief was not getting off to an auspicious start. Time would only tell how things would pan out. Regardless, the camp would only exist for a few more months anyway.

In mid-March, Dad took two trips to Arkansas to deliver prisoners, though it is unclear if both trips were to the same place. On Sunday, March 11, Major Sewall was to have taken some prisoners to an unspecified camp in the state. Before he could leave, some inspecting officers came in from Dallas, and Sewall couldn't go. Dad was the only other medical officer available, so he went in his place. He gave no further details of the trip, simply writing it had been a "rough trip." The March 17 letter written during the second trip bore the address "Railroad Siding, McGehee, Arkansas." The town is in the very southeastern part of the state just west of the Mississippi River. Dad described the trip writing, "(w)e left Alva yesterday morning at 10:00 A.M. (March 16) with a special train and 166 P.O.W.s. We delivered them to Jerome, Arkansas about noon and they brought our (railroad?) car back here to await transportation." According to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, a prisoner camp was there which, as of October, 1944, had become one to house Germans, though previously it had been used for the internment of Japanese Americans. It's hard to imagine they made so long at distance in two hours; perhaps he means they arrived at noon on the 17th. In addition to himself, two other officers and seventeen enlisted men as guards went on the trip. "This trip has been much nicer," he wrote on March 17,
as we have the same Pullman (car) both ways. Will wait here until 8:30 tonight at which time a regular passenger train will pick up the car and will take us to Little Rock. We lay over there until 2:00 P.M. tomorrow and will get into Alva Monday evening. It is like having (a) rolling hotel room. No messing around with baggage or changing trains and it is a very easy trip. Now that the prisoners have been delivered there is nothing to do until we get back.

In his March 19 letter, Dad recalled they did indeed leave McGehee at 8:30 PM on the 17th and arrived in Little Rock around midnight. Their car was put on a siding, and Dad didn't wake up until 8:00 AM on Sunday. They didn't leave Little Rock until 3:30 PM, thinking they would go to Wichita. However,
(a) freight train had had a wreck ahead of us and it was necessary to travel over the Frisco Lines (we were on the Missouri Pacific) and were four hours late getting into Grand Junction. We thought that we were going to have to wait until 3:00 A.M. tomorrow morning even to get out of there. Instead they sent down a locomotive and hauled our car to Wichita where we made the same connections on the Santa Fe. There wasn't any time to spare and everything was swell. You would have thought we were very important people the way the railroads took care of us.

Doubtless, such trips were welcome opportunities to get away, but he was also probably glad to get them over. Among the documents I procured from the National Archives, one appears to confirm this trip. Written by Captain Slavens, the Adjutant at Alva, it has the following prisoners being transferred to Camp Dermott on March 16, 1945: Major Kurt Bettlewski, Captain Helmut von Gauerstadt, and 1st Lieutenant Martin Masberg.

Late-March brought a new twist to the matter of Captain Greenfield, the camp psychiatrist with whom Dad had had many run-ins. On March 26, Greenfield received orders transferring him to the Borden General Hospital "as a patient." This may not have been unusual, as Dad mentions at least two other officers being treated for physical problems. "It is felt," Dad surmised, "that Col. Richardson got completely fed-up with him and sent him down there for observation. I've heard him say several times that he thought he was mentally unbalanced." Dad concluded it was rather a "dirty trick," but "I suppose he had it coming." It was not expected for Greenfield to return to Alva, leaving the medical staff one officer short. Captain Baurichter was to go on two weeks leave beginning on March 28, which left Dad and Major Sewall the only medical officers left to do all the work. With regard to Greenfield, Dad's letters don't mention him again from this time until Dad left Alva in September. Thus, presumably Greenfield was gone for good.

Indeed the ensuing days were busy. On March 31, Dad commented, "Major Sewall does a great deal more than I thought he would and it is not too tough. We are O.D. every other night but since we are usually here anyway it doesn't make any particular difference." On April 3, Dad "had to go over to the compound and make a special examination of 250 Krauts. It's the extra stuff that really takes the time." Captain Baurichter came back from leave sometime in early-April, meaning O.D.s only occurred every third night.

In addition to his official duties, Dad also kept himse lf busy with his civilian dependents clinic. On Wednesday, April 4, he saw the pregnant wife of one of the enlisted men. His diagnosis was of a ruptured entopic (tubal) pregnancy, and he referred her to a local Alva physician, presumably an obstetrician. If I am reading Dad's handwriting correctly, the local doctor's name was Franesse. The diagnosis turned out to be correct, and Dad helped him in the resulting operation, which was performed on April 5 at the Alva Hospital. "They have a nice, new well-equipped little hospital and it was a pleasure to go down." he observed; "(i)t seemed almost like being a civilian again." Today the hospital is a museum.

On April 3, Dad was invited to Lieutenant Janssen's, the provost marshal, for dinner. The chaplain was also invited but couldn't go for some reason. After a "delicious steak" dinner, they spent the evening putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

They "had a rather good movie," Dad opined on April 17, "Molly and Me" with Monty Wooley and Gracie Fields that night. It appears from the dates of these films, they were getting first-run ones.

On April 18, the chaplain stopped into Dad's quarters, and they had "a little bull session." As mentioned before, there is no chaplain listed on the September, 1945 roster, and Dad never mentions this man's name. His only comments in terms of the man's personality were he "is very broad-minded and has a good sense of humor." Sometime before then, he, the chaplain, had gone to one of the compounds to talk to a group of Germans. "When he went into the room they all snapped to attention and he asked them to be seated," Dad recalled him saying. After a few minutes of conversation, one of the American guards came in and saw them in a seated posture. According to the chaplain, the guard blurted out, "Hey! You sons-of-bitches, stand up in the presence of an American officer." Both Dad and the chaplain got a kick out of his actions.

It was at this time, April, 1945, the aforementioned inspection visit took place, and the resulting report gives some insights into the camp's operation. Though much of what is related here comes from a report in which my father had no involvement, it still adds meaningful information which describes his year there in fuller terms. They noted little change had taken place in the physical aspects of the camp since the last visit on December 13-14, 1944, but two new guardhouses had been built. The report said the main purpose of the new towers was for "lighting the spaces between the fences which separate the non-commissioned officers' compound and the enlisted men's compound. This has been done to prevent the continuance of fence cutting at night." It went on to say the current prisoner population of the camp was "slightly less than that shown in the last report." When this visit took place, there were 465 officers, 2,505 non-commissioned officers and 1,292 enlisted men.

"The health of the camp has been excellent all winter," the report concluded; "(l)ess than one percent of the prisoners of war have succumbed to illness." No deaths had occurred since the camp was last visited in December, but "a prisoner of war at the Chickasha side camp had committed suicide on November 17 (of) last year." There were no "serious cases" among the 29 prisoner patients in the hospital when the visit took place. The report indicated serious cases were transferred to the Glennon General Hospital at Okmulgee, this borne out by some of Dad's comments in his letters home.

The latter portion of the report gives some interesting detail into the camp's operation. In a section entitled "Discipline," Goetz and Turner note there were no courts martial since the last visit in December. However, he went on,
two are pending, those of Max Wolff and Franz Helm who escaped over a year ago and stole an automobile. These prisoners are now at Tonkawaka but will be brought back for trial which will come up in May. These prisoners have been the source of much trouble to the Camp Commander and the security officers because they went into hiding within the camp shortly after their sentence (sic) last summer and before they could be sent on to Leavenworth. It was only on the Third of March (1945) that the prisoner Wolff was finally found in a tunnel located under one of the buildings in the officers' compound. Another incident described in the report related to the beating of one prisoner by some others "for listening to a radio." Though the report didn't say why the prisoners would do such a thing simply because the man was listening to the radio, it did indicate the incident "will probably lead to a court martial." The incident was being investigated, the report said, and if the actions were repeated, the camp commander would remove all radios from the compound. My guess is it was not so much the man was listening as it was what he was listening to. Goetz and Turner also reported in April, 1945 "all plaques, swastikas and other political emblems have been removed from the compounds" because prisoners had stolen metal in order to make them." Photographs of national leaders had also been removed though this was not the case with personal photographs. When the April visit took place "26 prisoners, including two officers, were in the guard house for minor offenses." Despite all of this, the report concluded "the morale of the camp has greatly improved since the transfer of Colonel Paul Konrad, ace troublemaker, and certain of his colleagues. The appointment of a new spokesman for the officers' compound has also helped." The German listed in the Goetz-Turner report as the camp spokesman was Colonel Joseph Irkens. This may be another one of my many long-shots, but a book entitled Rommel's Desert Commanders by Samuel W. Mitcham lists a Colonel Joseph Irkens and identifies him as "the last commander of the 8th Panzer regiment."

In their "Observations," Goetz and Turner concluded the improved morale in the camp was attributable to the new camp commander's changes in "an unusually troublesome camp." This would seem somewhat of a slight against the previous commander and refuted Dad's suspicions about change. This resulted from both specific policy changes and the removal of "ring-leaders" of difficulty among the prisoners. Still, problems remained, and the camp commander and other personnel were "under an unusual amount of strain which has had its effect upon the atmosphere of the entire camp." Adding to the administrative difficulties was the inability of the camp commander to obtain an Assistant Executive Officer to carry out a "reorientation program." Though I'm not sure to which position they're referring, according to the 1944 roster, the camp's executive officer was a Major H. C. Trembly, and on the 1945, one it was Major Elmer H. Gibson.

On April 20, Dad made some confusing comments about quarters telling a little about staffing and quarters. I'll allow him to explain it in his own words.
We have our rooms back in the hospital again, and it was rather peculiar the way we got them. The nurses' quarters are vacant now that we don't have any nurses. The building is air-conditioned and Colonel Richardson has had his eye on it for some time. He wants to use it for himself and the other officers who don't have their families here. If he could dispose of the medical department there would be just about enough room for the remaining. In order to get it accomplished he gave us authority to come back over here and everything is settled. It will be a good deal for all of us now that the dog in the manger got a bone of his own.

This can be interpreted to mean Dad and the other doctors were consequently living in air-conditioned quarters. Also, it appears from this the nursing staff had been discontinued by this time, though how long the nurses had been gone cannot at this point be determined. Neither the Goetz-Turner report nor the 1945 roster listed any officer nurses.

Going back to the issue of supplies, Dad reported in his April 21 letter cigarettes becoming scarce, and effective May 1 they would be rationed. "We don't know yet how many we are going to be allowed," he explained to our mother, "but they are going to give the (ration) cards out Monday. I'm going to get one for you and think I will probably be able to keep you in cigarettes on about the same quantity as in the past." His April 27 letter, however, said he had been unable to get a card for her. Two packages a day was the limit they could buy, he added. Also, the selection of brands was not broad. He had also alluded in earlier letters to Kleenex being harder to buy. The candy he had been sending back to his kids, he concluded, "isn't very good quality."

April 20, 1945 was Hitler's fifty-six birthday, and his last, though no one knew it at the time. This and other German national holidays were often the impetus behind activity among the prisoners. Dad reported there was no trouble. "Some of them got off in a corner and sang 'Deutschland Uber Alles' and I heard a few 'Heil Hitlers' in the distance," he recalled, "but everything else was under control."

At 6:30 on the evening of April 23, Dad was called over to the hospital, because they had found a dead German. "He was dead on admission," Dad noted the following day, "and we spent the rest of the evening making the necessary investigations and doing an autopsy." There was, he went on, no evidence of foul play, and the man appeared to have died of natural causes.

Late April and early May appears to have been another busy time in the hospital. "My desk is piled so high with files, regulations and other papers that I can hardly see over it," he complained on April 25. An afternoon spent with an inspector from the 8th Service Command Headquarters that day related to a new round of examinations of all of the American personnel being planned. This had been done in December and January, Dad went on, "but they have some new ideas regarding classification." Adding to Dad's work and responsibilities, Major Sewall was at the Glennon Hospital for an unspecified time and didn't arrive back in Alva until May 1. Dad didn't necessarily mind the extra work but didn't want to take the responsibility of making decisions in Sewall's stead. "He is bull-headed," Dad concluded, "and has very little experience." On May 4, Dad reported a German with a broken leg coming in.

Also, in late-April, the entire camp was put under a general alert. Though he didn't write specifically when it started, nothing was mentioned about it in his April 27 letter but was in the one for the following day. Thus, its announcement can be narrowed to this small window. Also, in his April 30 letter, Dad mentions a pot-luck party on Saturday, April 28. They had their meal, but "(d)ue to the alert the party broke up at nine." Thus, we can make a tentative guess the alert began at 9:00 PM on Saturday, April 28. Though he didn't know the exact reason for the alert, "(t)he prisoners were told this afternoon that they can no longer use the Nazi salute, exhibit any Nazi emblems or pictures of any of their leaders." Dad surmised it was a precautionary measure, with the European phase of the war so near its end. The reader will recall the Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945, just nine days after Dad mailed his April 28 letter. The alert was lifted at noon on April 30, and any restrictions on the American personnel were ended. "The prisoners apparently have decided that it is better to obey regulations than live on bread and water," Dad speculated. He went on to write "I think most of them are getting a bit fed-up with their own petty gestapo and being told what they can do."

There was a dance at the club on Saturday, May 5, and Dad took calls so Captain Baurichter could go. "I am told that it was a rather loud affair," Dad recounted secondhand the following day, a Sunday, "and the Colonel began laying down the rules of conduct this morning for the future," this appearing to indicate the attendees must have gotten rather tanked up. There was a good turnout at church the Sunday Dad wrote, though it probably had nothing to do with the party. "More of the officers go now and the enlisted men follow suit. The chaplain is a wonderful man in every respect and it seems a shame that he isn't better supported." Again, it would be wonderful if the identity of this man could someday be tacked down.

The day after Dad sent the Sunday letter, the Germans surrendered, and the war in Europe was over. May 8 was declared to be V-E Day. In his May 7 letter, he makes surprisingly little reference to the event. After writing of playing softball and the occurrence of a thunder storm during the movie, he declared, "the news is wonderful and we are all looking forward to the proclamation of V-E Day tomorrow. It has been a long time in coming and will be very welcome." He recalled in his April 8 letter they had listened to President Truman's speech on the radio, though he had mentioned nothing of President Roosevelt's death in mid-April.

On April 8, Dad reported the Chief of the Surgical Service from the Borden General Hospital in Chickasha came to the camp, and "he saw all (of) our surgical cases." Dad was quite busy and didn't get a chance too see him a great deal. "He appeared to be a rather nice chap," he commented, "and helped Capt. Baurichter out a great deal." Dad went on to say someone from that hospital came up to the camp each month "and it makes it much easier for us."

The movie on May 10 was Without Love with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.

On May 10, Dad reported the personnel officer, Captain Howe, was in Dallas attending a conference related to a new point system that had been announced for determining which people would be discharged from the service as the war was winding down. Howe was due back May 13 with details of how the program was to work. "There is a question," Dad pointed out, "as to whether it applies to officers and even more questions regarding medical officers." With the exceptions of some highly-trained personnel, enlisted men who had accumulated 85 points were eligible for discharge, he explained. He figured, based on what he knew at the time, he had 123 points. But, again, it was still up in the air as to whether this new discharge policy applied to officers.

Sometime around mid-May, a new regulation came down regarding cigarettes. Effective June 1, Dad explained, they were to be issued new ration cards allowing them six packs a week. Civilian dependents would also get cards, but he explained in the May 16 letter he didn't know if he could get one for our mother. In his May 31 letter, he admitted he could indeed not get a card for her, so he decided to start smoking a pipe and save his cigarettes for her. "I have about thirty packages on hand," he explained, "and a pound of tobacco so we ought to manage in good shape."

As usual, the movie fare in mid-May included some good and some not so good films. On May 15, it was Enchanted Cottage with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young, "a little screwy," Dad felt, but he seemed to like it. "Tonight we are going to see the great master-piece of all time, 'Salome, Where She Danced,'" Dad indicated with obvious sarcasm on May 20. "Life magazine reports that it is so silly that it turns out to be rather good entertainment. My hopes aren't very high and I probably won't be disappointed." The film starred Yvonne De Carlo and Rod Cameron.

On Monday, May 21, Dad was to accompany four prisoner patients to Glennon General Hospital. He mentioned in his May 18 letter he would come back the following Tuesday. As Major Sewall had taken the last group down, now it was Dad's turn. "It isn't bad when we can go in a staff car," he added, "but the ambulance isn't too good." One could thus speculate on whether or not this was the normal means through which prisoners were delivered there and elsewhere. Before he left, however, it was necessary to get enough work done so when he returned from the two-day trip he would not be swamped. He later reported leaving about 8:30 AM on Monday, May 21 and getting to Glennon at 3:00 in the afternoon. "Delivered the patients and then came back into Tulsa," he remarked. He stayed in the Adams Hotel there. He then informed Mom he was going to leave Tulsa about 10:30 AM the next morning and mentioned later he had gotten back to the camp around 5:00 PM the next day, May 22. He reported after the fact that "(i)t was a rather hard trip in an uncomfortable ambulance and (that he) was a bit tired around the posterior."

Before he left for Glennon Hospital, Dad recounted a humorous anecdote to our mother in his May 20 letter I will allow him to relate in his own words.
On of the American enlisted men who is a patient in the hospital has been considered as a gold-bricker for some time. He told me that he had had an ear infection about two years ago and couldn't hear with his right ear. I tried him out with various tuning forks and he could (sic?, couldn't) hear any of them. The whole thing looked very fishy so I decided to try him out with low conversational speech at a distance of twenty feet. I asked him to repeat numbers after me and received no response. Finally using the same tone of voice I asked him if he could hear me and he said "No". I hustled him out of the room in a hurry, so that I wouldn't split something trying to keep from laughing. As you can imagine he isn't going to get much sympathy from now on.

On Sunday, May 27, Dad had dinner with Lieutenant Wolf, the veterinarian. Once again, the 1945 roster identifies him as Captain Wolf, and, as we will see, he was indeed promoted. Dad consistently spelled it Wolfe, though the spelling in the roster was Wolf. The meal consisted of fried chicken and fresh peas. Wolf and his wife apparently had a 10-month old daughter, and "she is very sweet," he commented.

In the May 27 letter, Dad made some interesting comments about the kind of air-conditioning they had. That Sunday was evidently especially hot. "The air-conditioners are going full blast," he wrote, "and it isn't too bad in here." When he says "here," it can be only assumed he means in his quarters, though he doesn't specifically say where he was writing the letter. However, in his June 29 letter he does say "(t)he whole hospital is air-conditioned." A July 24 letter states the officers' club was also air conditioned. "This type of air-conditioning," he explained, "consists of a fan that draws air through a dampened screen. The evaporation of the water reduces the temperature quite a bit but obviously raises the humidity." Thus, it worked best when the weather was hot and dry. "At least it does some good," he concluded. The theater was not air-conditioned, so it "is going to be very hot tonight so I may only stay for the news reel and comedy. That is another place that really needs an air-conditioner."

For the first time, on May 23 Dad speculated on the Germans' fate and thus the camp's, the war in Europe being over. "We are all of the opinion," he said then, "that the prisoners are going back to Germany in the not too far distant future but it is anybody's guess when this particular camp closes." Four days afterward, on the 27th, he noted, "rumors are flowing thick and fast" about the camp's fate. "There seems to be well-founded information," he went on, "one (camp) not far from here is closing in a couple of weeks." He repeated this speculation again on June 8 and hoped the medical officers might be considered "not quite so critical."

As June, 1945 commenced, Dad seemed to enter a slow period. His letters mainly talk about playing softball and reading. June 3 was "a very dull day and (I) read most of the afternoon." He went on to explain, "(t)here are very few patients in the hospital and it is the paper work that takes up the time." It would make sense few patients would be there, the camp being so close to closure.

With the war over and the fate of the camp in doubt, he evidently began to think about requesting a transfer. Colonel Richardson was in the hospital on June 8 and suggested to Dad it might be a good time to request one. Dad wrote it out then and "laid it on pretty heavy." It wouldn't happen, though.

He also decided to ask for a leave in July, but it was open to question when he could take it depending on who else had requested leave. Major Sewall's father died sometime in late-May to early-June, and they thought he might take a leave to go to the funeral. He decided, however, to take his leave when he had originally planned, around June 20th. According to Dad's June 8 letter, Captain Berry, the camp dentist, was also on leave. His June 20 letter indicated Major Sewall would be on leave from roughly June 30 to July 16. At this point, Dad was planning his leave for about July 18, though as the reader will see shortly, circumstances would change things. In a June 23 letter, he mentioned Sewall actually left that day and "was fortunate enough to get a plane to New York City."

On Wednesday, June 13, as Dad was leaving the hospital, Lieutenant Wolf called to invite him down for the evening. Wolf's sister and he wanted Dad to enjoy some homemade ice-cream. Her husband was the regional manager in Texas and Oklahoma for Sharp and Dohrne Chemical Company, and, odd as it made sound, he "carries a gallon ice cream freezer with him wherever he goes and it seems to be a custom." Dad and Wolfe had also planned to go to Fort Reno, near Oklahoma City, to a horse show. "It is an old cavalry post," Dad described, "and now a remount station. I haven't the slightest idea what it is going to be like." Colonel Richardson was going along too but changed his mind. They evidently had government transportation to the event.

Dad's June 23 letter reported some problems with the prisoners regarding food. "The Krauts are complaining a great deal about the lack of food," he commented critically.
At first I thought it was only the transition from too much food to too little but there is a very apparent general weight loss (among the prisoners). Of course things will never get as bad as it was for our boys in German prison camps, but they now know how well off they were at the time. The call us cowards behind our backs because we waited until V-E Day to put the new program into effect. Sometimes I think they are not far from the truth.

In late-June came the opportunity, ultimately successful, for Dad to not only get away from the camp but also to see his family. His June 25 letter reported two German prisoners were to be transferred to Mason General Hospital in Brentwood, Long Island. Dad's family was living in upstate New York at that time. He was to transport the prisoners there by train and take ten days leave during the same time. "This will be my leave," he expressed gleefully, "and Uncle Sam will pay the transportation." The transportation officer called him on June 27 to say he was trying to arrange the reservations for July 7. Though Dad doesn't mention his name, the transportation officer listed on the September, 1945 roster was Captain Edward G. Dechant, CMP, whose primary duty was as quartermaster. Dad does mention the name in a later letter, though. He was not listed in the 1944 roster. On July 2, Dad reported more firm plans for this trip. He was to leave at 8:04 PM on Saturday, July 7 and arrived in New York, via Chicago, at about 4:00 PM on Monday, July 9. He would deliver the prisoners to Brentwood and then be with his family in Addison, New York on Tuesday morning. The trip concluded, he arrived back at the camp on July 22. Nothing was mentioned in that day's letter to our mother about the trip or the prisoners whom he was delivering, doubtless because he had told her about the trip when was home and saw no need to repeat it in this letter.

The day before he left for New York, Dad mentioned "two rather large groups of P.O.W.s (are) scheduled to leave this camp in the next few days but I don't know what is in the wind." He felt they were going to be shipped back to Germany rather than to another camp. This would make sense, the war being over by then.

The movie on Thursday, June 28 was Wonder Man with Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo. "It was completely impossible," he critiqued, "but funny and good entertainment."

On June 29, he reported Captain Baurichter was to leave for Fort Sam Houston the following day and would be gone until Thursday, July 5. Dad expected to be rather busy until he returned.

By late-June, Dad's request for a transfer had not been returned, which he took to be a positive sign. If it were going to be denied, it would probably have happened relatively quickly, he doubtless assumed. Given the war's end in Europe, many servicemen were probably hopeful about separation from the military relatively soon. Apparently referring to medical officers, Dad indicated, "(t)he Surgeon General has stated that between 2000 and 3000 will be returned to civilian life by the end of the year. The first priority will be given to those 50 years of age and the rest will go out under the point system." At the time, Dad would have been thirty-five years old. His first letter after arrival back in Alva from the New York trip did, however, give the bad news. His request for a transfer had been denied, the reason given being, the adjutant told him, the lack of a replacement. He told our mother she needn't be too disappointed, as he would probably be out of the service in four or five months, anyway.

In late-July, they were once again short-staffed, and thus busy, as Dad and Major Sewall were the only ones there. Captain Baurichter had gone down to Borden General Hospital as a patient due to eye problems. Lieutenant Wolf was also there, he to be operated on for a cyst in his mouth. Captain Laughlin was escorting "another P.O.W. 'nut' to New York and (to) see his family in Philadelphia." The New York reference makes me wonder if this was the Brentwood, Long Island facility he's mentioned before. This meant Dad would be working harder and thus be tired when he got off. "We have eighty patients in the hospital," he explained on July 27, "and I'm seeing a large number of civilian dependents that is an accumulation from my time on leave." Four days later on July 31, he exclaimed, "(o)ur big thing now is discharging eligible enlisted men and getting the sufficiently able-bodied ones overseas." Needless to say, this was leaving the camp short of personnel. He still had no concrete idea as to what was going to happen to the camp.

He had good news to report in his August 2 letter to his wife, however. Captain Howe, the personnel officer, showed him a letter from Washington indicating "all Medical Officers with an Adjusted Service Rating (Points) over 120 would be immediately reported as excess to the Army. My 122 puts me in this class and am so being reported today." Howe indicated to Dad he might go to the Separation Center before the end of August.

Dad was invited to Lieutenant Baumgartner's to have dinner and spend the day with his family on August 5. Baumgartner, again, was the Assistant Executive Officer. "It was good to get away from camp for a while," he lamented the following day "and have a home-cooked meal." This appears to imply Baumgartner was living off post then. In the evening, they came back out to the post and saw Her Highness and the Bell Boy, starring Hedy Lamarr and Robert Walker. It was "better than average," he commented and enjoyed it despite the hot theater.

On Tuesday evening, August 7, an inspector general team arrived, "and they have been bothering us constantly since, sticking their noses into all the corners." In addition, a psychiatrist was there on temporary duty, "and we are profiling the men for what I hope is the last time for me." This psychiatrist must have replaced Greenfield, at least on a temporary basis.

He mailed a letter to our mother on V-J Day, August 15, 1945. This would have been the day after the Japanese surrendered. The following, somewhat subdued, represents his activities as a result.
Last evening Lt Wolfe invited me down for dinner and just as the bus was pulling out the news was broadcast. By the time I got down town all the horns and whistles were blowing and everyone beginning to celebrate. They don't do any drinking and about 9:30 I came back to camp cold sober. I had one drink in the club and then started for the hospital to go to bed. In the process I was waylaid by Capt DeChant (Quartermaster) and along with four other officers taken to his apartment against my will. We sat around and drank beer until about one-thirty and then came back to camp. All the rest had been drinking all evening but I didn't try to catch up. The dinner date was very fortunate because I got a good meal and didn't have a hang-over this morning
Dad's letters have contained relatively little regarding the official goings on in the camp since around June. Things were probably on the slow side anyway, and he was doubtless preoccupied with the end of the war and his impending separation from the service. However, this limits the amount of information we can glean from his letters about the camp. Very little has been mentioned about the Germans during this time compared to the relatively large number of anecdotes mentioned earlier. And, much of what he does mention is essentially social in nature. Thus, we must be careful about assuming nothing was happening with them simply because they are not mentioned in his letters. As any historian knows, you are always the captive of the sources you have. If anything big had happened, though, I'm sure Dad would have mentioned it.

On the morning of August 19, Lieutenant Thurow took "four of us" down to Woodward, Oklahoma to see a rodeo. Relying on the September, 1945 camp roster, this is in reference to Harold F. Thurow, 1ST Lieutenant, AUS, who was the intelligence officer. Thurow was not on the 1944 roster. "We got there an hour early," Dad recalled of the trip, "but even at that there were no box seats or grandstand seats. We sat in the bleachers near the chutes and had a very good view of the whole show." They saw the typical fare of rodeo events.

With the war over and the camp's closing a near certainly, they once again began to get busy. "I thought," Dad ruminated on August 24, "when we got all of our own enlisted men examined that we would be through with mass examinations. Now we are examining all of the P.O.W.s (about 3500) in order to determine what kind of duty they can perform." He went on to say it had to be done by the following week and was going to be "quite a job."

Evidently Mom had read something in the news media about the Army being short of doctors and had thus become concerned. Dad sought to quash the idea and reassure her he would probably be getting out of the service in due time. He used this as an opportunity to express his feelings on the use of medical officers during the war. "The waste of medical officers will be one of the big disgraces of this war," he concluded, and it would be interesting to know what he meant specifically. To reassure her, he mentioned he had been "declared excess and (I) don't see why my separation should be held up."

"Saturday was a big night in Alva," Dad remarked on August 27, the following Monday,
There was a party at the Officers' Club and I went for a change. I don't suppose I can really say that I went to the party. I happened to be there when it started and it moved in on me. About six o'clock Major Sewell (sic) and I began drinking highballs and when the people began to arrive we were well on the way. Things were going so good that we decided that we might as well continue. It was a good thing that nothing happened in the way of sickness, etc. because we were neither in any shape to take care of an emergency. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of my being tight because it was their first opportunity to see it. Incidentally it will be the last. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the Baugartners (sic) for dinner and then came out to the show. I'm ready to settle down to my formerly quite existence.

Sometime in late-August, Lieutenant Wolf, the veterinarian, finally received the aforementioned promotion to captain. He must have been waiting for it for some time, because Dad wrote, "he was becoming very discouraged." About then, Dad went with Wolf and his family to another rodeo, this one at a county fair in Hardtner, a small town just across the state line in Kansas. In detailed letters to two of his children, he described the events at the rodeo very nicely.

At about 6:30 PM on Tuesday, September 4, the colonel called an alert, Dad wrote the following day, "because there was some trouble brewing in the (P.O.W.) officers' compound." Though he doesn't give any details on what the threat was, Dad simply revealed, "in order to forestall any incidents they took out 150 of the ones they suspected and moved them to an unused compound." If I understand what he wrote in his September 5 letter, they had to set up a dispensary, got kitchens opened, etc. in order to accommodate them in their new compound. "Nothing happened," Dad concluded, "and everything is under control."

The day before, Monday, September 3, Major Sewall "left to take three prisoner patients to Camp Forrest, Tenn." This left Dad the only medical officer in the camp. He had been "going pretty steady" as far as the work was concerned as a result of the periodic absences and would have an easier time of it when Sewall returned even though the latter "doesn't kill himself working."

Dad reported the good news about his impending separation from the service in his September 6 letter. "It won't be long before I will be home with you," he expected. The Service Command needed some additional information on him, and then they would contact the separation center, "and then the orders will be published." He hoped to receive them by the middle of the following week. If his replacement didn't come soon enough, Dad feared, he may have to wait until Major Sewall was back, which, he said, was September 14. In any case, he expected to be home within two weeks. His separation center, he predicted, would be Fort Dix, New Jersey, which proved to be the case. His orders arrived Friday, September 14, and he was to report to Fort Dix on September 26. His replacement was 1ST Lieutenant Richard D. Day, Jr., who arrived September 13 and is listed on the September, 1945 roster. The camp would close soon, so his tour there would be quite brief. Major Sewall got back to the camp on September 14, which would take a little of the pressure off regarding staffing in the hospital.

At the camp, "(t)hings have been going hot and heavy here for the past few days," Dad explained on September 14, this relating to its shutting down. "They received instructions that this camp will close on Sept. 30th and we are frantically trying to get things in order to accomplish it." As of Monday, September 17, Dad reported, only about 1500 prisoners would be left in the camp, and "the rest will go out soon."

It appears from a second September 14 letter Dad mailed later in the day, he would leave on Monday, September 17, 1945. "I will get the early evening train," he wrote, "and will be in Addison (New York) sometime Wednesday." This would give him a week at home with his family before reporting to New Jersey for separation. Thus ended very anticlimactically Dad's year in Alva. Nothing in his last letters from Alva exhibited any reflection nor hesitation regarding his stay there. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII's Gruber POW Camp

Vol 6, Iss 36 Ft. Gruber, Oklahoma - "My deceased wife's father was a guard at the Gruber POW Camp. The POW's did lots of rock work at the camp and some of it still stands. I was looking for information on this camp and found this site." -- Norman D. Emerson

[Editor's Note: Norman did not leave an Email address in our OkieLegacy Guestbook. Would love to hear more about WWII's POW camps in Oklahoma, other than the one we had in Alva.] View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Alva POW Camp Artist

Vol 5, Iss 13 Novosibirsk, Russia - "Dear Folks, I'm not sure who will read this, but here goes. My name is Diana Glasgow and all my great-grandparents pioneered in Woods County.

I happen to be teaching this year at Novosibirsk State University, in Novosibirsk, Russia. Being homesick (and it's been a long winter here in Siberia) I sometimes sit and surf the internet. Today I typed in 'Dacoma, Oklahoma' and came up with your website and information about the POW Camp south of Alva.

I was interested because I lived in Legion Heights, a veterans housing addition south of Alva, as a little girl (after WWII) and played with the sight of the old guard tower always in view.

A few years ago I was coming home to visit my mother (Dana Glasgow, daughter of Earl and Gladys, granddaughter of Orville and Matie Belle Glasgow) in Arkansas City, Kansas and was picked up at the Wichita Airport by Lawrence Kinney.

My own father was actually Clenard McArthur Tate of Capron and Alva, but he was killed in combat in WWII just a month before I was born. I have many of his letters home and have visited his battlefield sites with a group of his 'brothers-in-arms' from the 99th Infantry Division.

I had just come back from this European trip and was talking to Lawrence Kinney about it on the drive home. I had known Lawrence since childhood as he was the Allis Chalmers blockman for Alva.

Anyway, Lawrence started telling me about his own experiences in WWII. He fought in the same area as my dad (the Belgian Ardennes) and was taken prisoner early in the Battle of the Bulge. So he was in a Nazi POW camp until the summer of 1945, when he was sent home to Alva, still on active duty.

He was placed as a guard at the Alva POW camp! And now we're getting down to the solution of the mystery.

Lawrence took me home and showed me his own collection of WWII memorabilia, including letters home and ... you guessed it, paintings done by a German POW at the Alva Camp! Only these paintings had a signature on them, and Lawrence had managed to locate the living man, now living in Germany and a renowned artist and sculptor! I don't believe they ever actually met, but they exchanged letters and phone calls.

Their mutual experiences as POW's had created the possibility for a kind of bond. Lawrence had pulled the paintings from a pile of debris that was about to be burned during the cleanup of the POW camp at Alva after it was closed.

I know for sure that Lawrence's widow, Lois, still has some of the paintings, the German artist's name and address in Germany, etc. I think it would be very interesting to contact him, if he is still alive, as he speaks English and could contribute his own stories to your website and talk to the owners of the house who want to create a beer garden. Oh, wonders of the internet." -- Diana Glasgow - Email: DianaGlasgow@aol.com

Editor's Note: Diana gave me Lois Kinney's address. If you are truly interested in contacting her concerning the paintings done by German POW at the Alva Camp, please Email me and I will see about forwarding the address to those truly interested. Thanks! -- LK Wagner View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


WWII - Alva POW Camp Escapees...

Vol 8, Iss 7 The Geneva Convention on escaping POW's was accepted as the duty of POW's to escape and was not a crime. The only punishment was slight unless some real crime was committed during the escape. Maximum penalty was 30 days in solitary confinement, bread and water, but at Alva it was 8 days. Recaptured POW's were confined in the guard house that stood between the POW compounds and the hospital. For committing a real crime, POW's were sentence to the federal prison. At the end of WWII there were 162 POW's in those establishments. It was unknown if any came from the Alva POW camp. Some crimes warranted execution and some were executed. Mainly those POW's from the Tonkawa Camp.

POW's not recaptured until after the war and other POW repatriated could only look forward to being deported as undocumented aliens. Oklahoma Newspapers accounted for approximately 21 escapes from the Alva Camp and there were probably more. None were free for long. Some got as far as New Mexico, Kansas City and at the US border patrol at the Rio Grande.

The first escape was by Karl Heinz Zigann and Heinz Aulenbacher, April 1944. They were recaptured three days later in Emporia, Kansas. Max Wolff and Franz Holm escaped that Spring and were recaptured in New Mexico. Three more escaped a week later and were caught in Wellington, Kansas. Werner Wolf and Heinz Roth escaped May 20, 1944 and were recaptured in Kansas City.

Five POW's escaped on July 4, 1944. Burgmann von Schwinicher, Heinz Homme, Eberhard Wilms, Karl Heinz Zigann (2nd time), and Max Wolff (2nd time). Escapes by POW's continued later that Summer with Paul Jahn and Heinz Schutz. On January 20, 1945, Georg Hornauf, Otto Kanich, Anton Sheffer, Fritz Pueschel, and Erich Wolf escaped.

Usually, the fence was cut, climbed over, or the POW's just walked away from work detail. A long tunnel that led under the fence was discovered before it was used. The POW's scurried out of it when the tunnel was threatened with flooding by the guards. There were no theatrical type escapes like in the movies at the Alva camp.

Jack Martin is quoted as saying, "A POW dug a hole under the building and equipped it with comforts of home, including a supply of homebrewed applejack. He would mingle with the other POW's during the day and hide in the hole at night. When he missed roll call, a search was made. No sign of him could be found outside of camp. It was decided that he was hiding somewhere in the compound. The guards found a POW who agreed to point him out to them, if he could do it from a guard tower while wearing an America uniform and be transferred away immediately."

The son (Michael Wolf - Email: MichaelWolf5@gmx.de) of Werner Wolf Adds This Message... "I just would like to correct one or two little details. My father Werner Wolf was POW in Camp Alva after having surrendered as officer of the Afrika Korps (10. Panzer division) in Tunesia 1943. Indeed he managed to escape, as is mentioned in your article, but he was not recaptured in Kansas City but in a little town just before he attempted to cross the border towards Mexico (he had the idea to reach Argentine in order to search for a possibility to get back to Germany). My father re-entered the german army in postwar 1955 as Major and ended his military career as Colonel at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels 1971 (where I used to go to school). Werner Wolf died in 1973. I would like to add that as far as I know the POWs of Camp Alva, weren't all Nazi's and hard core sympathizers. Instead, it might be true that the camp exclusively contained officers of the Wehrmacht."

A small cemetery at the camp for the dead POW's was located on the westside of Washington Avenue and south of the last fence of compounds. After the war the dead were permanently buried in the Post Cemetery at Ft. Reno. It holds 66 POW's (German and Italian) as well as two German aliens who died in one of the Oklahoma alien interment camps. Not all buried at Ft. Reno died in Oklahoma camps, but were moved from POW camps in nearby states.

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World War II 1942-1945 & POW Camps

Vol 17, Iss 2 Oklahoma - Prisoner of War Camps in Oklahoma dot Oklahoma in WWII. In November 15, 1987 Article in the Daily Oklahoman It shows a map of Oklahoma with the location of some POW and Interment Camp Headquarters dotted across the state of Oklahoma during World War II.

The following is a list that was published in "The Chronicles of Oklahoma" Spring 1986 as part of an article authored by Richard S. Warner. Following are the various camps, dates they were in operation and the maximum number of aliens or prisoners held there.

Alien Interment Camps
Fort Sill - March 1942 to late Spring 1943 - 700 POWs
McAlester - May 1942 to May 1943 - 4800 POWs
Stringtown - March 1942 to June 1943 - 500 POWs

POW (Prisoner of War) Camps in Oklahoma
Alva - July 1943 to November 1945; 4,850.

Ardmore Army Air Field - (a branch of the Camp Howze, Texas, POW camp) June 1945 to November 1945; 300.

Bixby - (a branch of Camp Gruber) April 1944 to December 1945; 210.

Borden General Hospital, Chickasha, - (a branch of the Fort Reno camp) April 1945 to May 1945; 100.

Caddo - (a work camp out of Stringtown) opened July 1943; 60.

Camp Gruber - May 1943 to May 1946; 4,702.

Chickasha - (1st a branch of the Alva camp and later of the Fort Reno camp) November 1944 to November 1945; 400.

Eufaula - date and number of prisoners unknown.

Fort Reno - July 1943 to April 1946; 1,523.

Fort Sill - February 1944 to July 1946; 1,834. Fort Sill was used for POWs a short time before being converted to a Military Stockade.

Glennan General Hospital, Okmulgee - (a branch of Camp Gruber) August 1944 to July 1945; no totals listed.

Haskell - (a branch of Camp Gruber) December 1943 to December 1945; 275.

Hickory - (a branch of the Camp Howze, Texas, camp) May to June 1944; 13.

Hobart - (a branch of the Fort Sill camp) October 1944 to the fall of 1945; 286.

Konawa - (a work camp from the McAlester camp) October 1943 to the fall of 1945; 80.

Madill Provisional Internment Camp Headquarters. This office opened in 1944 and was the administrative headquarters for several camps in the area, including the ones at Powell and Tishomingo. No prisoners were confined at Madill.

McAlester - June 1943 to November 1945, 3,000.

Morris - (1st a work camp from McAlester and later a branch of Camp Gruber) November 1944 to November 1945; 40.

Okemah - (a branch of Camp Gruber) November 1944 to November 1945; 130.

Okmulgee - (originally a branch of Alva and later a branch of Camp Gruber) August 1944 to January 1946; 300.

Pauls Valley - (a mobile work camp from Camp Chaffee, Ark.) July 1944 to October, 1944; 270.

Porter - (a branch of Camp Gruber) September 1944 to November 1945; no totals listed.

Powell - (originally a branch of the Madill Provisional Internment Camp Headquarters, it late became a branch of Camp Howze, Texas, camp) April 1943 to September 1944; 600.

Pryor November 1944 to March 1945; no numbers listed. The camp held non-commissioned officers and their aides. It was closed because of its proximity to an explosives plant.

Sallisaw - (probably a mobile camp from Camp Chaffee, Ark.) no dates or numbers listed.

Seminole - (a work camp from McAlester) November 1943 to June 1945; 50.

Stilwell - (a work camp for Camp Chaffee) June 1944 to July 1944; 200.

Stringtown - July 1943 to January 1944; 500.

Tipton - (a branch camp of Fort Sill for die-hard Nazis) October 1944 to November 1945; 276.

Tishomingo - (originally a branch of the Madill Provisional Internment Camp Headquarters and later a branch of Camp Howze, Texas) April 1943 to June 1944; 301.

Tonkawa - (originally a base camp but changed to a branch of Alva camp) August 1943 to September 1945; 3,280.

Waynoka - (a branch of the Alva Camp) August 1944 to September 1945; 100. prisoners would ice down rail cars north of Waynoka for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Wetumka - (a branch of the Camp Gruber) August 1944 to November 1945; 401.

Wewoka - (a work camp from McAlester) opened in October 1943 but no closing date listed; 40.

Will Rogers - (a branch of the Fort Reno camp) May 1945 to March 1946; 225.
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Trinidad Colorado WWII POW Camp

Vol 16, Iss 31 America - Back during World War II, 1943, if your grandparents or elders could tell you the story of German prisoners boarding a train in Boston, Massachusetts, only to be headed inland to Prisoner of War (POW) camps in the heartlands of America. More than 378,000 German prisoners would embark on similar trips in the U.S. during WWII.

We were initially going to explore the POW camp at Trinidad, Colorado, but thought perhaps we would refresh your memories of the POW camps across America's South and Southwest. Yes! Similar scenes occurred that year (1943) in dozens of small communities throughout the American South and Southwest.

Enemy POW's would eventually fill more than 900 camps in 46 states, plus Alaska. According to official count, these installations would house no fewer than 435,788 men who had fought the Allies, the vast majority from the German military. There were also 51,455 Italians and 5,435 Japanese held in the United States, but the Americans and British confronted and thus captured far more Germans on the battlefields of North Africa, Italy and Western Europe.

This was the first time that a substantial number of foreign POWs were held on American soil. During World War I, only 1,346 German POWs, mostly sailors, had been interned here. As of August 1942, only 65 German prisoners were being held in the United States.

The United States was completely unprepared to deal with POWs on this large scale. The nation was gearing up its war industry, training troops, officials had to figure out how to house, feed, and secure incoming POWs. It was under a crash program launched by the army's Prisoner of War Division in September 1942, parts of existing army installations were converted, enemy alien interment camps appropriated, Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camps rehabilitated, and new facilities built from scratch. By 1943, housing was ready at 33 camps for some 78,000 prisoners.

The camp construction, operation adhered strictly to Geneva Convention specifications. The main 155 camps, housing three thousand or so prisoners, were established in the South and Southwest, dry, mild climates where the prisoners would be comfortable while the War department saved on heating costs.

Each captive non-commissioned officer and private soldier received 40 square feet of lodging, and officers received 125 square feet. If POWs had to be temporarily housed in tents, so did their American guards. Meals equaled those fed to American troops stateside.

Trinidad's World War II POW Camp (1943-1946)

Trinidad's POW Camp was located in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. If you visited it today you might find remnants of crumbled cement foundations, an old water treatment plant and parts of the main gate is all that's left of Camp Trinidad that once held thousands of captured German soldiers.

Cattle graze the remote 715-acre prison site, located about 200 miles south of Denver near the New Mexico border. This $1.8 million facility opened on 4 June 1943, housing about 3,500 German soldiers during its heyday. Many were "the cream of prisoners," such as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, who had been defeated by British Filed Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 8th Army.

The camp was a beehive of activity with 330 structures, including 10 guard towers, and its own sewage and water supply systems. A hospital, blacksmith shop, stable, theater and post office were also on the prison grounds.

They had everything there you could want during the camp's three-year existence. It was like a big city with its warehouses and theaters, although it was located in a pretty remote area.

German officers were allowed to take college courses in politics, chemistry, medicine and engineering through correspondence work offered by the University of Colorado and the University of Denver, as well as learning from on-site college professors.

More than 1, 000 American servicemen and 140 civilian personnel watched over the camp until it closed in early 1946. Most of the prisoners of war returned to Germany or other European locations after the war.

During the war, the German prisoners were well-behaved and respectful, you could not patronize them other than saying good morning. Despite the close proximity of the POWs, the American civilian workers were never fearful.

The camp had two theaters where Germans and Americans watched their own movies. Admission was a dime. The German POWs generally were credited with introducing soccer to the area. Inmates were paid wages anywhere from $3 in camp scrip to $40 cash a month, depending on their rank. Shortly after the camp opened, three POW escapees were shot and killed. Their trial records are kept in Washington, D.C.

The camp reportedly had some other POW escapes, but all were eventually captured, including one as far east as St. Louis and two in a Colorado haystack. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


German POW Camp In Texas

Vol 15, Iss 4 Texas - I just thought you might be interested in reading the attached story (click on image for story), taken from the Jan/Feb. 2002 Reminisce magazine. It is a story about a German POW camp in Texas.

This lady was just married to an assistant commander of the POW camp in Central Texas and the only lady in camp. They had a small apartment and stayed on the camp. To read more of this young army wife's unique story during WWII just Click on the photo. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Information On Judge Wm McLaughlin's Family

Vol 14, Iss 13 Virginia - Gerald McLaughlin shares the following pdf files and images with us this week. Gerald says, "I picked up the first document at Leyburn Library (W&LU). He authored this book: . He was instrumental in renaming WL&U (Washington & Lee University) after Robert E. Lee. It was first Augusta Academy, then Liberty Hall, then Washington Academy, then Washington College and finally Washington and Lee University. I just donated a book authored by Geo. Washington and William Jackson to W&LU. Considering it was endowed by the first President and then renamed after the man that married his step granddaughter, I could think of no better place for the book."

Gerald goes on to say, "Lee wrote Judge Wm. on occasion: . Bio from Electric Scotland; McLaughlin, Judge William, Lexington, Va., Born in Rockbridge County, Va.; Scotch-Irish parentage; judge of the Circuit Court; member Virginia Convention; member of Virginia Legislature; judge of the Circuit Court of Virginia; judge of Special Court of Appeals of Virginia; rector of Washington and Lee University. Headstone and marker photos are by others. I was in the cemetery looking all around and was within a couple feet of it (my wife was in the car impatiently waiting). He was somehow related to Squire Hugh McLaughlin of Pocahontas because according to the last story, Rev. Henry Woods McLaughlin (grandson to Sq. Hugh) was the Judge's cousin. By the way, since Sq. Hugh McLaughlin married Nancy Gwin (1770-1845, granddaughter of Capt. David Gwin (1742-1822) & Jane Carlile (1746-1787)), also your relative."

This PDF file concerns Information on William McLaughlin, Author(s): Charles Curry - Source: The Virginia Law Register, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Jul., 1905), pp. 159-176. Published by: Virginia Law Review; Stable URL

Judge Wm McLaughlin Heirs

Judge Wm McLaughlin Heirs - From this pdf file we find a listing of heirs of Judge Wm. McLaughlin. It mentions, "The only heirs at law of the said Wm. McLaughlin, are his widow Fannie M. McLaughlin, John C. Ayers, Wm. C. Ayers, James F. Ayers and Margaret B. Humphrey's (nee Ayers), children of Margarita Ayers (nee McLaughlin) the deceased sister of said Wm. McLaoughlin."

It also mentions vendors holding liens on Wm. McLaughlin's estate, which reads, "The parties who hold the vendors and other liens upon the real estate mentioned, are as far as your orator is advised, the following: Mrs. N. J. Gibbs, Jno. H. Moore administrator of Law - McD. Moore died, C. R. K. Varner executor of Mary C. Campbell dead, and the Washington and Lee University."

1.) Edward McLaughlin - born (?); married Jane Irwin (Granddaughter John Sitlington per Sitlington Heirs vs Sitlington Widow abstract but could also be just the niece of Andrew Sitlington - need to see actual documents) born - �±1750. (Edward) A native of Londonderry, Ireland, settled early in the eighteenth century near the place now called Goshen (Bell's Valley according to Judge Wm. bios ca 1745), in Rockbridge county. His wife was a Miss Irvin. He was a member of Captain Dickinson's company at Point Pleasant, and during the Revolutionary war participated in the battles of the Cowpens, Guilford, and Yorktown. His son, Edward I., was the father of Judge William McLaughlin. Source: Annals of Augusta County by Jos. A. Waddell.(Judge Wm. Bio indicates County Down rather than Londonderry).

The Battle of Point Pleasant - a battle of the revolution, October 10th 1774; biographical sketches of the men who participated (1909). Author: Livia Nye Simpson-Poffenbarfer (lists one Edward McLaughlin at the Battle of Point Pleasant). Note: Source was probably Annals of Augusta County. Source in Annals of Augusta County was Judge Wm. McLaughlin. Also listed in Documentary history of Dunmore's War, 1774, Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913; State Historical Society of Wisconsin; Sons of the American Revolution. Wisconsin Society; Kellogg, Louise Phelps 1905.

Sitlington Heirs vs. Sitlington's Widow - O. S. 79; N. S. 27--Bill, 3d December, 1805. Orators are viz: James Kelso, and Elizabeth, his wife, John Young and Polly, his wife; Nathan Crawford and Jane, his wife; Jennet Sloan (Kean?), Andrew Beaty and Agness, his wife; Edward McLaughlin and Jane, his wife; of whom Elizabeth, Polly, Jane Crawford, Jennet and Agness are the daughters and Jane Erwin is granddaughter of John Sutlington, deceased. John was brother of whole blood of Andrew Sutlington, of Bath. Andrew died 1787 without issue, widow Elizabeth. He made a will, dated 1801, and this suit is to contest it on account of inability by age and infirmity, being 90 years old. Andrew had written to John in Ireland to come to Virginia. He married Elizabeth when aged. She was a Montgomery? Her brother (?) John was a preacher. Defendants are viz: Elizabeth Sutlingon (widow of Andrew), Jacob Warwick, Andrew Sutlingon Warwick, Andrew Sutlington (son of Robert Sutlington), John Montgomery, and Andrew Erwin. Jacob Warwick answers that oratrix, Jane McLaughlin, is niece of Andrew Sutlington, who is understood to have had a half-sister, Mrs. Sherman, living in Pennsylvania at his death.Andrew had married the mother of Jacob. Elizabeth answers that John Sutlington had a son, Robert, now living in Bath. James Erwin is brother of Jane McLaughlin. Andrew died 15th April, 1804. He was in his 85th year. John Sutlington came to this country in 1774. Andrew and Elizabeth were married in 1779. Andrew Sitlington's will dated 12th October, 1801. Proved in Bath County, June, 1804. Wife Elizabeth; legatee Gean Crawford, wife of Nathan Crawford. Legatee Andrew Sitlington Crawford, son of Nathan. Legatee Gennet Sloan and her daughter, Polly Sloan. Legatee Polly Young, wife of John Young. Legatee Agness Beaty, wife of Andrew Beaty. Legatee Elizabeth Kelso, wife of James Kelso. Legatee Elizabeth, Sitlington Kelso, daughter of Elizabeth Kelso, Legatee nephew, James Erwin. Legatee nephew, Andrew Erwin. Legatee niece Jean McGloughlin, wife of Edward, and her son, Andrew McGloughlin. Legatee Andrew Sitlington McDonald, son of Samuel. Legatee Elizabeth McDonald, daughter of John. Legatee Elizabeth McDonald, daughter of Samuel. Legatee Andrew Sitlington Warwick, son of Jacob. Legatee Andrew Sitlington, son of Robert. Letter by Andrew to John dated Greenbrier, 25th September, 1776, speaks of brother William (in Pennsylvania), and brother Thomas, of sister Elizabeth. Source: CHRONICLES OF THE SCOTCH-IRISH SETTLEMENT OF VIRGINIA; Vol 2, pp 96-103 by Lyman Chalkley.

2.) Edward Irving McLaughlin born Feb. 20, 1787; marr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Nesbitt, b own 1792. (Son); Death of Edward Irving McLaughlin, son of Edward and Jane McLaughlin born in Rockbridge Co. Virginia. Death March 24, 1858, age 71; his wife is listed as E. McLaughlin and this was reported by William. [Source: Bath Co. Historical Society.] Edward I. McLaughlin was buried in the "Old Lebanon Cemetery A1 (2), Craigsville, Augusta County, Virginia.

Just north of the present Rockbridge - Augusta County line, approximately 125 yards west of the state Route 42, on Ramsey's Draft, stood the original Lebanon Presbyterian Meeting house, called "Little River" and "Wahab" in early records. Around it was the burying ground, used from soon after the mid 1700's. Located 1/4 mile south of intersection of Route 42 & Route 687. Fenced, approximately 80 X 80 feet. McLaughlin, Edw'd I. b 20 Feb 1787 - d 24 Mar 1858. The Devoted Husband, Affectionate Father, Useful Citizen, Mark the perfect man and behold The upright for the end of that man Is peace. Source: usgwarchives.net.

3.) Judge William McLaughlin

- William McLaughlin was born 6 January 1828 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, to Edward Irving McLaughlin (died 1858) and Betsy Nesbit McLaughlin (1792-1869). He apprenticed as a surveyor with his father, but became interested in the law. McLaughlin graduated from Washington College in 1850, then studied law under Judge John White Brockenbrough (1806-1877). McLaughlin was admitted to the bar in 1851, but continued his studies for two years before commencing his practice in Lexington, Virginia, in 1853. When the Civil War began, McLaughlin enlisted in the Rockbridge Artillery and served through out the war, rising to the rank of major. After the war ended, McLaughlin returned to Lexington where he was appointed to the board of trustees for Washington College. McLaughlin suggested that the school hire Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) to be its president and after Lee's death, pushed for the school to be renamed Washington and Lee University. He represented Rockbridge County in the constitutional convention of 1867-1868 and in the House of Delegates in 1869. McLaughlin was appointed judge for the 13th judicial circuit in 1870. He married first Sallie Mayse (d. 1882) 30 November 1875, and married second Fannie M. Coffman. McLaughlin died in Lexington 18 August 1898. Source: Library of Virginia Biography. Also see Obituary. Ceremonies Connected with the Unveiling of the Bronze Statue of Gen. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson at Lexington, VA, July 21st, 1891, by William McLaughlin.

Notes:

- Squire Hugh McLaughlin was a cousin of Judge McLaughlin of Lexington, Virginia. Source: History of Virginia, Vol. 5 Phillip Alexander Bruce Biography of Henry Woods McLaughlin.

- Hugh McLaughlin, of John, the Irish immigrant, married Sally Grimes, daughter of Arthur, of Felix, the pioneer. Ho lived near Huntersville on lands now owned by Dr Patterson and others. J. A; McLaughlin, Mrs Mary Hogsett and Lieut. James Hickman McLaughlin, a Confederate officer who perished in the war, were his children. He was a popular anil prominent citizen. Squire Hugh McLaughlin and Hugh McLaughlin, late of Huntersville, were cousins and were intimately associated when they were young men. Source: Sketches of Pocahontas County, William Thomas Price.

- Dedication: "This book is dedicated to Hugh Edward McLaughlin, who helped defeat Chief Cornstalk at the Battle of Point Pleasant, the Opening battle of the American Revolution, and who fought with the "Men of Augusta" throughout that war..." Source: The Mighty Eighth in WWII: a Memoir by J. Kemp McLaughlin, descendant of James Buchannan McLaughlin.

Rev. Dr. Henry W. McLaughlin Bio

Vol. V, Virginia Biography, by Special Staff of Writers, 1924, "History of Virginia,"page 562, gives this biography of Rev. Dr. Henry W. McLaughlin. Rev. Dr. Henry W. McLaughlin was one of the most powerful sources of religious inspiration and work in Virginia had been the New Providence Presbyterian Church of Rockbridge. This church, organized 1746, was the largest presbyterian Church in the open country in Virginia. It was the principal source of the educational impulse which had resulted in the great institution of learning, Washington and Lee University. For more than a century it had been a center of light and enlightenment throughout the country. [Read more by clicking PDF file Link above.]

Leyburn Library Information

Judge William McLaughlin is mentioned Leyburn Library pdf file as follows: "The judge died at his home in Lexington, Va., on Thursday evening, August 18, 1898, in the seventy-first year of his age. His illness was brief, and the announcement of his death came as a startling surprise tot he community. McLaughlin presided at meeting of the Executive committee of this University, held at his home, on the SAturday preceding his death. Though suffering from the effects of carbuncle on his cheek, and apparently in pain, no one thought that the strong manly form was so soon to lie low in death. Judge McLaughlin was the youngest and last surviver of the family of ten children of E. I. McLaughlin and betsy Nesbit. His grandfather, Edward McLaughlin emigrated from County Down, Ireland, and settled in this county in the year 1747. William's grandfather was also a soldier in the Revolutionary Army and participated in the battles of Cowpeas, Guilford and Yorktown.

It was told that William's grandmother, in an assault by the Indians upon Dickinson's Fort on the CowPasture River, in the year 1755 or 1757, she, then a young girl, moulded bullets for the men during the engagement. William's father, E. I. McLaughlin, held for many years the position of Surveyor for Rockbridge County, and was recalled as a man of fine intellect, wonderful memory and sterling Democracy, traits of character which pre0eminently distinguished his son William.

William received his classical course for entrance into Washington College at the Brownsburg Academy, one of the most noted of the old time classical schools of Virginia. He graduated at Washington College June 19, 1850, with the degree of A.B. He then entered the Law School conducted by that distinguished jurist, Judge John W. Brockenbrough, and on December 12, 1851,was licensed by Judges john Tayloe Lomax, Lucas P. Thompson and Richarrd H. Field, and began the practice of law in his native County. he at once took an active part in public affairs and was sent to the State Democratic Convention held at Staunton, Virginia, in 1855, where he was an earnest advocate of the nomination of Hon. Henry A Wise for the office of governor. [You can read more about William McLaughlin at the PDF Link above.]

The Old Dominion (monthly magazine of Literature, science and art., editors: M. W. Hazlewood and G. Watson James, Vol. IV, No. 1, page 172-173 mentions this about William McLaughlin - Delegate from Rockbridge county, was born in Rockbridge, Va., and is under forty years of age, and still a bachelor! He is of Scotch-Irish parentage, the hardy and intelligent race who first settled the Upper Valley of Virginia. He graduated at WAshington College; studied law under Judge John W. Brockenbrough, at Lexington, and was admitted to the bar in 1859. At the commencement of the war he entered the Southern army as Lieutenant in the famous Rockbridge Artillery, commanded by Capt. Wn. N. Pendleton, afterwards Major General Pendleton. On the promotion of Pendleton, Lieutenant McLaughlin became Captain of the company, and was subsequently promoted Major of Artillery. He was a member of the State Convention of 1867-68, and at the recent election was returned as delegate to the General assembly from his native county. Major McLaughlin was considered the coolest head in the State Convention. He rarely ever engaged in debate, but when he did speak it was brief and to the point. He always commanded the attention of both parties in the Convention and was listened to with marked respect. He rarely ever offered a resolution but which was adopted, front he fact of its being well considered and weighed. He was the silent (comparatively speaking) working man, and trusted leader of the Conservatives in the Convention. Personally, Major McLaughlin is one of the finest looking men in the House."

Letter from the "Executive Department

Letter From Executive Department, dated May 24, 1862, and respectfully signed John Letcher reads as follows, "Dear Sir, I have known Captain McLaughlin from his boyhood, having been born and raised in the county of Rockbridge. He is a gentleman of fine moral character, steady in habits, of excellent intelligence and education. I cannot of course speak of his military qualifications from personal observations, but I can say that all I have heard of than, the current . . . . . fully justifies endorsing all that General has stated in the accompanying letter. An appointment such as he asks, could not be bestowed upon one more worthy." View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Termination of WWII POW Camps...

Vol 8, Iss 7 This is a view of what is left of Alva's camp water tower & VFW Post. This military looking building and the old water tower to the left are the "Old" officers Quarters & Club. AND... is now used as the VFW Post & Mexican Restaurant.

The Quarters of American Personnel and camp administrative buildings were north of the POW's compounds and East of Washington Avenue. All buildings were considered temporary and constructed of wood in those days during WWII. This building that is left was the Officers Club and Quarters and stood across the street and East of the prisoners barracks/compounds.

The POW's were shipped home after VE Day, but 2,192 remained at the Alva POW camp on September 16, 1945. The bulk of them were shipped out October 1, 1945 then there were only 45 remaining. September 20, 1945, Col. H. S. Richardson (camp commander) announced the camp would be closed. On October 15, 1945, all POW's were gone. November 15, 1945, Capt. Pat Arnim (final camp commander) closed camp. A large number of guards at the Alva POW camp have connections with Alva to this day. Some were from Alva before the war and others married women from the Alva area and settled down there after WWII.

The VFW Post purchased the Officers Club in 1946 with four persons (Wm. T. Crenshaw, Wm "Bill" Stites, Charlie Trenfield, and Mr. Ensor) each donating $200 for an $800 downpayment. Legal description of the property sold was the NE/2 NW/4, Section 35-TWP27-Range 14, Woods County (approx. 40 Acres).

Over the years the VFW land diminished to 8-Acres. At different times, there was a Supper Club housed in the VFW building and a Mexican Restaurant at the present time. Now the fairgrounds; a softball field; a weed grown racetrack (used by the fairgrounds and local horse enthusiasts) occupy the grounds with the POW chimney/smokestack (alleged hospital smokestack) and the concrete water tower. Little else remains of the past remembrances of Alva's German Prisoner of War camp era between June 1942 thru November 1945, except this view looking South down Washington Ave.

The Alva POW Camp was built to house five guard companies. The army acquired the prime farm land for the camp from local farmers in the Alva area. The North 320-Acres was acquired from the Wiebener family and the South 320-Acres from the Peterman family. After the war, neither family was given chance to regain their land. At the termination of the war, the POW camp was vacated and the land turned over to the City of Alva for control purposes. The deed transfer specified that the land would be used primarily for an airport. However, none of the land could be sold in as much as it still belonged to the US Government. Buildings were sold and all except one of the houses (VFW Post) were removed.

The Buildings... covered less than half of the north Section and were sold and removed after WWII. The land not used for the camp was left under cultivation.

  • The Recreation Hall of the Alva POW camp was moved to Kiowa, Kansas after the war and used by Kiowa American Legion as a meeting hall.


  • One of the buildings can be found on Ronald McMurphy's homeplace located off of the 5th Street Road (East/West blacktop road) connecting the Dacoma blacktop road (North/South blacktop road) to Cherokee, Oklahoma. The 5th Street road runs West out of Cherokee towards Alva and Dacoma.


  • Then there was the building that housed the Hilltop Gas & Grocery, located 11 miles west of Alva, Oklahoma. It was one of those Alva POW WWII Camp barracks. Leslie and Golda "Goldie" Lyon owned and ran the Hilltop gas and grocery and motor shop from 1946 to 1970 where later they did motor rewiring jobs that came into the shop. Today if you drive west out of Alva it would require your imagination to see what might have been. There is just a grass, fenced pasture with a gravel pull-off area with a view looking down the hill, east towards Alva. We found it very interesting to learn that in the old days... that the reasons stations along highway 64 were at the top of the hills were because the old cars were usually steaming by the time they got to the top and needed water.


  • 900 block of Flynn Ave, Alva, OK... Another WWII POW barrack was moved into the middle of the 900 block of W. Flynn Street, in Alva, Oklahoma. It sets as apartments at the present, on the north side of the street, approximately a half block west of the Middle School (where the Old Jr. High School used to be).


  • 11th & Center Alva... OK There was another old POW barracks moved to the northeast corner of Center & Eleventh Street in Alva, Oklahoma, used for small apartments.


  • Another barrack building found a new home on E. Flynn and was used as a storage building.


  • There was also a building moved down to Waynoka and turned into a "Beer Joint", but it was torn down and that is where the POW's painted murals were discovered, removed and put permanently in the Santa Fe Depot Museum in Waynoka, Oklahoma and the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva.


  • The home that Rod Murrow's grandparents owned in Dacoma (one block south, one block east of Whittet's Cowboy Grill, just across the street west of the baseball diamond) was one of the barracks buildings from the POW camp


  • The Freedom United Methodist Church is actually TWO of the buildings, joined together in a 'T' shape, though another addition was built along the west side of the facility in more recent years.


  • Southeast of Alva, Oklahoma on the Harold Fox farm, in Alfalfa County, was a home with one of the POW compound barracks. It was located 3-miles south of the Ashley Elevator and 1/4-mile East. It burned down about 8 to 10 years ago.


  • If this NW Okie remembers correctly, West of Washington Ave., South of a road there were some barracks left left behind and used by the fairgrounds for the county fair when this writer was just a young girl, in her pre-teen years, in the Alva school system. Those buildings have since been torn down and replaced by race tracks and metal buildings (located in the North part)that sprang up West of Washington Ave.


  • If anyone out there has any "Old" or "New" photos of the Old POW buildings that came from the Alva POW Camp after World War II, please send us a copy to share with everyone. We would love to share it in The OkieLegacy.

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    Army Air Corps of WWII

    Vol 17, Iss 18 USA - As we research the Army Air Corps (USAAC), we find it was the statutory administrative forerunner of the United States Air Force. It was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926, a part of the larger United States Army and the immediate predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), established on 20 June 1941.

    It was discontinued as an administrative echelon in 1942 during World War II, the Ari Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing a Untied States Department of Defense consisting of a Department of the Army (formerly the War Department), Department of the Navy and Department of the Air Force.

    The Ari Corps was renamed by the US Congress largely as a compromise between the advocates of a separate air arm and those of the traditionalist army high command who viewed the aviation arm as an auxiliary branch to support the ground forces. Its primary purpose by Army policy remained support of ground forces rather than independent operations.

    On 1 March 1935 the Army activated the General Headquarters Air Force for centralized control of aviation combat units within the continental United States, separate from but coordinate with the Air Corps. The separation of the Air Corps from control of its combat units caused problems of unity of command that became more acute as the Air Corps enlarged in preparation for World War II. This was resolved by the creation of the Army Air Forces, making both organizations became subordinate to the new higher echelon. The Air Corps ceased to have an administrative structure after 9 March 1942, but as "the permanent statutory organization of the air arm, and the principal component of the Army Air Forces," the overwhelming majority of personnel assigned to the AAF were members of the Air Corps.

    Creation of the Air Corps

    The US Army Air Service (USAAS) had a brief, turbulent history. It was created during WWI after American entrance in April 1917 as the increasing use of airplanes and the military uses of aviation were readily apparent as the war continued to its climax. by executive order of the 28th President Woodrow Wilson, it gained permanent legislative authority in 1920 as a combatant arm of the line of the US Army. There was a six year struggle between adherents of airpower and the supporters of the traditional military services about the value of an independent Air Force, intensified by struggles for funds caused by skimpy budgets, as much an impetus for independence as any other factor.

    The Air Corps Act (44 Stat. 780) became law on 2 July 1926. In accordance with the Morrow Board's recommendations, the act created an additional Assistant Secretary of War to "help foster military aeronautics", and established an air section in each division of the General Staff for a period of three years. Two additional brigadier generals would serve as assistant chiefs of the Air Corps.[10][n 3] Previous provisions of the National Defense Act of 1920 that all flying units be commanded only by rated personnel and that flight pay be awarded were continued. The Air Corps also retained the "Prop and Wings" as its branch insignia through its disestablishment in 1947.
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    POW Camp In Alva, Woods, Oklahoma

    Vol 17, Iss 3 Alva, OKlahoma - WWII Prisoner of War Camp -- Looking south down Washington Avenue. (Photo taken by NW Okie, October, 1999. Operational 1942-1945, Located South of Alva, Oklahoma, Woods County

    It was called Nazilager (Nazi Camp) -- POW camp water tower"The First 100 Years of Alva, Oklahoma" states that the Prisoner of War (POW) camp during WWII was best known to POW's in other camps as, 'Devil's Island' or the 'Alcatraz' of prisoner of war systems in the United States.

    It was built to hold only Nazi's and hard-core sympathizers. It stood south of Alva (Oklahoma, USA), westside of highway 281 and is in the area now used by the Airport on the east and the Woods County Fairgrounds on the west.

    POW chimney/smokestackLittle remains except for a lonely chimney that some proclaim to be a bakery chimney and others say was the smokestack of the POW hospital. BUT ... I've found in other articles that the POW Hospital was west of the main street, Washington Avenue, that ran to the POW camp.

    Whatever the case, it stands amongst the VFW Post and the old concrete water tower that remain as reminders that Alva, Oklahoma was home of a German POW camp during WWII from the Summer of '42 when it was authorized to November of '45 when it shut down after the WWII.

    This picture was taken October, 1999 and shows the Woods County Fairground buildings in the background. The Concrete Water Tower sets across another road to the South and east while the VFW Post sets just east (or to the right) of this picture. The road you see running by the westside of the alleged smokestack was the main street called Washington Avenue that ran south from the Section Line Road to the POW camp.

    POW Tower VFWThis military looking building and tower to the left are the Old Officers Quarters & Club and which now is used as the VFW Post. The Quarters of American Personnel and camp administrative buildings were north of the POW's compounds and east of Washington Avenue.

    All buildings were considered temporary and constructed of wood in those days during WWII. This building left was the Officers Club and Quarters and stood across the street and to the east of the prisoners compounds.

    Oct. 1999 water tower & chimney Here is a better view of the smokestack and water tower. The water tower used to hold a large wooden tank on the top and the four POW compounds for the prisoners set back south of the water tower.

    The camp was authorized on June 30, 1942. September 15, 1942 it was under construction by civilians. November 15, 1942 the Army took over from the civilian contractors and the American troops started to arrive. On December 15, 1942 an announcement of it's opening was made. By July 31, 1943 the first 19 German POW's came by truckload. Later the POW's started arriving by train and they were quietly marched from the railroad station up Seventh Street while guards lined the streets and Alva Citizens stood back behind the guards to get a curious look as these hard-core Nazi POW's marched quietly to the camp south of town. What the Citizen's of Alva only knew that some type of military post was going up. They learned later that they were getting a POW camp to hold the most mad of German POW. They were unaware and kept in the dark until an announcement was made by the camp commander that the POW camp would be opening December, 1942.

    November 15, 1942 - After the Army took over from the civilian contractors, the first American troops that arrived were 25 men of the Quartermaster Corps under the command of Lt. Luther Guess and Oscar B. Cruell. Six men of Medical Corps under the command of Lt. Ephraim Lubritz also arrived at that time.

    December 15, 1942 - Lt. Col H. R. Roberts was Camp Commander, but there was still NO sign of American guards or German POW's.

    January 3, 1943 - Lt. Joseph Moses and Lt. Dwight Slovens arrived from Ft. Bliss, TX with 140 men of the 401st MP Escort Guard Company.

    April 18, 1943 - The Second MP Escort Guard (MPEG) Company arrived (391st from Camp McClain, Mississippi under command of Lt. Ryper Powell, Terry Wise, and Lewis A. Erbs). Still NO German POW's had shown up yet.

    May, 1943 - The second opening date was set for May 2, 1943. Lt. Col. Roberts transferred to camp at Ft. Reno, Oklahoma. Col. A. M. Risdon brought in as commander for a short time and then was transferred to a camp at Hereford, TX. Col. Ralph Hall was the 3rd camp commander and during that time a Col. Cecil E. Tolle of Medical Corps arrived to take charge of the hospital.

    July 13, 1943 - The first 19 German prisoner's arrived by truck to the camp. When the rest of the POW's started to arrive by train, they had a regular marching path from the railway station, up Seventh Street to the POW camp in the South part of town. Long columns of POW's marched up Seventh Street in complete silence and looking only straight ahead and carrying personal belongings in a small bag. The only sound that was heard was the clop-clop of their boots and commands to turn when a corner was reached. They had not had a bath and carried the smells of the battlefield and strong odors when they first arrived.

    September, 1943 - The capacity of the camp increased by 1000 when 117 new buildings to hold the German Officer's prisoners of war was built east of the three compounds for the non-commissioned and enlisted POW's.

    POW's arrive slowly, but steadily. By December 12, 1943 there were 1,035 in camp. By February 23, 1945 there were 1,002 officers, 2,477 non-commissioned officers, and 1,478 enlisted men confined at the Alva POW camp.

    Each compounds were identical and contained 32 one-story wooden barracks; mess halls; other buildings used by the POW's. Each barrack held 50 men and gave camp the original capacity of 4,800. Officers compound contained 100 or more buildings as compared to only 52 in each of other compounds. The POW Officers barracks only had capacity for 1000 officers. The officers had much more room. Space was assigned in accordance of their ranks.

    The original three compounds were surrounded by two 8-foot high fences that were separated from each other by a single 8-foot fence. Officers compound also surrounded by two 8-foot high fences. There were 13 guard towers arranged along the fences. The compounds extended 700 feet to the west and 1100 feet to the East and 700 feet to the south of the concrete water tower. The hospital stood just north of the prisoner compounds and west of Washington Avenue with service and supply areas between it and the Section Line Road.

    The POW's were permitted to retain and wear their own uniforms and insignias. Obsolete and repaired American uniforms were provided for the prisoners to wear, but the POW's at the Alva camp wore their own uniforms and officers wore their high boots. All outside clothing was marked with a "P" or "PW" to denote prisoners.

    On September, 1943, the army issued a directive to allow the POW's to be contracted out to work on farms and other jobs away from camp as long as they did not compete with the local labor. This directive did not apply to Alva's POW camp. The only POW's who worked away from the camp were a group of 80 or 100 whom were trucked to Waynoka to ice rail cars. On May, 1945, a small camp was set up in Waynoka, Oklahoma to house them and daily truck movements ceased. The POW's did work outside of camp, but only under guard in camp or at railway stations.

    November, 1943 - The third MP Company (650th) arrived and two more 454th and 455th under the command of Capt. Fred Staedler transferred to Alva from Ft. Custer, MI, before the end of the year.

    The camp was built to house five guard companies. The army acquired the prime farm land for the camp from local farmers in the Alva area. The North 320 Acres was acquired from the Wiebener family and the south 320 Acres from the Peterman family. After the war, neither family was given chance to regain their land. It was given to the City of Alva.

    The buildings covered less than half of the North Section and were sold and removed after WWII. The land not used for the camp was left under cultivation.

    The Recreation Hall of the Alva POW camp was moved to Kiowa, Kansas after the war and used by Kiowa American Legion as a meeting hall.

    Stories of Guards

    Some guards experienced unpleasant duties while guarding the POW's. Non-commissioned officers and enlisted men could be pleasant at times, but the German Officers seemed to show the hatred in their eyes and were the threatening ones. A doctor (Dr. Clifford Traverse) was quoted as saying, "The glaring eyes of some German officers were permitted to watch me operate on one of their own. I was warned not to wear a necktie in the camp."

    It seems that the POW's often stretched trip wires across the nightly path of the guards who made bed checks.

    The Pow's went on hunger strikes that were broken only by throwing tear gas grenades into the barracks.

    Cries of help could be heard at night by tower guards from the POW's who strayed from the Nazi line. The Wiebener's farm house was turned into a "safe house" to hold POW's who were removed from camp for their own safety and transferred to the other POW's camps. There was no evidence that any of the POW's were killed by other POW's in the camp, but it did occur at Camp Tonkawa and two unexplained suicides at the Alva camp were suspect.

    The Geneva Convention

    The Geneva Convention on escaping POW's was accepted as the duty of POW's to escape and was not a crime. The only punishment was slight unless some real crime was committed during the escape. Maximum penalty was 30 days in solitary confinement, bread and water, but at Alva it was 8 days. Recaptured POW's were confined in the guard house that stood between the POW compounds and the hospital.

    For committing a real crime, POW's were sentence to the federal prison. At the end of WWII there were 162 POW's in those establishments. It was unknown if any came from the Alva POW camp. Some crimes warranted execution and some were executed. Mainly those POW's from the Tonkawa Camp.

    POW's not recaptured until after the war and other POW repatriated could only look forward to being deported as undocumented aliens. Oklahoma Newspapers accounted for approximately 21 escapes from the Alva Camp and there were probably more. None were free for long. Some got as far as New Mexico, Kansas City and at the US border patrol at the Rio Grande.

    The first escape was by Karl Heinz Zigann and Heinz Aulenbacher, April 1944. They were recaptured three days later in Emporia, Kansas. Max Wolff and Franz Holm escaped that spring and were recaptured in New Mexico. Three more escaped a week later and were caught in Wellington, Kansas. Werner Wolf and Heinz Roth escaped May 20, 1944 and were recaptured in Kansas City.

    Son of Werner Wolf adds this message ... "I enjoyed reading your page WWII-POW Camps. I just would like to correct one or two little details ... My father Werner Wolf was POW in Camp Alva after having surrendered as officer of the Afrika Korps (10. Panzer division) in Tunesia 1943. Indeed he managed to escape, as is mentioned in your article, but he was not recaptured in Kansas City but in a little town just before he attempted to cross the border towards Mexico (he had the idea to reach Argentine in order to search for a possibility to get back to Germany). My father re-entered the german army in postwar 1955 as Major and ended his military career as Colonel at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels 1971 (were I used to go to school), he died 1973. I would like to add that as far as I know the POWs of Camp Alva, weren´t all 'Nazi´s and hard core sympathizers'. Instead, it might be true that the camp exclusively contained officers of the Wehrmacht." -- Contact Michael Michael Wolf

    Five escaped on July 4, 1944 ... Burgmann von Schwinicher, Heinz Homme, Eberhard Wilms, Karl Heinz Zigann (2nd time), and Max Wolff (2nd time). Escapes by POW's continued later that summer with Paul Jahn and Heinz Schutz. On January 20, 1945, Georg Hornauf, Otto Kanich, Anton Sheffer, Fritz Pueschel, and Erich Wolf escaped.

    Usually, the fence was cut, climbed over, or the POW's just walked away from work detail. A long tunnel that led under the fence was discovered before it was used. The POW's scurried out of it when the tunnel was threatened with flooding by the guards. There were no theatrical type escapes like in the movies at the Alva camp.

    Jack Martin is quoted as saying, "A POW dug a hole under the building and equipped it with comforts of home, including a supply of home brewed applejack. He would mingle with the other POW's during the day and hide in the hole at night. When he missed roll call, a search was made. No sign of him could be found outside of camp. It was decided that he was hiding somewhere in the compound. The guards found a POW who agreed to point him out to them, if he could do it from a guard tower while wearing an America uniform and be transferred away immediately."

    POW's deaths were from natural and other causes. Klaus Eberhard Bork died from peritonitis, August 24, 1944. Enlbert Mayr died of a heart attack, April 23, 1945. Two questionable suicides were Erwin Grams who was found hanged, November 17, 1944 and Erich Schindler who was found in the same condition September 17, 1945 as camp was being closed. Emil Minotti was shot and killed during escape attempt July 6, 1944. He was the only one killed in escape attempt in Oklahoma. The two guards who shot him were tried, acquitted and transferred to another camp.

    A small cemetery at the camp for the dead POW's was located on the westside of Washington Avenue and south of the last fence of compounds. After the war the dead were permanently buried in the Post Cemetery at Ft. Reno. It holds 66 POW's (German and Italian) as well as two German aliens who died in one of the Oklahoma alien interment camps. Not all buried at Ft. Reno died in Oklahoma camps, but were moved from POW camps in nearby states.

    After VE Day, the POW's were shipped home, but 2,192 remained at the Alva POW camp on September 16, 1945. The bulk of them were shipped out October 1, 1945 then there were only 45 remaining.

    September 20, 1945, Col. H. S. Richardson (camp commander) announced the camp would be closed. On October 15, 1945, all of the POW's were gone. November 15, 1945, Capt. Pat Arnim (final camp commander) closed camp. A large number of guards at the Alva POW camp have connections with Alva to this day. Some were from Alva before the war and others married women from the Alva area and settled down there after WWII.

    At the termination of the war, the POW camp was vacated and the land turned over to the City of Alva for control purposes. The deed transfer specified that the land would be used primarily for an airport, however, none of the land could be sold in as much as it still belonged to the US Government. buildings were sold and all except one that houses the VFW Post were removed.

    The VFW Post purchased the Officers Club in 1946 with four persons: Wm. T. Crenshaw, Wm "Bill" Stites, Charlie Trenfield, and Mr. Encor, each donating $200 for an $800 downpayment. Legal description of the property sold was the NE/2 NW/4, Section 35-TWP27-Range 14, Woods County (approx. 40 Acres).

    Over the years the VFW land diminished to 8 Acres. At different times, there was a Supper Club housed in the VFW building. Now the fairgrounds; a softball field; a weed grown racetrack (used by the fairgrounds and local horse enthusiasts) occupy the grounds with the lonely chimney or alleged hospital smokestack and the concrete water tower. Little else remains of the past remembrances of Alva's German prisoner of War camp era between June 1942 thru November 1945.

    Another POW camp called the Papago Park POW camp in Phoenix, Arizona was a small, high-security compound built to hold especially troublesome and escape-prone POW's. It got the name of "Little Alva" because of Alva's POW camp reputation during WWII.
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    WWII (1942-1945) POW Camps In Oklahoma

    Vol 17, Iss 2 Oklahoma - POW Camps in Oklahoma -- The Battle of Alva at the prisoner of War Camps in Alva, Woods, Oklahoma was reported in The Daily Oklahoma, 22 January 1945, with this letter To Editor as it tells of "Battle of Alva."

    The Daily Oklahoman first learned of the Alva disturbance in the following letter to the editor. It adds few facts to the Dallas announcement, but we think you will agree it is more graphic.

    January 15, 1945 -- Yesterday began and ended "The Battle of Alva." To our knowledge this was the only engagement fought between American and German forces on this continent. The fighting was brisk and bloody, but there will be no campaign ribbons issued; no battle stars displayed.

    Casualties were broken heads and smarting eyes, as 64 American soldiers accosted 1,400 "supermen," former members of Rommel's famed Afrika Korps.

    Nazis Retreat As Planned

    Armed solely with riot clubs and weak concentrations of tear gas, into the valley of death marches the fighting 64 to storm the Nazi bastion.

    The battle was joined as clubs flew and splintered; gas flowed freely, mingled with Nazi tears and blood dripped from many a lacerated scalp. Gradually began the famous strategic retreat, the oft-heard Teutonic expression for a battle lost.

    When the smoke had cleared 1,400 supermen stood with a new respect for these unpredictable American soldiers ground into their grimacing faces and the fighting 64 reformed and marched out. Righteous anger and malice were no more.

    Prison Guarding Is Hard

    If a 2-day restriction and Nazi stubbornness can bring such a change to men -- most of whom are wounded, overseas veterans and limited service men -- how then can we lose?

    Note: The trouble started when one compound refused to move out for a routine shake-down. They were asked again and again. Finally, as a last measure, they were given the only treatment they can understand. Brute force and bestiality is all these men will ever understand.

    I doubt if the American public will ever understand how difficult it is to treat these POW's with kid gloves, while our boys are treated as war criminals, Geneva convention notwithstanding. Serviceman's name withheld by request.
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    Timeline of World War II

    Vol 14, Iss 17 America - The start of the world war II was generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Other dates fro the beginning of war included the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937.

    British Historian A. J. P. Taylor held that there was a simultaneous Sino_Japanese War in East Asia, and a Second European War in Europe and her colonies. The two wars merged in 1941, becoming a single global conflict, at which point the war continued until 1945. The exact date of the war's end was not universally agreed upon, but it had been suggested that the war ended at the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day), rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945). In some European histories it ended on V-E Day (May 1945). But the Treaty of Peace with Japan was not signed until 1951.

    World War II (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2) was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers. Eventually forming two opposing military alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilized. In a state of "total war," the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities.

    The war is generally accepted to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Germany set out to establish a large empire in Europe. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or subdued much of continental Europe; amid Nazi- Soviet agreements, the nominally neutral Soviet Union fully or partially occupied and annexed territories of its six European neighbors. Britain and the Commonwealth remained the only major force continuing the fight against the Axis in North Africa and in extensive naval warfare. In June 1941, the European Axis launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, giving a start to the largest land theatre of war in history, which, from that moment on, tied down the major part of the Axis military power. In December 1941, Japan, which had been at war with China since 1937, and aimed to dominate Asia, attacked the United States and European possessions in the Pacific Ocean, quickly conquering much of the region.

    The Axis advance was stopped in 1942 after the defeat of Japan in a series of naval battles and after defeats of European Axis troops in North Africa and, decisively, at Stalingrad. In 1943, with a series of German defeats in Eastern Europe, the Allied invasion of Fascist Italy, and American victories in the Pacific, the Axis lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded France, while the Soviet Union regained all territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies.

    The war in Europe ended with the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Japanese Navy was defeated by the United States, and invasion of the Japanese Archipelago (Home Islands) became imminent. The war in Asia ended on 15 August 1945 when Japan agreed to surrender.

    The war ended with the total victory of the Allies over Germany and Japan in 1945. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers started to decline, while the decolonization of Asia and Africa began. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery. Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to stabilize postwar relations. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII - POW CAMPS IN OKLAHOMA

    Vol 11, Iss 26 There were a few artists & sculptors among the POWs in the Alva Camp that used their artistic talents to pass the days until the end of the war. They made their own paint, created pictures and sculptures of medieval castles and other memories back home in Germany.

    This is a model of a German church castle crafted from scrap woods by German POWs and designed after a castle in his hometown.

    It is preserved at the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva, Oklahoma as one of many memories that is left to remind Alva of it's POW Camp for the captured Nazi Officers & sympathizers.

    POW carved EagleA hand-carved, six-foot wooden eagle & Nazi insignia that was carved from pieces of packing crates by German POWs. It also resides at the "Cherokee Strip Museum", Alva, Oklahoma.

    Also at the Cherokee Strip Museum you will find two handkerchiefs that had maps of the southwest United States painted on them by a German POW who attempted to escape from the Alva Camp.

    POW painted mapThis Hand-painted SW US Map is just one of those maps and was donated to the museum by Wilbur Province. This is some Information and List of POW camps across Oklahoma during WWII. We took some photos around October, 1999 of the Alva camp. This is another link showing Basic Info and Facilities of US POW camps.

    This is an aerial view and a map of the layout of the buildings of the Alva camp.

    Did you know that in January of 1945, WWII - the "Battle of Alva (Oklahoma)," 64 Guards were faced with rebellion by 1000 or so Nazi Prisoners of War. You can read more about this "Battle of Alva" at our "WWII OkieLegacy" website in the "Woods County" section.

    POW tower sketchThis is a pencil sketch of the POW water tower that stood out at the Alva Camp during WWII and it was drawn by a German prisoner of war.

    Except for a scattered few in the north part of the state, most of the POW Camps in Oklahoma were down in "Little Dixie" and across "Central Oklahoma" and NOT widely known back then during the war by the public sector.

    As to POW Camps in Oklahoma ... A friend proclaims, "It is evident that Ardmore was a likely location. I do remember that the powers that be picked some of the most beautiful Washita bottom, timbered, ranch & farm land that they could find, to convert into a landing field. Perhaps a major factor was the fact that the Arbuckle Mountains sheltered the area from the heavy winds. At the beginning, the location was chosen to be used as a glider pilot training school. It also became a B-26 Bomber Pilot Training School and ultimately it became a B-17 Bomber Pilot Training School."

    The consensus of the former POWs many years later when they came back to visit American was that they were treated well by the guards at the Alva Camp and other camps across Oklahoma.

    One POW said, "Back then the Americans carried rifles on their shoulders. We prayed to our God for Germany to win the war and they prayed to their God for Americans to win the war.
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    WWII List - German POW's In Oklahoma Lagers

    Vol 7, Iss 11 Is there anyone out there who can guide us to a list of German POWs that were in the Oklahoma Lagers during WWII? A person in the Mailbag Corner below is doing research and looking for a "Michael Raster" whom was very sick at the time he was in the Oklahoma POW camps. He was also exchanged back to Germany because of his sickness. View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Remember Jeff Amos at OSU....

    Vol 7, Iss 8 Jeff is doing a paper and research on the "POW Camps of WWII" in Oklahoma? He is doing a follow-up on his research by creating a map of the POW camps that were located here in Oklahoma. Jeff feels that a map could be beneficial for others who are interested in this subject. If you or anyone else has any information that would be helpful in his data collections for the map, he invites you to contact him -- Jeff Amos, Student Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Geography - Email: jamos@sbcglobal.net. Thanks! View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII (1942-1945) POW Camps of Camp Trinidad, Colorado

    Vol 17, Iss 2 Trinidad, CO - This article is from The Durango Herald, Sunday, August 10, 2003, page 5A, written by Mike Garrett, concerning The Pueblo Chieftain. This Colorado POW camp was once a behive of activity during WWII.

    Trinidad (AP) -- Crumbled cement foundation, an old water treatment plant and parts of the main gate are about all that's left of Camp Trinidad, a World War II lockup that once held thousands of captured German soldiers.

    Now cattle graze the remote 715-acre prison site, located about 200 miles south of Denver near the New Mexico border.

    Camp Trinidad was one of more than 240 such camps in the United States during the war, local historian Carla Ann Thompson said.

    The $1.8 million facility opened on June 4, 1943. It housed about 3,500 German soldiers during its heyday, many of whom were "the cream of prisoners," such as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, who had been defeated by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 8th Army.

    The camp was a beehive of activity with 330 structures, including 10 guard towers, and its own sewage and water supply systems. A hospital, blacksmith shop, stable, theater and post office were also on the prison grounds.

    "They had everything there you could want," said Trinidad native Rose Passarelli, who worked as a camp clerk-stenographer during the camp's three-year existence. "It was like a big city with its warehouses and theaters, although it was located in a pretty remote area."

    German officers were allowed to take college courses in politics, chemistry, medicine and engineering through correspondence work offered by the University of Colorado and the University of Denver, as well as learning from on-site college professors.

    More than 1, 000 American servicemen and 140 civilian personnel watched over the camp until it closed in early 1946.

    Most of the prisoners of war returned to Germany or other European locations after the war, said Passarelli, who is considered the leading authority on the camp's history.

    Some, she said, have since visited the United States and even Trinidad.

    "Many of them told me that they thought Trinidad was the best possible place in America they could have stayed during the war," she said.

    During the war, the German prisoners were well-behaved and respectful, "although we couldn't patronize them other than saying good morning," Passarelli said.

    Despite the close proximity of the POWs, she said the American civilian workers were never fearful.

    "We were well protected by the American military personnel. We just had to be careful of not going out of bounds," she said. "But you could get a pass to go up to see some of the (German) shows and programs in their theater."

    The camp had two theaters where Germans and Americans watched their own movies -- admission was a dime.

    The German POWs generally were credited with introducing soccer to the area. Thompson, the Trinidad historian, said inmates were paid wages anywhere from $3 in camp scrip to $40 cash a month, depending on their rank.

    Shortly after the camp opened, three POW escapees were shot and killed, Thompson said. Their trial records are kept in Washington, D.C.

    The camp reportedly had some other POW escapes, but all were eventually captured, including one as far east as St. Louis and two in a Colorado haystack, said Roberta Cordova, a Trinidad Historical Society board member and former Trinidad mayor.
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    Arkansas, Hattie Caraway, WWII & Etc...

    Vol 16, Iss 9 Arkansas - Arkansas changed the political climate of wartime America with their advances in women's rights. It was from 1931-1945 when Arkansas elected the first woman to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate with Hattie Caraway.

    Hattie was a strong southern Democrat, who originally replaced her late husband as senator following his death. Hattie was also a strong supporter of Roosevelt and his New Deal plan. During WWII, Hattie was extremely important in establishing the Japanese relocation centers in Arkansas at Rohwer and Jerome as well as creating POW camps at Camp Robinson and Fort Chaffee.

    This was a region known for it's traditionally strong southern men, where Sen. Caraway proved to be an equal among all genders and a force for southern politics during wartime America.

    Arkansas changed the social climate of wartime America by reforming its position on African Americans after the war. Silas Hunt, an Arkansan WWII veteran, was admitted to the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1948, the first African American in the historical south. Hunt's acceptance marked a major moment in the desegregation of the southern colleges, something that had previously been unimaginable. Hunt pioneered the fight of desegregation in Arkansas nine years before the infamous Little Rock Nine of Central High School in 1957.

    Have you heard of the wartime America 'rich drag show' traditions in Arkansas? In the years before WWII, drag in Arkansas started out as "womanless weddings" staged in rural areas. It continued at the Rohwer Japanese Relocation Camp when employees staged womanless weddings for Japanese Americans interned there. Many of the military camps throughout the state also staged similar drag shows to improve morale during the war. Eventually, drag moved away form Arkansas.

    There were many ways in which Arkansas changed the social, military, and political climate of wartime America. Arkansas became a southern anomaly by electing the first woman to the U.S. Senate as well as becoming the first southern state to admit an African American to a major university. Arkansas had an underground drag show heritage that began during WWII and continues to this day, a tradition that defied social mores for acceptable southern culture. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    German Prisoners Made Life Interesting

    Vol 13, Iss 8 This news article was taken from the Jan/Feb. 2002 Reminisce magazine. It is a story about a German POW camp in Texas. The lady pictured in the article at the time this photo was taken was just married to an assistant commander of the POW camp in Central Texas and she was the only lady in camp. They had a small apartment and stayed on the camp. To read more of this young army wife's unique story during WWII just Click on the photo.
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    Lawrence M. Ludtke - Sculptor

    Vol 12, Iss 34 Houston, Texas - A Texas best friend of mine from the late 1970s to the 1980s sent me the following link to her dad's (Lawrence M. Ludtke) website. He was a remarkable artist, sculptor. His Resume reads as follows:

    "LAWRENCE M. LUDTKE, Sculptor, Fellow-National Sculpture Society.

    * Mr. Lawrence M. Ludtke is a Fellow in the National Sculpture Society and a Corresponding member of the Royal Academy of British Sculptors.

    * His portrait and figurative sculptures are represented in prominent institutions across the United States. Included are The United States Air force Academy, John Hopkins Medical School, Rice University, Texas A&M University, CIA Headquarters at Langley,Virginia, the portrait Gallery of The National Cowboy Hall of Fame, The Pentagon, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin Texas and The National Battlefield Park at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

    * He has fulfilled commissioned works of many famous personalities including Presidents Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. Winston Churchill, John Wayne, General Wild Bill Donovan, Congressman Maury Maverick and Congressman Henry B. Gonzales, Babe Zaharias, General Sam Houston, Governor John Connally and heart surgeon Denton Cooley.

    * The artist has also created significant liturgical art. The two most notable are a life-size Pietaâ' for St. Maryâ's Seminary in Houston, and a Christ and Child for Travis Park Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas.

    * In June 1991, the artist created twenty-two portrait heads and logos in bronze for the American Quarter Horse Foundation in Amarillo, Texas. Recently seven bronze bas-relief panels depicting the World War Two Medal of Honor Recipients from Texas A&M were unveiled at their Corps of Cadetâ's Center.

    * Following a nation wide competition, Mr. Ludtke created for the State of Maryland their State Memorial placed on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

    * A seven foot bronze of General Earl Rudder stands on the Campus of Texas A&M University, Dedicated in October of 1994. An eight-foot figure of a young cowgirl was placed on the grounds of The Astrodome in Houston in 1994. Larger than life portrait busts of Albert Alkek and his wife have recently been unveiled at the new Alkek wing at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.

    * In 1996 a bas-relief commission of Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Williband Bianca was unveiled at South Dakota State University.

    * Two full figure bas-relief panels were commissioned and installed at the Houston Light and Power headquarters in Houston, Texas in 1996.

    * Bas-relief panels of Jesse Jones and his nephew John Jones were commissioned and installed at Jones Hall in Houston,Texas in 1997.

    * An eight foot figure of Major Dick Meadows was dedicated June 6,1997 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    * Six life-size children in bronze for the State Capitol grounds in Austin were unveiled in July 1998.

    * A seven-foot figure of General James Hollingsworth, decorated hero of WWII, Korea, and the Viet Nam Conflict, was dedicated in the spring of 1999 on the campus of Texas A&M University.

    * Upon completion of the fundraising effort, an eight-foot figure of General Sam Houston is planned for Sam Houston Park in Houston, Texas. The model has been completed and approved by City council." View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Alva German POWs of WWII

    Vol 11, Iss 42 Sandie says, "The Waynoka Historical Society has on DVD an interview with a man who worked with the German POWs at the Railways Ice Co in Waynoka, Oklahoma. I believe you would find it fascinating. The cost is $9.95 plus $2.50 for mailing. If you would like to order one, send check or credit card info to the Waynoka Historical Society -- PO Box 193, Waynoka, OK 73860, or CALL: 580.824.1886.

    We have on display several paintings that were done on the Celotex between the studs at the POW camp barracks in Alva, as well as shoulder boards and a patch which German POWs traded for American cigarettes.
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    WWII - POW Camp Alva

    Vol 11, Iss 35 Leonard (EMAIL: Cyborgboogieboy@aol.com - lnbostick@aol.com) says, "I lived in what was left of Camp Alva in 1947-48 and played in and around the two barracks. In 1948 I was 7 years of age and lived in barracks that had been converted into apts. Four families each (College Camp or Cottage Camp?).

    I, my brother, and some playmates of ours used to play around two barracks that where in the middle of a wheat field. I remembered seeing the paintings in between the studs of the building and wondered if anybody knew anything about them. I see now that they were found and some were saved.

    I found a belt buckle in that field that was cast in the likeness of Hitler and my Father also found an officer's dagger and sheath in attic above his bedroom. Both have long since disappeared."
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    The Duration of WWI

    Vol 11, Iss 26 Behind Fences In Oklahoma Across the sun-baked plains of Oklahoma in the west and the tree covered, misty mountains in the east, nothing remains to show a part Oklahoma played during World War II. The pre-existing buildings that were used, show no evidence of the part they played in the past. The sites that were built now are covered by businesses, farms, and ranches.

    All that remains, are records in the Archives, microfilmed newspaper accounts, records of interviews conducted and the memories of the people that lived and worked near the enemy alien and prisoner of war camps that existed in 26 counties around the state.

    It is strange that there was so much going on at the military posts during WWII that was never known by the public. As you know, even the men in service did not have free access to the various military camps - and certainly were not privy to the functions of any of them.

    The list indeed does show Ardmore Air Field was used (in part) for a POW camp along with Camp Howze, Texas. Camp Howze was a very large Army infantry camp located at Gainsville, Texas.

    Ardmore was an Army Air Corps base [this was long before the Air Corps became the Air Force]. We have heard rumors that Camp Howze was also used (in part) as a POW camp. I never even saw a German POW anywhere during my 3 1/2 years of service in WWII.

    The general public was not even aware about the American Japanese being confined on the west coast until after the war was over. I'd be surprised if a list, such as this, could be found anytime during the war.
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    Haskell POW Camp Painting

    Vol 11, Iss 20 Vol. 11, Iss. 17 - WWII POW Camps & Haskell, OK -- A few weeks ago one of our readers posted information about a WWII POW camp near Haskell, Oklahoma. Susan said, "My mother walked that way to town every day and somehow, (I guess the prisoner spoke some English) struck up a conversation with this POW. He was talking about his own daughter who was about my age and how homesick he was.

    "Long story short, he painted a picture of his home and gave it to my mother for me. I would LOVE for someone who was related to that POW to have something their father or grandfather painted. If someone out there has an interest, I can get it down and see if we can read the painters signature, if any exists." -- Susan Dalberg at Email: wolfpaw81@aol.com

    This week Susan says, "I got up in the rafters and found the painting. The soldier's name was apparently Grosier. Underneath his printed name it says CP '45. (which would be the year it was painted as I was born in 44)."

    Susan also mentioned, "My grandfather came to Oklahoma in 1912 and sold the first tractor, at least in Haskell. He had a furniture store there from 1916 until he retired in 1972. I?m an Okie myself."
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    German POW Murals In Oklahoma

    Vol 17, Iss 2 Alva, OKlahoma - A Waynoka couple find murals behind walls according to a story that ran in The Sunday Oklahoman, July 4, 1982, and written by Carolyn B Leonard, Waynoka Couple Find Murals Behind Walls."

    Monte and Rosalind Lopshine bought ten lots and two old ramshackle apartment buildings August, 1981. When they were remodeling in May, 1982 they found 24 paintings painted by a German prisoner of war that resemble tour posters with scenes of Austria and the Berlin area. The paintings were found between the studs of one of the old buildings.

    The two apartment buildings were originally one long barrack for the POWs held at the Alva Camp during WWII. C. E. Buckner bought one of the barracks, chopped it in half and moved it to Waynoka back in 1945. The property changed hands a few times before the Lopshires bought it in 1981.

    The article stated, "Buckner set the the building halves on two separate foundations, added a floor and ceiling and converted the edifice into four apartments. He knew the paintings were there 30 years ago, but he covered them with sheetrock. Buckner said he never thought to mention it when the building changed owners through the years ... At the time, we were not impressed with pictures of Germany. We were tired of the war."

    Most of the paintings were found in perfect condition with only a few shows of water-stained reminders of a leaking roof and cracked paint on another.

    The paintings measured about 19 by 34 inches and were painted on masonite between the wall studs using three colors of oil (burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and white).

    The article quoted Mrs. Lopshires, "There is one older man who lived around here that said he helped tear the camp down. He said there were some whole-wall murals, but when he tried to save them the supervisor told him there was not time for that. They were just working by the hour and had to get it done, so those were destroyed."

    Millard Curtis was quoted as saying, "I haven't thought about it for ages, but I remember the paintings. They were in the work building, I think it was."

    The article stated, "The Lopshires, who recently converted one of the buildings into a beer tavern, have plans to turn the old barracks into a German beer garden with an outdoor restaurant adjoining.

    Some other art work (sculptures) that the German POWs did was a six-foot, walnut eagle carved from packing crates and stood in the German Officers POW compound during WWII. It now has a home in the Cherokee Strip Museum at Alva, Oklahoma along with other artifacts of Alva's POW Camp during World War II.

    This German, medieval castle was hand-carved from scraps of wood by one of the German POWs from his memory of his homeland.

    These art collections were created under difficult circumstances and have had a spiritually and romantically value placed on them. None of the paintings were ever signed. The Lopshires and a lot of Woods Countians in NW Oklahoma would love to discover the artist after all these years to fill in the blanks of what is not there anymore.
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    WWII Today In History

    Vol 12, Iss 40 Italy - WWII History, 10/04/1940 -- Hitler & Mussolini met in the Alps at Brenner Pass. Hitler was seeking help from Italy to fight the British.

    On a Friday, October 4, 1940, headlines in The New York Times reported, "Hitler and Mussolini meet today; Chamberlain out in British Shuffle; R.A.F. Causes Blast At Krupp Plan." The subheading stated, "The Inernational Situation."

    It was another meeting at Brenner Pass between Chancellor Hitler and Premier Mussolini, which was understood to be scheduled for that day back in October.

    October, 1940 @ Worldwar-2.net gives us The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available for October 1940.

  • 04/10/1940 - Mussolini and Hitler meet at the Brenner Pass.
  • 26/10/1940 - The Italians protest to the Greeks about their 'non-neutral' attitude towards Italy.
  • 28/10/1940 - Italy attacks Greece after Greek rejection of three-hour ultimatum; Churchill promises "all the help in our power." Hitler and Mussolini meet at Florence.
  • 29/10/1940 - British troops set sail for Crete. Italians claim to have made some advances but Greeks hold most positions.
  • 31/10/1940 - British troops occupy Canea in Crete. Italians claim advance towards Salonika in Greece.

  • The World War 2 Timeline 1939-1945 - Worldwar-2.net - states in its introduction, "The modern world is still living with the consequences of World War 2, the most titanic conflict in history."It was 71 years ago on September 1st 1939, Germany invaded Poland without a warning, sparking the start of World War Two.

    Winston Churchill on September, 1940 said, "Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!" View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camp Personnel in Alva, Oklahoma

    Vol 5, Iss 1 " I enjoy your website very much. I do have question concerning army personnel (guards) at the Alva camp. My biological father, James E. Kern, was stationed at the Alva Camp. I have been trying to locate him for over 35 years to no avail. Do you know of any list of army personnel that was stationed at the Alva Camp or of anyone I might contact that could provide that type of information? I have previously conversed with local Alva personnel who worked at the camp but no one remembers my father being there? I would greatly appreciate any information or suggestions you might have. Thank you." -- Larry Johnson - Email: VillainMoonquake@worldnet.att.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camps Map & History

    Vol 11, Iss 46 Awhile back I transcribed some information passed down to me by one of my readers. It concerns the WWII POW Camps in Oklahoma - 1943-45.

    Click the Oklahoma Map to the left to catch a better glimpse of the POW camps that dotted our State. You can read more about the Barbed Wire & Nazilagers POW Camps in Oklahoma written by Richard S. Warner, a free lance writer in Tulsa who has been collecting information on POW camps for many years. - printed in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. LXIV, No. 1, Spring 1986.
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    Basic Facilities of POW Camps

    Vol 17, Iss 2 Oklahoma - This is a photo and layout of the Alva POW Camp. The upper part was the prisoner's compounds (non-commissioned officers & enlisted men on the left side; German Officers on the right side). Main Street (or Washington Ave.) separating the two compounds and 3rd street running east and west and on the north side of the prisoner's compounds.

    The theater, Officers Club & Quarters, and the Hospital sat across the street from the non-commissioned officers & enlisted prisoners compounds. The lone Chimney, the Officers Club and the water tower are only reminders of the camp during WWII. Only memories and artifacts held at the "Cherokee Strip Museum" are what keep the Alva POW Camp fresh in our minds.

    Basic Facilities of POW Camps

    Chapel - post exchange (100ft. by 20 ft.), Also barber shop and Latrine.
    Theater - 100 ft. by 20 ft. Production of plays, musicals art exhibits. Seated 250.
    School - (100 ft by 20 ft.) Three room building for education.
    Workshop - (100 ft by 20 ft.) Camp maintenance.
    Gymnasium - (100 ft by 20 ft.)
    Company dayrooms - 72 ft. by 20 ft. Games, reading, lounging, writing letters.
    Carpenter Shop - (100 ft. by 20 ft.)
    Tailor Shop - (20 ft. by 20 ft.)
    Libraries -
    236 Bed Hospital -
    4 Orchestras
    Barracks
    - 20 ft by 120 ft. and faced with sheet rock and covered with tar paper.

    POW barracksAfter the WWII the buildings were sold off and this barrack was moved to the 900 block of W. Flynn Street in Alva, Oklahoma. It sets on the north side of the street and approximately a half block west of the Middle School (where the Old Jr. High School used to be.)

    POW barracksThis old barracks was moved to the northeast corner of Center & Eleventh Street in Alva, Oklahoma. There was another building moved to E. Flynn and used as a storage building. There was also a building moved down to Waynoka and turned into a "Beer Joint", but it was torn down and that is where the POW's Painted murals were discovered, removed and put permanently in the Santa Fe Depot Museum in Waynoka and the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva.

    If anyone out there has any "Old" or "New" photos of the "Old POW buildings that came from the Alva POW Camp after World War II, please send me a copy to share with everyone. I would love to see it.
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    German POW Camp In Jerome, Arkansas (1945)

    Vol 16, Iss 8 Jerome, AR - During WWII over 425,000 captured Axis soldiers were transported to the United States and interned for the duration in stockades and compounds scattered across the country. Arkansas eventually received about 23,000 of these enemy troops, most of them members of Germany's most famous military unit: Erwin Romnel's Afrika Korps.

    Significant numbers of Axis prisoners of war began arriving in the United States in early 1943 soon after the successful, conclusion of Allied cooperations in North Africa. Jerome, Arkansas operated from November 1944 until January 1945. It held over 4600 German POWs. Camp Dermott, one of the largest, and most unusual German POW camps in the U.S., was the third Arkansas facility. The camp occupied 960 acres of flat delta land just outside the hamlet of Jerome on US 165 about eight miles south of Dermott. It originally was the Jerome Relocation Center, one of two such complexes in the state.

    Between 1942 and 1944 thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry endured a dreary, humiliating existence in the huge but spartan military style installation. By June 1944 the last American internees had been removed from Jerome and transported to the other Arkansas camp at Rohwer or to camps on the West coast. The deserted barracks city was striped bare, only the dark shells of the trapper covered buildings remained.

    Other Links - POW Camps In Arkansas
    The Afrika Korps In Arkansas 1943-46)
    Hitler's Generals in America: Nazi POWs and Allied Military intelligent by Derek R. Mallett
    List of Detention camps, temporary detention centers and department of justice internment camps View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Borden General Army Hospital of Chickasha, Okla

    Vol 5, Iss 8 "I've reviewed the information on the WWII POW Camps (Oklahoma) on your website and found it interesting and informative. I was wondering if you have anything on Borden General Army Hospital in Chickasha, Oklahoma. I've had only limited success through Chickasha Public Library. I've had even less success trying to find information on the internet. What I did find amounted to information on the facility's size. I'd appreciate any assistance you might provide. If you can refer me to someone who has any resource information on Borden General Hospital, that would be great too. Thanks so much!" -- Jimmie D. Biggs, Edmond, OK - Email: jbiggs3@cox.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WW II POW List of Camps

    Vol 14, Iss 10 Berlin, Germany - We received this inquiry this last week concerning Fabian Kuhn is looking for a list of POW camps in Oklahoma during World War II for his grandfather records as a POW during WWII, in the Glennan General Hospital in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Read his message below.

    "Dear Linda, I just discovered your website about the POW camps in Oklahoma and maybe you can help me. I'm searching for my grandfather. Last note I've got about him is, that he was at the Glennan General Hospital in Okmulgee, Oklahoma in July 1945. He became a POW in June 19, 1944 in Montebourg, France (Utah Beach). Number caught 31 G - 201 009. His name was August Kuhn, born in January 18th 1908.

    "Do you think there is a possibility to figure out in which camp he was located? How long he stayed there and rather where he did go afterwards? I am really looking forward for your answer. Best regards. ~ Fabian Kuhn, Erich-Weinert-Str. 140, 10409 Berlin, Tel: 030-32518151, Email: faku@gmx.net." View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Wanderings Thru OkieLegacy

    Vol 6, Iss 39 Oklahoma - "I have enjoyed reading where they are from so far. You have touched so many lives and brought so much information to so many. I love just wandering around looking at the old Castle on the Hill and reading about the Murders. The POW camp really intrigues me too. I am positive we had an escapee from there pass though our farm back in the mid-40's. He was an older man (to me then) maybe 60 or so.

    Our farm was a half mile off the road and never did we have any beggars stop before. He wore a denim jacket in the heat of the summer and spoke broken English. When he asked how far Wakita was away, we told him 12 miles. He said "do you mean 12 meters?"

    Mama was very suspicious and said when we two girls got close to the coat he took off and laid down when he drank his milk and ate a roll mama gave him, he became agitated. Many years later, we heard about a former escaped prisoner that wrote a book about his escape and trip across the US. We wondered if he was the author." -- Lois View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    OkieLegacy Guestbook

    Vol 9, Iss 8 "I grew up in Mt. Pine, AR in the '50s. Mr. Woodell was still the store manager and used to give me a nickel every time my Mom took me to the store. One of the families that lived in the really "big" houses was the Hopsons. My next door neighbor was Ruben Smith, a sawyer. My Dad was a draftsman/engineer type and I got to go to the mill with him a lot. Watching the carriage go back and forth with a guy riding it was a highlight. When I was 18 and 19 I had summer jobs in the rework plant. I pulled sticks out of the lumber stack as the machine operator fed the boards into the saw that cut off the excess on the sides of the boards. This article brought back a lot of memories. BTW, I am now an Okie in OKC." -- Roy Kizzia - Email: roy.kizzia@tinker.af.mil

    193rd Tank BTN... "My father was in the 193rd. I am almost certain I have a picture, like the one posted. I have saved this site. Will try to find the picture and reply again." -- Warren Williams - EMAIL: wwilliams105@excite.com

    POW Camp Prisoner In Alva, OK... "My dad was in the years from 1942-1945 a pow in the camp Alva (Oklahoma). He was an NCO of the African Corps." -- Mrs. B - EMAIL: leon.lindenberger@wen.de

    History Buff... "Looking for history of family, friends, and Freedom and Lookout (Oklahoma) areas." -- Carol Wolgamott - EMAIL: cdwsltfrk@kanokla.net

    Bill McGill... "Great website! Would you happen to know if Bill McGill is the same W.C. McGill who had a son named Kermit? W.C.'s wife died of typhoid in 1904 and he's a relative of mine. He was in the furniture business in Oklahoma City. Thanks!" -- Pete Davis - EMAIL: DLondinium@aol.com

    Misplaced Okie... "I just read about Foreman Scotty. I'm the mother of 3 kids who were raised on Scotty & 3-D Danny. Why can't TV be wholesome again? Times change mostly for the worse." -- susan francis whitten - EMAIL: sgwhit@cox.net

    Highland District... "What was the district number of Highland grade school? Waynoka High School and Dacoma High school?" -- WJ Todd - EMAIL: Jodale@sutv.con
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    WWII POW Camp - Okemah, OK

    Vol 11, Iss 29 Dolores Frimel says, "Stephen Ryyker, I too was born in Okemah in 1936. I remember walking by ( I believe it was called the Pecan bowl ) and the prisoners waving at us.

    "My grandparents lived North of it and left just before the road curved. We were only there for two week vacations in the summer. We went to a rodeo in the Pecan bowl. Seems like some movie personality was there.

    "Stephen Ryyker, are you related to Raymond, Glen and Pac Ryker. Helen Ryker, Glen's widow, is a distant relative on my Morphis side. I saw her a few weeks ago. I would like to see some pictures of the Pecan Bowl. I didn't realize that the prisoners built wall there." -- OkieLegacy, Vol. 8, Iss. 22 - WWII POW Camp - Okemah, OK
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    Alva's WWII German POW

    Vol 15, Iss 7 Alva, OK - Also, back in 2002, Vol IV, of the OkieLegacy ezine, John Webb (email: jdatwebb@cs.com) I do not know if this email is still a workable email address. John mentioned that his grandfather, Abe Regier, worked at the POW camp in Alva, Oklahoma.

    John said, "My grandfather, Abe Regier, worked at the POW camp in Alva, Oklahoma. A few years ago he gave me a ship constructed entirely of scrap material made by a German prisoner for his son. The prisoner was not allowed to take it with him when he was returned to Germany. If anyone knows of anyone in Germany who has prisoner record information I would love to return the ship to his family. Feel free to email me. Great information! Thanks!" View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camps

    Vol 6, Iss 43 Missouri - "I came from a small Missouri town north of St. Louis that had a POW camp.  I was a little girl, and I remember both German and Italian prisoners were housed there, just a few blocks from my home.  I find it fascinating that so little has apparently been written about these camps, or at least that I'm aware of.  Would like to learn more." -- Carolyn Allen - Email:  Bunglerye@charter.net. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Nazilager 1942-1945

    Vol 5, Iss 16 McAlester, Oklahoma - "My name is steve DeFrange and I live in McAlester Oklahoma. I discovered the site pertaining to the WWII POW camp at Alva.

    I am interested in researching the camp at McAlester. Could you direct me to any resources on this subject that might help? Is anything available from U,S. military or government records? I am not aware of a photo of the camp here and would like to find one. A small yard castle (built by German POW's in 1943 and donated by VFW Post 1098 -- See Plaque) has survived and is displayed at the McAlester Building Foundation Museum (the old High School from which I graduated in 1966). The administration building which was later the VFW hall is now a gym at which I worked out this morning. I went up to the museum and got a few pics of the castle today.

    McAlester POW Castle - artworkThere were several smaller castles around the barracks originally in addition to this one that was in front of the building that became the VFW hall after the war. This one is about 4-1/2' X 3' X 2-1/2' high. This is the largest one and it has been vandalized once since relocating to the museum and has been repaired. I have seen it many times, both in it's original location and in the present location. It is still a moving experience for me to visit it.

    My dad served with 36th Field Artillery in No. Africa, Sicilia, Italy, France, and Germany throughout the war. Thank you very much." -- Steve - Email: sdefrange@cox.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII German POW Artist at Alva Camp

    Vol 6, Iss 35 Germany - " My father, Friedrich Wilhelm Rohrlack, born 1918, was a prisoner at Camp Alva 1943-1945. He was also an artist, mostly landscapes and scenery and he was from Berlin. was a prisoner of war at ALVA from early 1943 until the war ended. He was a great artist until he died in 1995. He usually signed his artwork somewhere in old english script his initials, in lower case letters (fwr). He lived in Berlin until 1954. One other note, although I have tried this before without success, and that is to find the person in a picture of a young blond girl my father painted while at Alva. I believe it was a picture one of the prisoners had of their daughter. She was wearing a large blue dress. I have the painting and would like to pass it onto the person in the picture. If anyone can remember anything, please send me an e-mail, on the murals or the girl's picture. Thanks to you all." -- Werner Rohrlack - Email: w.r.accounting@shaw.ca View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Star Theatre & Other Theatre Memories

    Vol 11, Iss 6 Roy says, "I probably have more information about the Star Theatre in Minco, Oklahoma than ANY other living person because I'm the one who bought the theatre equipment from Noah Standifer and operated that theatre until the day it closed (after I'd bought the Perry Theatre and moved to Perry, Oklahoma).

    I won't go back to my very beginning, but will say that I was first introduced to 'screenings' by my boss and his wife at the Ritz Theatre at Britton, Homer "Pug" Hawkins, back in the late '40s. Those first screenings were at the 20th Century-Fox screening room at 10 North Lee (while I was still in high school) and I think that the first movie premier I attended (also with Pug and Mary) was at the Center Theatre in OKC -- Saturday's Hero which introduced the new young stars John Derek and Donna Reed and they appeared in person after the movie. The boss had taken me to these 'special' movies because I was a projectionist at both the Britton Theatre (the "B" house) and the Ritz (which was the "A" house across the street).

    After I'd graduated, I went to work in the daytime at John A. Brown Company where my grandfather, Orville Lewis, was in charge of maintaining all the display equipment and the remodeling of a part of the store. I continued to work also at the theatres at night. My brothers and I attended screenings when possible and also (probably) made a nuisance of ourselves at the theatre supply houses where we'd go by and check out every projector and other pieces of equipment that we were allowed to touch.

    Oklahoma Theatre Supply had displays of Brenkert (RCA) equipment like we were accustomed to at the Ritz. National Theatre Supply was showing all the latest Simplex equipment which included the new model XL (which I later found at the Star Theatre in Minco), and W. R. Howell's Motiograph displays also held our attention.

    The little 'Britton Theatre' had Motiograph Model K projectors and Mr. Howell even showed us how the projectors were constructed. He and the 'mechanic' working there were fascinating and took the time to teach us much about the inner workings of the equipment.

    A 'side' note: A few years later, the RCA service engineer, Byron Savage, who took care of the theatre equipment there at Britton also taught me some things about the sound system, and then he was FIRED by RCA because he had invented a miniature radio that could fit into a 'pop' bottle and he sold his invention to a rival company, Philco, who used the idea to create the Pepsi-Cola Bottle radio. He then started his own projector service company and still later bought out the Motiograph Supply Company from W. R. Howell.

    When CinemaScope was first introduced, he again made the RCA Company angry by creating his own Stereophonic Sound heads that could be used with any and all theatre equipment without having to pay the license fees from RCA, 20th Century-Fox, and other "licensed" manufacturers (I have a pair of his magnetic 'penthouses').

    I decided not to go to college after high school and joined the Airforce. My basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base and one evening while attending a movie at a base theatre, I was so caught up in the plot that when I saw a "cue mark" (in the upper right-hand corner of the screen) I jumped up from my seat thinking that I needed to make a "change-over" (from one projector to the other) and my buddy sitting next to me asked what was wrong. So ... I had to explain a little bit about what I'd done in civilian life.

    After basic, most servicemen are transferred to a school to train for the job they'll be doing for most of the rest of their tour of duty but about eight of us were sent to train some new guys on the stuff we'd learned in basic. My 'job' at this point was to 'run' 16mm projectors to screen training films until I was transferred to my next base at Alexandria, Louisiana where I was assigned to an aircraft control and warning squadron (ground radio and RADAR), but since they really had no place for an (as yet) untrained radio operator and technician, I was re-assigned to base supply!

    I had been at the base only a day and a half when the projectionist I had known in OKC, Jim Stemen, contacted me and said he needed me to work nights at the base theatre as a projectionist.

    Wow! I walked into that booth and saw that I'd be running Simplex XLs, the same new projectors that were being used in America's greatest theatre, the Radio City Music Hall!!! Back in high school I had checked out a book in the library that had described the projection booth at the Music Hall and it's every projectionist's dream to be able to walk into that booth and work at least one night there, but only the top-ranked guys in the New York division of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees) union are even allowed into that booth. I was thrilled beyond understanding at being allowed to operate projectors in this booth.

    At the base theatre in Louisiana, it was required to have a projectionist for each of the two projectors at all times (however, each of us would sneak out the upstairs exit door at times to go get snacks from a nearby NCO club to bring back to consume during the movie).

    There was no snack bar in the theatre. Only a single vending machine with candy bars and snack crackers. No soft drinks were allowed in the auditorium, and all trash had to be removed after each performance.

    We had only three projectionists usually and would rotate 'shifts'. When Jim Stemen was transferred out, I became in charge and when the Assistant Manager went on leave, I took over that job. It was the same as being a manager (taking care of the bookwork, etc.). Then I got orders to transfer to Shaw AFB in South Carolina. The local officer in charge of the theatre wrote me a job recommendation just like in civilian life and a copy went into my permanent '201 file'. I doubt that many airmen got papers like that.

    I never set foot in another booth until my first experience as an owner a few years later. Jim Stemen and I kept in contact and when he came back from overseas, he was assigned to Tinker AFB while I was being a ground radio operator at a little hidden base called Congaree (near Sumter, South Carolina). We were there guarding the Savannah River Project (the H-bomb plant that wasn't known about).

    After discharge from the service, Jim and I talked about going into partnership as theatre owners and looked around here in Oklahoma but found nothing we could afford and I remembered an ad I'd seen in a Strout Realty catalog from Rolla, Missouri. The theatre was still for sale and the price had been dropped. It was in a little railroad town 8 miles west (and down the mountain) of Rolla, called Newburg. I drove there to check it out.

    The theatre was across from the Frisco Depot and was a converted vaudeville house with pre-WWI projectors that had been converted to sound in 1931 (even older than me). We borrowed money from Jim's dad for the down payment. The projectors were un-enclosed Powers model B made in 1916 and used Strong low-intensity lamps and the very first model Western Electric sound heads ever made.

    The motors which drove the sound heads were mounted on the floor and used universal joints to drive vertical drive-shafts up to the sound heads which were connected with a gear to drive the formerly hand-cranked projectors. The projection booth was about 20 feet above floor level and there was a hardwood floor in the auditorium with 232 very old cushioned bottom seats and wooden backs to them. The screen was 8 ft. tall by 10 ft. wide.

    The tiny concessions stand consisted of an ancient popcorn machine and an orange drink dispenser. There were no rest rooms. Folks were accustomed to walking across the street to the railroad depot when necessary.

    I didn't make enough money to support the place so took a job at the Rawlings Sporting Goods Factory there and worked at an antique industrial sewing machine making footballs and baseball bases at 75 cents an hour until I started turning them out fast enough to get "piece work" wages (so much per dozen finished pieces per day).

    During my 'off' days I went hunting and explored the hills and valleys there in the foothills of the Ozark mountains. It was almost like a year round vacation but eventually I decided to quit -- come back to Oklahoma and go to college.

    My brothers had been working as projectionists at the Lakeside Theatre at North May and Grand Boulevard in OKC and the owner of the theatre came to Missouri to see his son stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood (just a few miles west of Newburg) and the two of them came to my theatre to meet the guy who had trained their projectionists.

    When I'd decided to return to OKC for college, I first took a job with Byron Savage (the former RCA engineer I'd mentioned previously). My job was to check the miniature electronic tubes that he'd bought at surplus auctions so he could use them in his servicing operations. He had also invented what he called a pedestrilator and was gone a lot of the time trying to sell his idea to cities like Dallas, Ft. Worth, etc. He carried a miniature working model with him for demonstration purposes, and it was to use moving sidewalks with escalators so that foot traffic could easily shop in large downtown business districts utilizing two or three stories of business locations (this was before shopping malls became popular).

    I worked there until I enrolled in college at Oklahoma City University (majoring in electronics engineering) at which time I got a job with my youngest brother Allan in the projection booth at the Lakeside Theatre.

    The projectors at the Lakeside Theatre were Brenkert BX 60's as I recall and I worked there until a former projectionist and assistant manager told me about a job opening at KWTV as a film editor. I applied immediately and went to work there in July of 1957.

    A short time later, Jim Stemen called and wondered if I'd be interested in another partnership to open a long closed theatre at Tuttle. Yes, I was interested. The theatre there had Century model C projectors with Strong Low Intensity lamps and RCA sound. There was no screen. It had been destroyed. We went to Oklahoma Theatre Supply to ask Eldon Peake if he knew of a used one that we could afford. There was a big one that had been replaced in a theatre in Miami, Oklahoma and he told us how to cut it down to use in our smaller 'house', and he even arranged for us to borrow a grommet tool from Video Theatres and sold us the grommets and tape (similar to duct tape) to re-size the huge screen.

    When we finished it, it stretched from ceiling to floor and almost the entire width of the theatre. Then we bought new lenses and had the projector sprockets re-cut for CinemaScope film. We only ran two features and on weekends only. A Friday-Saturday picture and then a Saturday Prevue-Sunday matinee film. This kept our costs low and we were able to have a reasonably good crowd at each performance. I checked out the competition at Minco where George Walje was operating the Star. I considered it a major competitor."
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    Miles Kelly's Experience At Camp Alva

    Vol 12, Iss 6 Aaron Horton (Email: greatsasuke88@hotmail.com) says, "Hello, I'm currently doing research on German POWs in the US during WWII, and I found the paper on Miles Kelly's experiences at Camp Alva very interesting. However, I can't seem to find the author's name. I know the person that wrote it was Kelly's child, but would you happen to know their name? That way, I can cite the paper properly in my footnotes and bibliography. Thanks!"
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    Alva's WWII POW Camp

    Vol 11, Iss 39 Marty says, "I am reading the book The Yard Dog by Sheldon Russell and the setting is the Alva POW camp and Waynoka Rail yards and Ice plant. I know I have seen information about Camp Alva on the OkieLegacy ezine letter but can't seen to find it. Can you help me? The book is great."

    [Editor's Note: If you do a "Freefind Search" for "alva pow camp wwii," located on our OkieLegacy, you might find the following information and possible pages containing pow camp information. Click this following Link: Alva pow camp WWII. ]
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    The Rest of the Story

    Vol 8, Iss 39 Other Tidbits... "Gas in Newkirk, OK, earlier this week, was $2.02. While Arkansas City, KS was at $2.21. Now that Ark City's gas is $2.12, as of yesterday, Newkirk is selling at $1.97. Yes, back in the $1's. Almost worth the trip to drive 10 minutes to get the lower price."

    Spybuck's of Watonga, Oklahoma... "Hello Aunt Donna, Long time, no see. I thought that Veronica was married to Della's son or grandson. I'm located still in Arlington and hope you, Cooper, and the kids are doing fine. I will contact you with further info."

    What's Worth of WWII German POW Paintings... "I have an oil painting on board and pencil sketch of a little girl that were by German POW's in the USA - the painting of a house, probably a German house, painted in 1943 -- the sketch of a young girl in 1945 in Lebanon PA. Do you have any idea of the value of these items or can you direct me to someone who can help me. Thank you so much. I have no idea where, who the painting of house artist was. As far as the pencil sketch is concerned, there were POW's in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Probably held at Indiantown Gap military base. They were both bought at yard sales several years ago, so the info I have is all I can get." -- Marianne - Email: colectique@aol.com

    SW Colorado - Gold In Them Thar' Hills... "How very very beautiful & awesome is God's creation. I hear the mountains calling my name. Those photos are so very beautiful & you or whomever is a great & talented photographer. Thank you taking those for us and sharing. It has been really beautiful this last week here in Oklahoma City (N & S)."
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    WWII, 1329th POW Camp...

    Vol 6, Iss 26 "My Dad guarded German POW's during WWII. He was assigned to 1329th POW Camp. He was separated at Ft. Story, Virginia. But I remember him telling me he guarded POW's in Oklahoma also. Can anyone direct me to where I might find info on his unit?" -- G. Brazil - Email: gbrazil@door.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    The Rest of the Story...

    Vol 8, Iss 9 These are the "back issue" comments for those of you who missed them during the week. They range from comments about Alva's Pix theatre to Northwestern training aircadets and much more. Such as:

  • WWII POW Murals & Artwork... Rosalea Hostetler of the "Prairie Connection" reminds us, "The prisoner of war art was very fascinating. It shows how important the arts are to our well-being, even in times of duress. If the writers wish, we could publish their articles and requests in the "April Prairie Connection." We have a number of German ancestory readers who might be able to help find those they seek."

  • Lori (King) Brown mentioned, "I got photographs of the German paintings in the buildings that were at Waynoka (Oklahoma) when they were either tearing them down or moving them in 1981. My Uncle Willie Rauch lived just across the way so he called me when the paintings were found. I ran over and snapped a few pictures. The last I heard of them after that was that Mr. Zwink at NWOSU had been contacted about them, I have not known what happened with them after that. I still have my photo's somewhere in a photo album. This was also the first I had ever known about the POW camp being at Alva. I have since watched documentaries about the camp here in Alva, Oklahoma. It is said that the worst of the worst were rounded up and housed here."

  • Downtown Memories of Northwest Oklahoma... Bill Barker reminded us of the time that he was a soda jerk in "Beegles Drug Store," in 1948/49. Bill recalls those memories as, "An enjoyable experience, Mr. Beegle was a fine gentleman. The only unpleasnt experience I had while there was accompanying a small boy out back of the store who had been given a dose of ipecac so he could upchuck something he swallowed but shouldn't have. I remember those tables in the old picture were still there (in 1948/49)."

  • Marvin reminds us about the apartments, doctor offices, and lawyers offices that were Upstairs over most of the buildings around the square in Alva, Oklahoma. Upstairs over "Beegles Drug Store", Dr Kephford had his chiropractic offices. Hadwiger Law offices were upstairs over "Schumachers" on the west side. Several doctors, including Dr Simon had his office upstairs, over "Monfort Drug." A number of apartments were above the "Ranger Theater", "Old Surety Life Insurance" & "Johnson Insurance."

  • Marvin remembers selling sponsorships in the high school album in '53 and '56 and found Wiebner's, Groceteria, Eastside, Blakemores, Clark's Food Market and Bill Shorts Wholesale Market. The only ones escaping him as to their location were the Groceteria and Clark's. Does anyone out there have any memories of these Food Markets in the Alva, Oklahoma area during the early 1950's. We know where Magnusons Grocery and Eds Mart were located. Let us know what you remember!


  • Last Week Intro-Comment
    The Pix Theatre - Alva's Old Twin Booths
    Training Pilots at Northwestern - Alva, OK
    WWII - POW's Murals & Artwork
    Beegle Bros. Drugstore - Alva, OK
    Pugster's Report
    Alva's (Oklahoma) 1940s Cadets
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    WWII POW Camp of Alva - Signed Woodwork...

    Vol 6, Iss 19 I read it faithfully every Saturday morning. Will be sending in an item or two one of these days. Some time ago, I purchased a piece of art (woodwork) by one of the prisoners at the POW camp in Alva... it's signed and dated, and I am going to make an effort to find the man who carved it - or some of his family if he is deceased - and return it to him/them. It will take me awhile, though, to get through with school and then actually take time to sit down and write something. In the meantime, keep writing! Thanks." -- Rod View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camp In Alva...

    Vol 7, Iss 40 "I was a member of the 455th MPEG COMPANY stationed at Camp Alva from July 43 until June 1944, when I left for the 63rd Infanty Division. Here are a few pictures that I thought might be of interest to you. A picture of some of the members of the 455th.

    A picture of a typical barracks. (The Germans were identical to ours.) The Water Tower. It was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. It was true that the prisoners gave us a hard time when we were doing nightly bed checks. Sgt. Emil Minoti was a senior Sgt. who was confined to solitary confine for a short period of time while I was there, and I noticed that he was killed trying to escape.

    On another note, I was eighteen years old and was fascinated by a Mr. Shoemaker who had a drug store in town. When we went in to get a milkshake he would spellbind us by telling stories about the Land Rush, the outlaws, deperadoes, and gunslingers that came through town when Oklahoma was still Oklahoma & Indian Territory. Now I am eighty years old and it doesn't seem that long ago. I enoyed the articles very much and they brought back memories." -- Ron Campbell View/Write Comments (count 4)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    LUBRITZ & Alva 's WWII POW Camp...

    Vol 7, Iss 31 "Thank you for posting the information on the WWII POW camps in Oklahoma. Your page allows me to learn more details of my family history. Your page includes the entry: November 15, 1942 - After the Army took over from the civilian contractors, the first American troops that arrived were 25 men of the Quartermaster Corps under the command of Lt. Luther Guess and Oscar B. Cruell. Six men of Medical Corps under the command of Lt. Ephraim Lubitz also arrived at that time.

    Lt. Ephraim Lubitz is a misspelling. The r is left out. The correct spelling is Ephraim LUBRITZ. He was my dad. He was a physician and surgeon, graduate of LSU Medical School, from New Orleans, LA. Both he and my mother have been deceased for many years now. I was born after the war, but remember my mother telling me when I was a child, about my dad having been in charge of a prison camp hospital during the war where bad people were. My brothers were young children during the war and remember being in Oklahoma.

    A friend of my brother's recently found your website, told him about it, and he told me. My brother's friend asked him if he is any relation to Lt. Ephraim Lubitz, because his name is mentioned in relation to the POW camp.

    My Dad never talked to me about his time there, so if you happen to have any further info as to how long he was there, etc... I'd appreciate it. Thanks again for all the work you do to research for your website! I'll bet you helped the people that do the TV Show History Detectives. I happened to watch their show about the member of the Peterman family who wanted to know about land her family may have owned in Alva, and realized they must be talking about the same POW Camp where my Dad was stationed. I wonder if that show prompted the person who contacted my brother to surf the web and find your website. At any rate, thanks again, and thanks for correcting the spelling (LUBRITZ). Thank you for preserving this part of our country's and my family's history." -- Lana (Lubritz) Goldberg View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Waynoka's Ice Plant & POW Memories - WWII...

    Vol 7, Iss 28 "I forwarded the information about the POW camps in Oklahoma to Jim Linder who worked with the prisoners at the ice plant. Jim was in high school at the time. His response is below." -- Sandie

      Thanks for the story about the Ice Plant and the POW's. I was especially interested in the names of the escapees and attemptees. When the one man who slipped away from the Plant was captured just south of the Cimarron he protested vehemently that he was in Mexico and therefore couldn't be legally brought back. They generally had no idea how big this country was, no conception of the distances involved.

      The roster of prisoners approved for work-release at the plant may well have comprised 100 but I'm certain that there were never more than 60 on-site at any given time. Also they assuredly never "operated" the ice plant. That was always the job of American citizens since ammonia (the refrigerant in use) was both poisonous and violently explosive if not handled with due care and caution. All operations involving refrigeration equipment, cranes, compressors, condensers, pumps, cooling towers, conveyors, elevators and electrical switchboards were strictly off-limits to POWs.

      They were used to handle bulk ice in receiving-room, storage, sidetrack dock and the main elevated icing dock and were always under guard by the US army and under supervision by civilians (including me) as well as working in icing crews which included civilian men and boys from the community.

      The folks who operated the plant were Fletcher Kysar, James A Linder, Charles Fry, four stationary engineers, six crane-operators and three conveyor operators.

      The plant itself was built, owned and operated by Railways Ice Co of Chicago who had a longterm contract for icing and services with AT&SF Railways at Chicago IL, Kansas City MO, Waynoka OK, Belen NM, and Needles CA.

      In the view of our army the POWs were undoubtedly 'hardliners' since the bulk of them were elite troops of Rommel's Afrika Korps.

      I certainly remember Gene McGill as he once took me flying as part of his support of our WHS (Waynoka High School) Aeronautics class. That was my first flight and he let me take the stick briefly on straight and level. That's it for the memory bank today." -- Jim Linder
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    WWII Nazi POW Camp of Broken Arrow, OK

    Vol 10, Iss 15 "It's actually in Bixby. Go down 131st street towards 129th, take a left at the stop sign. Follow the road until you come to where you can only go right. Follow that road." juckfesus420@yahoo.com - OkieLegacy Comment
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    OkieLegacy Guestbook

    Vol 9, Iss 24 Descendants -- "My husband was a descendant of Hugh Martin shown on this web site. His name was also Hugh Martin." -- Ardelle Martin - Email: amartin2@bresnan.net

    Vernon Case (married Clara Hurt) -- "Hello! Great website! I think one of my relatives married into the Hurt family - Vernon Case, son of Oscar, married Clara Hurt. Oscar was the son of James and Nancy McKinnis Case. Oscar age 3 was living with his parents/family in 1870 Jackson Co., OH." -- Nancy

    WWII German POW's -- "I think it's awesome that you created this great source. My grandmother used to tell me stories of the German POW's on her farm during the war. I now attend the ceremony for those that died in Yukon every year. Thanks again!" -- Lindsay - Email: crimclove17@yahoo.com

    Guinn Family Tree -- "Hello, I was very lucky to inherit pictures and records going back prior to the Civil War. In fact, going back to 1826. However, my D.A.R. records switch from John Guinn to, his wife, Rachael Shield's ancestors in 1826. I would love to see if my family is descended from Owain Wynn. If anyone has any info they would like to share, it would be wonderful to hear from you. Great website." -- Charlsa Guinn - Email: Charlsaguinn@hotmail.com

    193rd Tank Bn. -- "HI! Correct email for Bill Wood re the photo of 193rd Tank Bn. is wildwillies@suddenlink.net Thanks!" -- Bill Wood - Email: wildwillies@suddenlink.net

    Slapout, OK -- "My mother was born just out side of Slapout Oklahoma, in Beaver county in 1909, she was born in sod house or dugout.... she moved to Cushing in 1912 when she was 3, by covered wagon.... do you know any Skinners???" -- Charles Swanson - Email: cswanson6@cox.net

    Family Ties -- "My grandmother was raised near Avard from 1905-1921. She married and moved with her husband who worked for the Frisco. She received her teaching degree from the Avard school and went on to have eight children. She passed on her love of reading to me and I have passed all her life lessons on to my kids. She died 1979 at the age of 74 and never a more loving lady lived. (Gladys Maire Brown-Sims)." -- Mary Sabin - Email: bfhok1@suddenlink.net
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    Duncan, Oklahoma WWII POW Camps...

    Vol 6, Iss 24 "I used to live in Duncan, Oklahoma and passed the leftover buildings in Chickasha of the POW camp for many years. My parents would say the buildings were for prisoners during WWII. I looked for specific information about the Chickasha camp, but could find nothing until now. Would appreciate more about Chickasha." -- Glenda Lowry - Email: lowry@marshall.edu View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camps...

    Vol 7, Iss 27 "As the North African Campaign began, increasing numbers of German and Italian soldiers were captured stretching the capacity of the British Government to handle them. The British asked their ally, the United States, to take over the internment of some of these captives. Our government agreed and another crash building program began. Permanent P.O.W. camps were built, and most of the enemy alien camps were converted, as the detainees were shifted to other locations. The major POW camps were concentrated in the sun belt of the United States, in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida....." -- OK POW Camps View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Missouri WWII POW Camps

    Vol 9, Iss 11 The Kansas city Channel.com This is an article about WWII POWs that were housed near Liberty, Missouri. Did you know that during World War II, Italian and German prisoners of war were housed all over the country, including on the Miller family farm just south of Liberty? There were about 15,000 prisoners in Missouri during WWII. -- submitted by Lois G.
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    WWII POW Camp In Concordia (KS)...

    Vol 7, Iss 49 "The POW camp near Concordia, Kansas was north on old hwy 81. I lived in Belleville about 20 miles north of Concordia. I remember truck loads of POW's coming thru town. I was told they were working on the farms. I was born in '38 so I was just a little boy. When I was in high school there was a VFW Post there. I go home about every year and go to Concordia, but the hwy has changed and haven't thought about it for years." -- Bill Burwell, Washington State - Email: WBURWELL14@aol.com View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Reading About WWII & POWs...

    Vol 7, Iss 45 "After years of reading about WWII and POW's from Allies perspective, I decided that I wanted to learn about German and Italian POW's that were interred in the US. This site was a great start for me." -- Don Haws - Email: donaldhaws@comcast.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camps In Oklahoma...

    Vol 7, Iss 36 "Many thanks for these excellent articles on WW2 POW camps in Oklahoma." -- Pat Browning Email: patbro4@yahoo.com View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Cpt. Miles W. Kelly's Year in Alva - September, 1944-September, 1945...

    Vol 6, Iss 7 "After service in North Africa and Italy during World War II, my father, Dr. Miles William Kelly, was stationed at the prisoner-of-war camp in Alva, Oklahoma from September 28, 1944 to September 17, 1945. He was one of the medical officers at the facility. For the most part, this account is based on the letters that he wrote home to my mother. At least one local history, newspaper articles, and a small amount of government documents also added much to this narrative. Before relating his story, however, a few words must be said on the history of the prison camp itself. The following paragraphs are largely a paraphrase of a section on the camp in Alva, Oklahoma: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (1987) by Seekers of Oklahoma Heritage Association augmented by some of the government documents mentioned above...... -- Bruce - Email: brucekelly@hotmail.com - Alva POW Doc file View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW's List In Oklahoma

    Vol 9, Iss 32 "In response to reading an article which included the link to send you an email, I am writing requesting help in researching information on my wife?s father, Wili Dombrowsky, who was a POW in Oklahoma during the war. We could provide his date of birth and possibly the camp where he was interned. If you know a site where the names of these POW?s is listed, we would appreciate receiving it so we can research this further. Please advise." -- Martin H. Myers - Email: MyersMH@state.gov
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    What's Worth of WWII German POW Paintings...

    Vol 7, Iss 32 "My father-in-law has several paintings that German POW's painted during WWII. Do you think they are worth anything? How can I find out? Please let me know if you can help me. Thanks." -- Reggie Tolbert - Email: ratolbert@bellsouth.net View/Write Comments (count 6)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Nebraska - German POW Camp...

    Vol 7, Iss 21 "I was informed by relatives that in Hebron, Nebraska there was a WWII German POW camp. Only one of the old buildings still stands, and other concrete foundations still remain. The camp sat just to the southeast part of town. No other details are known at this time." -- Bruce View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW's List In Oklahoma

    Vol 9, Iss 33 "There was a POW camp in Alva, Oklahona. I have no idea how your would find out if that person was a POW there." -- Faye Parsons - Email: MsFazie@aol.com - OkieLegacy Comment
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    Researching WWII For School Project...

    Vol 8, Iss 13 "I love this website!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was doing some research for a WWII project I did in school when I stumbled upon all of this wonderful information. I couldn't believe that there were actually prisoner of war camps in my home state! I was so amazed that I did a fourth of my report on it. Thank you for all of your information and pictures. I got an A on my project! My grandfather fought in WWII for the marines and recieved a purple heart while stationed in Okinawa. He has made my interest for this war considerably increase this year! Many things devistate me including POW camps and concentration camps. I cant believe how many cruel things were done to the inmates and how long the Nazis got away with it!" -- Katherine B. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Paintings at Waynoka...

    Vol 8, Iss 10 The Woodward Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum borrowed the three POW paintings from the Waynoka History Museum to display with the traveling exhibit, "Schindler". The exhibit ends March 4. I'll attach a photo showing them on display at the Woodward museum. I believe the 'Alva Cherokee Strip Museum' has some of the paintings, and others are privately owned. There were '14 paintings' on the celotex between the studs of the old barracks which became the 'Buckner Apartments' after the war. The apartments burned sometime after the paintings were removed. There are other apartments in Waynoka that were POW barracks. Mr. Buckner knew the paintings were on the walls when they moved the barracks to Waynoka, but they installed wallboard in the remodelling, covering the paintings in the process. They were probably reminders of the war more than art at that time.

    I will forward the Lebanese story and photos from the 'Waynoka Chronicles.' I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I certainly enjoyed the research.

    Discover Oklahoma people (weekly TV show) were here today, filming at the Waynoka Museum for their April 22 show. They spent about 6 hours at the museum and also in the country for the wildlife trail." -- Sandie, Waynoka, OK View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Fat Finger Oops last week....

    Vol 6, Iss 3 "Hey, Duchess, did you have a slight paw glitch or was this your buddies 'fat fingering?' (tee hee): The German WWII internment camp was erected in 1943 on the eastern edge of the Fort property. Prisoners began arriving July 4, 1943. By August 30, 1000 prisoners arrived at Fort Reno POW Camp."

    [Editor's Note: That August 30, 1000 was not the date and year. It probably should have read, "By August 30, of that same year, 1000 prisoners arrived at Fort Reno."] View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Williams & POW Camp Memories of WWII...

    Vol 7, Iss 24 "My grandfather, Abner Williams (1907-1984), had a farm just south of the POW camp. My father, Monty Williams (1936-2005) and his brother, Pat Williams (1940-2004)had a 'foxhole' next to the road and when the Germans walked by on their exercise walks, my dad and uncle used to 'shoot' at them with their toy guns. The soldiers would play with them by shooting back. My grand-dad had some stools that the POWs made at the camp, that he got when the camp was closed. I wish I could have gotten one of them when he died in 1984. I never thought about them though. I remember driving by that smokestack all the time on the way into town. My dad had quite a few stories from those days." -- Jim Williams - EMAIL: jimw@ou.edu View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII - Alva Camp Lonely Chimney...

    Vol 8, Iss 9 POW chimney/smokestack... Little remains except for a lonely chimney that some proclaim to be a bakery chimney and others say was the smokestack of the POW hospital. BUT... I've found in other articles that the POW Hospital was west of the main street, Washington Avenue, that ran to the POW camp. Whatever the case, it stands amongst the VFW Post and the old concrete water tower that remain as reminders that Alva, Oklahoma was home of a German POW camp during WWII from the Summer of '42 when it was authorized to November of '45 when it shut down after the WWII. This picture was taken October, 1999 and shows the Woods County Fairground buildings in the background. The Concrete Water Tower sets across another road to the south and east while the VFW Post sets just east (or to the right) of this picture. The road you see running by the westside of the alleged smokestack was the main street called Washington Avenue that ran south from the Section Line Road to the POW camp. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Looking for Alva WWII POW Camp Anecdotes

    Vol 10, Iss 26 "Linda and readers, I am trying to help a colleague collect information about the WW II POW camp in Alva, Oklahoma. She has a project in mind and needs background information. If you have anecdotes to share, please send them to me. Thanks." -- Kathy Earnest- Email: kearnest77@sbcglobal.net
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    WWII Heroes & Movie Stars

    Vol 10, Iss 45 I believe that this list missed a couple (perhaps more) but the one British actor who I remember (I think he was killed while flying for the R.A.F., perhaps in a "Spitfire") was the number two male lead in "Gone With The Wind", Leslie Howard. And then there was Oklahoma's own Dale Robertson who was 'discovered' by a Hollywood agent who saw his photo (in uniform) on display in a California photography shop.

    I knew this because his brothers-in-law and the rest of his in-laws were my next-door neighbors and I sat with them in the Ritz Theatre in Britton to see his very first performance (as "Billy The Kid") in a Randolph Scott western. Later, Dale bought one of "Lassies" pups (after it had appeared in a "Lassie" movie) and gave it to the boys, where they raised it on the family farm (just west of Lake Hefner) where they later moved when their dad retired as 'line chief' from South-Western Bell.

    This page lists but a few, but from this group of only 18 men came over 70 medals in honor of their valor, spanning from Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Distinguish Service Cross', Purple Hearts and one Congressional Medal of Honor.

    Real Hollywood Heroes: Most of these brave men have since passed on.
    Alec Guinness (Star Wars) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.

    James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the U. S. Army on D-Day.

    Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. Pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.

    David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.

    James Stewart Entered the Army Air Force as a private and worked his way to the rank of Colonel. During World War II, Stewart served as a bomber pilot, his service record crediting him with leading more than 20 missions over Germany, and taking part in hundreds of air strikes during his tour of duty. Stewart earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, France's Croix de Guerre, and 7 Battle Stars during World War II. In peace time, Stewart continued to be an active member of the Air Force as a reservist, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in the late 1950s.

    Clark Gable (Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) Although he was beyond the draft age at the time the U.S. Entered WW II, Clark Gable enlisted as a private in the AAF on Aug. 12, 1942 at Los Angeles. He attended the Officers' Candidate School at Miami Beach , Fla. And graduated as a second lieutenant on Oct. 28, 1942. He then attended aerial gunnery school and in Feb. 1943 he was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook where flew operational missions over Europe in B-17s. Capt. Gable returned to the U.S. In Oct. 1943 and was relieved from active duty as a major on Jun. 12, 1944 at his own request, since he was over-age for combat.

    Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak.

    Ernest Borgnine was a U. S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.

    Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy earning a Silver Star and awarded the Purple Heart.

    Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps, more specifically on B-29's in the 20th Air Force out of Guam, Tinian, and Saipan.

    George C. Scott was a decorated U. S. Marine.

    Eddie Albert (Green Acres TV) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U. S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov. 1943.

    Brian Keith served as a U.S. Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.

    Lee Marvin was a U.S. Marine on Saipan during the Marianas campaign when he was wounded earning the Purple Heart.

    John Russell: I n 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he received a battlefield commission and was wounded and highly decorated for valor at Guadalcanal.

    Robert Ryan was a U. S. Marine who served with the O. S. S. in Yugoslavia.

    Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the US . Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded Marines out of, Iwo Jima and Okinawa .

    Audie Murphy, little 5'5" tall 110 pound guy from Texas who played cowboy parts: Most Decorated serviceman of WWII and earned: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Star Medals, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals with "V", 2 Purple Hearts, U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 2 Distinguished Unit Emblems, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France) World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar, French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre, French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier, French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star, French Croix de Guerre with Palm, Medal of Liberated France, Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm.
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    Changeable Perry, OK (Weather & Gas)

    Vol 10, Iss 5 "Golly, Linda! The gas prices dropped back down to $2.79.9 today (Tuesday Jan. 29)! Sunday the weather was warming back up and Monday it was 60+ degrees but the wind was very strong and then today (Tuesday) it changed directions and began to turn cold. At 11:30 this morning it was spitting small snow flakes. At noon the sun was again shining brightly but still high winds and cold. This evening the temperature was 38 degrees. Tomorrow (Wednesday) it's supposed to be back up to 60 degrees and then Thursday we're expecting rain changing to snow! And then it's supposed to be warm again for two days. WHAT NEXT?

    This weeks newsletter is one of the best in quite some time (and they're always great). The HIGH winds are here again today Jan. 30, 2008) ... extremely high fire danger, and many acres have been burned in recent days (including quite a few in Beaver county).

    What next? The weather folks here were correct (so far)!!! The winds were very high again yesterday (Jan. 30, 2008) and in the evening it was warm enough that I walked to choir practice without insulated coveralls or even a heavy jacket ... just an insulated vest. AND THEN THINGS CHANGED! This morning (Jan. 31, 2008) tiny ice pellets are covering the ground here in Perry, Oklahoma and I'm going to 'bundle up' to go work.

    Speaking of work, I checked my web pages this morning and have sold a 'cream-top' milk bottle (remember those) from a dairy here in Perry for (what I consider) an outrageous price of $130 to someone in New York. I haven't checked my inventory lists yet but I'm guessing that this one probably cost me $30 and that I tacked on $100 just to see what questions I might get about it? Actually there's quite an interesting story about that particular dairy.

    The Bud Warren ranch is one of the early-day ranches in our area and the dairy bottled their own milk (as many did back then). The milk was delivered in glass milk bottles that had been made by Liberty Glass Company in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. For many years, that company has made bottles for companies all over the U.S.A. During WWII the Warren Ranch converted a building in town (now used by Wheatheart Nutrition Site to prepare and serve low cost lunches to senior-citizens like me, on a daily basis) to process the milk into a powdery substance known as casein which was then sold to the military to be used in the manufacture of explosives. After the war, the Warren ranch returned to creating regular dairy products which were delivered to area grocery stores and to the public in general.

    Bud Warren had begun dabbling in the raising of quarter-horses on the side and finally sold his dairy business (to Meadow Gold, I think) to concentrate on the quarter-horses and on the racing of them. He had his first champion named "Sugar Bars" and became rather famous with this winner, and then he got "LEO". There's a statue of Leo in a local park, and that statue was fully restored in recent years (for the Centennial). Leo's buried on the ranch but his progeny continued to win races. Then Bud Warren raced perhaps the most famous quarter horse of all ... Jet Deck. Jet Deck was murdered after I moved to Perry and the entire town mourned his loss. I don't know who poisoned the horse, possibly a rival horse owner who was jealous of the stud fees that the horse was bringing in. The ranch is still owned by the family. Bud Warren has passed away, but his son still owns the property. The son operates a local real-estate company and he and his wife live on a ranch east of Perry.

    The tiny ice pellets have changed to snow flakes now and the streets are white.

    Feb. 2, 2008... The weather wizards were exactly right this time. Wednesday was a warm 50+ degrees; Thursday was blowing snow (we had a 'white-out' before noon and wound up getting about 6" of snow on the ground); and then it melted Friday and the temperature range was from an early morning 13 degrees to an evening's 58 degrees (our area was the warmest in the state). The sun is shining brightly this (Saturday) morning. Friday evenings gas prices were at $2.86.9!

    It stayed sunny all day. The weekend gas prices climbed to $2.89.9 and I presume they'll stay there until Monday. We're expecting warm weather for several more days, but it's supposed to rain about Tuesday and Wednesday, I think. Maybe that'll stop some of the grass fires. We had another one southeast of here this afternoon fought by at least 3 rural fire departments. " -- Roy K.
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    WWII POW Camp - Okemah, OK...

    Vol 8, Iss 22 "I was born and raised in OKEMAH. The stone walls, etc. of the huge compound, house our high school football and baseball fields. The Germans were apparently good stone masons and literally help build their own camp. I have family in OKEMAH who can forward current photos, if anyone cares to see. Better yet, I would recommend a personal visit. As a child (born in '53) there was still barbed wire top the walls." -- STEPHEN RYKER View/Write Comments (count 2)   |   Receive updates (1 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII -Alva Camp POW, Werner Wolf...

    Vol 8, Iss 10 "Three years ago I sent you a comment about my father, Werner Wolf, who had been a POW in 'Camp Alva' during WWII. You were so kind to insert my comment in the article. From time to time I got a comment from people who were interested in the matter. Now I have moved to another city and have changed my email adress. Could you therefore please change the contact-adress mentioned in the article? My new email adress." -- Michael - Email: MichaelWolf5@gmx.de View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    POW Camp Alva...

    Vol 6, Iss 27 "I have been reading through your various pages about the Alva POW camp, searching for information about an Army Private who served there:  PFC Conley E. Simerly.  I bought a packet of items on an eBay auction, intending to donate them to the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva for their POW collection.  On second thought, I have decided to attempt first to try to locate Mr. Simerly or his relatives.  All I know at this point is that the items came from an estate sale in the Johnson City, Tennessee area and that Mr. Simerly lived, at the time of his discharge from the Army, in Hampton, Tennessee.  If Simerly or his kin are interested in these items, they may contact me at my email address (rod@murrow.com). Thanks for another fine issue.  Hope you are enjoying your holiday in Colorado." -- Rod Murrow, Freedom, OK View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW - Karl Wegmann, Theilheim, near Wuerzburg, Germany...

    Vol 7, Iss 30 "My Grandfather was a POW in Camp Alva, his Name was Karl Wegmann from Theilheim, near Wuerzburg, Germany. He was an Air Force Soldier in North Afrika and came to the US in 1943. Grandma told me he worked in the Camp Kitchen? Anyone remember him, please contact me. It is very importent for me. My Grandfather passed away in 1982 so there is not much information left. Thanks." -- Mario - Email: MW2372@t-online.de View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    POW Camps Dot Oklahoma in WWII...

    Vol 8, Iss 9 This is a newspaper article showing a picture and a map of WWII POW camps that were in Oklahoma. Also... The following linked photo shows us looking down Washington Avenue that ran through/to the Alva Camp towards the POW tower & VFW Post. In the photo we are looking south down Washington Ave. at Alva's WWII Prisoner of War Camp South of Alva (Photo taken October, 1999). It was operational from 1942-1945 - South of Alva, Oklahoma, Woods County. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Battle of Alva (OK)...

    Vol 7, Iss 14 "I read the story on the Battle of Alva and I was curious if you know of any documents, newspaper articles, people who may know something about it. The story really caught my eye -- not your typical WWII story. Anyway, any info you have is appreciated. Thank you." -- Jared Manley - Email: instantjared@yahoo.com View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    POW's in WWII

    Vol 9, Iss 41 "Great site. There is so little known about these historic POW camps in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Thanks for the information." -- Jerry Jensen - Email: jjensen@ou.edu
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    Indiana POW Camps (WWII)

    Vol 9, Iss 37 "Can you tell me about the prisoner of war camp at Windfall, Indiana? We have a few pictures but we wanted the name of the prisoners, and all that has been written about POW camps, never mentions this place. I knew where it was and a woman in Tipton, Indiana lived next to the POW camp." -- mary Lontz - Email: mblontz@dejazzd.com
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    OkieLegacy Guestbook

    Vol 9, Iss 10 Great-Grandmother Klanke... "My great grandmother came to U.S. on the ship, Weser when she was only 16 years old and by herself. I knew her when she passed when I was 6. She was a very hardy woman. Her name was Charlotte Louise Klanke and she came from Germany." -- Judy Stone - Email: deden42@macomb.com

    Daughter of Chenault... "I am Nathan B. Chenault's daughter. Just found this by searching his name on the internet. Do you have memory of him?" -- Carol Chenault Hoberec caloho@yahoo.com

    Green Valley Vicinity... "Born in rural Carmen, Green Valley vicinity. Early childhood in Alva -- attended Horace Mann and Longfellow schools." -- Nola Veley Wilkerson - Email: wilkerne@bluevalley.net

    Interested in WWII... "I am very interested in the history of the POW camps from WWII, I went to school at Oklahoma State Tech in the early 60's I was always fascinated by it history. At that time there was still some of the walls and gun towers still left. It was a great 2 years when I was there. Where there any books written about the states deep history of involvement in WWII. I have always been interest in the History of WWII. I really injoyed all the work you have done putting so much of its history on the internet. Thank You." -- Bob - Email: rwagner@sofast.net
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    WWII German POW Oil Painting

    Vol 8, Iss 39 I have an oil painting on board and pencil sketch of a little girl that were by German POW's in the USA - the painting of a house, probably a German house, painted in 1943. As far as the pencil sketch is concerned, there were POW's in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Probably held at Indiantown Gap military base. They were both bought at yard sales several years ago, so the info I have is all I can get." -- Marianne - Email: colectique@aol.com

    [Editor's Note: Click this link to see a closeup of the signature of WWII German POW artist. Backside of painting. SEE Pencil portrait below.]
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    WWII POW Camp at Windfall, Indiana

    Vol 9, Iss 51 "I live at 400 Oak St., Windfall, IN, which means that the sight of pow camp is just across my driveway. It remains an empty lot with a trailer court the otherside. My family has lived on this property since 1930 and my grandparents have mentioned the camp many times. I will try to dig out that information." -- Jessica Stout - Email: wyattsmommy25@yahoo.com
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    WWII German POW Pencil Portrait

    Vol 8, Iss 39 "This is the pencil sketch of a young girl in 1945, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Do you have any idea of the value of these items or can you direct me to someone who can help me. Thank you so much. I have no idea who the painting of house artist was." -- Marianne - Email: colectique@aol.com

    [Editor's Note: Click Here for a closeup of the WWII German POW's signature.] View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Basic Layout of WWII POW Camp Facilities...

    Vol 8, Iss 7 This is a photo and layout of the Alva POW Camp. The upper part was the prisoner's compounds (non-commissioned officers & enlisted men on the left side; German Officers on the right side). Main Street (or Washington Ave.) separating the two compounds and 3rd street running east and west and on the north side of the prisoner's compounds. The theater, Officers Club & Quarters, and the Hospital sat across the street from the non-commissioned officers & enlisted prisoners compounds. The lone Chimney, the Officers Club and the water tower are only reminders of the camp during WWII. Only memories and artifacts held at the "Cherokee Strip Museum" are what keep the Alva POW Camp fresh in our minds. Chapel - post exchange (100ft. by 20 ft.); Also barber shop and Latrine; Theater - 100 ft. by 20 ft. Production of plays, musicals art exhibits. Seated 250. School - (100 ft by 20 ft.). Three room building for education; Workshop - (100 ft by 20 ft.) Camp maintenance; Gymnasium - (100 ft by 20 ft.); Company dayrooms - 72 ft. by 20 ft. Games, reading, lounging, writing letters; Carpenter Shop - (100 ft. by 20 ft.); Tailor Shop - (20 ft. by 20 ft.); Libraries - 236 Bed Hospital - 4 Orchestras Barracks - 20 ft by 120 ft. and faced with sheet rock and covered with tar paper. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    WWII POW Camp Gruber...

    Vol 6, Iss 15 "Is there a museum of the WWII POW Camps in the Muskogee area?  My Father was part of the 46th Division in WWII. After his tour of duty in Africa, Italy and France he was stationed at Camp Gruber German POW Camp.  They are visiting and thought they may visit if we could locate a WWII POW Camp in the Muskogee area.  Do you know of anything like this?  Thank you in advance for your response." -- Connie Creel - Email: cmakeup@cox.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    History of Oklahoma WWII Prison Camps...

    Vol 8, Iss 11 Corbett presents history of Oklahoma WWII prison camps -- By Patti K. Locklear, Staff Writer
    ".....Dr. Bill Corbett, professor of history at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, about the Oklahoma prisoner of war (POW) camps that hosted thousands of German prisoners during World War II ..... Corbett explained that around 1937, before the United States even entered the war, the government began to plan for these camps, therefore when the war broke out, these plans were already in place. During the 1929 Geneva Convention, specific guidelines were set concerning the humane conditions that were to be required for prisoners of war - they were not to be treated as criminals, but as POW's - and these requirements distinguished the differences between the two....." -- Woodward News - Published: February 26, 2006 12:58 pm View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    The NW OkieLegacy Blog...

    Vol 8, Iss 7 Don't forget to checkout our newly organized NW OkieLegacy Blog - February 2006 Yep! We have been trying to pull together into the database all the information we have gathered so far concerning WWII and Oklahoma POW camps. You can catch up on that information, post comments and view our photos concerning the WWII Alva POW Camp at The NW OkieLegacy - WWII

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    WWII POW Deaths - Alva Camp...

    Vol 8, Iss 7 The POW's deaths were from natural and other causes. Klaus Eberhard Bork died from peritonitis, August 24, 1944. Enlbert Mayr died of a heart attack, April 23, 1945. Two questionable suicides were Erwin Grams who was found hanged, November 17, 1944 and Erich Schindler who was found in the same condition September 17, 1945 as camp was being closed. Emil Minotti was shot and killed during escape attempt July 6, 1944. He was the only one killed in escape attempt in Oklahoma. The two guards who shot him were tried, acquitted and transferred to another camp.

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    WWII POW Camps...

    Vol 7, Iss 2 "This was really interesting. Not much has ever been said about these (POW) camps ." -- Beverly View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


    Japanese Ballon Bombs - WWII...

    Vol 7, Iss 2 "Thank you for providing me with the information I needed on Japanese Balloon bombs and Oregon casualties during WW2. No other site went into more depth on this issue than yours truly (OkieLegacy - WWII). Thanks very much!" -- John Forell - Email: john_forell@yahoo.com View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


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