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York County servicemen and servicewomen star in local news, Part One

Two of York County’s World War II airmen

I often use newspapers of the past to look into the lives of those who have proceeded us. The York County History Center has local newspapers on microfilm from the late 1700s up to the present. In addition, the YCHC Library/Archives now has a subscription for Pennsylvania newspapers at newspapers.com for YCHC patrons to use at no additional cost. Some, but not nearly all, York County papers have been digitized on newspapers.com. The advantage is that they searchable, saving lots of time if you are looking for a specific topic, person or event.

As I have mentioned before, each small community had its “stringer,” someone that reported what was going on in the neighborhood in minute detail. The community reporter was usually paid by volume, surely an incentive, but it was a good way to keep up with friends and family. I often come across interesting tidbits when I am looking for something entirely different. For example, while looking through papers for the fall of 1943, I realized how many of these small items were related to World War II, a global event that touched just about everyone on an individual level. Most families probably had a friend or relative serving, and thousands of York countians were manufacturing war goods.

Besides the small community news items, it was common to include a photo or two of local servicemen and servicewomen, as shown above, along with their current activity. The caption for each of these two airmen reads:

Cooper: AERIAL GUNNER—Sgt. Horace J. Cooper, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Cooper, York, who is gunner at the Smoky Hill Army Airfield, Salina, Kan. Sgt. Cooper attended New Freedom High school and has been serving with the Air corps for the past year.

Kehr:  STATIONED IN KANSAS–Sgt. Wade Kehr who is an aerial engineer stationed at Smoky Hill Army Air field, Salina, Ka. He has been in the Army Air corps the past eight months and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin E. Kehr, Dallastown.

Note that both Cooper and Kehr were serving in the Army Air corps. The U.S. Air Force did not become a separate service branch until 1947.

There were so many reference on just this one county news page of the October 7, 1943 Gazette and Daily that I have transcribed some below, and I will share the rest in my next blog post:

From Glen Rock:  A total of $78,675 was raised by the pupils of the borough schools during the Third War Loan campaign in September. This amounts to nearly $270 per pupil.

and:  Herbert C. Hoover, chief observer for the air craft warning station on the roof of the Community building, announced that by order of the War department, the station, which was on a 24-hour a day, seven days a week basis, will be operated on Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m., starting October 13. The station was sponsored by Austin L. Grove post No. 403, American Legion, with the assistance of the borough council, Civilian Defense crops and many spotters who gave their time without pay.

From White Hall:  Daniel H. Wood, who is in the service, is spending his furlough with his wife, this place.

and:  Pvt. Charles Wright is spending a furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Wright.

Click here for Part Two.