Selected Clippings From Bill Arthur's Scrapbook

The following articles were taken from the WWII information at the Library which were all from The Herkimer Evening Telegram collected by Mr. Arthur. They are typed just as in the paper except for the captions are not centered as in the original. Permission to use these articles and pictures was given by The Herkimer Evening Telegram on May 4, 2000.

This is just a sampling of what might be contained in other articles.


April 4, 1944

David Austin Rasbach

"The Rugged Curse," a giant four-motored Liberator piloted by 1st Lt. David Austin Rasbach, 23, Herkimer, went down fighting Sunday when it participated in the first American raid on Budapest and Austria, according to a United Press dispatch received here today. Before the huge bomber crash landed in "friendly territory" the bomber's gunners shot down four German fighter planes. Although details were not given, indications are that Rasbach brought his ship to earth without personal injury to crew members or himself.

The report said the bomber took part in the raid against "Steyre, and Austria" Sunday ... and had "dropped behind with a disabled engine."

It was as the plane lagged behind the formation that it was suddenly attacked by the Nazi fighters and according to the report the Yankee gunners were able to keep them off.

Lt. Rasbach and his crew had been operating from a U. S. Army air base somewhere in the Naples area and it is believed that the "friendly territory" referred to as the Adriatic coastline of Yugoslavia.

The Herkimer bomber pilot is the son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Bennett Rasbach, 502 West German Street, who received first news of the accident in news dispatches.

He received his wings June 22, 1943 at Douglas Field, Ariz., and has been overseas since New Year's Day. Lt. Rasbach entered the army on June 30, 1942 and after receiving basic training at Fort Dix, was transferred into the AAF and received further training at Mitchell Field, Fort Mills, Fort Myers, and finally at Nashville where he was selected to take up flying of multiple motored planes.

From Nashville he trained at Santa Ana, King City, and Chico, Tex., and completed the advanced course at Douglas Field. After a brief furlough home he flew his bomber, the same one referred to above, to Brazil and then across the Atlantic to the war front.

April 17, 1944

Pvt. Walter Storzinski, 32, son of Michael Storzinski, 301 King Street, was reported today as "missing in action" on the Italian war front, in a telegram received here by his brother, John Stokey.

The telegram, received first by a sister, Mrs. Stella Sperrick, Detroit, Mich., and signed by Acting Adjt. Gen. Dunlop, read:

"The Secretary of War desired me to express his deep regret that your brother, Pvt. Walter Storzinski, has been reported missing in action since Feb. 16, in Italy. Letter follows."

Four days before that date, Pvt. Storzinski, a former employee of the Herkimer County highway department and the Remington Arms, Ilion, informed his father of his new APO address.

In a brief note attached to the address change, he wrote:

"A short line to let you know that I am somewhere in Italy, fighting. Things aren't very good for me but I hope I will come through all this. There isn't much more for me to write about. I hope God is with me always as I am sure he will be."

Walter was born in Poland, Europe, and came to America with his parents when two years old. The family resided in Pennsylvania and in 1918 they came to Herkimer where Walter graduated from high school and played on its football team.

He was inducted June 20, 1942 and after training in several southern camps was shipped overseas several months ago. He was home on furlough at Christmas time.

Besides his father, brother and sister already mentioned, those anxiously awaiting further information are two sisters, Mrs. Alice Miller, Herkimer, and Mrs. Lena Huzar, Detroit. Walter was unmarried and was a member of St. Francis de Sales Church.

April 27, 1944

Francis Arthur Fagan

Hope was held today by Postmaster and Mrs. F. Arthur Fagan that their son, Lieut. Francis Arthur Fagan, 27, reported Saturday as missing in action over Germany, may still be alive even though prisoner of war held by the Nazis.

A War Department message received by Postmaster Fagan about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, declared the Herkimer pilot of a Flying Fortress known as "The Berlin First" had been missing since March 8 "in action over Germany."

DETAILS NOT GIVEN Although details were not given the mission was probably Lieut. Fagan's second or third, for the first had been successful according to special news dispatches and an article in the current issue of Life magazine.

Young Fagan was well known here and his likeness appearing in Life was recognized immediately by his many friends. The photo was taken after the huge Fortress returned from its maiden combat flight with Lieut. Fagan at the controls.

Postmaster Fagan "had a feeling" that he would receive word Saturday from his son, but believed the word would be in form of a letter as Francis had been unheard from since Mar. 3.

Twice the postmaster went to the post office in hopes of receiving the letters and finally gave up the idea about 4:30 p.m. Shortly after returning to his home in 257 N. Main St., the telegram arrived.
        "Raided Berlin Mar. 4"

Lieut. Fagan attended St. Francis de Sales parochial school and later the Utica Country Day School. He graduated from Herkimer High School and Holy Cross College and for a time managed the Baker-Fagan Motor Sales and later a Shell gas station in N. Main St.

He had been in service since Jan. 1942 and received his wings the following January at Foster Field, Tex. After training at various air fields in the nation he was shipped overseas several months ago and on Mar. 4 participated in his first combat flight with Berlin as the target.

His letters made no mention of his activities and all urged his parents not to worry that he was all right.


Later Article Regarding Entry Above - April 19, 1944

Lt. Francis Arthur Fagan, son of Postmaster and Mrs. F. Arthur Fagan, N. Main St., "is safe and well" according to a broadcast last night from Berlin heard by Mrs. Alexander Brown, 5 Petrie St., Mohawk.

Fagan was one of several American bomber crewmen to be permitted to speak on the "Gertie from Berlin" shortwave broadcast given nightly between 10:30 and 11 o'clock.

Mrs. Brown informed the Fagans here that because of static she did not hear "everything Francis said, but heard "I am well," repeated twice. He asked his parents to send him something, the word being obliterated by static.

Lt. Fagan, pilot of the "Berlin First" bomber, was shot down recently while on a raid over Berlin. He is now believed a war prisoner there.

March 28, 1944

Dr. Robert Dennis

There's no coal shortage nor sanitation problems in Iran, according to Capt. Robert Dennis, of the Army Medical Corps, who has returned home for a 20 day furlough after 15 months of service in the Far East and N. Africa.

Fuel is not needed in southern Persia because it never gets cold there, he said, adding that Persians give little heed to sanitation facilities and seem unconcerned about the future.

Dennis, in a talk given Saturday night before local Masons, stated that the temperature in Iran often climbs to 157 degrees by mid-day and drops to 110 at night.

"I never was so glad to see ice, snow and rain in all my life as when I arrived home," he said. "It's hot in Persia, in fact so hot that practically nobody works from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. We just eat a lunch at 11, take a shower if we can get water, and lie down for the next four hours covered only with a wet Turkish towel in an effort to keep cool."

Capt. Dennis described Persia as "not as glamorous as in the books" he had read.

"Of course the way we saw Persia was not the way the tourist would see it. We had the opportunity to see the country as it really is," he said.

Sanitation in Persia was described as "one of the worst in the world." Gutters are used for toilet facilities, even in the larger cities. Streets are flushed several times daily. Babies are usually bathed in the same streams and the natives seem to be immune to conditions, he said.

Capt. Dennis said he did not see an old Persian. The span of Life there, he said, was between 35 and 40 years, adding that three out of every five babies born die during the first year of life.

Water he said, was precious and a rationed commodity. He attributed, the insect life to the source of many diseases. U. S. medical forces have taken all precuations to protect Yankee troops in that area he said.

Capt. Dennis told of the severe said (probably sand?) storms coming once or twice a day. He praised the work of the American forces there in preparing Iran for a combat zone during the period Rommel was driving towards Egypt.

While it required 87 days for Capt. Dennis to make the trip to Iran via a Dutch freighter, only three were needed to return him home by plane. He said he was sold on air travel, declaring current operations by the military forces were only a slight hint on post-war travel which would link countries close together.

May 29, 1944

First Lt. David Austin Rasbach, son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Bennett Rasbach, has been awarded the Silver Star at a 15th Army Air Force base somewhere in Italy, according to word received here today.

The presentation was made by Brig. Gen. Joseph H. Atkinson, Dalhart, Tex., the deputy commanding general of the 15th USAAF. The citation accompanying the award read "for gallantry in action."

On April 2, 1944, Lt. Rasbach was piloting a Liberator heavy bomber on a dangerous mission against aircraft factories in Austria. After completing the highly successful bombing of the objective and despite being under violent attack by large formations of enemy fighters, Lt. Rasbach's bomber was flown back to "friendly territory."

The Liberator "Rugged Curse" was severely damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and fighter attack. With one engine out, portions of controls shot away, hydraulic and other systems inoperative, Rasbach "gallantly and ably piloted his ship, despite vicious and persistent attacks by German fighters, many miles through hostile territory in an almost unairworthy and unflyable condition," the citation read.

"He made a safe landing at a friendly field with no further damage to his crew or the Liberator. Lt. Rasbach, overseas since last January, received his commison as a pilot and 2nd lieutenant in June 1943.

He has already received several other awards for bravery in action and has been recommended for the Distinguised Flying Cross."

September 9, 1944

Chester W. Kovel

Pvt. Chester W. Kovel, 29, son of Mrs. Victoria Zedauanis, 345 Pleasant Ave., was seriously wounded June 8 in combat against Germans in France.

September 9, 1944

J. Robert Watts

"It was very kind of you to inform me of my husband . . ." begin hundreds of postcards and letters received during recent months by J. Robert Watts, Herkimer short wave monitor, who has been passing along information received about Americans held prisoners in Germany.

Watts, who conducts a dry cleaning business in 109 W. Smith St., and also is active in the Herkimer Elks Lodge, spends late hours six nights each week listening to shortwave broadcasts from Berlin.

He started about the time Lt. Francis A. Fagan, son of Postmaster and Mrs. F. S. Fagan, 257 N. Main St., was reported missing in action. Since then Watts realized that other parents have been eager to receive bits of news--no matter how small--about the welfare of their sons.

When Watts began his nightly 90-minute listening job, he noted only the names of five fliers reported taken prisoner. Since then he has added other information, including reports of progress on Americans hospitalized by the Germans and messages given by Yanks permitted to speak over the radio.

He takes on an average about 15 to 20 messages each night and the next morning's mail contains as many postcards or letters addressed to families of those servicemen heard or reported.

"Letters I have received from parents, wives and sisters makes the effort worthwhile," he said.

Here's a sample of one of the notes received:

"It was very kind of you to inform me of my husband. Although I had news from the government that he was a prisoner of war, I didn't know his plane was shot down. I've also received news from others who listened in that my husband was safe and well. It takes people like you to give others courage. I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate your kindness and I hope God will preserve you to make other people happy."

Thank-you letters have been received from every state in the union, expressing appreciation to Watts and his volunteer service.

Strange as it may seem Watts has never heard the voice of the name of Herkimer county man mentioned. The nearest community recorded was Syracuse and Oswego.

November 24, 1944

Lt. Michael Kuzniak, 26, an officer in the infantry, was wounded recently while fighting the Germans in Holland according to a letter received today by his mother, Mrs. Rose Kuzniak, 211 Perry Street.

Lt. Kuzniak was a member of one of the first peacetime draft contingents called by the Herkimer board. He left as a volunteer and after training in southern camps was sent to Officer Candidate school in the state of Washington where he received his commission about two years ago.

In his letter he said he was confined in a Hospital, but urged his mother not to worry as he "was not seriously hit." He described the wound as "just a small flesh wound above the knee" and added "I'll be out shortly, according to the doctor."

He praised the medical treatment given by the army doctors and care given by nurses. "They really treat you swell around here."

While he did not say where he was, his mother believes it to be in France.

Lt. Kuzniak was shipped to England on July 10, 1944 and soon afterwards led his platoon in France.

He has a brother, Russell Kuzniak, 24, who is rounding out three years of service on the battleship "USS New Mexico."

January 17, 1945

Word was received here today of the death in action in Germany on Dec. 18 of Pvt. Harold F. Waldron, husband of Mrs. Dorothy Waldron, 571 W. 215th St., New York, daughter of Mrs. Guy S. Wood, N. Main St.

Mrs. Waldron had earlier received word that her husband was missing in action. In a recent letter, he had written that he was in a rest camp in Belgium on Dec. 13 and 14 and had up until then been living on only one ration allotment a day.

It was believed that he was sent back immediately into the line on the occasion of the German breakthrough on Dec. 16.

Pvt. Waldron, who was previously employed in the office of an aviation company in New York, was sent overseas early last fall from Fort Meade and had been serving with the Infantry in Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany.

He married the former Dorothy Wood about four or five years ago. Mrs. Guy Wood is spending the winter in New York with her daughter.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold F. Waldron, New York.

January 20, 1945

Two Japanese flags captured on Saipan by S/Sgt. Howell Weber, who was killed there July 17, and his Purple Heart were received yesterday by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Weber, 123 S. Washington St., from S/Sgt. Lyle Wilts, a buddy, formerly from the town of Ohio.

Weber, one of four service sons, was a member of the second draft contingent called up for service by the Herkimer board, on Jan. 22, 1941. Wilts, the first to leave from Ohio, entered service at the same time. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Brainard Wiltz.

Formerly employed by the Oak Hill Cemetery Association, Weber has three brothers in the armed forces, Cpt. Robert, Texas; Seaman 1/c Warren, Florida, and Seaman 2/c Jacob, who served in Trinidad, returned to this country for leave, reported at Norfolk, Va., and is now believed on his way overseas again.

Farmers called for duty

THE FIRST OF THREE photos taken of the 102 Herkimer area farmers called up recently for army physical examinations is presented here today. Two other pictures will appear in later editions. The above are Robert Bayer, leader; William Homyk, William Franklin, Frederick Hyer, Charles Hight, Francis Davis, Joseph Grzella, Paul Gorski, Edward Goodnow, Michael Bienick, Andrew Duchnycz, Duane Crossett, Joseph Glenski, Durwood Carman, Chester Godlewski, Charles Dygert, William Graudon, William Agne Jr., Gerald Baker, Rosario Di Gristina, Charles Hladysz, Donald Eckler, Ernest Darrow, Floyd Hennings, Donald Dodge, Vern Herringshaw, Charles Hughes, Joseph Godlewiski, Steven Prelinsky, George Caldwell, Leo Di Gristina, Harry Hartman, Leon Dygert and Phillip Greiner. (Telegram Photo) February 26, 1945.

All spellings are as in the original newspaper clippings. For further information about men listed, please contact the appropriate historical societies and libraries.

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Created: 5/6/01
Copyright © 1944 The Herkimer Evening Telegram
Copyright © 2001 William and Evelyn Arthur
Copyright © 2001 Betsy Voorhees
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