World War II

Whitfield J. Bell, Jr.

Whitfield Jenks Bell, Jr., (3 December, 1914-2 January, 2009) was born in Newburgh, New York, and grew up in suburban Philadelphia.1 After graduating from Lower Merion High School, he enrolled in Dickinson College, graduating in the class of 1935.

Robert W. Black

Robert W. Black during the interview.

Interview of Robert W. Black for the Elizabeth V. and George F. Gardner Digital Library an initiative of the Cumberland County Historical Society. Black discusses growing up on a farm in Gardners, Pennsylvania during the Great Depression.

Book Review: An Infantryman Remembers World War II

John H. Light, An Infantryman Remembers World Wtzr II. Shippensburg PA: Beidel Printing House, Inc., 1997. vii, 157 pp. Paperback, $10.95. 

Anyone who can close this book with a dry eye has a heart of stone. John H. Light, for nearly thirty years a professor of mathematics at Dickinson College, here shares his memories of "ground-pounding" in the European Theatre during the Second War War. Although Light grew up in Lebanon County, his home was a Pennsylvania Dutch farm identical in many respects to those in Cumberland County. His story thus provides an analogue for experiences of soldiers from, say, Boiling Springs or Newville. 

Book Review: World War II in Their Own Words

Brian Lockman, World War II in Their Own Words. Stackpole Books, 2005. Photographs, timeline, maps, bibliography, index, 251 pages, paperback $19.95.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, oral history is something everyone talks about, but no one does anything about. Only after a participant or an eyewitness of what is later considered history passes beyond deposition does everyone say, "Someone really should have written his (or her) stories down." Rarely are there exceptions to this Barn Door rule of historiography. The Pennsylvania Cable Network, led by producer Jolene Risser and president Brian Lockman, is one of the sterling exceptions.

Dickinson December 7, 1945

It was Pearl Harbor Day plus four. In that four years Dickinson College had lost most of its students to war service. It had lost one president, and its current one had been ailing since a March heart attack. It had lost much faculty and engaged the rest along with its facilities and energy in a training program for the air corps.

Forty-four in Forty Three: To War

ln 1943 February 17 dawn found a hundred or more students shivering in overcoat and muffler weather as they stood about at the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Carlisle. About two score were going to war. Half a century later those who survived could recall only Whit Bell from the faculty, but Ralph Schecter must have been there as well, for the single cheerful element that morning was his Dickinson College band. All musicians mustered for the occasion, except the woodwinds, exempted because their instruments might freeze.

Helen Fulton (Women in World War II)

Photo of Helen Fulton during the Interview

Interview with Helen Fulton at the Shippensburg Historical Society in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, on July 31, 2002, with Steven Burg at part of the Cumberland County Women During World War II Oral History Project. Fulton discusses working at Shirtcraft in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and then at the Letterkenny Army Depot as a chaufferette. Fulton also talks about the changes which took place in Shippensburg during World War II.

Ghost Rider: Eugene Robert Orth of USS Houston

Surrounded by the perfectly-aligned, white marble sentinel headstones of almost one-quarter million American war veterans, explorers, historical figures, and national leaders, Chief Warrant Officer Eugene Robert Orth's mortal remains rest in Section 35, Grave 3523 of the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, encircled by the graves of an Army Master Sergeant from North Carolina and a Private First Class from Virginia, a Coast Guard Captain from Massachusetts and a Navy Lieutenant Commander from Pennsylvania. Shaded by an evergreen and two cherry trees, the gravesite lies about two hundred yards south of the Tomb of the Unknowns in gently sloping terrain. On 14 April 1966, a partly cloudy day in the nation's capital with a temperature in the low 50s, and just over one year after his U.S. Navy retirement, " ... Orth .. . of Mechanicsburg, P[ennsylvani]a, formerly of Bellows Falls, [Vermont] died ... at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C. " Attending physician Army Dr. Gerald Smith listed the cause of death as "cancer of the lung, congestion, heart failure, [and] peneumonitis radiation type." While tourists braved the cool spring weather to gaze at the delicate pink and white blossoms on the over 3,000 Japanese-donated, mostly Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the District of Columbia's Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, businessmen considered a proposal to broadcast television signals into homes via a satellite system, politicians read that the president of Iraq had been killed in an airplane crash in his country's city of Basra, and travelers noted that Pan American World Airways placed the airline industry's first order for twenty-five of the new Boeing 747 jumbo jetliners, Eugene Orth's family grieved. Four days later, they interred the former sailor in Arlington for his eternal rest. His wife, two children, three sisters, and his mother survived him.  

Phyllis Hershey (Women in World War II)

Photo of Phyllis Hershey during the Interview

Interview with Phyllis Hershey at her home in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on July 30, 2002 with Jennifer Elliott as part of the Cumberland County Women During World War Two Oral History Project. Hershey discusses how students would assist the community during black outs and other civil defense drills, working at the Middletown Air Service Depot selling war bonds and collecting health insurance premiums for Blue Cross and later as a teletype operator. Hershey also talks about how German Prisonsers of War would clean the depot each night.

Pages