IMAGES OF VETERANS
FIGHTING WARS –
MAINTAINING THE PEACE
MANLY BUTTERFIELD TOWNSEND
was born in Sidney on May 8, 1803 and died at Alexander on December
7, 1849. He was appointed by Governor John Fairfield as his
aide-de-camp, responsible for transmitting the Governor’s orders to
the militia and attending matters of protocol. The Aroostook War was
not a war, but a military action between February and May 1839 by
the State of Maine to protect
timber and land in the Aroostook
River valley from British loggers. Four companies of state militia
marched from Calais in early March. The problem was resolved by the
Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. Image from book on
Maine State Senate Presidents
by Jim Mundy.
REUBEN KEEN was born in
Alexander in 1833. He enlisted on October 3, 1864 in the 20th
Maine. This was after the Battle at Gettysburg, however Reuben and
Maine were part of the surrender of the arms of Lee’s Army in April
1865. Reuben was discharged on July 16, 1865 and returned to
Alexander. His wife Mary died on October 20 of the same year. He
moved to Cooper, remarried and lived at Keen’s Corner. He died on
January 10, 1914 and is buried at West Ridge Cemetery, Cooper. Bill
Hatfield researched his great-grandfather and had this image created
based on photographs of Reuben’s children.
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR
(seated) with Tommy Hall, George
Mealey and Melvin Albee,
all Washington County men, in some far distant land. Ernest served
as a private in Battery B of the 1st
Battalion of the Maine Artillery Volunteers. He enrolled on July 13,
1898 and was discharged at Savannah, Georgia on March 31, 1899. He
was born at Machias on March 9, 1876 and by 1880 was living with
Mary Ann (Lane) Howe Strout and two of her children in Alexander. He
married Blanche Seamons of Alexander in 1904 and shortly after 1910
moved to Woodland.
WORLD WAR I
MYRON CLAYTON FROST was born in
May 26, 1895 in Alexander, a son of Stephen D. Frost, Jr. and a
grandson of Civil War soldier Stephen D. Frost. He is pictured here
with his wife Mabel (Dill). Myron died in Augusta on June 7, 1922
and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Gardiner
WORLD WAR I
was born in Crawford, next to the Alexander line on the south side
of the Airline. He lived most of his adult life in Alexander, next
to the Crawford line on the north side of the Airline. He was
inducted into the Army on June 28, 1918 at age 25 and was discharged
in 1919. He was assigned to Company K, 23rd
Infantry of the 12th
Division. What were his experiences at Fort Devon, which was in the
throws of the Spanish Flu. He returned to Alexander, married his
brother’s widow and served for many years as a selectman for
Crawford, even though he resided in Alexander.
WORLD WAR II
JUAN CARLOW was born on the
Pokey Road in Alexander on July 31, 1917. He married Gladys J.
Leighton of Woodland on January 25, 1941, then served in the U. S.
Army. His brother Verne was a soldier during World War One.
HARVARD W. DWELLEY
was born on April 20, 1914 in
Alexander a son of Delmont and Clara (Dunham) Dwelley. He was a meat
cutter in the 216 General Hospital Group, U. S. Army. Harvard moved
to Woodland where he worked until his retirement at the local paper
mill. He married Dorothy Hunt in 1950 and their children are Alan
and Jane. He died on December 20, 1990.
WORLD WAR II
LAWRENCE S. FROST
was born in Alexander on October
16, 1923. His parents were Lyston and Hazel (Cousins) Frost. He
attended Hale School. He was a Grange member and active in the
Alexander Volunteer Fire Department. Lawrence was engaged in
agriculture with his father, which accounts for the lateness in his
inducted on February 9, 1945 into the US Army. He served over a year
in Japan as a carpenter in the aviation engineers unit. He was part
of the occupation in the Asiatic – Pacific Campaign. Mostly he
operated heavy equipment burying new supplies that the Army no
longer needed. He was discharged on December 9, 1946
Florence Anderson on April 5, 1953 and raised her two children,
Thomas and Sherrie. He lived in Alexander until moving to Florida in
1969 where he owned and operated a Texaco Service Station. Lawrence
was active in the Leweys Island Masonic Lodge in Princeton and
numerous other Masonic and Shrine groups. Lawrence died on February
James ‘Buster’ Holmes
was the only child of James A. and Vivian (Dwelley) Holmes. His
father died of typhoid before he was born and because his mother had
to move away to work, Buster was raised by his grandparents, Mort
and Clara Dwelley on the Cooper Road. He enlisted in the Navy on
December 15, 1942 and became a Seaman 1st
Class. After the war he married, moved to Woodland and worked at the
This text is based on an interview done by John Foley on July 6,
I was born in Alexander across
from Randy’s Store; that was in 1922. We moved to a house between
Lawrence Lord’s and the Spearin Road briefly. Next we lived in
Woodland a short time while my father worked in the mill up there.
One of my brothers was born down back of Lawrence’s and the other
one, the third one, was born in Woodland.
And then we moved back to Alexander, back to the house behind
Lawrence’s. We stayed there until I was about 13 years old. We then
moved up to Bailey Hill, 1605 Airline Road where Eleanor Fecteau
lives now. My father bought that place.
I got a job in the mill down on Pokey Lake, Stowell – MacGregor’s
white birch mill that made spool bars. I think I was 17 when I
worked there. Coolidge White was my foreman on the day shift and
Harold Cousins, Clarice’s father, was the foreman on the night
shift. I worked there for all of the winter of 1939 – 40 and
sometime the next spring I went to Portland.
I worked in the shipyard three days there and then I had to have a
physical and I couldn’t pass that. So I got a job with the Maine
Central Railroad at the Portland Terminal Company and I worked there
until I went in the service in December 1942.
I was in the Air Force in Florida for 26 months at MacDill Air Base
near Tampa. They transferred me into the Infantry. I took my
infantry training and I went overseas with the Third Infantry. We
landed in Le Havre, France and we fought through Germany. When the
war ended we were in Salzburg, Austria.
I had enough. We came home by points; being sent home depended on
how many points that you had. I had enough points to come home when
the war ended, but the Third Infantry Division was going to stay
there as an occupational unit. So, I transferred in with the MPs.
They were coming home so I was going to come home with them. But I
worked with them for a while guarding trains back and forth all over
Germany and then it was decided that the MPs would stay as an
occupational unit, too.
That didn’t work out too good for me so I transferred into an
engineers unit and I came home with them. We hit a big storm on the
way home - first night out and we lost a whole day right there. That
was a rough trip. Even the sailors got sick.
I came home. I was discharged on April 1946 and went back to work
for the terminal company in Portland. I worked there over a year. I
used to come back to Alexander from Portland to see Clarice Cousins
weekends. We got married on September 9, 1946 and after Eddie was
born in 1947 moved back here.
WORLD WAR TWO
ROBERT CHASE HAZELWOOD
This is an
autobiographical account written by Robert Hazelwood sometime in the
1980s. He recalls his activity in 1944 - 45 while serving as a
Lieutenant on the Battleship USS IDAHO.
Bob was born on July
14, 1924 at Hartford, Connecticut a son of Charles and Winifred
(Chase) Hazelwood. He spent many of his younger years in Baring, the
hometown of his mother. After the war Bob worked for International
Paper Company out of their New York Office. His job was to select
sites for new mills they planned to build. In his retirement Bob was
the developer of Meddybemps Shores here in Alexander. This is where
he has chosen to live since 2001.
Bob was a pilot. His
was a two-seated single engine observation plane (OS2U). The plane
had a large pontoon under the fuselage and a float on each wing. It
had a fixed mounted machine gun that fired between the blades of the
propeller. The plane was catapulted into the air off the stern of
the ship. When the plane returned from its mission, it landed on the
water and was pulled aboard by a crane mounted on the stern of the
USS IDAHO BB42: 1919 – 1947 “THE BIG SPUD”
BOB HAZELWOOD’S WWII MEMORIES
I was in Pearl Harbor
waiting for an assignment with three other pilots. We each worked
with the group that was interviewing us to see if we couldn't get a
good sea assignment. It was lucky that I interviewed with Lt. Comdr.
Walline who was senior aviator on the Idaho. We agreed that I was
the pilot that they wanted to replace the one who got shot down and
I boarded the Idaho at
Ford Island, Hawaii after the ship returned from R&R in Bremerten.
My first combat was at Iwo Jima. We were very lucky in having Adm.
McCormick on board as the Idaho always got to cover the landing
zones. That made it much more interesting. Other ships had either
the northern or the southern end of the island. The same thing
happened at Okinawa. We had the dead center of the landing zone. We
were where the action was.
At Iwo, on my second
day ever over enemy territory, I got
down. I had a marine, Lt. John Connolly, on board to better
establish communications between the navy and the marines because
there had been some difficulty before. He was a spotter plane pilot
for the Marines and. we were going in over the quarry at the north
end of the expected landing zone. Whoever found a target would fire
at it. He
three tanks and we started firing at them. On the third or fourth
pass over that quarry, we got shot down. It was a 37mm shell that
came up between the two seats, we were both sitting in armored seats
and he was behind me. I didn't get any, but he got the full blast.
He got over fifty pieces of shrapnel in him. When I turned around
and looked at him, within three or four seconds after the shell
exploded, he passed out; he held his hand up and with glazed eyes,
he just passed out. All I could see of him was the back of his "Mae
West". So, I headed back convinced that the main float was blown
out. I knew the plane was hurt badly. I landed just as close to the
ship as I could because I thought the plane was on the verge of
sinking. The blast had missed the float. Within ten minutes, or
less, of his getting hit, (maybe three minutes flight time to the
ship) we were hoisted aboard. They didn't have time to take him to
sick bay; he looked too far-gone, so the doctor treated him under
the wing of the airplane, there on the deck. He got four pints of
plasma and then two pints of whole blood that night.
The humorous part of it
was when the doc said, (and it was way into dark before he finished
what with fifty pieces of shrapnel, that it's a good thing he hadn't
been circumcised so it left something to work with. When Connolly
got discharged he got married, and after settling in Houston, he
sent us a post card - it was nice in telling us of the marriage and
there was a "PS": "Doc, everything works fine!"
I was the youngest
pilot in the unit, maybe a little more daring than some of the
others, and there was a "Gooch" Hill, an ordnance man who was part
Indian. He liked flying with me because we would strafe with the
seaplane. One time I found a bunch of trucks - we could catch the
reflection of the windshields through their camouflage- and
went down to strafe them with the nose gun and
then he would
fire sideways from the rear. We did that quite a few times.
We didn't set anything on fire, but we sure did bust a lot of
windshields. Everytime we would dive, we saw this elderly woman kind
of jogging down the road. When we came down, she would head off into
the woods. Well, we didn't believe in shooting at civilians so we
went down real close to her and both of us waved and she took off
into the woods and wouldn't come out after that.
Another time we found
tracks that just disappeared. We realized that the Japs were doing
just as they did with the big naval guns. They were burying them
day and bringing it out at night and firing. Well, those tank tracks
were a giveaway, but the ship was at maximum range;
guess sixteen miles. We had them fire for a while and the shells did
uncover the turrets of tanks but did no damage. We obviously
couldn't hurt a tank at that range so we gave the info over to the
fighter planes and they came in and did their thing.
At Shuri Castle,
Okinawa, we were concerned that the Japs were moving troops during a
storm. There were no planes in the air. We wondered if there was any
chance of someone getting in to see what was going on. Well, I
volunteered and Gooch volunteered to go with me.
Over Naha, we went in
about a hundred feet over the water and at the head of the harbor
were two streams. The northern one went directly to Shuri Castle so
we flew up that. We saw troops all huddled around fires in the rain.
Some groups would wave at us and others would raise their rifles to
shoot at us. So we
obviously knew who
the enemy was. One Japanese soldier tried to shoot us down with
a mortar and there's
no way you can just down a plane with a mortar. We could see the
phosphorous bursting but never even close to us.
We suddenly heard a
bang and I called Gooch on the radio and asked where were we hit. He
said there was a hole in the tail and the Captain immediately came
on the radio - usually we deal with the gunnery officer - and
yelled, "Hazelwood, you get the hell back here!" We weren't doing
any good, so we headed back. We found out that the rifle bullet had
gone out through the tail but entered the plane just underneath
Gooch’s fanny, only a foot away. He was much closer to being hit
than he thought.
We were out one time
when they called us back because of a storm. I said I was still on
target so the gunnery officer had me
stay as long as I
could. When I realized that I couldn't get back to the ship because
of increased storm conditions I went out over the southern coast of
Okinawa, out of sight of land eleven miles to Kerama Retto, little
islands we had seized before the invasion in order to set up guns to
shell the shore. It was a sheltered place where we also used to take
on ammunition and refuel out of range of the Japs. I took a compass
bearing for that and landed in rough weather. We got inside a high
wave and hit it on the rise and we did get down all right and then I
knew it was eleven miles “that away” and we piled through the waves
chewing up the prop and whatnot. A destroyer came along, hove to and
stayed with us; then they yelled over that a cruiser was coming to
come pick us up. The cruiser VINCENNES did come over and we
recovered on that. They had lost an airplane that day and there was
only room for two planes on those cruisers. I didn’t know whether
the pilot had died or not and they didn't talk about it. I've been
curious about that ever since.
When they came
around to Buckner Bay, the storm had passed and they lowered me over
the side and I flew back to the Idaho. At this time, they were on
the east side of Okinawa and the IDAHO was on the west side, I went
on up into the clouds. I had been told that the Japs weren't
sophisticated enough to have their radar hooked up to their
anti-aircraft guns. I went straight and leveled at about 2000 feet
flying across the island in the clouds. I went along to Naha. All of
a sudden I could hear their shells all around me. So, despite what
they had said, I knew different. I went into ninety-degree dives and
ninety-degree climbing turns on instruments, still staying in the
clouds and I crossed the island that way. When I got back I told
them I'm sure they do have that radar hooked up with their
Aside from that we were
shooting at airplanes, tanks or whatever. But we weren't killing
people, we were "destroying items" and that was a way the navy kept
it "clean and impersonal". We could rationalize our way out of it
that way. In the case of Connolly, I was really trying to save him.
We were off Okinawa at
Yonton and Kadena Airports and the TEXAS was immediately north of
our position. We were having lunch when GQ sounded and we went
tearing up to the deck, just as I stuck my head above deck I saw
kamikaze coming at us; our men shut it down. Only a piece of the
wing landed aboard ship. We went back to eating and within a half an
hour, GQ sounded again, the same meal, and everyone goes tearing off
to battle stations and here's this airplane, way out with fixed
wheels. Now, only the Japanese had those fixed landing gears, and
here's this airplane with its wheels down coming in and at roughly
the same position as the first plane and he kept on rolling his
fuselage from left to right. The guy in charge of the fire control
range finder in the rear recognized it, as one of our F4U Corsairs
but with a hundred guns on the ship firing you couldn't hear a
thing. They were shouting "Cease fire!" but nobody could hear it.
And the guy kept on swinging, as if to say, "Can't you stupid fools
see I'm a Corsair?”
He was trying to land
at one of the airports we had just seized and he squeezed between us
and the TEXAS with both ships firing and the only reason he didn't
get killed is that fire control had cranked in maximum range and all
of the heavy shells went guy's head and 'splashed four or five miles
out. We went back to eating. The Captain called over the intercom
and said that he got word from the Corsair pilot we had shot at him
but he was safe, but I won't repeat what he had to say about us. So
that was our moment in shooting down a friendly airplane with that
plane's wheels down and the men trigger happy, and what with
Kamikazes in the area, you can rationalize our situation. At least
one guy recognized it and tried to shut off the firing.
Lt (j.g.) Hanse and
Bill Schumann had a bad problem with an airplane engine. That was
because the crew, who were making up the twenty-two pounds of
gunpowder to put into the five inch shell that would supply the
power for the launch, were supposed to use the slow burning powder
used in the fourteen inch gun of the main battery. Instead, they
made up some shells by using the quick firing powder used in the
anti-aircraft guns. So, when they were firing us off with the quick
firing powder, we were getting the full acceleration much too
quickly. We had our flying speed before we reached the full length
of the catapult. I had the experience of my microphone flying off
and just missing my head. We knew that things were going wrong but
we didn't know why. After we had lost the engine on Hanse's
airplane, they went back to investigate closer and let us know
finally what had happened and we put a quick stop to that loading
method. They checked the other airplane to make sure its motor
wouldn't come off too. Something as simple as using the wrong kind
The only time I ever
really shot at “people” was when the Japs were using couriers
because we were intercepting their radio messages. I saw two
runners, obviously couriers, running in the opposite direction of
the civilians to the command post. So, I banked around and strafed
them and they ran up a hill. As I pulled up, they got up and started
running again so I kicked the rudder and came back down again and
shot at them again and they didn't move this time. I had no idea
whether they were faking or not, but I believe I was successful. But
then I thought this is stupid. We were trying to find command. I
went up to 6000 ft. and circled around using binoculars. It was
almost like the traditional training film we had seen. They went
along the road, and then along a row of brush into a white farmhouse
I could see. So I reported to the Marines. They said they would take
care of it with ground fire. It was a case of patience and watching
with the binoculars, then letting the Marines do their job.
In order to get back
home as an observation pilot you had to have so many flights over
enemy territory. So, if you could get enough combat missions in a
real hurry, you could get back stateside, if you survived.
Over Tokyo, at the end
of war, you could see the buildings painted with all sorts of signs.
One read, "Cheerio, from the RCAF" another one had "Emperor" with a
big arrow pointing towards his palace. Another one had something
from the Royal Navy can't remember exactly what it was. But it was
interesting to see that kind of graffiti.
The night before we
went into Tokyo Bay, Adm. Nimitiz decided that, rather than scare
the Japanese with all these dark ships laying about, we would open
up all the port holes and show movies on deck. We had bright,
peacetime displays to try and keep from being too much of a treat to
them. Meanwhile, the Australians saw some of our guys on shore on
bicycles who were just released themselves from prison camps. They
brought them on board their ships.
We were suppose to be
the first ones in the harbor and a Jap ship was leading us through
the minefields. We thought there was always a chance of a double
cross. Maybe they would turn us loose inside the minefield. So, we
had to allow for that. As we were going in, there was an American
submarine on the surface coming out of the harbor. They had been
there first. Now, the junior ship is always suppose to salute the
senior ship when passing, but the bridge ordered it the other way
around. So we saluted the sub which got there first. It was a nice
gesture on our part. We had a band on board doing their thing, and
all that stuff.
We were just not trying to scare the Japanese to death since they
had quite a decision to consider, would they surrender?
I want to make some
remarks about the skipper of the Idaho. Capt. H.J. Grassie was an
ex-destroyer man. A ship represents the personality of the skipper.
When I was on the TEXAS for four days we had to wear neckties at sea
and had to have our shoes outside our doors to be spit polished by
the men. Junior officers couldn’t go to the senior officers’
wardroom, and vice versa. This was all at sea! Aboard the IDAHO,
everything was relaxed and everybody supported everyone else. The
officers were allowed to mingle and go all over the ship. His
rationale was that if the ship got hit, you would lose a cross
section of the crew rather than losing all the top officers in one
blow. I use to play bridge with the XO and there was good
comradeship. Capt. Grassie felt his boys could do anything. Whenever
the kamikazes came at us, instead of going around to the safe side
of the bridge, he would go out and fold his arms and stare at them
and wait for his boys to shoot them down. He was sure we were always
going to. He went back to take charge of the Great Lakes Training
station as a Commodore. Quite an honor there!
We were allowed to have
the aviation department separated off from the rest of the ship. As
a result, we always had purloined turkeys and hams from the ship’s
were the most popular unit on board.
The padre on board was
a real nice guy. When the ship was being decommissioned, he came up
to me and said, " I want you to know that I deserve full credit for
you making it through this war. You were never launched but when I
wasn't there putting out the “beam” for you. I got to thinking about
that and every time, I was launched, he was/ there.
On our return I was
offered senior aviator if I stayed aboard the ship while waiting for
my replacement. Comdr. Downes,
came over to me and said in a most sincere way, "Bob, I just wanted
you to know that you had the least military but the best run unit
aboard this ship." So, I felt pretty good about that. We were really
the kind of unit that would go down and have ham or turkey with the
crew and mix it all up. There was never any kind of “officer rank”
to speak of among us.
At Iwo, the IDAHO was
credited by Navy Intelligence in doing the most damage. Well, we
always had the landing zone and did a real good job. There was great
morale, the whole team. It was a terrific ship to be on.