Once Upon A Berlin Time

Once Upon A Berlin Time

by Paul Poof Tardiff

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Overview

Once Upon A Berlin Time by Paul Poof Tardiff

This is the 3rd volume in Paul "Poof" Tardiff's Once Upon a Berlin Time series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449028596
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 12/31/2009
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

Once Upon a Berlin Time

Volume III
By Paul "Poof" Tardiff

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2010 Paul "Poof" Tardiff
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4490-2859-6


Chapter One

1942

Hello fellow Berlinites. It had been only one month since the United States entered World War II. Many of Berlin's young men were on their way to help defend this country and do their best to preserve freedom. The population of this city was 20,000 at this time, and Berlin was operating like any other community was. Here are some the things that took place in the year 1942.

Like many other towns across the country rationing was put in place. Tires and tubes had quotas. First they went for defense and then essential needs. These needs included doctors, visiting nurses, ambulances, fire trucks, etc. There was no such thing as junk, there was sugar rationing, and milk dealers were cutting their deliveries because of the tire rationing.

U.S. troops were already stationed in the North Country in order to guard the vital properties of utilities and industries. On January 13, of this year an incident happened on the Berlin-Gorham road involving these troops.

About two o'clock on Tuesday morning four shots were fired from a car going south. They were discharged at one of the guards stationed at the Boston and Maine Railroad Bridge.

The soldier, who was not hit, returned fire with seven shots from his service revolver. He was certain that he hit the car, but the machine did not stop. The car was described as a 1939 or 1940 Plymouth sedan. The sergeant on duty immediately notified Berlin police, who then called the state police. After searching high and low, I found no more about this incident.

People in Berlin were now getting specific instructions of what to do during an air raid. They also had to learn the different warning signals that would be put out. The local paper told all citizens how to create a blackout condition at night, so as not to be seen by enemy aircraft. Designated citizens walked around with sticks tapping on houses that did not conform to the new rules that had been put in place.

The series of air warnings came in four ways, and were coded. They were yellow, blue, red and white. Red meant that an air raid would come within five minutes, and white was the all clear signal. Yellow and blue were warnings given to district centers. A combination of whistle and bells were sounded to give these warnings.

Every paper had local stories and also stories of the ongoing war. In February, there was a report about a Berlin man who had been rescued at sea. Jerry Hamel, a former backtender on the paper machines of the Riverside Mill survived a harrowing experience in the Pacific Ocean. Jerry was a member of the crew of the steamer Pruse. The ship was hit by a torpedo at about 5:30 in the morning. Mr. Hamel spent nine days and ten hours at sea in a lifeboat before being rescued. Nine of his shipmates were killed.

On the local scene, seventeen year old Kenneth Fysh was developing into one of Berlin's most prominent young skiers. Kenny started skiing at the age of four years old in his own backyard. When he attended Berlin Junior High in the late 1930's, he always participated in the Nansen Ski Club meets for youngsters.

He made his initial leap off the old ski jump near Paine's Pasture when he was 12 years old. Ken was fifteen when he conquered the new jump, which now stands idle on the Milan Road.

In February of 1940, Kenny entered the national championships here in Berlin. This was his first time in competitive skiing. It wasn't a month later that he chalked up a first prize in the Nansen Holmenkollen.

At schoolboy meets, he was winning grand slams, which included jumping, cross-country, and combined events. He even did this in the New England high school meets. In this year, Kenny Fysh was just starting out on his brilliant career and was now ranked nationally as a class "A" skier.

By March, more rules and regulations were being put out to the public regarding blackouts and air raids. These regulations told just what people should do if they were at home, on the road, working or walking on the streets of Berlin. The rules were very strict, and were expected to be followed. The entire county of Coos was tested on Thursday March 19, at 9pm. This event lasted for twenty minutes.

Locally, Aime Tondreau won his fourth term as mayor of this city, during the month of March. He ran on the Farmer-Labor ticket, and was opposed by two other candidates. One was Democrat Edward Murphy, and the other was Republican Carl E. Morin. Ward four was Tondreau's salvation in this rare triangular race.

In April of 1942, 12 year old Eleanor Gallant lost her life when she fell off the face of Mt. Forist. The girl and her brothers Allan 10, and Nelson 9, had climbed up to the head of "Elephant Mountain", and were playing, when one of her brothers lost his cap. In trying to get it, young Eleanor lost her balance, and sustained injuries that were fatal to her.

The drop from that area to the tree line is about 120 feet of shear ledge, with jagged rocks lying on the bottom that were put there from years of rockslides.

During this tragic incident, several boys were climbing the mountain in this vicinity or playing around the base. David Boiselle Jr. was climbing the face of the ledge, and was startled to see the girl's body go hurtling by him, just a few feet away. Seconds later the body of a dog came rushing by.

Boiselle hurried to the base to help the girl. At the same time, other boys who had seen the accident or heard the commotion ran to the scene. Nelson attempted to reach for his sister when she lost her balance, and he also fell. He went only part way down the ledge, and luckily became lodged in some bushes.

First class Boy Scout John Nolan rescued the little boy, but hurt his knee slightly in climbing to the spot. The young Gallant lad had received only a slight injury to one leg.

In his rush to get to the bottom, Boiselle hurt his elbow, but got down okay. He then lifted the unconscious girl onto a flat rock. By this time, the other boys had arrived. They included John Arsenault, Roland Baker, Robert Montminy, Leon Saznick, and William Litvin. They knew that the girl was badly hurt, so they cut saplings. Using the shirts, ties and belts of their Boy Scout uniforms, they quickly made a first class emergency stretcher. With this, they carried young Eleanor down to Sixth Avenue, while one of the boys ran for help.

The police and fire department responded to the call, but could do nothing but take the injured girl to the hospital. The boys had done their job well. The Gallant girl was attended at the hospital by Dr. J.E. Larochelle, who did his best to save her. The young girl's injuries were too numerous though, and she sadly passed away two hours later.

The dog which Boiselle had seen fall, was a big collie that answered to the name "Brownie". It was a neighbor's dog that had always played with the Gallant girl. The dog was also rescued, and was found to have a broken leg. The newspaper stated that the leg was set and the dog was to be okay.

Four of the seven boys at the accident scene, were pallbearers at this somber funeral. The other three boys walked behind the casket. This was a very sad day in Berlin's history of 1942.

1942 II

Hello fellow Berlinites. I would like to continue with my highlights of the year 1942. On Monday night June 15 of this year, twenty-five people were injured, some seriously, in a bus crash near Bethel, Maine. It was the Maine Central bus, that was coming from Portland to Berlin, and it had at least sixteen passengers out of its thirty-nine, that were from either Berlin or Gorham.

The big bus crashed into a tree, which sheared off its right side, and smashed the right front wheel into the body. It was reported that the driver, Mr. Clem Munce, had trouble with the steering and lost control. Speed was not a factor. All thirty-nine passengers were brought to the St. Louis Hospital, after doctors and ambulances had been rushed to the scene. The doctors treating the victims were T.C. Pulsifer, Paul Dumontier, J.E. Larochelle of Berlin, and J. Dubreil and Harry Wilson of Bethel.

Two of the most seriously injured were Miss Elvira Halle of 211 Second Avenue, and Mrs. Joseph Parent of 114 Sessions Street, both of Berlin. If any of my readers would be interested in any of the other passengers, I do have a list. What a tragic scene that must have been!

Only one week later, two Berlin men were killed and a third seriously hurt, when their car overturned on the North end of the Cates Hill Road. The accident was discovered by Assistant Marshal Herman Oleson, who was on patrol in his cruiser. The car was wrecked on the sharp curve between the Lettre and Lacasse farms. The machine (as cars were called then) went straight off the curve, hit a bank, and landed upside down in the highway. Wilber Sullivan, the driver, and Henry Brown both died as a result. Edward Remillard survived the wreck.

In more news about World War 2, the local headline talked about a Berlin airman who had captured a Japanese fighter plane pilot, who had bailed out of his plane into the Coral Sea. Corporal Donald Welch of Berlin told the United Press how the crew of an American medium bomber had reached an island after making an emergency landing in the sea. The Americans had escaped the sinking aircraft with the use of a rubber boat.

When the Japanese pilot bailed out, he swam to the same island, only to be surprised by the Americans. Welch said that they took the prisoner along with them, as they tried to reach the mainland. They had found some native canoes on one part of the island and with these, they made it to an Allied base, turning the prisoner over to its officers.

In July of 1942, everybody that owned a motor vehicle in Coos County had to register for new gasoline rationing books. This was being done throughout the country and would take effect on the twenty second of this month. These new ration books were about the same as sugar ration books. They would have stamps used to purchase gasoline.

There were three main types of books. They were designated as A, B, or C. Book "A" contained 48 coupons, with each coupon being good to purchase four gallons of gasoline. Book "B" had sixteen coupons, each good for the same amount of gallons as book "A". Book "C" contained 96 coupons. Each book had special qualifications that were tailor made for the operator. If you owned a motorcycle, you had to have a special book. Trucks, buses, etc., were also put into a different category. All of this was done to help the war effort, and our fighting men abroad.

By the end of July, test blackouts for air raids were becoming very serious. A test was called on one day at 9:20 pm in Berlin, and it was confirmed that people who did have knowledge of this event, knew what had to be done.

There were 24 tickets turned in by so called "air raid wardens", auxiliary and regular police forces. Three of these tickets were issued to private homes, and the others were given to Main Street businesses. A warning in the newspaper said, "Unless some effort was made to correct the existing conditions immediately, violators names would be turned over to the proper authorities".

Another test was issued on one of the last days of July. This one was as complete a surprise as possible. This time twenty-five violations were reported. These violators were brought into court and levied a fine by Judge Rich.

Chief Air Raid Warden George LaRoque called these offenses "deliberate carelessness" on the part of some individuals in each one of these buildings. He said that leaving lights burning in locked buildings must be discontinued immediately. Such acts as these could be the cause of complete disaster to the entire community, should an actual air raid occur. A list of all the violators was also printed in the newspaper.

In the middle of August, the Berlin Reporter had as its headlines the report of a stolen car chase. Chief of Police Walter J. Hynes cut short the careers of two Maine car thieves, when he chased them all over Berlin. He finally got them trapped on a dead end street in Cascade.

The story started with a telephone call from the town of Gorham. The message to Chief Hynes was that a Maine coupe had stopped at Stuart's filling station, for gasoline. When their gas ration book didn't match the windshield sticker, they were asked for their registration. At this point they sped off towards Berlin. Hynes went to Cascade in the police cruiser, and spotted the car going by. He turned around and gave chase, following the machine all around Berlin, but failing to get them to stop. The Chief could have rammed the car, but didn't for fear serious injury and car damage. He figured that he could stay with them, as his cruiser had just been filled, and they were most likely low on fuel.

Finally, the chase ended up on Western Avenue, and both cars were going in excess of 70 miles per hour. At the overhead bridge in Cascade, the coupe went straight, crossing First and Second Streets. At this point Western Avenue came to a dead end, and it was here that the officer caught the car. Upon arrival, Hynes saw two men exit the car and disappear into the woods. In the car were two young women, two loaded .22 caliber handguns and a large knife. The men didn't know that they were on a trail headed right for Gorham.

The women claimed that they were just hitchhiking around New England. The two men had picked them up in Brunswick, Maine and offered to bring them to Vermont, as the girls said that was where they were headed. When they got to the Gorham filling station, and left quickly, the women realized that they were in trouble.

Later that day the men were apprehended as they came out of the trail near Gorham and the Maine State Police came to pick up the prisoners. It was noted that this was the second car that they had stolen and both men were wanted by the Maine authorities. One was an escaped prisoner and the other was wanted for breaking probation. He had assaulted a woman with a knife.

The girls' story checked out, and they were released. They were lucky to have made it with their lives, thanks to Chief Hynes and an alert gas attendant.

I will finish my stories of the year 1942 next week. One of the stories, along with other events will be about Berlin's first soldier killed during World War II.

1942 III

Hello fellow Berlinites. I would like to continue and finish my story of the year 1942. As most people know, we were now fully involved in the greatest war in history, and it would only be a matter of time that it touched Berlin personally.

On Saturday, September 5, 1942, the first Berlin boy to die in the Armed Services during World War II took place. Lieutenant Gaston Rene Boire was killed along with five other Army fliers, when their medium bomber crashed shortly after take-off from Page Field in Fort Myers Florida.

Mr. Boire came here with his family from Sherbrooke, Quebec, in 1920, and was a graduate of Berlin High School with the class of 1934. He was the son of J. Alva and Marie Comtois Boire. They resided at 361 High Street. This soldier was twenty-five years old.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred persons gathered at the Boston and Maine railroad station, awaiting the body of Lt. Boire. The train was two hours late, because it had struck a herd of cows, killing some of them. However, the large crowd including a military escort of veterans waited until the train arrived. At this point, they found out that the body of Boire was not on the train.

It was learned shortly afterwards, that the casket was at White River Junction and in charge of Lt. Thomas H. Dunberry Jr. Arrangements had been made to pick up the body here, so local morticians Fleury and Ruel went down and brought it home.

A twenty-four hour honor guard was placed at the bier in the Boire home, as legionnaires stood at attention beside the flag-draped casket.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Once Upon a Berlin Time by Paul "Poof" Tardiff Copyright © 2010 by Paul "Poof" Tardiff. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................viii
About the Cover....................ix
1942....................1
1942 II....................6
1942 III....................11
Berlin War Heroes....................16
Berlin War Heroes II....................21
Spanish American Memorial....................25
World War II Memorial....................30
The Berlin Armory....................35
The New Armory....................39
The Eisenhower Visit....................43
Gorham Archives....................48
Gorham Archives II....................53
Gorham Archives III....................58
Gorham High School 1925....................63
The Gorham Huskies....................68
The 1957 Shamrocks....................72
The "57" Rams....................77
The "57" Rams II....................82
The 1966 Rams....................87
New England Champions 1967....................92
New England Champions 1967 II....................97
Felix King....................102
"Fighting Bob" Gendron....................108
"Fighting Bob" Gendron II....................113
Robert Reid Sr....................119
Logging by Steam....................124
Lumberworkers of Berlin....................129
Logging in the 50's....................132
Logging in the 50's II....................138
Boom Piers....................143
Berlin 1888....................146
The Nibroc Boat....................149
Famous Berlin Rivermen....................153
Berlin Recollections....................158
Early Berlin Irishmen....................163
Early Berlin French History....................168
Early Scandinavians in Berlin....................173
Coast to Coast 1928....................178
Nibroc Paper Towels....................184
Nibroc Paper Towels II....................189
Explosion at Burgess Mill....................193
Gassed at the Burgess Mill....................198
Berlin Mills Railway....................202
A Company Family....................207
Made in Berlin....................213
Aime Tondreau....................218
Avalanche....................222
Berlin's First Lady....................228
The "Paper City" Angel....................234
Pioneer Nurse....................240
Women in Research....................245
Women in Research II....................250
Hotel Costello....................255
Hospital St. Louis....................260
Filmed in Berlin....................266
Filmed in Berlin II....................272
Friend of the Lost Hunter....................277
Landing on Mt. Washington....................283
Napert Village Mystery....................288
St. Joseph Parish....................293
The NYA....................298
Timothy H. Hutchinson....................303

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