Alexander/Crawford History

Town News

By John Dudley & 

Cassie Oakes


Sorry for the mix-up and no history column last week.  I had some cyber-connection problems.  So now on to this week’s article.

What do you know about World War Two?  Most of us know only from the memories of others (stories told or words written).  Dyer Crosby of Cooper and his younger sister kept material from their school days, Dyer at Calais Academy and Jane at North Union School in Cooper and at CA.

Dyer was in the class of “43 at CA, but took a year off to help his father on the farm; Coburn had been injured in an accident, and most farm workers were off to war.  Dyer liked geometry and his notebook shows most of his lessons were related to flying.  He studied for and took a test titled Victory Corps Aeronautics Aptitude.  He saved a War Geography atlas and separate maps showing air and ship routes among the continents.

Jane signed a pledge card on November 20, 1942, to help with the war by buying United States War Savings Bonds.  Her mother Yola witnessed her signature.  Jane saved the June 4, 1943, issue of “Every Week”, a newsletter used in school to keep children, and parents, informed about the war effort.  Articles included one on the invasion of Europe, the war in Russia, and the war in the Pacific.  Also in this issue was a discussion about two proposed amendments to the Constitution, one concerned treaties and the other equal rights for women.

Food production was important during the war, and at firs farmers were exempt from the draft, as were married men with children.  Dyer’s brother Dale was a married farmer with two children in 1942, a third was born in 1944.  He was exempt from the draft.

Dyer graduated from CA in June 1944 and he and Hilda were married in September.  It was not long before he was drafted.  On August 15, 1945, he set sail from San Diego for the invasion of Japan.  The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan ended the war and very likely saved the lives of Dyer and his fellow soldiers.  His ship was redirected from Hawaii to Korea that had been under Japanese control.

We know Dyer was at Kim Chan, Korea on December 20, 1945, when he wrote a letter to the Patrons of the Cathance Grange, No 510.  This place today is the North Korea and “about 80 miles from Machuria.  The railroad is the only means for supplies to reach us and they aren’t like the ones back home so we don’t get many luxuries.  The Korean people are very friendly…”

Dyer’s letter thanks the Grange for the things sent to him for the people who are poor, hungry and hard workers.  He expresses amazement that they survive on what little food they have.

This letter and all the papers in the archive may be viewed by calling John Dudley at 454-7476.  It is our history.