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1944 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 May 2011 10:13

From the archives of Liberal’s hometown newspapers since 1886.
Researched and compiled by Ananda Coleman, L&T Reporter 
1944 – Ten tank cars and prairie grass burn after train derails
“A Super Fortress soaring off Saipan, into the rising sun, symbolizes what will be America’s great task of 1945 – carrying the Pacific War with it – every moment punishing Japan itself,” the Southwest Daily Times reported. The giant B-29 “Super Fortress” airplanes were typical of America’s production pursuit of World War II. “Each year the war wears on, America asserts herself more vigorously in her drive for ultimate victory,” the Times said. “What the next year will bring can only be guessed. But one thing for certain, America will push on with renewed effort for victory in 1945.
“America knows by now that the war isn’t just Super Forts, Liberators and Sherman tanks. America has learned bitterly that war means the shedding of blood from the cream of her crop. No nation can long survive such a valuable loss year in, year out.
“Yes, America’s got her dander up – she’s fighting mad. She wants to end the Nazi fanaticism and the Japanese Imperialism, but what’s more, she wants her men back. She wants them back this year and she wants to keep them back,” the Times said. With the New Year and a fresh start toward the future, “America steps forth to bring peace to herself and to the world. Not a peace for the future. With God’s help, America looks ahead to her goal and with God’s help she must attain her goal.”
Thirty cars of an east bound Rock Island freight train were thrown into a field four miles east of Guymon, when the train was derailed. The train had several cars filled with gasoline and immediately following the crash, the gasoline caught fire.
“Ten tank cars were burned,” the Times reported. “Two cars lying crosswise on the track were still burning fiercely six hours later. No one was hurt in the accident and cause of the derailment has not yet been determined. More than 1,200 feet of the mainline track was destroyed and crews of railroad workers already were building a passing track to resume traffic, but it was reported that it would be several hours before the mainline would be in condition to receive travel.
“Local railroad men have only meager information regarding the wreck at this time,” the Times said. “But it is known that the wreckage is being rapidly cleared and local firemen state that the fire is under control although some of the wreckage was still blazing at noon.
“The blaze from the burning tank cars spread to the grassland near the tracks and several telegraph poles were burned. The Liberal Fire Department and the Liberal Army Air Field Firemen answered the call to help fight the blaze, and one truck of the Liberal Fire Department, conveying Chief Edwards, Leonard Pittman, Ray Monzingo and A. N. Eliot, fought the fire for several hours,” the Times said.
“Gaining entrance through the air conditioner over a back window, a thief or thieves broke the lock on the steel locker at the Pennington Recreation Alleys and took approximately $300 in cash,” the Times reported. A total of $80 in nickels was taken and the remainder was in bills of one, five and ten dollars. “No arrests have been made in the case as yet,” the Times said.
“Seward County must take up its responsibility alongside all other American communities in recruiting more nurses for the Army and Navy Nurse Corps.,” said Donald K. Zimmerman, chairman of the Seward County Chapter of the Red Cross, in connection with the nation-wide appeal, due to the “acute shortage of nurses.” Zimmerman received a letter from Red Cross Headquarters which revealed startling facts: “The authorized ratio of nurses to patients in the Army is one nurse to every 15 men in this country and one nurse to every 12 men in the hospitals overseas,” the Times reported. “It is not now possible to keep the ratio that high and the average is now running about one nurse to every 20 or 22 patients.” 
“When convoys arrive at American ports, nurses are called upon to work round the clock,” the Times said. “One hundred nurses at Halloran General Hospital are taking care of 2,000 patients and this is often doubled when a convoy brings an additional 2,000 men from overseas. Yet there is no doubling of the nursing staff.”
Richfield – Fifteen-year-old Ruby Tucker, a local 4-H Club girl, didn’t wait for men to come with a ladder, rope and tackle to rescue the child who’d fallen into a deep cesspool.
“The girl plunged in with the aid of a makeshift ladder made of a two-by-four timber with braces and rescued two-year-old Jackie Spear, [grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Guy E. Spear of Liberal,] who’d fallen through a board top into the cesspool, about 10 feet deep,” the Times reported. “The faint cries of the child were heard and he was found in the cesspool standing in water up to his arm pits. Ruby lifted him up to his aunt, Doris Runkle, and Mary Wilson, who pulled him to safety and then helped pull the girl up from the pit.” The cesspool had been covered with planks, which easily broke under Jackie’s weight.
“No – the war is not yet won! … and it will still take lots of poultry and eggs, as well as lots of bonds to win it,” said an advertisement from Panhandle Hatchery in the Times. “True, we overstepped the goal in 1943, and experienced disappointment in the early 1944 egg market, but our government knew that ‘43 surpluses would not meet ‘45 and ‘46 necessities. It was not Santa Claus who placed a floor under eggs, and guaranteed government support of eggs at 90 percent of parity until two years after the war. The necessities of our fighting men demanded it. Victory depends upon plenty of eggs and poultry meat. Lt. Col. Olmstead, head of the Procurement Section, just announced that the government expects to dry approximately 26.5 million cases of shell eggs from the 1945 crop to fill export orders already “well sewed up” and England will require in addition, from one to three million cases of our shell eggs. With all trade estimates of the 1945 egg surplus, above the domestic and military shell egg requirements ranging from 19 to 27 million cases, the picture is really bright. It is just as patriotic to produce plenty of eggs and poultry meat in 1945 as it was in 1943, and the profit is a lot more certain.” – Panhandle Hatchery, “your guarantee of high production, early feathering and rapid development.”

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