With Our Boys in the Service from The Sunbury News. . . .

Remembering Harlem's Fravels

A star was placed in front windows or hung from the front porch to let everyone know a person from that family was serving his country in WWII. Lois Davenport, the widow of John Davenport, had 7 stars on her porch (her 5 sons and 2 sons-in-law). William Clayton, David Grooms and Floyd Fravel each had four stars for their sons in World War II.
Floyd Fravel married Carrie Budd and they had eight children, five were boys. The oldest, David, was married with children so he was not called to serve.
Richard Fravel enlisted in the Army in March 1942. In November he called his mother from Ft. Bragg for her birthday.

In June 1942, Allen Fravel was inducted into Army Air Corps at Ft. Benjamin Harrison. He wrote to The News in July from Jefferson Barracks, MO, “It’s a pleasure to receive the News. We are schooled, drilled and hardened and ready to outwit the enemy.” A year later he sent a picture of himself and a dog noting he was on the right. He was in March Field, CA. His wife, Belva was with him and a telephone operator.

In October 1942, Jim was in Camp Butner N.C. cooking for soldiers. He went to California in April 1943 and wrote to the News, “Bill, please remember the news from around home does us boys in the service so much good.” By August he was in New Guinea with the engineers driving a truck.

Harlem's Floyd Boys      
Allen, David, Dick, and Jim

 “The only things that worry me are falling coconuts and slipping on banana peels. Otherwise I am safe under my conditions. We see natives and boy am I glad we service men don’t dress as they do.”

On February 10, 1943, Walter enlisted in the Army. In about a year he was stationed in Hawaii. Their mother said one week they got 23 letters from the four boys. “They are all fine, doing their duty and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

None of the boys made it home for Christmas in 1943 but Major General M. B. Ridgway informed them OFC Richard had been awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action in Italy. The citation told that part of his platoon was obliged to withdraw to better positions before superior enemy forces and firepower. Pfc Fravel, first gunner in a machine gun platoon, voluntarily and single-handedly set up his machine gun above an ammunition box and held up the attacking hostile troops until withdrawal had been effectively accomplished.

In February 1944, Richard was going by boat from Italy to England and was surprised to meet a former Harlem school mate, Paul Triplett on the boat. When he got to England Richard had glider training. On June 7, C-47 planes pulled gliders across the channel and cut them lose. The Germans threw so much flak at them, many of the crews were destroyed. “My glider cracked into a tree, we ran to a bridge to hide. As we started out a German patrol spotted us and opened fire. It was my duty to cover the retreat of my crew,” Richard continued.

Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Fravel got a telegram from the War Department saying Richard was wounded in Holland on October 2nd. He wrote to his parents telling about it on Oct. 20 but it took almost 2 weeks to reach them. “It could have been worse,” this veteran told his parents.

While setting up his gun, he stepped on a land mine which blew his left foot completely off and imbedded shrapnel in his right leg. He made his own tourniquet and waited 3 hours for medical men to get to him.

May 1944, Cpl Allen wrote, “I have just read in The Sunbury News that Lt. Carl Fritsche is here. I almost got to see him the other day but he is on the twenty-four hours I am off and I am on the twenty -four hours that he is off. But was talking to some of the flyers of his crew and they say Carl is doing fine. I have been put in the same squadron that he is in so I may see him yet,” Both boys are at March Field, CA.

May 1944, the four boys sent their mother a corsage of gardenias for Mother’s Day. (Cpl. Allen from March Field, Cpl. James from New Guinea, Pvt Richard from hospital in England and Pvt. Walter in Hawaii).

Walter was in the hospital recently and got 150 letters and 3 newspapers on one day. He saw in the News Ebert Bordon is in the islands and looks forward to seeing him.

In August, Allen was promoted to Sergeant at March Field. He has been in the service two years.

January through March 9, 1945, S/Sgt Richard was home on furlough from McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas, after the amputation of his left leg below the knee. At the end of March he returned to the hospital for more surgery.

In February 1945, Cpl James Fravel wrote he met Jim Hoover and Jim Beaver on a ship recently.

In March 1945, Cpl James wrote to the News “Just a Hello to everyone. I hope to see you all before long. Last night four Philippinos came into our tent and ask for candy. I gave each one some chocolate Ex-Lax and haven’t seen them since. If the boys don’t get on the ball over there on the other side, we may end ths war over here first.

Later Cpl James was in the hospital in the Philippines for 3 months and did not receive any mail during that time.
Then in one day he got 200 letters and 14 packages.

In November Sgt Allen was sent to the Marianas. He sent his father a coconut from Guam.

Richard Fravel

In May 1945, Richard called his parents and said he was coming home.

In the same newspaper Corporal Marvin Scholl, who is guarding German prisoners in France sent his mother German shells and a French bandana.

In July 1945, S/Sgt Richard was discharged with 5.5 years in the service and an artificial limb. He married Elinor Schmidt and had 4 children who all died shortly after birth and then they adopted Dennis Fravel who gave Polly Horn the pictures for this article.

Richard Scholl (left) and Richard in 1940

Walter Fravel

November 1945, Pfc. Walter is one of 610 high point Army veterans who the “Magic Carpet” is bringing back aboard U.S.S. Belleau Wood which left Pearl Harbor October 21 and will dock in San Pedro, CA November 7.

           James Fravel

December 1945, Tech/4 James was discharged from Atterbury. He served 38 months - 32 overseas- with the engineers. He earned 3 Bronze Stars and an Arrowhead, for first troops landing in Philippines on October 20, 1944. He has 2 stars on his Philippine Liberation Ribbon, one for Leyte and one for Luzon.

Allen Fravel

January 26, 1946, Sgt Allen was discharged from Camp Atterbury after 44 months in the military but not quite a year overseas as an M.P. in Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. “I would not trade Harlem Township for all the islands in the Pacific.”

His wife, is visiting his parents with him from California.

Richard and the car he got for Military Service


Richard - 1948

Learn more about the Men and Women in World War Two, on this website.  There are lists of soldiers in different cemeteries as well as articles about some of the soldiers.
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