Coming September 1, 2021 . . . .
|Tell Johnny Hello|
S/Sgt. Carl and Johnny Cleland
I, Polly Horn, first met S/Sgt. Carl Cleland in
2004 when my mother, Marian Whitney (then 94), worked with me and
the Community Library staff to bring her scrapbook of World War II
soldiers alive. During the war Marian’s husband, Bill was editor of
“The Sunbury News,” and started a column “With our Boys in the
Service.” He asked the recruits to write and share their experiences
and he would give them a free subscription for the duration of their
service. Bill had no military experience so he was embarrassed when
one of his first entries demoted a soldier rather than promoted him.
Bill made a formal apology in his column but challenged Marian not
to let it happen again.
|Each column was pasted to another sheet
and filed in chronological order. Before long she made an
alphabetical index to help her find a particular person.
When the war was over the notebook went on a reference desk in the news room. Bill died in 1970 and Marian retired around 1976 and pitched the notebook in the trash but I pulled it out and took it to Community Library where it rested until I was facing retirement and needed to deal with this treasure. It is on this website.
|Carl was mentioned in eight papers along
with siblings, his wife, mother and left an impression with me
because of his Wyoming death after flying 26 missions overseas.
John Cleland, author of “Tell Johnny Hello,” was too young to remember his Uncle Carl, who died when he was 4. What a surprise when another family member gave him a footlocker with memorabilia from Carl’s years in WWII including letters ending with “Tell Johnny Hello.”
Our September Program for the historical society is John telling how he took the letters, diary, clippings and memorabilia to piece together World War II from his uncle’s point of view. Thanks to the internet, he was able to learn details about places where Carl was stationed and the missions he was on as well as how the military kept the men’s morale up.
This is a unique local history saved and pieced together so we won't forget. BWAHS hopes to have a book signing with John,
Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum
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