Wrapping Up Their Time on the Island

When diving into archives head first, not necessarily knowing what will come about, you hit plenty of blocks in the road. We certainly have experienced our fair share of those. From coming to a dead end with learning more about faculty in the war, to dead ends with certain students and their records. There was a glimmer of light when it comes to the seemingly untraceable Harold Hall Hartwell Jr. It is unclear how many years Hartwell spent at Loomis, however it is clear he was at the school for his junior year of 1940. Listed as the class of 1941 of Loomis, there is no record of him being a student at Loomis for that year besides the obituaries and memorial in Founders Hall. This presents multiple possibilities. Maybe Hartwell left the school to help at home or maybe this is the point in which he joined the war. Even if he left to join the Navy that year, you would think Loomis would acknowledge what he was doing in the yearbook. Or there is the real possibility that Hartwell was kicked out of school, but is unlikely considering his enrollment at Harvard, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, in the year 1941. Still after lots of digging and research, there is much to learn of Harold Hall Hartwell Jr. and his time at Loomis as well as a need to address Loomis’ motives.

While researching Loomis’s fallen heroes, it’s difficult to decide which particular people should be addressed within our posts. While looking through the The Loomis Alumni Bulletin from 1948, I stumbled upon a page which was dedicated to paying tribute to the fallen soldiers that had formally attended Loomis. Three members in particular were recognized: Lieutenant John W. Case (Class of ’98), Lieutenant Jon H. Wheeler (Class of ’40), and Lieutenant William C. Newbold (Class of ’41). First Lieutenant John W. Case, a member of Field Artillery with the 224th Field Artillery Battalion died in England from wounds he had received while fighting in France. Son of former Governor Norman Case of Rhole Island, he attended Brown University (upon graduation from Loomis) where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942. Lieutenant John H. Wheeler, a Loomis and Babson graduate, died in Germany in 1940. After graduating from Babson, Wheeler was employed by the Scoville Wellington Company. He then proceeded to enter the air force where he would then be commissioned in Marianna, Florida on November 3rd, 1943. Last but certainly not least, Lieutenant William H. Newbold. A member of the Loomis graduating class of 1941, Newbold attended Cornell where he made the decision to enlist in the Army Air Forces. He was killed in a plane crash near Palm Springs, California on July 14th. His burial took place at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington where he was commemorated by other members of the military. These are only three of the many veteran heroes that Loomis has produced over the course of war time. Along with being exceptionally well-rounded students and young men, these three soldiers fought on the front to protect the country. This not only speaks to the high character of these individuals, but also to the Loomis institute itself, to craft and mold such noble men.

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Difficulties in Learning of Our Fallen Pelicans

Collecting information for Loomis during wartime was very difficult. We don’t know exactly where to look, there are no specific diaries for Loomis Faculty members, all we have are collections of yearbooks and a giant library of archives that could hopefully help us but where do we start looking. Yearbooks offer more about the students then the faculty, and it seems like war didn’t have enough of an impact to affect a faculty member’s life, or if it did we have struggled to find any evidence of it. All I have found are little snippets that show a more wartime culture in the community. For example, there were the officers of Loomis Battalion; its popularity showed through the numbers of students that participated. It looks well put together but I’m not entirely sure what it is, who started it, what they do, etc. I would love to find out more information about the Officers of Loomis Battallion and maybe look into its specific members and titles of each individual, but I wouldn’t know where to look for this research. Maybe we can look at those who died during World War II and follow just their careers at Loomis, find their yearbooks and the clubs they were involved in etc. I think this would give us a more direct way of guidance and would have more structure. We can pursue a deeper memorial for one of the students who died serving his country. The question is which student do we choose. Below is an example of a student we might pursue in our research.

Usually when you think of high school, you think of good times, a little stress here and there, and getting into the right college. The boys at Loomis during the 1930s through the 1940s had slightly more on their plate. By the time World War II had come around, the boys of Loomis had been fully entrenched in the war efforts. Specifically, many of them sitting on the front lines during the European campaign. Many young, overwhelmingly talented and intellectual Loomis boys did not see their full potential as they were sent overseas to fight in war. Some of the boys from the Loomis class of 1941 lost their lives fighting for their country. These young men had bright futures before the war, looking to attend universities and colleges such as Yale, Connecticut, Cornell, Amherst and Williams. Top tier athletes and full fledged keystones in the Loomis community were going from Loomis First Football Team captain to a Private in the 9th Infantry Division fighting in France.[1] Douglas Richard Metcalfe Osborn of Poquonock, CT was one of these Loomis boys of the class of 41’ who lost his life in battle overseas. A day student, a member of numerous clubs and managed numerous sports teams as well. Douglas, or “Ozzie”, was not the physical type of young man you would expect to see be a part of the military. However, one asset he did have was his shooting skills. While most soldiers drafted during World War II tended to be remedial in their skills entering the war, Ozzie had a plethora of experience. Ozzie participated on the Rifle Team at Loomis all four years he was at the school, even being Vice President during his senior year.[2] Ozzie died fighting for his country in North Western Europe only a few years after his graduation from Loomis, not being able to pursue his studies at the University of Connecticut. He is honored today in Founders along with his fellow Loomis students and faculty who lost their lives during the war.

Having looked through the Loomis Alumni Bulletin of 1945, it’s easy to tell that throughout the years of the war there were significant changes being made on campus. Along with several Loomis faculty members leaving to fight in the war, remarkable changes were made on campus and in the classrooms as well. Students all throughout campus (particularly students who didn’t participate in athletics) had to make up for the shortage of labor and partake in tasks such as disposing leaves, care for gardens, taking care of the tennis courts, and chopping and delivering firewood. The teachers of the math and science departments at the time were asked for assistance to teach the theory of aeronautics and radio as well as their regularly scheduled courses. English teachers have to make up for the much needed rest of teachers in the history department, and faculty members all across campus have to pick up extra shifts in order to make up for the lack of hands. Members of the Loomis community such as John Burns, John Dorman, and Thomas Finley are only some of the faculty that served on the front. These men, as well as John W. Case, John H. Wheeler, and William C. Newbold, are glorified in the bulletin and some even have obituaries written in their names, respectively.

[1] Loomis Yearbook 1941

[2] War Memorial fallen faculty and students in Founders

[3] Loomis Alumni Bulletin 1945