V.P. Douw, Harold Hartwell, Frederick Eaton

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Memorial to the fallen Loomis Students who served during World War 2, Volckert Petrus Douw is oldest alumni to serve

Volckert Petrus Douw, also known as “Pete”, “Peter”, and “V.P.” was a 4 year pelican and graduated in 1925. Volckert would go on to serve his country after attending the U.S Naval Academy. Douw actually grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, so he didn’t stray far from home to attend college. V.P. Douw is actually the first name engraved on the wooden memorial in Founders hall, making him one of the oldest Loomis graduates to serve during World War II. I was drawn to Douw because of his position in the Navy: commander. Commander is above captain, rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral,  and fleet admiral and has great responsibility in the forces. The position commander is one of the highest positions of Loomis veterans. Douw also managed to have a successful career during his time at Loomis. During his time at Loomis, Douw was a member of the Junior Football Team, Darwin Club for 3 years, French Club, Political Club, and the Literary Club. Beyond being a member of a wide variety of clubs, Douw was the editor of the Loomis publication The Handbook. After researching The Handbook, we found that it is a very interesting publication that is basically a ‘how to’ guide on surviving Loomis. They publish tips for attending the school and we look forward to reading Douw’s additions and advice. Douw was well respected among his peers as his class voted him the title “Most Brilliant” with an impressive 25 votes. To put the votes in perspective, 2nd place received only 5. It seems the kid that grew up in Annapolis, deemed most brilliant in his class (of which 25 attended Ivy league schools) was destined to reach a high position in the Navy. Douw was voted the 4th most modest person in his class and lost by a mere 3 votes. These superlatives help give us a look at Douw’s character and personality while attending Loomis Chaffee.

There certainly are some barriers we have come across while searching for fallen Loomis boys in World War II. The main one we have run into, that hasn’t necessarily disturbed our ability to gain information but did make it more difficult, was the fact that some of these fallen Loomis boys were not in fact listed in their yearbook. For example, I have been in pursuit of more information about a particular student, Harold Hall Hartwell Jr., class of 1941. Since he was nowhere to be found in any of the yearbooks for which he was a student, including his senior year of 1941, I had to rely completely on other sources. Thankfully, I came across a bounty of information. Lieutenant Harold H. Hartwell Jr. was a member of the US Navy Reserve and a member of the USS Underhill during its campaigns in the south Pacific. Harvard class of 1945, Hartwell joined the Navy one year into his career at Harvard.[1] On July 24, 1945, the USS Underhill was sunk by a Japanese torpedo during the Luzon campaign. 112 of the 234 man crew died including all high ranking officers aboard as well as Hartwell. During the Luzon campaign, American ships and troops as well as Filipino troops fought off Japanese forces around Luzon, Philippines. The USS Underhill was off the coast fighting off I-52 and I-53 Japanese submarines. Eventually, the Underhill was surrounded by Japanese subs and sunk. [2]
The bravery displayed by our Loomis boys is consistent throughout. Despite the mystery as to why some are almost “ghosts” and not present in the yearbook still isn’t clear, they still definitely represented Loomis well and made the school proud.

Frederick William Eaton, a former Loomis pelican, was a graduate in the class of 1940. Commonly known as “Fred”, “Bill”, or “Featon”, Frederick was an exceptionally valued member of the Loomis community. Born and raised in New Cannan, Connecticut, he made a large impact on the school community and participated in a variety of different sports and clubs. These activities include football, squash, tennis, rifle club, assistant librarian, soccer, Loomis Board, and music club. After graduating from Loomis in 1940, he attended Harvard where he spent the next 4 years. Upon getting his degree from Harvard, Frederick enlisted himself into the army where he became a member of the 183rd Field Artillery Group. He was killed in Germany on April 13th, 1945. A letter written by his commander to his family states, “Flying a watchful cover on reconnaissance in advance of an armored column, your son had directed artillery fire which punished the enemy severely,”. As a pilot, his job was to spot and destroy enemy installations and troops, a job which he was very good at. Frederick, a production of Loomis, died as a brave hearted soldier who consistently put his life on the line for his country. Needless to say, he was not only a valued member of the Loomis community, but he was also a great asset to the country.

[1] “Lieutenant Harold Hall Hartwell, Jr.” Together We Served – Connecting US Navy Sailors. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.

[2] Dace, Stanley W. “About USS Underhill.” About USS Underhill. Jay Crum, n.d. Web. 18 May 2016.

[3] Loomis Alumni Bulletin 1945

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