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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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

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