Lawrence Anderson

 
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JOINT MEMORIAL SERVICES 
FOR ROLAND SOLDIERS

Combined Memorial services were held for Lt. Donald Eugene Alvestad, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Alvestad, and for Pfc. Robert McKinley Larson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sherman M. Larson, on July 1, 1945 at 2:30 p.m. at the Salem Lutheran Church at Roland, Iowa.  Olaf Holen, pastor, delivered the sermon "Good Soldiers."

The church was beautifully decorated with baskets of blue and white flowers.  Lt. Alvestad's and Pfc. Larson's pictures were placed before a spray of delphiniums, white gladoli and red carnations.

The American Legion, Legion Auxiliary and classmates of the deceased attended the services in a group.  Mrs. Grant Eggland sang a vocal solo, "The Lord's Prayer" and Leslie Henderson sang "Sleep Soldier Boy."  A vocal quartet, composed of Mr. and Mrs. O.S. Boyd and Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Swenson sang "These Are Our Lads."  Presentation of the Flag was by Otto J. Hanson.

Lawrence Anderson, 2132 Friley Road

Capt. L.R. Anderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Anderson, 2132 Friley Road, has written his parents of experiences he has had with the American Army in North Africa.  He is with the headquarters of the First Division.  Parts of his letter, dated May 9, telling of the happiness of the French people in being liberated from their German conquerors, follow:

"Today I had an experience I will never forget.  These French people go delirious with joy when their towns are liberated.  I was in Ferryville today and I was mobbed.  Men, women, pretty girls, ugly girls, little girls, boys, babies, cripples and invalids were crowded in the streets.  Men and women would crowd around the car, shake my hand, pat my back, throw confetti on me, and a cute little girl of about 10 years gave me a big bouquet of red and white roses and carnations.  I was positively embarrassed at all this attention - as if I were some world famous hero or something.

I was only one of many such "heroes."  They mobbed us all.  They were certainly happy to be rid of those Nazi rats.  I drove up to Bizerte in my travels to look around a little.  That town was vacant of people but I suppose the native population will come back now that it will not be such a hot spot anymore.

This part of North Africa is very beautiful.  Green fields, poppy fields that cover hundreds of acres in a single patch, and the green mountains and pretty white houses give one a picture that is hard to beat or compare with.  It is very interesting historically too.  Old Roman ruins are to be found every few miles.

It still gets cold around here at times.  I'm on duty tonight and we are burning newspapers inside the tent for heat.  It leaks out in a hurry and we have to almost burn them continuously to keep the place heated up.  As a result we have a lot of smoke around that burns our eyes and chokes us, but it is better than freezing.

It is going to be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me to get back home again.  Sometimes it seems like a fantastic dream.  I seem to have been gone for centuries.  I can hardly make myself believe I have a home in America at times, after living in a foxhole and pup tent for so long.  Believe me, I know how a wild hunted animal must feel."

George Howard Allen
210 Gray Avenue

Mr. Allen was born Dec. 21, 1911, at Ames.  He graduated from Ames high school in 1931.  For two years, he managed the Red Arrow Grocery store in the fourth ward.  In 1934, he went to work for Howard Gore at the Community grocery, where he was employed until entering the service.

Allen entered the Navy May 18, 1942, and took his boot training at Great Lakes, Ill., at the Great Lakes Naval Training school.  In July 1942, Allen was sent to Fort Dearborn, Mich., where he received advanced training and graduated with the rating of an aviation machinist's mate third class.  In October, 1942, he was sent to Corpus Christi, and was promoted to the rank of AMM 2/c, May 18, 1943, one year after entering the service.

The following is a report of the accident:

Due to the oncoming hurricane the planes had to be moved inland from Corpus Christi to Waco.  George's name was not on the list to make the hop, but he, as all the rest, was anxious to do his part and go.  At the last minute one boy did not show up and he was granted permission.  When they took the planes inland with each three planes there must be one machinist, and they fly in a formation of three.  Officers and instructors fly the planes.  There were some two hundred planes at Corpus Christi and there were not enough officers or instructors to fly all of them so two cadets were chosen.  Ensign S.P. Thomson, Jr., of Kansas City, Missouri and George were flying the head plane and the two cadets were in the wing planes.  The ceiling was about 1,000 feet due to the storm.  The accident happened about 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon close to Crawford Texas, which is about thirty miles from Waco.  It was raining terribly and therefore made it impossible for them to see the earth.  The two wing planes never reached Waco; one got to Dallas and the other plane we do not know where it landed.  Both George and Ensign Thomson were killed instantly and it is doubted that either knew what had happened.  The body was brought back to Ames by a Navy Escort, Joe Ableman, of Spokane, Washington, who was George's closest friend.  Funeral services were held at the First Methodist Church in Ames with full military honors September 22, 1943 at 2:30 p.m.

The Naval Station at Iowa State College furnished the Pall bearers and color guard, and the American Legion the firing squad and the buglers.  The service was very simple but nice and something that we were sure George would have liked.  He was buried on the family plot in the Ames Cemetery.