A Friendly Invasion II
Transformation of Our Lifestyles
Prior to world war two, thousands of Newfoundlanders migrated to the United States. The cost of travelling there, whether by boat or train, prohibited many more from realizing their ambitions and starting a new life in a thriving country that threw its doors open to the majority of immigrants.
The influx of young men and women into America was, in those days, attributable more to our low economy than to the adventure of travel. In 1930 the U.S. Consul in St. John's, Arva M. Warren, reported to the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. that from 1925 to 1929 over 10,000 Newfoundlanders had been issued visas. Most of these were job seekers in a "country of plenty" or were sponsored by relatives or friends who had settled mostly in the eastern States. Many of them married American citizens, while others eventually sent for their families to join them. Sweethearts who had been left behind in Newfoundland until their counterparts secured good jobs were soon on their way to the States and marriage. Family life in an environment very different from home induced many to remain in the U.S. and eventually become citizens. While there was an occasional trip back to Newfoundland to visit family, all but a few adopted the American way of life.
It has been said many times that if you took all the Newfoundlanders and their immediate relatives out of the state of Massachusetts, the population would be disastrously reduced. At one time, the employees at a major fish company in Glouchester were over two-thirds Newfoundlanders. I can relate to this because my mother was one of these venturous people. She left Grand Falls in 1922, at the age of 19, for Lynn, Mass. There she worked at the large General Electric Plant for years. She married my American father early in 1924. I was born in West Lynn in November 1925.
My mother came back to Newfoundland in February 1934 with my brother, my sisters and me. This was the depression era in the United States. We came "out of the frying pan and into the fire", because things were even more desperate in Newfoundland. Although Grand Falls, where I grew up and was educated, was a Paper town, it had its share of people who were unemployed and on the "dole." I have told my children of my early boyhood days--cutting wood, carrying water each day to fill the household water barrel, learning my lessons by kerosene lanterns--and of a simple way of life. This wasn't the case with everyone in Grand Falls, but it was my experience when I first came to Newfoundland. I'd had all the normal conveniences while in the States, and therefore it was a traumatic change in my life. Many more families who found it difficult to make ends meet during the depression era in the States returned to Newfoundland to find conditions here even worse. Several went back to the States after the depression was over. My father died in West Lynn. My mother and the rest of our family stayed here.
For years prior to World War Two, Newfoundlanders migrated to America at a steady pace. They settled in almost every state, lived and worked there, and many have died there. Their descendants today are scattered in countries all over the world. Conversely, a few Americans moved to Newfoundland between the early 1920s and the 1940s. These were primarily executives of large industry. Their numbers were very small compared to the hundreds of Americans who served here in the U.S. military and later made Newfoundland their permanent home.
There are also many Americans who were born here while their fathers were in the service and who went to live in the States, only to return to Newfoundland some years later with their parents. One can only imagine how many children were born of a Newfoundland mother and an American father during World War Two. The records clearly indicate that over 25,000 Newfoundland girls married U.S. servicemen between 1941 and 1976. Using a simple formula, if each of these families had only two children, there would be 50,000 direct offspring. Considering that the majority of the children were born between 1941 and 1975, a second generation, and in some cases a third, is evident today. The impact of social contact between America and Newfoundland is not difficult to understand. Over 42,000 Americans visit Newfoundland each year, and many of them say their heritage began here.
The most spectacular part of this story began in 1941. On January 25th of that year 120 U.S. Marines landed at Argentia, and on January 29th, 977 U.S. soldiers arrived in St. John's aboard the U.S.T. Edmund B. Alexander. The average age of the majority of these soldiers and sailors was around 21--young uniformed men, physically fit, away from the United States and their families and sweethearts for the first time. They were the first U.S. military troops to set foot on foreign soil in connection with World War Two (although America was not yet at war when they arrived). They made up the U.S. 3rd Infantry, 24th Coast Artillery and the 62nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery. They came from the Second, Third and Seventh Army Corps out of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Before their arrival twenty-three American civilians, a Lieutenant H.E. Gors, and two Marine enlisted men had come to Argentia by train on January 18.
The landing of the 120 marines at Argentia, from aboard two destroyers, was shrouded in secrecy, and very few Newfoundlanders knew they had arrived. The troops on the Edmund B. Alexander, however, were greeted in St. John's by thousands who flew American flags and carried banners, welcoming the American soldiers to Newfoundland. It was truly a friendly invasion. As one lady, Mrs. Blanche Tower of St. John's, described the incident to me in 1977, "Little did I know at the time that my future husband, Master Sergeant Porter Tower, was aboard that ship."
Dominick (Tony) DeAntonio
Dominick (Tony) DeAntonio, from Altoona, Pennsylvania, was also aboard the Alexander. He relates his feelings and experiences of the time in what he calls his personal flashbacks to "a friendly invasion of U.S. Troops in Newfoundland."
"In November 1940, I and several others were transferred to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, for preparation for assignment overseas. This is how we came to sail to Newfoundland on the Edmund B. Alexander. It proved to be a venturous, fruitful and glorious 51 years with my wife Margaret.
I and Joseph F. Mellon (Midge) were the first two GIs to report to Captain Elbert Kelly on board the Edmund B. Alexander on 4 December 1940 at Brooklyn Army Base, New York, as advance party (Quartermaster Detachment) in preparation for overseas assignment to occupy the first lend-lease areas on the island of Newfoundland. Mellon and I did not know where we were going, as we were supposed to be on secret orders. When we first boarded the Edmund B. Alexander, she had no name on her and we had an ordeal locating her in drydock. Even the security guards did not know where she was docked or at what pier. I soon found out our ultimate destination after speaking to several workers (Italian) who were helping to renovate the ship in preparation for sailing. When I inquired if they knew where the ship was headed for, they said `Don't ja know--this ship, she go to Newfoundland.' Midge and I had never heard of Newfoundland, let alone know where it was. This was to be my first trip to sea. Midge had made his first trip during the First World War.
The trip to St. John's took approximately five days on the North Atlantic Ocean and at times the sea was as nasty as it could get. We had a destroyer escorting us but most of the time we could not see it due to the tremendous waves. We were not at war at the time, so the ship travelled with lights on at night. The ocean got too rough for me, and I was hoping a German submarine would cripple the Edmund B. Alexander. I figured my chances of survival would be better in the water than aboard ship, as I was really seasick and thought I was going to die, and then I was afraid I would not die. When we first approached St. John's on January 25, 1941 the weather was rough, and we were unable to dock until January 29th. The drinking water aboard ship became contaminated due to the rough seas, so the medical officer placed the water off limits. Troops were issued two cans of beer per day until we docked on the southside of St. John's Harbor.
When my buddy and good friend, Michael Camisa from Hazelton, Pa., and I ventured into St. John's on or about February 2, 1941, we found a warm and friendly city. Some homes had bunting and small American flags in their windows. We found some of the customs and language accent a little different from our home state of Pennsylvania. The Edmund B. Alexander was to be our home until our pyramidal tents in Camp Alexander (Carpasian Road) were ready to be occupied in May 1941. Two or three dances were held aboard the ship while we were in dock. I was fortunate to meet my future wife, Margaret M. Carew, on or about February 3, 1941. She and her sister Josephine attended two of the dances.
Local police patrolling the city of St. John's that winter of 1941 wore dark uniforms and appeared to be no less than 6 feet tall, carried billy sticks, and wore bobby hats like the British policemen. When Mike and I were on Water Street, we decided to walk up to Duckworth Street, only to find it was difficult due to the snow and ice. We would take two steps forward and slide back one. We eventually made it to Duckworth Street with stubborn determination.
Two days after we docked on the Southside, the city was engulfed with a heavy snowfall. Three or four feet of snow was piled up on the sidewalks and the only things running were the small streetcars which cost five cents to ride. The five-cent piece was about the size of your small finger.
The following day I had the good fortune to meet my future wife in Caines' grocery store on Duckworth Street. The first words I spoke to her were `Does it snow much here in the winter time?' She just smiled at me and I knew the body chemistry was there from that moment on, and still is after all these years.
It was not unusual then to receive foreign coins in change for your money when shopping in local candy stores on Water or Duckworth Streets. I still possess several British one-penny coins (coppers) the size of a half-dollar with King George on them, and a British half-penny the size of a quarter, and a Newfoundland copper (one cent) the size of a quarter, dated 1890. Many times I walked up Bulley Street to catch the last trolley car run to the Newfoundland Hotel and walk the rest of the way to camp. Our purchasing section contracted with Job Brothers to buy fresh cod and salmon for troop consumption. Cod cost 15 cents and salmon 25 cents a pound. At Caines' grocery we purchased fresh fruits and vegetables. Cigarettes aboard the Edmund B. Alexander were 60 cents a carton. One pack, or a shilling, paid our way on the small put-put fishing boats to and from the Southside. My future wife and I were courting over six months before I learned she was earning a fabulous salary of $35.00 a month working at the Avalon Telephone Co., and I was earning about the same in the military. Between the two of us, we assumed we were well off.
The next winter, at Camp Alexander, was intolerable, as we only had funnel stoves and logs to burn to keep us warm. Sometime in December we were into barracks at Fort Pepperrell even though they were only about 60% completed. We had established a field bakery, commissary and Office of the Quartermaster at Carpasian Road Farm.
The outbreak of war on December 7, 1941 found me assigned duty as Charge of Quarters (CQ) when word came over the radio that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. The following day or maybe the same day, all men were issued combat gear consisting of 45-pistols, web equipment and helmets.
My two-year courtship with my wife eventually led to marriage on the 14th of January, 1943 in the Roman Catholic Cathedral, St. John's. Permission for marriage had to be approved by the Base Commander, plus there was a 90-day waiting period. I was made aware that I was one of the men scheduled to return on a cadre to the United States in early February 1943, so I requested the assistance of Major Saunders (Catholic Chaplain) in securing approval of marriage and a waiver of the 90-day waiting period. A clearance background check was required for both me and my fiancée through our respective parishes. Before the marriage took place, my future wife's half-brother, William J. Carew, requested to talk to me at his office on Duckworth Street, where he was secretary to one of the ministers in the Newfoundland Government. He asked questions as to how I intended to support his sister. Did I intend to stay in the service after the war. Where did I work before I enlisted in the service, etc. He was quite concerned about the marriage. He was more like a father to my wife than a half-brother. He was about 52 years old at the time. (He passed away in April 1990 at the age of 99!) He was well known and liked and very influential in St. John's.
At last all approvals were granted and we were married on a three-day pass during the blackout night of Thursday, January 14, 1943, with the reception being held at the Old Colony Club. On Friday I went to the Base to purchase some items at the Exchange and after I entered Fort Pepperrell, I was informed that all personnel were quarantined and restricted to the Base due to a measles outbreak. I spent the next two weeks talking to my wife on the phone. By the time the quarantine was lifted, the cadre I was on was about to depart Newfoundland.
Many friendships were formed and are indissoluble. Some of my dear Newfoundland friends who worked in the subsistence section, of which I was in charge, were Mollie Shea, Berl Davenport. Hilda Nichols, Ruth Hussey and Dorothy Kent. Other friends who bring back fond memories were D. Donnelly, Fred and Liz Connolly, Mickey Duggan, Tom O'Toole, Mae McGrath, Mary and Agnes Crowdell, Isobel Wiseman, and others too numerous to mention. Places my future wife and I went to during our two year courtship: Tarry Inn at Rawlins Cross, Blue Puttee, Movie Chat, across the street from the Capital Theatre. The Nickel and Star Theatres. When I asked the waitress at the Movie Chat what kind of pie they had, she said white and chocolate. I told her I wanted apple or cherry pie. Oh, she said, you want pastry. It was unusual to ask for a cup of hot coffee, as most Newfoundlanders drank hot tea. At a small local shop, I asked what kind of pop they had. She said they did not carry pop, only beer which was cherry, grape or orange. A week after I met my wife, she invited me to their home on 10 Bulley Street for tea. As I did not care too much for a cup of tea, I had my supper at the Base and took my time getting to her home, only to find out she and her sister Josephine had the dining room table all decked out for a delicious supper. I was really embarrassed to have caused their anger. How was I to know that the word `tea' in Newfoundland actually meant supper! We went to the following halls to dance--TA, St. Mary's, Knights of Columbus, and eventually the USO after it was opened on Merrymeeting Road. Bannerman and Bowring Parks also bring back fond memories.
Since I elected to remain in the service after the war, I was able to request assignment back to Newfoundland in 1958. I was assigned to Det. 7, USA Transportation Terminal Command, Argentia, Newfoundland. In November 1958 U.S. Army personnel were removed from Argentia Naval Base and I was fortunate to be assigned to HQ Transportation Terminal Command, Pepperrell AFB, St. John's, Newfoundland. This assignment was to my complete satisfaction as that is where I wanted to be in the first place.
My mind is full of wonderful fond memories of my original 1941 assignment and my subsequent assignment to Newfoundland in 1958. Our dear friend, Mae McGrath, had a small store at 2 Bulley Street, and Margaret and I used to stop in now and then for a bundle of splits and beer (pop) to take home. The cold winter nights would chill you to the bone. Since our marriage, we have been back to St. John's on numerous occasions. I have always considered St. John's as my second home. If it were not for the hills, short summers and extreme cold weather, I would not hesitate to live there permanently. I eventually retired from the U.S. Army in October 1964 and if the Lord is willing, we may return to St. John's on our 50th wedding anniversary in January 1993.
Long before construction began at Fort Pepperrell, hundreds of Newfoundland men and women were employed at the construction of the largest and most costly U.S. overseas military base at the time, Argentia Naval Air Station. Their association with the Americans began on January 18, 1941 when the U.S.S. Richard Peck, with 1,500 American construction workers aboard, docked at Argentia. While the Base was being built over 15,000 Newfoundlanders were employed. By late 1942 over 10,000 U.S. Naval personnel were stationed there. Thousands of transient personnel from Allied ships all over the world passed through Argentia. Newfoundlanders I have talked to who were there, or whose relatives were there, indicate the bewilderment of the activity that occurred each day. Some fishermen would take their vessels to St. John's to load with provisions and then return to Argentia. There they would move from one fisherman's boat to another in the small flotilla at the place commonly referred to as "The Jack Boat Basin", to supply the hundreds of Newfoundlanders who had to live on their fishing boats until their shore accommodations were completed. The U.S. Army Base of Fort McAndrew, adjacent to Argentia, was also under construction in 1941. Newfoundlanders worked on both sites.
Fort Pepperrell and Stephenville Airfield were also beehives of construction activity in 1941, as were the American side at Gander and at Goose Bay, Labrador in 1942. Fort Pepperrell was first occupied by military personnel from Camp Alexander in late 1941. By 1942 over 4,000 military were stationed at Pepperrell, and over 3,000 Newfoundland civilians were employed there. By the end of 1943 the Base had over 5,000 military personnel. The original construction contract was nearly completed by that time, but many Newfoundlanders were retained on the U.S. payroll for the operation and maintenance of the Base.
At Stephenville Airfield (Harmon), by the middle of 1941 over 500 U.S. Military Corps of Engineers and over 4,000 Newfoundlanders were engaged in construction. By late 1942, seven hundred U.S. Army Air Corps personnel occupied Camp Morris Tent City, a temporary camp like Camp Alexander, on the outskirts of Stephenville. Over 4,000 U.S. Army and Army Air Corps personnel were stationed at Harmon Air Base by the end of 1943. The initial construction was completed by 1943 and Harmon Field was on its way to becoming a major base in the network of United States Air Force installations.
Military activity at Gander Air Field changed considerably in 1942 when the American side was constructed. Only a few U.S. weather personnel had been there since August 1941. Almost overnight the American military presence in Gander grew, until by the end of 1943 over 4,000 were stationed there. Almost all the buildings erected by the Americans were temporary structures covered on the outside with tar paper. Others were semi-permanent, and many of those are still in use today by other agencies.
The same story applied to Goose Bay, Labrador, which was transformed early in 1942 from an R.C.A.F. Station to a combination Canadian and American side. One can imagine the activity at Goose Bay by the end of 1943, when the military population was 2,500 Americans, 2,000 Royal Canadian Air Force, 500 Royal Air Force and over 700 Newfoundland civilians working at strategic positions on both sides of the Base. An interesting note here is that from 1942 to 1945 there were only four women on the Base-- one secretary on the Canadian side, two American nurses and one American Red Cross lady. Other women arrived in 1945. I remember the day in April when a squadron of approximately 100 American Women's Auxiliary Corps (WACs) disembarked from two military aircraft. I also recall September 1945, when forty-five Canadian girls, recruited at Moncton, New Brunswick, arrived. I was a Deputy Assistant Fire Chief with the U.S.A.A.F. Fire Department at the time. The arrival of the aircraft was declared "V.I.P." (very important persons) so all the fire trucks had to stand by on the runway for the landing and unloading of passengers.
Talk about social impact! Goose Bay changed overnight. The girls were employed at the PX (Post Exchange), Officers' and NCO Clubs, the telephone exchange, Hotel DeQuink, and at secretarial jobs. I can smile when I look back and remember how the military and civilian guys would shave more regularly, curtail their swearing, try awkwardly to be courteous, use "Yes! M'am" and "No, M'am", and frequent the clubs at night by the score. The WACs left Goose Bay around October of 1945. Over 300 women were employed at Goose Bay by mid-1946.
The post war period from 1946 to 1948 saw a decline in activity. The number of U.S. military personnel stationed in Newfoundland and Labrador during the 1941-1945 period was over 34,000, but in 1946 the strength of the military changed as the world situation changed. The Berlin Airlift and the Korean War of the 1950s, the Cold War of the 1960s, the Vietnam conflict of the middle and late sixties, and the increasing demand for the United States to maintain its position as a world power, all had an effect on the bases and sites here. Gander and many other U.S. military installations throughout Newfoundland started their phase-out in 1946, and by the end of 1947 hardly any military activity remained at these locations. In 1954 Fort McAndrew, then McAndrew Air Force Base, was deactivated. Fort Pepperrell, then Pepperrell Air Force Base, closed on August 11, 1961. Stephenville, then Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, closed in 1966. The American base at Goose Bay ceased operation in 1976, although some military presence was maintained until 1991. Most of the other seventy-seven U.S. military installations and sites throughout Newfoundland and Labrador were redundant by 1948. The Aircraft Early Warning Stations were deactivated by 1961. By that time the only active U.S. military base in Newfoundland was the Argentia Naval Station, the name of which was changed to "U.S. Naval Facility" in the early 1970s.
Argentia was the first American base in Newfoundland and it will be the last to go. As of 1993 it was curtailed to a small but important operation, with only 500 U.S. sailors on duty there and just over 200 Newfoundland civilians remaining on the payroll. Some Canadian forces are stationed at Argentia. Plans have been announced for a phase-out, to be completed in 1995.
Altogether over 100,000 U.S. servicemen were stationed in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1941 to 1991, the majority up to 1976. Over 20,000 Newfoundland civilians worked on the construction of the bases and sites, and over 10,000 were permanently employed when the U.S. Military began phase-out operations.
Most people knew about the major installations, but until the publication of my first book, A Friendly Invasion, in September 1990, very few were aware of just how extensive were the American military operations in Newfoundland and Labrador. Every branch of the service was located here--Army, Navy, and Air Force. These major organizations used every segment of their functions within our province. The Army had its Corps of Engineers, Signal Corps, Coast and Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Medical Corps and Infantry men; the Navy had its naval fleet, air support squadrons, Coast Guard, Marines and Sea Bee Construction battalions; and the Air Force had its tactical fighting and support squadrons, air rescue and air refuelling units, and air transportation facilities, among others. Even the F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) was set up here after a number of their people arrived in St. John's on December 14, 1941 aboard the former private yacht, the North Gaspe. The American Consulate office in St. John's, established in 1852, was most active in keeping the State Department in Washington, D.C. informed on various activities occurring between the Newfoundland/Canadian and American governments represented here. All in all, the 50 years of the U.S. military activity in Newfoundland changed the history of our country, and later our province, and its people.
There were 250,000 people in Newfoundland in 1941. The population of St. John's had almost doubled, from 38,000 in 1938 to 68,000 in 1941. In the latter part of that year a conductor on our Newfoundland Express train said, "There's about a thousand people going into St. John's each week by train and only a few leave." Grand Falls had around 3,000 people and Corner Brook 4,000. Very few areas were incorporated, the first being the town of Windsor in 1942, followed immediately by Corner Brook West. Grand Falls and Corner Brook proper were Paper Company towns and were not incorporated until years later.
The population of Newfoundland and Labrador was scattered among 1,300 settlements along the coastline and in the interior. Very few roads existed, and the only modes of transportation from one area to another were rail and boat. The Newfoundland Railway throughout was constructed on a narrow gauge track, and during the war years was overtaxed in its operations. The main industries--few of them at that--were paper manufacturing, mining, lumber and fishing.
St. John's, the capital and only city, was the business hub of all Newfoundland operations, and of course was the seat of government as well. The economy on the island and in Labrador from 1930 to 1941 was very low. Unemployment was a major factor in the disparity in the standard of living. It has often been said that between 1941 and 1990 there wasn't one individual in Newfoundland or Labrador who wasn't in some way affected by the Americans' presence here. This came about in many ways--through employment, economic upswing, more spending money, marriages, births, changes in our way of life, social activity and everlasting friendships.
Up to 1940-1941 life for many Newfoundlanders was relatively simple. They were not paid cash for the fish they caught or the lumber they produced. For the most part it was a barter system, where a merchant would purchase the product and give the individual credits at a nearby store for food and other necessities for a period of time. If a fisherman had a bad season, he and his family had a hard time surviving. There was some government assistance.
The free-spending Americans, with lots of money, were a serious cause for concern by the Government of Newfoundland when the Base construction boom commenced. They couldn't allow the American government to pay Newfoundlanders the same wages they paid in the United States. Therefore, what was paid in 1940 and early 1941 was 25 cents an hour to laborers and 40 cents an hour to carpenters and other tradesmen. Men worked as long as 14 hours a day with no overtime. To the average working person of today the pay would be ludicrous; but ironic as it may seem, these wages were the biggest single avenue to prosperity that had ever hit Newfoundland. Permanent work, paid every two weeks, money in the pocket, the ability to enjoy some extra pleasures in life, were the factors that drove hundreds of our Newfoundland people from every nook and corner to the nearest U.S. base or site seeking employment. Mr. Pius Alexander of Little Harbour, Deer Lake put together his feelings and experiences about wages paid in 1940-41 to Newfoundlanders working at Stephenville Airfield. He stated:
"I was the very first Newfoundlander to be hired on by the U.S. military here. I began work on January 1, 1940 with the Corps of Engineers in Stephenville as a laborer. They were surveying the area at the time for a large airport. When I was hired on, the Americans told me that my wages as a laborer would be $2.50 an hour. I couldn't believe this. In all my working days as a fisherman and up to this time, I did not know what money was, as we would turn over our catch of fish to a merchant who would give us credits at a local store for food and necessities over the winter. On my first payday after working eight hours a day for ten working days, my paid amount came to $200.00, and not only that, but it was in American money which, when converted to Newfoundland dollars, amounted to $220.00. I didn't know what to do with it. To me it was probably like someone today who would strike a big win on Lotto 649. However, my happiness soon changed when just before I was paid for the second time, my boss advised me that they had a message from the Newfoundland government saying that American wages could not be paid to Newfoundland laborers. The rate was reduced to 25 cents an hour. My second cheque was a grand total of $20.00. Even this was good pay at the time."
The economic boom which really began in 1940 was in full swing by the end of 1942. This era of prosperity continued until 1944 when the U.S. base construction levelled off. By that time several Newfoundlanders had established themselves in business and many permanent jobs were available. A lot of fisherman returned to their profession. After the war, from 1945 to 1956, the economy levelled off at a slow but progressive pace. The unemployment rate, practically nil in 1943, gradually increased.
A Canadian estimate in 1946 indicated that the U.S. military had an investment in Newfoundland of over $300,000,000. This did not include the combined military and civilian salaries or the miscellaneous day-to-day operating expenses. When all the bases and sites (except Argentia) closed, the U.S. military left behind millions of dollars in real estate. Pleasantville (formerly Pepperrell Air Force Base), Stephenville (Harmon) and Goose Bay are evidence of what we inherited for the sum of $1.00 for each location. Along with all these buildings and developed areas, we must also consider the utilities like water and sewage, paved streets, street lights, underground and above-ground electrical installation, marine operations, and numerous other facilities that would make up the necessities of the self-sustaining operations. The United States Government spent over one billion dollars in Newfoundland and Labrador between 1940 and 1991.
The American military presence has practically disappeared, but there will always be memories. What they did for us during their stay may never be completely realized by all Newfoundlanders--the roads they built, which we still use today; the assistance they gave us at time of emergencies; their generosity during five decades; the loving families that came out of these encounters; the large number of Newfoundland children who were adopted by them; and the everlasting friendships that exist between our two countries and their people. This personal touch will never wane. Today's middle-aged and seniors can relate to this time, and even the children can now understand what it was like in the "old days", the "carefree days", that began 50 odd years ago.
Mr. Kevin Fagan of St. John's went to work at Fort Pepperrell in 1941, and was still there as General Manager of the Post Exchange when the Base closed twenty years later. "Yes!" he says. "This is where it all began. This era of 50 years is what has filled my trophy case of memories, that are so pleasant to recall. There could never be another period of time in Newfoundland's history to surpass the happiness and love that became our new way of life."