Academy Students Remember Local War Casualties

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By Terrill Covey,

Hampton Union

Friday, June 1, 2001

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Students at Hampton Academy Junior High school brought history close to home during Memorial Day ceremonies at the school last week.

Sheila Nudd's class presented biographies on several HAJH graduates who were in the line of duty with the United States military.

The students read biographies of 10 World War II soldiers who died in action and Nudd read a biography of a woman who died during peace time. The woman was one of Nudd's former students.

Several area veterans were in attendance at the ceremony, along with School Administrative Unit 21 Superintendent Jack Bourgoin, Hampton School Board Chairman Chris Singleton and others.

The ceremony began with Nudd's passionate opening remarks.

"The gift these people gave to us is freedom," she said. "They and their families know what sacrifice means."

She said there were 229 Hampton Academy graduates in World War II and 10 of them didn't make it back. A flag honoring those soldiers was on display in the gymnasium.

"Each of these persons is a hero," Nudd said. "Not in the pop-culture sense of the word, but in the real sense. All of them died before they were 30 years old, most before they were 20."

Student Amy Carlino told the crowd that Richard Raymond grew up at 25 Dearborn Ave., in Hampton. Raymond was serving on the SS Dorchester when it was hit by a torpedo in World War II.

"Remember not only victims of the water, but all the victims of war," Carlino said. "Remember Richard Raymond as a young man from Hampton, who died fighting for his country."

Another student. Cara DelloRusso, presented the story of Lincoln Akerman, the namesake of the Hampton Falls school.

"He was the first person to be sent overseas from hampton," said DelloRusso. "He was 25 years old."

Akerman also has the unfortunate distinction of being the first Hampton soldier to die in conflict.

"He was not just another war hero," DelloRusso said. Roland Gray graduated from Hampton Academy in 1941. according to student Miranda Carroll. Gray fought in many places during the war, including England and France, before being killed in action in Belgium on Christmas Eve 1944.

Saige Kaufman told Edward Tobey's story.

Tobey was raised in a house on the corner of Academy Avenue and High Street in Hampton.

"He flew on one of the first B-29s with secret radar." Kaufman said, "but on his seventh mission his plane crashed and he was killed — the same Edward Tobey that walked the halls of Hampton Academy."

Stephanie Powell told the story of Harry Parr.

Powell said Parr was shipped to active duty in January of 1944 and was killed when the jeep he was riding in, hit a mine. He died before his first son was born, the student said.

Neil Underwood's story was told by Kaitlin O'Reilly and Lauren Analdo.

Underwood was part of a flight crew in World War II. His plane was shot down in August of 1944.

"His body was never discovered," O'Reilly said. "He died when his daughter was two days old."

Underwood is remembered through the Underwood Memorial Bridge at Hampton Beach. Student Jessica Pleshaw did a presentation on Norman Dearborn.

Dearborn enlisted with the Air Force in January 1945, and was stationed in the Philippines. He was killed in a plane crash in November 1945.

"He was the 10th Hampton man to die." said Pleshaw. "And the seventh from Hampton Academy."

Robert Lord was also in the Air Force and he also died in a plane crash. Lord, however, died on American soil while flying between California and Oregon.

"The day before he left he ordered flowers for his mother for Mother's Day." said Andrea Vandersal. "She got the flowers on the same day that she found out her son had died."

Richard Blake was the next Hampton man to give the ultimate sacrifice. He was also in the Air Force.

"lIe was shot down shortly before the allies took Mt. Belvedere," said Devon Brown. Brown then read by Hampton resident Bill Elliot that was written about Blake after his death. Elliot was in attendance at the ceremony.

Lauren DelloRusso told the story of Blake's best friend, Robert White.

White wrote a letter to Blake's family upon finding out he had died, that read, in part:

"What greater thing could a man give than his life."

"PFC White was killed in a train accident at the age of 19," said DelloRussO. "The town held a double ceremony in his and Blake's honor."

Nudd told the final story — the story of Desiree Loy.

"In 1985, the plane which she was training in, crashed killing the crew, Nudd said. "Seven families lost loved ones; I lost a friend"

She said the other men whose stories had been shared died fighting for the freedom we have now and Loy died protecting that freedom.

"Their lives were a gift to us," Nudd said of the fallen soldiers. "Their deaths are promises unfulfilled. The present and future are only based on the past, so take the time to remember and honor those who gave their lives for our freedom."

Those in attendance were touched by the personal stories of the locals who had died fighting for their country.

"This was great," said Maurice Brown, a World War II veteran. "I'm glad the students were able to see this. Kids these days are so busy, they don't get to hear about these things."

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