Brooklyn Boro

August 6: ON THIS DAY in 1953, GIs torture-scarred

August 6, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick

ON THIS DAY IN 1867, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The preparations for the organization of the East River Bridge Company and the commencement of the work are going on in the most satisfactory manner, and in a short time the company expect to be able to lay before the public a full and explicit detail of the plan of the bridge and its location and cost, and then there is no doubt but that the stock will be largely taken up … On Friday last, three workmen, under the direction of Mr. Spangler, commenced to bore near the Fulton Ferry for the purpose of finding the nature of the substratum. By noon on Saturday they reached 22 feet, in which they passed 17 feet of cinders and then reached something like hard pan and then cemented boulders were struck.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “Four years ago tonight, Joseph Force Crater, Justice of the Supreme Court in Manhattan, hailed a taxicab after dining in a mid-Manhattan restaurant and disappeared to create one of the most baffling mysteries in metropolitan history. Thousands of dollars have been spent by the city, press and private investigations without yielding a single clue to the jurist’s fate or whereabouts. Mrs. Stella Wheeler Crater, his wife, is understood to have nearly given up the hope she has held for four years that her husband would communicate with her. The jurist left property valued at $73,000 behind him, but three more years must pass before he can be declared legally dead and the estate pass to Mrs. Crater.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “Guam, Aug. 6 (U.P.) — American fighter-bombers hit Tokyo and five surrounding prefectures today only a few hours after almost 600 Superfortresses set fire to five major targets along a 550-mile stretch of Japan in a pre-dawn assault. Radio Tokyo said 130 Iwo-based Mustangs swarmed over the greater Tokyo area in two waves for an hour shortly before 9 a.m., bombing and strafing military and transport objects. Urban areas of several cities also were said to have been attacked … Meanwhile, high-ranking officers of the 3rd Fleet said the great armada now was so powerful it could steam directly into Tokyo Bay if ordered. Vice Admiral John S. McCain, commander of the fleet’s carriers, told newsmen his airmen were determined to hunt down and destroy every plane in Japan before the invasion.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1953, the Eagle reported, “Panmunjom, Aug. 6 (UP) — Seventy more Americans came back to freedom from Communist captivity today, most of them looking like victims of the Nazi torture camps of Dachau and Buchenwald. They hobbled on canes or crudely fashioned crutches to the reception tents for identification and preliminary medical examination. Some left the Communist ambulances on stretchers … One of the South Koreans was returned dead. Another ROK soldier was a living skeleton who tried to pull his tightened skin over his teeth to smile but couldn’t. Battle-toughened Marines on duty at the reception center were shocked by the appearance of the gaunt, haggard shells of men … There were more tales of Communist atrocities, with specific details of torture.” 

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DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “Las Vegas, N.M., Aug. 6 (U.P.) — Some two dozen survivors of Col. Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough-Riders’ charge up San Juan Hill in ’98 assembled today in their 50th annual convention. They represented less than a third of the 78 known living veterans of Roosevelt’s Cuban campaign in the Spanish-American War. Mr. and Mrs. Billy Gibson of Brooklyn were among the first to check in. There won’t be much whooping-it-up as in the old days. The Spanish-American War is a long way back. Few formalities exist when ‘Teddy’s boys’ gather. Most of their time is spent on hotel porches, adding twists and tangents to the tales they all know by heart but laugh harder at each year.”

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