|Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941|
|50 Volunteer Firemen Complete Training for Emergency Duties
Graduates First of 500 to Be Trained by City for Huge Reserve
Similar to that in London; Defense Officials Praise Work
Camden's first group of war and emergency volunteer firemen received their "diplomas" last night on completion or their training at the fire school in No. 10 firehouse, Ninth street and Morgan boulevard.
They are the initial volunteers to be trained as a reserve for the city fire department in an emergency. The volunteers, 50 of them, will be on 24-hour call. Eventually more than 500 men are expected to receive the training course for a huge reserve similar to the corps of firemen now being used in London.
The men range in ages from 11 to 59 years with Charles Smith, son of Sgt. Ray Smith, being the youngest, and Harry L. Freidel, the oldest.
The training course started May 12 and the trainees have attended three sessions a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, for seven weeks under the direction of Fire Captain Raymond Smith, no relation to the sergeant, who is director of the training school. Smith is a graduate of Class 56, of the Philadelphia Fire Training School.
Each volunteer fireman will be issued an identification card which will hold his fingerprints.
Among those congratulating the graduates were Herbert E. Harper, chairman of the Camden Defense Council; William C. Schriver, council member; Fire Chief John Lennox and Captain Smith. Howard Odrain, deputy chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department with 31 years of experience in fighting fires, attended as an observer.
"In behalf of the Camden City Defense Council, I want to thank you men for the hours and days you have put into taking this course," Harper told the graduates,
"You have been prompt in attendance and have been attentive. We don't anticipate any air raids or any acts of war-invasion, but we have an important problem in enabling national defense Industries in Camden city to make load in their Jobs.
"The sabotage committee of the defense council has been visiting the local Industries encouraging the plants to set up their own fire fighting squads and many are doing so. You men will be needed in times of an emergency to aid these forces and to assist at industries where there is no fire fighting squads."
Chief Lennox termed the volunteers "our second line of defense" and thanked them for their cooperation.
included training In all phases of fire-fighting from operating pumpers to climbing ladders and combating incendiaries, Rescue work also was included. The use of gas masks and asbestos suits in chemical firs, how to approach delayed bombs with snubbers and the proper methods of using extinguishers were taught.
The graduates included: George D. Wilkinson, fire marshal of the RCA Manufacturing Company, and his two sons, Ernest and George; Garfield Watson, sergeant of police at New York Shipbuilding Corporation; Lieut. George Hamilton, Jr., of the 157th Field Artillery; Captain William Hare, of the Kaighn Avenue-South Street Ferry.
Harry B. Thompson, Earl Denby, Lester W. Giberson, Norman P. Maull, Joseph Leone, Samuel Schuele, George P. Smith, Joseph Marchese, Nicholas A. Messaro, Willam S. Martz, William E. Doan, Elwood P. Martz, Jr., Clyde Getzinger, George W. Grove, Stephen Kirby, James W. McCracken, William Watkin, Manuel Weiss, Riccardo DiGiacomo, Louis Cimini, William P. Walter, Sigmund Yakaski, Nicholas Iacovelli, Robert Holmes, Walter D. Lohrman.
Myer J. Mutter, Charles Geitz, Charles A. B. Smith, Howard Doerschner, Harry L. Freidel, Franklin L. Wright, Paul W. Kessler, Warren I. Carter, Creston Polland, Edward E. Friant, Frank F. Shropshire, Charles Gall, Albert E. Pine, Nicholas Cerasoli, George W. Williams, Joseph G. Foster, Joseph Elliott, George Hance and Irving L. Stiefel.
the pages of
The Morning Post
Camden, N.J. June 12, 1942
Smith's Son, Fireman's
Camden High Athlete 'Natural'
Smith started to remonstrate when his son, Charles, broke
the news he was enlisting in the Army.
PRIVATE CHARLES AUGUSTUS BODINE SMITH was born on March 29, 1924. He dropped out of Camden High School, where he would have graduated in June 1943, to join the Army. He was the son of Camden Police Sergeant, former pro boxer and later NJ State Boxing official Ray Smith and his wife Mabel Nash Smith. A fire department aficionado, Charles Smith was the youngest auxiliary fireman in the city of Camden. He had lived at 31 North 25th Street, then at 212 North 27th Street, near the fire station in East Camden.
After his enlistment, Private Smith trained in New York, and served at Fort Dix. On October 4, 1942 it was reported that he had been taken to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital for an emergency appendectomy in the Camden Courier-Post.
After recovering from the surgery, Private Smith was for a time assigned to the 1130th Military Police Company, Army Air Force, based at Wellston Air Depot at Robins Field in Warner Robins GA. He was later sent to the United Kingdom. While in England, he was inducted into the Veterans of Foreign War East Camden Post 705 on Federal Street, a short walk from his home, on February 20, 1944. He was stationed at Fort Dix NJ when his mother passed on March 8, 1944, and received a furlough home for the funeral, after which he was transferred to the 2678th Civil Affairs Regiment in Algeria, where he died of injuries on July 29, 1944. He was 20 years old.
Charles A.B. Smith's death was reported in the the August 10, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post. His father subsequently moved to Erial NJ, where he opened the Charles A.B. Smith Home for Crippled Children, and remained active in charitable work for many years thereafter.
Private Smith was brought home to New Jersey after the war. He was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken NJ on March 5, 1949.
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