Plane Spotters, World War II


Source: The Morning Herald, Thursday, 3 Jun 1943


MAYFIELD -The army aircraft warning service honor roll on display in the Mortimer A. Robinson's store window contains a list of 120 names of ground observers who have served Post 137 A since April 1942. Names of persons who serve the Gloversville Posts 137 B and 137 C are also on the roll. Jay Swears is chief observer with the following officers of the day: Sundays, H. N. Brown; Monday, William Robinson; Tuesday, Henry Wemple; Wednesday, William White; Thursday, Jay Swears; Friday, Byron Elphee; Saturday, Floyd Pettingill.

Jay Swears has served the post faithfully since he became connected with it. In March he attended special classes at the Recognition school in Albany. Last week he completed his teaching of Airplane Recognition at the local Central school, and the 38 spotters who took the several weeks course all passed. They will receive certificates from Albany. They are:

[alphabetized by transcriber]
Sherrill Alenander
Clarence Alvord
Irma Alvord
Carolyn Becker
Delores Becker
Dennie Becker
Donald Bennett
Richard Bennett
Harland Brown
Georgia A. Christie
Richard Czeck
Kenneth Davison, Jr.
Burton, Delaney
Donald Elliott
Marion Ellitborpe
Wayne Ellithorpe
Byron Elphee
Edward Elphee
Olive Elphee
Harriet Fonda
Alice Griffis
Leonard Herrick
Marilyn Herrlck
Anita Kuhnev
May Merrick
Grace Montanye
John Naumann
Ruth Naumann
Albert Niles
Ernest Niles
Floyd Pettingill
Donald Robinson
Robert Robinson
William Robinson
Frances Schwarm
Vera Smith
Arlene Steel
Barnaby Still

* Note: Jay Swears was himself a veteran of WWI, a member of the Broadalbin American Legion Post, and a charter member of the Mayfield Servicemen's Club, and a long time resident of Mayfield. He was born on 4 Nov 1895 in the nearby Town of Day, a son of Frank and Ann Green Swears. He married Bertha Frasier and had one daughter who survived him.

July 10, 1940

Civilian Observers Named To Aid Army Maneuvers

Mayfield - The persons whose names appear below have volunteered to serve at the observation post tentatively arranged by Chief Observer Robert Colt, and Deputy Observer Howard Smith, on August 12, 10-12 o'clock, and August 19-22, 24-hour periods, as the civilians' aid in the Army maneuvers next month.

Mrs. Howard Smith, Mrs. Edward Childs, Mrs. Ernest Kuhne, Miss Thelma Smith, Miss Janis Wemple, Mrs. William Robinson, Mrs. Byron Griffis, Mrs. George Olson, Mrs. James Crossley, Mrs. R. Stanley Bennett, Mrs. Chauncy Smith, Merl Haines, Arthur West, Harland Fonda, the Rev. E.J. Ruliffson, Donald Herrick, George Hallenbeck, Jr., Walter Tabor, Dean Wheeler, Allen Olson, and Francis West.

Observers who are Service men are:
Chauncey Smith, Edward Childs, William Robinson, George Hallenbeck, Richard E. Loeben, Jr., Henry Wemple, William White, Frank Gifford, Joseph Girard, Hugh Degnan, I. Walter Herrick, Earl Fonda, and Adolph Phillips.

On the aforementioned dates, persons will be stationed at the post, which will be the Christie Lot, located above Walkers Quarry, on the Mayfield-Northville highway and will record the time and direction of army planes which will pass overheard. The time and direction will be telephoned directly to the headquarters at Watertown.

Some of the other posts are located at Gloversville and Bleeker. Howard Smith, of the Harold Wilmot Post, Gloversville, deputy chief observer and first vice commander-elect, wishes to thank all for the fine spirit of cooperation. Each seems to want to do his or her duty, said Mr. Smith. He also thanked Mrs. George Christie for donating the observation post.

The mayor and the Village Board will go on record as pledging full support and cooperation of this movement.

The idea behind this movement is to get the American people air-minded and to check on army planes for direction. The slogan shall be, "They shall not pass, unnoticed."


Saturday, July 26, 1941

Will Conduct Work of Mayfield 'Plane Spotting;
Meeting Monday

Mayfield - Howard Smith has been appointed as chief observer of Mayfield Post 137-A of the unit of Aircraft Warning Service as authorized under instructions from the War Department.  I. Walton Herrick has been named deputy observer.

A meeting will be held at the Mayfield Central School on Monday evening at 8 o'clock and all army recruits who served last year are requested to do so again this year, as far as is possible. It is felt that each town should police its own community. Mayfield service men and Home Guard as well as those who served at the observation post last year are especially urged to be present as requested by the Harold Wilmot Post 137, American Legion.

Mrs. Edward B. Christie, has given the use of the same observation post that was used last year during the military maneuvers in northern New York. At that time the Mayfield post was rated "A" for the excellent job done in reporting planes.

Plane spotting of enemy aircraft will be carried out 24 hours of the day and reported to defending units. It is essential that the names of Army observers be sent to Army headquarters by August 1.



Veteran Group Ready to Cooperate Again in War Maneuvers

Reorganization of the Gloversville unit of the Aircraft Warning Service, which functioned effectively last year during military maneuvers in Northern New York, was started at a special meeting of Harold Wilmot Post, 137, American Legion, held last night.

Frederick Schrecker, commander of the post, announced the appointment of chief observers for three posts to be manned by the organization.

Observers are Howard A. Smith, head of Post 137 A, located in Mayfield; John W. Charlton, chief of Post 137 B, located on Lair's hill north of Gloversville and Howard A. DeLong, chief of Post 137 C, located in Bleecker.

These posts are authorized under instructions just received from the War Department. Chief observers are to name assistants. The work will be carried out on a 24 -hour a day schedule.

It will be the duty of the observers to spot enemy aircraft during maneuvers and report to defending units.


Dec. 10, 1941

Veterans Ordered To Be On "Alert" Ready To Serve As Quickly As Called;
J. W. Charlton To Direct Work in Gloversville, Howard DeLong in Bleecker, Richard E. Loben In Mayfield; Personnel, Tours Listed

The personnel for three lookout stations under jurisdiction of the Harold Wilmot Post, 137, American Legion, was announced last night, within a few hours after a message was received from James V. Demarest, chairman of the New York State Aircraft Warning Service of New York directing observers be secured and on the alert prepared to go on duty when called. The word was flashed here after a request was made by Major General McDowell, commander of the First Interceptor Corps, that observation posts be manned.

The organization perfected by the Legion post and other veterans some time ago started at once the task of rounding up observers. A complete list of those secured to aid in the work was announced last night.

John W. Charlton is head of the personnel in the Gloversville observation post with Loren Sart as his assistant. Howard A. DeLong is in charge of the post in Bleecker with Charles Reedy of Bleecker as assistant. Richard E. Loeben will direct the personnel in the post in Mayfield with Walter Herrick of Mayfield as assistant.

The names of the persons, who will man the posts and the hours they will have charge of them were announced last night. Each man or woman is asked to clip from the newspaper the time they are to serve and to keep the clipping handy for speedy reference so there will be no confusion and none of the posts will be left without any observers.

Observation Post 137A - Mayfield

6 A.M. to 9 A.M. - Rev. E. J. Ruliffson and Jay Haines
9 A.M. to 12 - Merrill Haines and Harold Groves
12 - 3 P.M. - George Hallenbeck and William Robinson
3 to 6 P.M. - Lawrence Hopkins and Jay Swears
6 to 9 P.M. - Mayor E. J. Delaney and Barnaby Stille
9 to 12 P.M. - Bill Agnew and H. N. Brown
12 to 3 A.M. - Hugh Degnan and Robert Groves
3 to 6 A.M. - Harry Blowers and Lee Oathout

6 to 9 A.M. - Rev. Lloyd Olson, Clarence Alvord
9 to 12 A.M. - Ralph Montanye and Frank Delaney
12 - 3 P.M. - Floyd Pettengill
Stanley Bennett, Eugene Conant, Earl Mosher, Franklin Roblee.

If any of these men cannot serve they are asked to notify either Jay Swears or Walton Herrick.

Page Updates: Memorial Day 2015 - top article for Ground Observers Honor Roll added to page.


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