William Shovlin, “Drunk”, 10 Feb 1945

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William Shovlin had a little too much to drink one Friday after work and ended up sleeping in a cell instead of his bed. It was a bad start to his weekend, but some households in New Castle had worse ones, and all they did was open the door to the telegram delivery boy.

That weekend in 1945, news came that Henry Mateja had been killed in the south Pacific; that Chester Glenn and Louis Ferrucci, whose brother had been killed the month before, had died on the western front; that Daniel Woolcock and Albert Vanassa were missing in action; and that Carl Bowen, Joseph Gurgacz and Ray Fulkerson were all seriously wounded.

The only person in New Castle to get any good war news that weekend was Josephine Scaduto, who recognised her brother Carl in a newsreel film, among the troops landing on the Pacific island of Luzon. She hadn’t heard from him since he’d shipped out a year before, and she was thrilled to see him safe and sound, still wearing his usual grin.

That was the last time she ever saw him, though. More than ten thousand allied soldiers were killed in the battle for Luzon, and Carl was one of them. The telegram that brought that news would arrive at the end of June, just two months before the end of the war.

Sources: New Castle News (10 Feb 1945 “Services Sunday For Sgt H Mateja, Killed In Action”; “Louis Ferrucci Is Killed In France”; “Sgt Albert Vanassa Missing In Action”; “Son In War Picture”; 8 Feb 1945 “Chester Glenn Reported Missing”)


  1. A moment in time wonderfully brought back to life with all its losses. I love what you do. You go back, you really go back, and you make it all live again, and as you write the moment, it is possible for us to be there with you.

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