Hubert Lykins, “Drunk”, 6 December 1958

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Hubert Lykins

Around three thousand Americans fought in the 1944 campaign against the Japanese in Burma. By the end, all but two were either dead or had been hospitalised with wounds, cerebral malaria, amoebic dysentery or scrub typhus. Hubert Lykins’ brother, Edwin, was a signalman supporting the jungle warfare unit known as Merrill’s Marauders. He died the day after the final engagement of the campaign.

Hubert was never drafted. He worked as a molder in the New Castle Foundry and got married a few years after the war. In 1958, when he was arrested for causing a disturbance in Moravia street and fined $10 for drunk and disorderly behavior, his son, Danny, was eleven. Eight years later, in the mountains south of Da Nang, Danny was shot in the chest while searching for the body of a fellow soldier who had been killed the day before. He died instantly. He had been in Vietnam for a month.

Danny was the second soldier from New Castle to die in the war. George Threats, a former New Castle High basketball star, had been killed by shrapnel in Cu Chi the month before. The county commissioners voted to give the families $75 each towards the cost of the funerals.

Hubert, a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose and the Penn-Ohio Country Music Club, died of pneumonia in 1988, at the age of sixty-six.

Sources: New Castle News (13 Jan 1958, “Man Fined $10 On Disorderly Charge”; 28 July 1966, “City man killed In Viet”; 29 August 1966, “Cpl Daniel Lykins Killed In Action Against Viet Cong”; 31 August 1966, “Atop Court House Hill”);;


    • No, none at all. Newspapers didn’t really seem to publish details of people’s death. In most cases, the obituaries say, at most, “after a long [or short] illness”. And, in Hubert’s case, there are no details at all…

  1. Mugshot_Fan77 says

    Hi Diarmid, great blog! Are the mugshots you post considered public domain? Could one legally print a photo on a T-shirt? Thank you!

    • As far as I know, they’re all in the public domain and there’s no legal impediment to doing whatever you like with them. Whether there’s a moral impediment is another question, of course. I personally wouldn’t want to do anything exploitative with the mug shots that I’ve collected, and I think there’s a difference between using them in the way that I’ve tried to do with Small Town Noir, where I present them in a context and try to give people an impression of the person behind the picture, and simply using people’s images to make money. So I wouldn’t use the ones that I have to make T-shirts, but there’d be nothing to stop someone else doing it. There are lots of pretty cheap mug shots on eBay if you want to buy one and do something cool with it. Let me know if you do – I’d be interested to see what you come up with. I’m always fascinated to see how these little pictures can live on in people’s art…

  2. Hubert Lykins says

    My name is also Hubert Lykins. I am his grandson. My grandfather died of pneumonia. It was all of a sudden. It shocked our whole family. I feel that both my father (whose name is also Hubert) and my grandfather had a tough pill to swallow in losing a brother that was very close to them at the hands of war. When I see that mugshot I see a man that was drounding his sorrows away. Both he and my father worked at the New Castle Foundry as molders. I am positive that too contributed to both of their untimely deaths as my father passed at the age of 51.

    • Thanks for writing, Hubert. You could well be right — I bet the New Castle Foundry was a tough place to work. I’m sure it took its toll… I’ll edit the story to include the information about your grandfather’s cause of death. Let me know if you’d like me to send you the original mug shot, and I’ll email you to get your details.

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