Exploding Porcupines, Cherry Bombs and B-17's

Dr. Roger Smith looks through some past Resuscitators for references to hutmen serving in World War II

When I went up to New Hampshire to work for Joe Dodge for six bucks a week and all you could eat 50 years ago, the heroes of the summer were the men who had come back from World War II to resume their jobs as hutmen. What impressed me then, right out of high school, was the savoir faire of dynamiting fish in the Cutler River (Noble McClintock caught the culprits and fined them,) blowing up the Carter Dome Fire Tower (It was a rickety old thing and the wardens declared it unsafe, so it sort of fell down during a lightning storm) and the extraordinary occasion of the exploding porcupine which Tim Saunders has recalled for us:

"I was on the Pinkham Crew in 1948 and took a very minor part in the Glen House raid. On one summer's night in July 1948 at about 11 or 12:00 p.m. two or three carloads of hutmen, a mixture of Pinkham, hut and construction crews, led by none other than Brookie Dodge, headed down the road from Pinkham to the Glen House. One group climbed quietly to the roof of the Glen House while another group crept up to the front porch. At a designated signal, (flash light, I think), the group on the roof dropped several cherry bombs down the Glen House chimney and the group on the porch, led by Brookie, lit several cherry bombs in a box containing a dead porcupine which disintegrated all over the front porch. of the Glen House. The two groups then fled by cars to the old overflow parking lot, not visible from the road, on the left-hand side of Rt.16 across from Pinkham. Several of us on the Pinkham Crew hit the sack. In approximately 20 minutes to a half-hour later, a State Police cruiser went tearing by Pinkham, red light flashing, heading toward Jackson. After the police cruiser went by the rest of the crews drove down to Emerald Pool for a swim and a few beers. A short time later the state police cruiser returned from somewhere down Rt.16 and the State Trooper spotted the group at Emerald Pool. Brookie swam across the pool and headed back through the woods to Pinkham. The State Trooper, whose name I forget, ordered the rest of the crews back to Pinkham. In the morning Joe Dodge, outwardly very unhappy, chastised the group. Brookie stepped forward and took the blame for leading the raid, even as a young man able to take the heat."

Patrolling through our archive's Resuscitators during the war years, one barely penetrates the secrecy necessary in those times to disguise the true nature of the services being rendered by hutmen who had enlisted. All of these men served their country in its years of need and are covered with glory for it. Some of these guys are now departed, some when asked would rather talk of other memories, but those stories we did get are shared with you here to honor them.

We read of ROY WOODWARD serving with the 87th Mountain Infantry, getting his bars at OCS and returning to the unit. Lt. BUD HARDING, who was wounded in action in the left shoulder later and Cpl. JIM STEVENS were also with this elite unit. The 87th men who came back to Pinkham sang a song:

"The 87th's best by far;
We'll win this goddam war, By Gar;
The roughest, the toughest,
We're dirty and mean, hungry and lean,
But our rifles are clean!"

JACK SLACK was on one of the ships sunk by Japanese torpedoes off Guadalcanal, but was reported home again in the States. He had been at Pearl Harbor, the Gilberts raid, the Marshalls, and had a previous destroyer sunk under him. MOOSE DAMP was shot down over Belgium, IKE MEREDITH and LAWRIE BROWN fought in 10th Mountain Division and CHARLIE ROGERS made full lieutenant serving on USS Bridge (a ship noted for hitting a mine in Tokyo Bay near the end of the war and nearly losing a cargo of Thanksgiving turkeys destined for the Occupation soldiers, but that was after he left it) and CHARLIE BROWNELL was reported serving in South America. Corporal BOB LAVERTY was reported with the Marines in the Pacific. First Lieutenant Dr. DICK HODGES was army medical staff somewhere. ROBERT HARRIS was with the 389th bomb group, BILL QUIVEY with the blimps along the East Coast, and DAVE SLEEPER with an infantry regiment at the Bulge. S/Sgt. AL FOLGER was with the 42nd service group APO New York, so he was in Europe and Lt. SWOOP GOODWIN with a camouflage battalion still in Kentucky.

While AL has departed, I have a word from SWOOP GOODWIN: "I don't know if I can add much to what it was like to work in the huts in the 40's that you have not already covered but here goes. I started hiking in the White Mountains in the 30's always using the huts for overnight trips. My first employment, if it could be called that, was at Madison at the very end of the 1938 season. I was stopping at Pinkham when the '38 hurricane came through; and after it passed I continued on my trip to Madison, first stopping to view the Cog Railway trestle which I heard had been demolished by the winds. To my surprise Teen Dodge was there looking too and that it was a pile of timber members strewed all over. I arrived at Madison to find it open but no one around. The only person I saw on the entire trip was Mrs. Dodge! I stayed and later Bob Ohler, the hutmaster appeared. He had been down the Valley Way cutting through the blowdowns that blocked the trail. He was the only crew as the others had all left for the season. He asked if I wanted to stay while he concentrated on trail opening and Joe approved. Joe and a closing crew came up about a week later and I joined in the closing. At Pinkham the next day, Joe offered me a job with the guys in the crew that were working on the hydro dam construction and powerhouse. The crew also included Neighbor George and his brother Winnie. The project was directed by Noble and Joe himself. From Madison closing October 1938 to February 1942 I was working in the huts. That period was filled with a variety of jobs and duties, never a dull moment, and great esprit de corps. Some examples of work done that winter of 1938 were hydro dam and powerhouse construction crew, winter fire stoker and fuel supply custodian, meal server, and Noble McClintock's helper on maintenance jobs. From the spring of '39 to October '39 while on Pinkham crew I worked full time on the Old Hutman's Cabin construction. The daily crew were Noble, Tony Samuelson, Carl Blanchard, and Bob Temple. In addition on weekends Don Allen, Charlie Rogers, and Al Folger were very faithful workers. One of their specialties was gathering and packing up all the rocks for building the fireplace assembly. Also 24 old hutmen and 8 friends of hutmen spent weekends when they could on the job. It was a labor of love and joy. Winters consisted mostly of keeping the home fires burning, snowplowing, table serving, and truck trips to Berlin and Gorham for weekly supplies. In the spring and summer I was storehouse keeper, truck driver for supplies to the observatory and the huts, and fill in crew member in 1941 for a short time on Lonesome crew as well as other assignments Joe gave me. I stayed on as winter crewmember and continued working until 1942 when I enlisted in the Army. After my tour of duty I joined the Active Reserve, Corps of Engineers.

Returning to our patrol through wartime Resuscitators, we find mention of APPLESAUCE QUIVEY as Aviation cadet at Navy Lakehurst (I can relate to that!) and Ens. W.C. PULLEN driving PT boats as was BOB MCINTYRE later on. DON ALLEN became captain of USS Action. FORREST HUBBARD was a lieutenant in the army and ART WHITCHER a midshipman at Great Lakes. Young KIBBE GLOVER was mentioned as being in Australia. He later was in some of the most terrible fighting of the war in the Pacific. Col. RAY BUNKER was also mentioned as in Australia with his brother LARRY, also a light colonel. He was on MacArthur's staff. JOHNNY HULL was a navy Lt. in Washington, ED POWERS, a marine instructor at Quantico, and PHIL FORD in the army at Ft. Devens. Lt. JOHN NICHOLS was awarded an air medal for bombing he did at Wake Island and CHUCK WIGGIN was in the same battle. CHARLES C. (DUTCH) LENETEN was in the paras, training at Ft. Benning as was Lt. PETE RICHARDSON. and BULL FULLER in tanks in Alabama. NORM LOVEJOY landed with the engineers in North Africa. LEW BISSELL wrote he was applying for OCS, and the editor asked him to write and say how he made out. BILL TAYLOR drew duty in Iceland and DICK TREFRY in Greenland (after the war, Dick went to West Point and worked his way up to General). Dick's boyhood chum GEORGE HAMILTON was an aircraft armorer in the 4th Air Force sationed in the Phillipines just outside of Manila, FREDDY MILAN served in Burma. BILL BROCK and FRED GREENE went to China. SKILLET MORGAN and MAC BEAL served in submarines. Lt. MAC STOTT, was in the thick of the fighting for Iwo Jima and was decorated for valiant duty. My own hutmaster, DICK MAXWELL, once told me that he went to tanks after the war was over, was told to drive one out of its shed by the sergeant one day, put it in reverse instead of forward, and took the rear of the shed off. He never reimbursed the governemnt for wrecking that shed. He claimed that shortened his military career.

POLLY SMITH MCLANE LIT begins her recital with this touching story. "Boy, am I getting old when I think about my days at Pinkham. They were certainly among the happiest of my life. I must have gone there in 1942. I was working as a new secretary at Hale & Dorr Law Firm in Boston for Daniel Brown, who happened to like to ski. He let me have a week off in the wintertime to go skiing up at Pinkham. I was a real novice, probably a goofer. I ate lunch at the long table in the dining room by the barrel stove, Joe was holding forth about how among other things he needed a secretary, and I naively said, 'I'll take the job.' Joe said he would hire me. So I told Daniel Brown, who gave me a farewell present of a pair of ski boots ($25 in those days). The boys on the crew were gradually leaving mostly for the Mountain Troops, and a few greenhorns (like Porky Curwen I especially remember) were showing up to work a bit between school and the army. Freddy Milan and Beetle Elsner went off to the Ambulance Corps I believe. I remember Bill and Jimmy Blanchard, Carl had gone, and Swoop Goodwin. I can't name them all. Sadly, the two hutmen whom I especially remember are not ones who could share their wartime memories with me or what they did with their lives after the war, as they gave their lives and I miss them still.

One was young Ted Fuller up at the Lakes. I used to get their requisitions for supplies and pass them on to Joe for the truck trips. One of Ted Fuller's wanted some more vanilla, and he signed the note to me, "Extractedly yours, Ted." They were using a lot of vanilla up at the Lakes! I remember that Ted's GI life insurance was given to improve the Lakes hut.

And finally, my most sentimental memory is of Dayton Brown. I believe he was in the Naval Air Corps when his training plane crashed. I lived in the bunkroom above the barrel stove, where the chimney went through my room. Dayton would come in and we would read together. I was brought up to believe that the man of your life had to be older, and Dayton was younger than I was. So this was a very platonic affair, but he was one of the most congenial friends I ever had. We would go up by Joe's dam, too, and he would read to me. We read 'Look to the Mountain' among other things. After he died his mother wrote me that Dayton had said that if no one else would marry me after the war, he would.

I was a Hutman (F) for over three years, it does my heart good to have a chance to share these rather private memories with someone who cares. I can't close without mentioning that I was so lucky to have been Joe Dodge's secretary and to have lived at Pinkham year-round."

Polly's son Andy McLane, an OH, is currently serving on the AMC Board. She lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Roger Smith, Greenleaf 1949,'50,'51, Lakes '52, lives and practices medicine in Oregon. He served as a Naval Aviator 1953-58. His book, GUPPY PILOT, recounting anecdotes from that time is full of good photos of carrier aviation, naval history, the joy of flying in the peacetime navy and many references to the Huts. Check our web site to order a copy of his book.

Tim Saunders, after leaving the huts in 1950, spent three years in the Marine Corp during the Korean Conflict. After the Marines, Tim joined OH Jack Orrok ('22,'23) as a manufacturer's rep covering New England which he is still doing 44 years later. Tim's brother Sandy is an OH and twice president of the AMC. Tim has been involved in the OHA and worked on the AMC huts and trails committees. He lives in Wellesley, MA.

Bertram Swoop Goodwin lives in Nashua, NH and is a regular at winter and spring reunions.