Aug 05

Deaths on the home front, World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune front page from August 4, 1942. Headlines from Stalingrad and about a mysterious local death.

The 31 days in August 1942 marked a number of service related deaths for men who would never make it to the front lines. The Central Coast would be home to some of the largest training facilities in the world and even training could be deadly.
A soldier died of heat stroke at Camp Roberts.
Another was killed in a jeep accident on Cuesta Grade.
One soldier from Camp San Luis committed suicide in a Santa Maria jail while in custody after being arrested in a dress. The story speculated he may have worn the dress in attempt to be discharged from service.
A workman was killed in a rockslide at Morro Rock during construction of the Naval facility.
The most mysterious story was that of Cpl. Marion Elmquist who was found dead in San Luis Creek. The military policeman had been last seen by friends at a San Luis bar at 11 p.m. Saturday night. His body was found by two boys playing in the creek the Sunday evening. Two theories were being considered, one that he had accidentally fallen and hit his head. The other was that Elmquist had been attacked. The story had forensic details that would not be disclosed to journalists today.
Injuries, details about what the man was wearing, where blood was found, how much money he had in his wallet and when the victim’s watch had stopped all were included in this story.
Investigation was being coordinated between Camp San Luis, the city police and county sheriff’s office.
Though several stories were written about various leads, including an uncooperative man with blood on the bumper of his car and a soldier who wanted to buy a new uniform to replace one covered in mud, no one had been arrested by the end of the month.

In other news the city of San Luis Obispo made a step toward a professional fire department. Firemen [no women firefighters at the time] would no longer be required to work as mechanics in the city garage. Each member of the department would now be required to purchase a complete and proper uniform. The fire chief would earn $215 a month and the assistant fire chief $185. The department had a mixture of full-time, half-time and volunteer staff.

War front news told of the Soviets trying to hang onto Stalingrad.

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was launching plans to residents from occupied nations for slave labor. It was estimated that at least 3,000,000 persons had been moved from their homelands to Germany and forced to work in war factories and construction gangs.

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