Stoll, John Merle
March 15, 1918 to July 25, 2015, age 97. Descendent of numerous early Maryland families such as the Linthicums, Shipleys, Howards, and Hammonds, some of whom can trace their lineage to the mid 1600's. He was an 11th generation grandson of Major General John Hammond of the Colonial Militia who first settled at Providence, Md. prior to the founding of Annapolis. A lifetime resident of Anne Arundel County, he grew up on several land grant farms dating to the 1700's in the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay area such as Snow Hill and Jackson's Chance. These were lost to the US Army Depot, completion of I-695 in 1973, and related surrounding commercialization.
After graduating from Glen Burnie HS in 1936 he worked at several local businesses including time as a field hand for his uncle Rezin Hammond's Cedar Farm (now known as the Benson Hammond Farmhouse, headquarters of the A.A. Co. Historical Society). He was the last living of 40 Hammond 1st cousins so was well schooled in local families and history.
In 1942 he enlisted in the US Army Air Force and after some perilous wartime sea voyages arrived in India where he served 2 ½ years in the India-Burma-China Theater servicing B-24 Bombers who flew “the Hump” over the mountains making bombing runs in the Far-East. During leave hours, rather than partaking of the vices of many typical service men or even sightseeing, he spent his time visiting missionary stations where he made contacts with missionaries whose paths he was to cross on future occasions.
After the war, he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft in 1946 and eventually settled back in the family farm, Jackson's Chance, off Ordnance Rd. The farm had a great view of Curtis Creek and the Amoco Oil Facilities located below where he was employed and retired after 44 years where he never lost a day due to sickness. When the farm was lost to I-695 expansion, he moved into an older house in the historical Linthicum Heights community where he continued his interest in history. He became an early and very active member of the A.A. County Historical Society, serving many years as docent at the Benson-Hammond House, the very farm he had worked on as a young man. His quiet and knowledgeable demeanor enthralled many generations of tourists, friends, and families of the area. His elementary schoolteacher daughter Linda would bring him to class to talk on history and the normally squirmy students didn't want to budge from their seats when class was over. His affable and unpretentious personality always made him a central attraction wherever people would gather, be it church, school, family gatherings, or community events.
He was a lifetime member of Brooklyn United Methodist Church, that his ancestors helped to found, until it merged with another church in 2011. He was very active in the church programs and served as Sunday SchoolTeacher and Asst. Scoutmaster and the family farm served the scouts as a frequent camp ground. But more important was that he was known by all as a sincere and fine Christian gentleman; not just in words but by his attitude and actions. In a recent interview he stated “he gave his life to the Lord as a young man of 11 with no regrets”. This was evident in the role model he lived. His favorite lifetime verse is Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.” which was his guiding principle.
He lost his beloved wife Dorothy 12 years ago but persevered with no regrets. He is survived by his two dear daughters Linda Jeanne Stoll, who has been his caregiver for the past several years, and Jane Carole Meleady and her husband Greg of Ocean View, Delaware, and grandson Glenn Garrett Meleady. Also numerous loving nieces, nephews, and their offspring to the 4th generation.
Relatives and friends are invited to call at the family owned and operated MCCULLY-POLYNIAK FUNERAL HOME,P.A. 237 East Patapsco Avenue BROOKLYN on Friday 2:00 TO 7:00 PM. Mr. Stoll will lie-in-state on Saturday at Linthicum United Methodist Church 200 School Lane Linthicum, Maryland 21090 from 10 AM until 11 AM at which time funeral services will be held. Interment Cedar Hill Cemetery.The family suggest en lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to:The Helping Up Mission 1029 E. Baltimore St.Baltimore, Md. 21202 or The Disabled American Veterans.
Flame and Cross Lifeline
John Stoll and his family have had a long association with Brooklyn UMC. His parents were married at the church in 1901. John Wisdom was born on March 15, 1918 to John Daniel Stoll and Stella Gertrude Hammond. John was baptized in the parsonage by Rev. Coe. His father originally was a farmer and he also worked in the industrial plants in Curtis Bay. When he was younger Mr. Stoll went by the name of Merle because he had so many relatives with the name of John Stoll. As a young child his family lived in the tenant house on his Grandfather's farm located on the northern edge of Anne Arundel County (known as Snow Hill Farm, originally called Jackson’s Chance). Where Ordnance Road is now is where the farm was located. His Father stopped farming when Mr. Stoll was four years old and in 1927 the family moved to Brooklyn Park on 7th and 8th Ave. In 1938 the family moved back to the farm to the top of the hill and lived in his Grandfather's house. Mr. Stoll had one younger brother, Robert LeslieStoll (known as Buck) and two older sisters, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Mr. Stoll attended kindergarten in Curtis Bay at the school located at Fairhaven Ave and Church Street and later attended Brooklyn Park Elementary School located on Morgan Road (both of these schools have since been tom down). Mr. Stoll laughed when he recalled that he failed second grade but his daughter Linda noted that he was so smart when he got to third grade that they put him in 4th Grade. Linda believed that her Dad's incredible memory was fostered by the memory work required when he was in 4th Grade. Every week a new poem was put up on the bulletin board and the students were required to memorize it that week. Mr. Stoll still knewmany of these poems. When Mr. Stoll was growing up there were only four High Schools in Anne Arundel Country - Annapolis, Millersville, Southern, and Glen Burnie. He went to Glen Burnie High School and graduated in 1936 with 130 in his graduation class. Mr. Stoll worked at a variety of places aftergraduation (Southern States, U.S. Industrial, Davidson Chemical, Hutzler Brothers (for $10 per week pay), and the Benson-Hammond House Farm during the depression
In 1947, Mr. Stoll joined the Army Air Corps and went west to Denver for training. He remembers fondly the people of Trinity Methodist Church there who took the soldiers home with them for Sunday dinner. There was one family that was particularly good to Mr. Stoll and in 1993 his daughter Linda visited the area and Trinity UMC and met some of the family that took Mr. Stoll in. In 1942, World War II was still ongoing and Mr. Stoll left Norfork, Virginia in October 1942 in a ship bound for India. At that time the Germans had submarines off the east coast and were sinking U.S. ships but he was in an unescorted troop ship that held 8,000 men named the "Mauritania". Their first stop was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They went around the world by water and did not go through the Suez or Panama Canals. From Brazil they then headed for South Africa where they faced the Cape of Good Hope. Mr. Stoll said it was called Good Hope because you hoped you got around it without sinking. He said the wind blows one way and the water currents go the other way. He said his ship was stopped twice on the journey around the Cape. They then went up to the entrance of the southern end of the Suez Canal. At this point in the journey barbed wire was put around part of the ship and 500 German POWs (who were being sent to the U.S.) from the North African Campaign were put on the ship. In Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) Mr. Stoll and those others to be stationed in India got off the Mauritania (which went 30 MPH) and got onto a freighter named the City of Paris (which went 10-12 MPH) and went up the coast of India and on to Karachi. He got off the ship on November 30, 1942. They had two destroyers escort them up the Indian coast because at the time Japanese submarines were sinking U.S. ships in the area. Mr. Stoll was assigned to the 10th Air Force and worked on aircraft armaments. However, when Mr. Stoll arrived at Karachi the aircraft were not there yet. Before Mr. Stoll got off the ship they were told that they would have some disease within a year and sure enough he got malaria; he also got what he called Karachi Krud, which is similar to Montezuma's Revenge. His 7th Bomb Group received three Presidential Unit Citations during the war. There were B-24s and B-25s in India and Mr. Stoll worked on the B-24s. In it's a small world department there were four or five other fellows from Brooklyn in India during the war. While in India, Mr. Stoll was only 70 miles away from the Taj Mahal but he never got to visit it because he always wanted to visit the mission field; so instead of using his pass to visit the Taj Mahal he and a buddy of his went to visit the Lutheran Mission field in South India and were among the first American soldiers to do so. The Lutheran missionary there, Dr. Russel Fink, was from Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania and was a classmate of Rev. Brennemen who was the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum. Mr. Stoll’s Great-Uncle John Edwards Stoll gave Dr. Fink lodging when he visited Linthicum. Now this same missionary took in Mr. Stoll in India. Back in Brooklyn the members of the Brooklyn church had a Buddies Club and Mr. Meister had a plaque made listing all those who served in the war. The parents there who had sons overseas and different members of the church wrote letters to their church members overseas and Mr. Stoll was very grateful for this. He said he wrote a lot of letters home himself and Linda said those letters are saved out in their garage. After spending 2 years he came homefrom Bombay in January, 1945 by way of Australia. The ship he came home on was named the General Randall. It was a 22,000 ton ship and since there were only 2,000 soldiers on the ship it also carried back to the U.S. some U.S. civilians including the missionary who had befriended Mr. Stoll in India. It took them 35 days to get home.
After the army Mr. Stoll went to work with the American Oil company and retired from there after 44 years in 1983. During this time he never took a sick day. He worked on the water front and as a gauger. He also loaded barges, transferred petroleum products, and blended AMOCO gas.
On June 17, 1946 he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft in the Brooklyn church parsonage. Since cars were scarce after the war Mr. Stoll did not have a car and his brother-in-law Dale Oxley drove them to their honeymoon in Frederick, Maryland. They stayed at the Francis Scott Key Hotel which is a senior citizen place now. His brother-in-law stayed and had supper with them too before leaving to go back to his house. There was also a Firemen's convention there at that time - the place was jumping. John and Dorothy had two daughters, Linda (a schoolteacher), and Jane (who was manager of a newspaper for 30 years in Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City and now works on the Coastal Point newspaper in Ocean View, Delaware). Mr. Stoll
had one grandson Garrett Meleady who just received his RN degree.
Mr. Stoll had many memories of Brooklyn United Methodist Church over the years. He recalled that at one time there were over 1,000 people in Sunday School. He noted that many mayors, Governors and other people of note have visited the church, sometimes by mistake. He recalled on October 24, 1976 then Mayor William Donald Schaefer came into took his coat off and sat down. Now Mr. Stoll knew that the church on Anna Belle Ave (now Baybrook UMC) was celebrating its 50th anniversary that day and suspected that the Mayor might be in the wrong church- He told Charlie Rechner who went up to the Mayor and sure enough a few minutes later Mayor Schaefer quietly left the church. At church Mr. Stoll served as a charter member rand Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 189. They had a scout camp on their farm called Camp Poison Oak and 40-50 boys in their troop. Stoll was also a Sunday School teacher for the Jr. High for many years. Mr. Stoll was happy that the Baptismal Font that his family gave to Brooklyn UMC in memory of his great-grandfather, Rezin Hammond (who died in 1876) is back at Holly Run (located over in back
of the Linthicum Heights UMC) since Brooklyn UMC was an off-shoot of Holly Run. They recently had their final baptism using this font at Holly Run.
As far as hobbies go Mr. Stoll enjoyed being a local historian and had been a docent at the Benson-Hammond House near the airport for many years. He was also a member of the Anne Arundel Historical Society and AARP 3850. As a historian Mr. Stoll had the gift of making history come alive whether he talked about his childhood memories during the depression when his Mother made extra sandwiches for him to take to school for those without, his World War II experiences, or facts about the church and the local area. Because of his gift of storytelling and his historical knowledge, when his daughter Linda taught school she would have Mr. Stoll come and talk to her classes. She always figured the children could last about 30 minutes but they were so enraptured by what Mr. Stoll was telling them that even after the bell had rung they would come over to him, put their hands on his knee and continued to ask him questions. Mr. Stoll has also been interviewed by several college students about his first-hand knowledge of historical events. Sarah Andrews interviewed him and that tape is on file at Gettysburg. Katie Kosack also interviewed him as part of the WW II Veterans' Project and that interview is held at the Library of Congress. When Mrs. Stoll was alive Mr. Stoll was the one man in the Brooklyn Garden Club. They appreciated his skills as a driver. Also during the 70s and 80s Mr. And Mrs. Stoll took many bus trips. He noted that he has been to Disney World five times. Sometimes Mrs. Stoll did not tell Mr. Stoll about a trip until the morning they were to leave and she packed a bag for them and off they went. He was also a volunteer for the PTA and followed the local Little League teams. He enjoyed reading the Smithsonian Magazine and watching the History Channel on TV.
N.Y. Times began home delivery
First day of daylight savings reported as success
Germans dropped 15,000 gas shells into American trenches
N.Y.C. superintendent of schools asked1 Board of
Education to ban teaching of German in high schools
Germany recommended marriage before 20 to
increase birth rate
Germans signed armistice November 11, ending war
U.S. War Department reported 53,169 American war deaths
President: Wood row Wilson (D)
Vice President: Thomas R. Marshall (D)
Mare Island Marines defeated Camp Lewis Army 19-7
in Rose Bowl
Exterminator won Kentucky Derby with jockey, W. Knapp
Red Sox took World Series from Cubs 2-1 in sixth game
Mickey Spillane, mystery writer
Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz singer
Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film director
Ted Williams, baseball great
Spiro Agnew, vice-president under Nixon
Postage Stamp... $.03 Bread (1 pound loaf)... $.10
Milk (quart)... $.13 House... $4,821.00
Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association
Meet Linthicum Honorary Mayor John Stoll &
Honorary Deputy Mayor Bernie Simon
John Merle Stoll has been chosen as the 2012
Honorary Mayor of Linthicum. This is a
unique opportunity to honor a nonagenarian
who has an amazing family history with Linthicum
and who has shared his love and
knowledge of the local history with literally
thousands of people.
John was bom on March 15, 1918. He is the
11th generational descendent of Major General
John Hammond, a lineage that goes back
to the 1600s. He is the great-grandson of
Sarah Linthicum Shipley, and his greatuncle.
John Edward Stoll, lived in the farmhouse
now owned by the Daliks. This house
was featured on the 2008 Linthicum Historic
House Tour where John spent the day as the
docent sharing Linthicum history with the
many visitors. Medora Road is named for his
great-aunt Medora Radecke Stoll. His greatgrandfather
was Rezin Hammond whose
house, Sunnyfields, still stands on
Hammonds Lane. John grew up on Snow
Hill Farm, originally called Jackson's
Chance, built by Colonel Charles Hammond
on Old Ordnance Road where his father was
a farmer. The 100-year-old farmhouse where
John had lived since childhood was demolished
in 1969 to make way for a state road to
extend the Baltimore Beltway to the Key
Bridge. John reluctantly accepted the state's
monetary offer rather than lose the property
to eminent domain. Wanting to stay close to
the Linthicum communtty: John and his family
moved to a 1910 house on Arundel Road.
John graduated from Glen Bumie High
School in 1934v This was during the depression
and he worked odd jobs at local businesses
such as Hutzler's and Davidson
Chemical, He worked for a time at the Benson-
Hammond House farm as a farmhand.
His pay was $10 a week plus room and
board. John served his country in World War
II in the Army Air Corps. He spent 1% years
in the China, Burma and India Campaign.
His 7th bomb group received three Presidential
Unit Citations during the war. John
worked for the American Oil Company
(AMOCO) for 44 years until his retirement.
John Stoll is a member of the Linthicum-
Shipley Improvement Association, AARP
#3850 and the Ann Arrundell County Historical
Society. What makes John Stoll, age
93, so unique is thai he has verbally shared
his wealth of knowledge of this community,
farming in Anne Arundel County, and his
memories of a bygone era with countless
people. John attributes his remarkable memory
to having to learn poetry every week
during the 4th grade. He can still recite those
poems! Until very recently John was a docent
at the Benson-Hammond House and it
was in this venue, during tours and special
events, that he was able to share and make
continued on page 9
this history come alive for those,.visitors.
John's taped interviews by college, students
are at Gettysburg College, and his interviews
regarding the World War II Veterans
Project are stored in the Library of Congress.
John has dedicated much of his time
to sharing Linthicum history and we are
pleased to have such a remarkable honorary
mayor as Linthicum Patriarch, John MStoll.
Bernadette (Bemie) Simon will be serving
as Deputy Mayor. Bemie has lived in Linthicum
for over 25 years. She was the Linthicum
Community columnist in The Maryland
Gazette for seven years. She has
served two terms as the president of the
GFWC Woman' s Club of Linthicum
Heights, Inc. and is the current president of
the Southern District of the Maryland Federation
of Women's Clubs. Her work with
the woman's club includes volunteering
with the Education Committee where she
assists with the student writing contests and
volunteers for student events at the schools.
She is presently Publicity Chairman of the
club and is a member of the North County
Business Advisory Board. Bemie is a former
organist at St Philip Neri Church. She
is a long-standing member of the Community
Fair Planning Committee. She serves
as assistant to the fair chairman, doing
whatever job needs to be done. She chairs
the Publicity Committee, sending notices to
committee members and press releases to
the newspapers. She chairs the Honorary.
Mayor and the Pastor Gilroy Award Committees,
receiving nominations, organizing
the selection committee, notifying the selected
candidates, and announcing their
selection at the fair. It was necessary to
have a secret meeting without her this year
due to her being placed in nomination! She
handles getting medallions and trophies for
the honorees, as well as having their names
added to the plaques hanging at the Linthicum
Luncheteria and St. John Lutheran
Church. Bcrnie has served as chair of the
entertainment for the fair. Two years ago
she added the children's entertainment area
that featured children's performances. In
2007-2008 she served on the Linthicum
Centennial Committee and was the recording
secretary. Bemie is a devoted
community volunteer, helping those in need
and supporting various groups in the community.
Mr. Stoll a Man Full of Love, Humbleness, and Godly Ways
For my Family History Report I interviewed Mr. John Stoll, who is my Uncle Greg's father in-law.
I chose him because he was born in 1918 and because of old age. Mr. Stoll has seen a lot of historical
changes in the world during his ninety-five years. In this essay I am going to talk about his childhood, hisadult life, and how he would like to be remembered.
Mr. John was born in Ann Arundel Co. in his childhood home. The house he lived in was a
farm-house. The house had a parlor, living room, kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs and an outhouse inthe yard. The Stoll family used a wood-stove for heat and cooking. They did not have any plumbing or electricity until 1927. His farm was on the property where BWI airport is now located. Mr. John's earliest memories were going to school at Brooklyn Park Elementary school and going to church. For fun, Mr. John played Hide and Seek and Catchers (which is like tag). He also listened to Jazz and Gospel music on a wind-up Victrola, like The Old Rugged Cross and In the Garden.
Mr. John was twenty-seven years old when he married Dorothy Wiedenhoeft from Pimlico
(which is outside of Baltimore, MD.) and soon after started their family. They had two daughters, Linda and Jane and lived in Linthicum Heights, MD. He worked for the American Oil company and blended gasoline into Hi-Test oil. He also worked on his farm which was a 'Truck Farm." A "Truck Farm "was afarm that trucked produce into the city. Mr. John said that the most valuable lesson he learned from his parents were, "tremendous love and care and that he did not get anything he did not need." Mr. John went to church every Sunday with his family. Mr. Stoll was also in the army air corps in World War II, where he was stationed in India. He was a plane mechanic. Mr. Johns' adult years were filled with starting and raising his own family and working hard in whatever job he was doing.
Mr. Stoll wants to be remembered by his Christian life. Mr. John said, "Life today is too fast and
people don't take time to smell the roses, enjoy sunsets or the fresh air or nature." Mr. John hopes to be remembered by his family and friends as someone who loved their neighbor as thy self and lived by the ten-commandments. His neighbors already feel this way because he was made the honorary Mayorof Linthicum Height when he was ninety -three because of his good works for the town.
In conclusion, I hope you learned a lot about Mr. John Stoll's childhood, adult life, and how he
would like to be remembered. 1 came to realize that Mr. John saw a lot of changes in his life and with each circumstance he had to learn to adapt. Some were good changes tike becoming a husband and father, or with the new pleasures of electricity and indoor plumbing. Some changes were hard and difficult like being in a war. Today, Mr. John is ninety-five and living in Anne Arundel County with his oldest daughter Linda and is very happy.
Interview with Mr. John Stoll
By: Katie Kosack
My name is Katie Kosack and today is Sunday, October 7, 2007. Fm interviewing Mr. John
Stoll of Brooklyn United Methodist Church m^rooklyn, MD. His birthday is March 15,1918.
Katie Kosack: Can you please state the answers to the following questions for the recorder?
Which war did you serve in?
John Stoll: World War II
Katie Kosack: What branch of service did you serve in?
John Stoll: US Army Air Force
Katie Kosack: What was your rank?
John Stoll: My.. .rank was corporal.
Katie Kosack: And where were you stationed?
John Stoll: I was stationed in Chi-in the India-China-Burma-India [China Burma India Theater]
Katie Kosack: Thank you. And now we'll start. To begin, um, we'll just start with an
introduction to your service, were you drafted or did you enlist?
John Stoll: I was drafted, and I entered the service January the 7t h 1942.
Katie Kosack: And how did you feel about being enlisted?
John Stoll: I didn't enlist...
Katie Kosack: .. .I mean drafted...
John Stoll: .. .I was drafted. And.. .I was supposed to be drafted in April of 1941 before the war
started, but I was given a deferment by my draft board, but after December the 7 1941,I
received a notice that was to report to my draft board.
Katie Kosack: Do you recall your first days in service?
John Stoll: My first days of the—in the service I entered the service at Ft. George G. Meade. I
was inducted there in.. .January the 7t h 1942, and I—after about a week I was shipped off
to.. .Shepherd Field.. .Wichita Falls, Texas to take my basic traning. Which was an air force
training facility for airplane mechanics, but during my stay at Shepherd Field I signed up to take
the armament course, which was at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado. So after a month or two of
basic training I was shipped off to Lovry Field, Denver, Colorado.
Katie Kosack: And what did you learn at that armament school?
John Stoll: I went to armament school which was ordinarily in peace times was a 9 month
course, but was condensed into a 3 month course due to the war...and I w-they ran 24 hour
technical school training. So I went to school at 2 o'clock in the morning and.. .and uh was...
taught.. .the armaments of different type of airplanes and small arms maintenance.
Katie Kosack: What type of airplanes did you work on, were they B24s?
John Stoll: I worked on B24s during my stay in.. .China Burma India, and when I returned home
in February of 1945,1 was—assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, which had the new heavy
bombers the B29s.
Katie Kosack: And did you use these airplanes in your stay in Burma?
John Stoll: In—stationed in India I was moved to different air bases and during the monsoon
seasons, which start in that area in June, the rains come and it rains almost everyday until
October. And during that time when it was unable—the visibility was very low over the targets in
Burma, they would uh send some of our planes to haul supplies into China, from Bangladesh,
which is near—in the town of Dacca.
Katie Kosack: And wasn't this area referred to as "the hump?"
John Stoll: The Himalaya— Himalaya Mountains were very dangerous flying conditions, and
they always said you would never get lost going to China because it was called the "aluminum
highway." There were so many wrecked planes flying back and forth over the Himalayas that
you could just follow the wrecked airplanes and you would walk into China.
Katie Kosack: Did you actually fly on these planes, or was your service on the ground?
John Stoll: I was uh maintenance.. .of the armament systems on the B24. I loaded bombs
anywhere from one hundred "pounders," to fragmentation bombs, to incinerary bombs, and even
we loaded naval mines, which were electric-uh electrically activated by the passing of so many
ships over the particular.. .ordinance.
Katie Kosack: And all these bombs you learned how to work on, or you learned how to deal
with at urn the basic training that you received in Louis-Denver?
John Stoll: I received my training with bombs and the fusing of bombs at Lowry Field in
Katie Kosack: And do you—did you see any combat?
John Stoll: I did not see any combat, but I traveled through.. .the oceans, Atlantic Ocean.. .the
Indian Ocean", the Arabian Sea, and theT-which were infested with.. .German submarines and
Japanese submarines in the Indian Ocean.
Katie Kosack: And urn can you tell me about a memorable experience that you had that shows
what you—how your experience was in the Burma Theater?
John Stoll: I was told before I got off of the transport ship. ..in November the 30th of 1942 that I
would re—uh acquire some disease that is prevalent in the country of India.. .before I would be
there one year. After nine months L..I con.. .uh~I was infected by the Anopheles mosquito
which carries the Malaria germ. And I was hospitalized for at least 3 weeks.
Katie Kosack: And that was in India?
John Stoll: That was in India. 1942.
Katie Kosack: So you stayed at an armal—uh Army hospital in India?
John Stoll: I stayed in an Army hospital in India that was in 1943 actually, correct myself, 1943.
Katie Kosack: And how—how did um, did many of you contract this disease?
John Stoll: Not everyone contracted malaria, but being on guard duty out in the swamps area
and the jungle area.. .guarding airplanes for 3 or 4 hours at night.. .the mosquitoes were very
prevalent. They did have malaria control in the barracks. Everyday they were sprayed and we
slept under mosquito netting.
Katie Kosack: How um, going off that—and you—you talked about monsoon season; but how
was your-your stay in that area when you weren't seeing.. .working?
John Stoll: India was a very—in the area that I was stationed in, the Bengal Province and up in
Bangladesh it was a very low sea level, about 25 feet—anywhere from 8 to 25 feet above sea
level. It was very hot and humid, especially after the monsoon season.
Katie Kosack: Did you get to travel while you were in the Army?
John Stoll: While I was in India they did give us "R&R" and we did-were able to go up into the
Himalayas to the rest camps that had been established many years before World War jj for the
missionaries and the British soldiers who had been stationed there in the India for many, many
Katie Kosack: And how were—what were those camps like?
John Stoll: They were very well.. .staffed and had well.. .barracks, good uh permanent barracks
and uh stone huts, and rt,was very cool up there to what the plains were down in Bengal.
Katie Kosack: Did youTook forward-to these times?
John Stoll: It was a relief to go up into the Himalayas to be refreshed after spending so many
months down in the hot and hvimid air.
Katie Kosack: Um.. .you mentioned on your sheet [Biographical Data Sheet] that you were part
of the um.. .Unit--your unit there [referring to what is written on the Biographical Data Sheet].
Can you state that Unit for me?
John Stoll: I was—when I arrived in India.. .in Karachi, India, I was assigned to the 7t h Bomb
group, which was stationed over in Panagarh, a small place at an air field which was about one
hundred miles west of Calcutta.
Katie Kosack: And what was the specific assignment of your unit?
John Stoll: My unit.. .was a small unit compared to the units in the other Air Forces that were
stationed in England or North Africa. And the targets were very limited in Burma...bombing
mostly the railroads from Bangkok, Siam, over to Rangoon in Burma.. .it was a "death railroad"
where all prisoners that had been taken in the.. .uh.. Japanese conquering of Singapore and Hong
Kong. These prisoners were put to work on what was known as the "death railroad" because
there was very little uh nourishment given to the prisoners, and it was high fatality among the
prisoners. And that was built to supply the Japanese troops who were occupying Burma.
Katie Kosack: And so your purpose was to cut off supply to the Japanese?
John Stoll: Our purpose was to—to de—to stunt the advancement of the Japanese forces that had
advanced to...Burma like lightaing, chasing one of the...army generals... General Stilwell who
had been training Chinese troops in Burma. When the war broke out, he had to evacuate to
India. So.. .the Japanese were unable to advance any further than Burma, they did invade the
northern part of India, but most of the ground fighting in India and Bur—China and Burma was
done by British Colonial troops, most of the infantry fighting, and mostly.. .American troops
were service personnel or engineer groups or supply troops.
Katie Kosack: Um.. .going back to the--your job in the-the Army Air Corps, being an armorer,
can you tell me of any experiences that you had dealing with that? Do you have any interesting
experiences that you had with...
John Stoll: Whenever a squadron left the air field we would always try to be back there when
they returned from a mission, and we would be out there at least an hour before they returned.
One day.. .a B24 bomber came in.. .and we not knowing what was on the plane, the plane had a
five hundred pound bomb.. .hang up on the bomb racks in the bomb bay and when the plane hit
the landing field it jolted this five hundred pound loose and it came.. .trundling down the uh air
strip to where we were waiting. Luckily.. .the bomb crew on the plane had defused the bomb
before they landed, so the bomb was unarmed when it came down the air strip, [laughs]
Katie Kosack: But it came rolling down towards you?
John Stoll: Yeah [laughs]. Most bombs would not go off unless they had a fuse, and most
bombs carried two fuses to make sure that they would detonate. If one fuse did not work the
second fuse would.. .more than less confirm that it would go off.
Katie Kosack: And, so this bomb was completely defused though, they had defused both...
John Stoll: .. .this bomb was completely defused. But the lug came off the bomb and it unable
to be used again.. .in a plane, so the ordinance men, one day unbeknownst to all the men in
camp, they detonated this one five hundred pound bomb within a quarter mile of our camp
[laughs]. Which shook everybody up.
Katie Kosack: Did you do any—did have any—did your men and you play any more pranks on
each other like that? .. .Do you recall?
John Stoll: We did very little "horsing around" as you might say over there, although we did
have our times of—of relaxation. We could catch a local passenger train to go down to Calcutta,
which would take us six hours on a weekend, and where we could buy ice cream and things that
we did not have at camp.
Katie Kosack: And um did you get to—did you get to do anymore fun things down in that area,
when you would take the train down to Calhutta [Calcutta]?
John Stoll: The trains that went into Calcutta were local trains that stopped at every railroad
station in the one hundred mile strip, and so it would take over six hours just to ride one hundred
Katie Kosack: And how were those trains?
John Stoll: The trains in India were steam trains, and.. .they were always overcrowded. The
Indian population would ride on the roofs of the cars, in between the rail cars, underneath on the
brake rods on the cars, and sometimes ride on the side of the cars hanging on with their arm
through the open window.
Katie Kosack: How were your urn-did you have any interactions with the Indian population
John Stoll: When we first arrived in India we were doing our own...KP...and minor work
details, but the Army saw that it was more necessary to hire local people to perform these task,
rather than.. .use their own personnel, for NP [Night Patrol] duty and for.. .kitchen police. The
Gurkha troops who were from the northern part of India, Nepal—the province of Nepal, were
very good guard troops and very good fighters,
airplanes on the air strips at night.
And they were eventually used to guard our
Katie Kosack: So they provided a lot of guard services, then?
John Stoll: Yes
Katie Kosack: Um.. .do you remember.. .um anything else about your life in-your life during
service? How you were treated in the camps and stuff like that?
John Stoll: The civilian population the in United States were very helpful and congenial and
very.. .concerned with the troops that were stationed in their vicinity. And in Denver, Colorado
the air strip was about eight miles from the city.. .and the people in Denver with-even with gas
rationing would use what little gas they had to ferry and take some of the soldiers or TIs up into
the Rocky Mountains to see some of the local sites.
Katie Kosack: Um.. .did you get to corn-how did you communicate with your family
John Stoll: I was not given a furlough while I was stationed in the United States before I was
shipped overseas. We were all put into a., .a unit that was called a "casul [?] outfit" which was
more or less replacements for assigned units which were already overseas. So we communicated
with our relatives and friends by telephone. With a transportation problem as busy as it was
during World War II, the trains were always packed and full, and there was no-not many bus
services at that particular time. So most all travel was done by train, in the service.
Katie Kosack: Did you get to come home at any point during your stay over in-in the Asiatic or
were you there for the entire time?
John Stoll: After two years and four months stationed in India, in January of 1945 I was notified
that there was replacement for me and that I would be going home. So.. .being over near
Calcutta.. .we had to travel across India again by train to Bombay and wait for a transport to
bring us home,.. .and it took Uventy—thirry-unrry-five days to come from Bombay, around
Australia stopping at Melbourne and coming back to San Pedro, California.
Katie Kosack: And was that when your service ended?
John Stoll: That was when I was given-sent back to Ft. Meade from.. .Riverside, California.. .to
Camp Meade to be reassigned here in the United States, because the war was still going on. So I
came back after a five day train trip from Riverside to Ft. Meade, I received my furlough papers
which were twenty days. I was given a gas coupon for twenty gallons of gas, a coupon for a pair
of new shoes, civilian shoes, and various coupons for little odds and ends that were rationed here
in the United States.
Katie Kosack: And did you return home at that time?
John Stoll: And from Camp Meade which was about eighteen miles from my draft board in Glen
Burnie, Maryland I was sent.. .home to my Glen Burnie, where I had been inducted in January of
Katie Kosack: And did you remain in the United States from then on?
John Stoll: From then on., .receiving my twenty day furlough, I spent twenty days with my
family in Brooklyn, Maryland and then I was sent to Miami Beach, where the government had
acquired all the hotels for "R&R" for men that had served overseas. And I spent ten days in
Miami Beach where I was reassigned to Shreveport, LA.. .a B29 base.
Katie Kosack: And what did you do in Louisiana?
John Stoll: I worked on the B29s that had been assembled there that were coming off of the
production lines and that they were going—being readied for service over in the far east, as the
war in Europe was over, at that particular time. So I spent the last of my service days in
Shreveport, LA where I was discharged—received my discharge in October of 1945.
Katie Kosack: And then after being discharged to return to a job that you had, had previously?
John Stoll: The company that I worked for, the American Oil Company had gave me my
original job back when I returned home.
Katie Kosack: And um just to kind of finish up and sum up, um we can talk about it for a lil—as
long as you want, how do you think your experience has affected your life?
John Stoll: I-by traveling completely around the world, without going through the Panama or
the Suez Canal, I traveled by water from one side of the east coast of the United States,
completely around the world.. .and I saw uh much suffering.. .in the countries that I stopped at,
South Africa, Egypt, Salon [?] and especially India where the population was four hundred
rnillion at the time that I left in 1945, and which is now over one billion people.. .in the course of
the years that had passed.
Katie Kosack: And um did you enjoy your experience overall, as much as you can I assume?
John Stoll: It opened my eyes to the other parts of the world. To see.. .native people that were
wearing burlap for clothing and very little food to eat.. .and seeing so much starvation, especially
in India which had a famine in 1944, and they considered the famine a failure because only one
million people died. So a famine causes people to loose their resistance to various diseases and,
certainly in India there were many various diseases over there.. .which was malaria, typhoid,
leprosy.. .and uh.. .uh.. .dysentery.. .and many dis—various skin diseases so forth, Chinese
rot...so there was very many things that were capable of infecting a human being.
Katie Kosack: And back in the United States, um you mentioned a little bit of how the people
treated you when you were on base in Denver, how do you think um—how was your
homecoming and how were the people around you-how did they respond to you and how did
you respond to them?
John Stoll: When I first returned.. .you mean after the service?...
Katie Kosack: .. .mrrihmm...
John Stoll: .. .The people were very a-uh.. .thankful for all the servicemen. I lost some
classmates in World War IL ..some of them were uh pilots on P51s and P47s and uh my-one of
my classmates was shot down by the Germans and killed in Italy in a P51. One of my classmates
who was very close to me, performed over one hundred and forty missions in a P47, from
England into Germany until the end of the war.. .and he...
Katie Kosack: ...do you recall his name?...
John Stoll: .. .his name was Howard Gourley, G-O-U-R-L-E-Y.. .and he came home after each
40 missions-he was given a furlough to come home and he was sent back again back to
Germany and he was there when the final shots were fired. He had pulled almost one hundred
and some missions.
Katie Kosack: And to bring it closer to home how did the-how did the church respond when
John Stoll: The church was very.. .mstrumental in keeping our morale up overseas. They had a
"Buddies Club" here in Brooklyn United Methodist Church that would write letters to all the
servicemen and they would have.. .uh.. .an honor roll board put up with all the names of the men
who had served from this church during the conflict... and the names of those who had given
their utmost, their full life in the service of their country.
Katie Kosack: Okay, well thank you very much for giving-for telling us your story and I will
have you sign this release form at the end so that we can um use your information for the Library
John Stoll: ...Alright...
Katie Kosack: .. .So I thank you very much.
John Stoll: I didn't put on here [referring to the Biographical Data Sheet], I received a Victory...
Katie Kosack: Okay, is it called a Victory Medal ["Victory Medal" added to Biographical Data
John Stoll: Yeah, see they didn't give medals they gave ribbons...
Katie Kosack: ...mmhmm...
John Stoll: .. .if I wanted these ribbons—these medals I got to write to St. Louis and they'll send
'em to me, but a lot of people don't want 'em, I mean, I don't want these ribbons—I mean these
medals.. .they uh—the ribbons signify the same thing as a medal, you know...
Katie Kosack: ...right...
John Stoll: .. .when you get a ribbon up there.
Katie Kosack: Are they different colors?
John Stoll: Yeah, the uh, the South Pacific ribbon, Asiatic.. India China Burma, that was a
yellow ribbon with red, white, and blue bars.. .six bars in it and the uh.. .European ribbon was a
different ribbon, a darker ribbon with a red, white, and blue bars and the uh, the American
Theater Ribbon.. .they had a ribbon that was given to all soldiers who uh—who were in the
service before Pearl Harbor, that was a yellow ribbon...
Katie Kosack: ...mmhmm...
John Stoll: .. .it's called a National Defense Ribbon, I believe. So, uh.. .then the Victory Ribbon
I saw one, my cousin had one, well he passed away but his brother-in-law or his nephew had
one. It's a pretty ribbon. And some-some of the service men, they—they write away for 'em and
they make a little plaque out of 'em, you know a little...
Katie Kosack: .. .mmhmm...
John Stoll: .. .and put the ribbons in there—or their medals in there, hang 'em on a wall. And
that Presidential Unit Citation, this outfit that I was in 7th bomb group, that was a World War
One outfit. That's why you see se—a low number there, seventh. But the squadron number 492,
that was when they made that particular un—squadron of that group, there was four squadrons in
the 7t h bomb group, ten planes at each one had—each squadron, forty planes, so as they gathered
a few more planes from overseas they kept getting bigger and eventually when I left we had like
eighteen planes, but you don't put eighteen planes in the air at one time. You got engine trouble
in one car, maybe a bomb site don't work on another plane, but I did see fifty airplanes in the air
at one time, but over in England there was five or six hundred up there at one time going over
there to Germany, and they—the Germans shot—I watched World War II—all that film that they
put out on the History Channel, did you see any of that...
John Stoll: .. .they lost sixty planes in one mission. That's six hundred men! There's ten men in
the crew, so sixty—for every man that's on the airplane it takes ten men on the ground to keep
that one man in the air. Look at all the men that had to load the bombs, all the men that have to
work on the engines, they had men that had carburetor work, they had men that did electrical
men, they had bomb site men that worked just on the bomb site, they had men that were supply
people that called supplies out, they had men that worked uh.. .on the turts [?], you know the
turts [?] that swing around.. .so for every man in the air it took a hundred men on the ground to
keep one airplane in the air—well not one, but-'cause, excuse me, a hundred men could work on
two or three planes. So I mean I loaded bombs on couple planes easy, but it was all done with ya'
hands.. .a little winch and you have to crank those bombs up, and we loaded—a B24 was a long
range bomber, a D17 was a good bomber, but it didn't have the range, you know the distance it
could fly, so that's why we had the B24s. They wo-they could pull a fifteen hour mission from
Calcutta to Bangkok, Siam and come back, and...
Katie Kosack:.. .was that over the mountains?...
John Stoll: .. .they usually flew over the water, around the south of Burma to keep the Japanese
on land from calling back, "There's planes coining! There's planes coming!," but for that plane
to make that trip, where they carried bombs-there's four bomb bays, they had to put three more
gas tanks in there. They had to put extra gas on the plane, and only carry three bombs to fly
from Calcutta to Bangkok, so it was-I guess you scared 'em over in Bangkok 'cause they didn't
get many raids over there, but I guess you 'member.. .a general, uh.. .What was his name?, not
Mitchell, uh the one that flew the B25s. The B25s were medium bombers, they were two engine
planes. The D26s they made over here in Essex, they were two engine planes, they were attack
bombers because they could fly low and they're fast. The B25s were the ones that General
Doolittle put on the aircraft carrier and they snuck up there around Alaska, and launched the
planes and then they're the ones that bombed Japan way back in 1942: Befor-and Japan was
really surprised, they didn't think a plane could reach them, you know, because they had
Midway, Sipan, Okinawa, they had the Philippines and all the islands around. We didn't have a
plane that could reach-reach Japan so Doolittle, he practiced-and that's a hard job to get a
bomber off of an airplane carrier. They were built for attack planes, you know fighter planes,
and I think the Japanese—some of the planes had enough gas to bomb Japan and then land in
China, and the Chinese would re—return 'em to-us, but see some of the planes didn't make it all
the way to China and the Japanese, uh.. .what do I say.. .they killed our pilots, for bombing
Tokyo, They didn't take 'em as prisoners, they—they killed 'em, a couple of 'em.. .but Doolittle-
-that was one of the tilings that built the morale of the people 'cause people in Tokyo, you know
they're going about their everyday life, you know, their troops are way down there they pro—
they got the "Ring of Defense" around Japan. But they had to launch those planes a little bit
sooner than they wanted to. The air craft carrier was up there getting closer and closer to Japan,
they wanted to get into closer, but a Japanese fishing boat was out there, with a fisherman and
you know fishing, and if he a radio he could report, so they had a—they had to shoot that there
poor fisherman, he never got back to Japan, they killed that fisherman who saw the air craft
carrier. Then they said, "We better launch now because maybe he relayed we were corning or
something and they would have fighter planes up and shot us down before we do any damage."
So they launched a hundred-or two-hundred miles before they got closer, because if they could
have got closer they all could have got over into China without being.. .you know some of 'em
shot down, I forget how many planes it was, I think about eight or ten, I think.
Katie Kosack: Well thank you very, very much and this will go into the Library of Congress and
I'll have you sign this release form and everyone will be able to use it and hear your stories...
John Stoll: .. .see when I left in October-today is my anniversary.. .in 1942, how many years
ago is that? Forty-two from 2007.. .it's five, sixty-five years.. .sixty-five years ago, I was pulling
out of Norfolk, Virginia, Hampton Roads. We pulled out in daylight, I said, "Where's the escort
vessels? Hey! There's German submarines," they were sinking ships along the Carolinas, the
Germans were, up along New England coast and all, right here in the Atlantic. I said, "Where's
our escort vessels?," but the Martania [?] is a sister ship of the Lusitania, it was built in 1909 and
we had seven or eight thousand men on there. And, I'm looking around, "Hey! I don't like this!
We're going out in the Atlantic!" 'Cause they sank one of the American oil ships down there off
there of uh Jacksonville, Florida. The Germans would stay outside, at night and they had—didn't
have a "blackout" here in the United States yet, and the city lights and all—when the ship went
between the submarine and the uh lights from the city, the Germans could see the ships going by
going—and they—they could sink those ships, but uh you know there's—there was a sunken
German submarine down off of Carolinas and the scuba divers went down in there, you know,
and they brought out German skulls, some of the crew members that had died and the Germans
didn't want it distributed—they notified, you know-not to take it up—bring it up. But down off
South West Africa in 1944, a German uh submarine was captured. The uh Germans had opened
the sea cock—you know they open the sea cock up and let the water in to sink the sub and then
they go up and get off and are taken prisoner. So a landing party on the uh Amer—American
ship, they went over there real quick, and ran down in the sub and shut the sea cock off and they
captured that submarine, and they—I think it's out in Chicago now, it might still be out there,
they took it up the Mississippi River, sold war bonds you know, as uh—alright let me sign that
[referring to the release form]...
Katie Kosack: .. .okay, thank you very much.