“Pearl Harbor anniversary touches heart of Lowell”

Thanks to Eileen Loucraft for sending along a front-page story from the December 5, 1942 Lowell Sun which commemorated the first anniversary of the death of two Lowell service men in the Pearl Harbor attack from a year earlier. The article, reproduced in full below, gives a sense of life in Lowell back in the early days of World War Two:

Gleaming in the eternal gold of the supreme sacrifice, the names of Arthur Francis Boyle and Clifton E Edmonds carry the luster of particular significance on two stars of Lowell’s vast service flag today.

First of our own to die in action, Soldier Arthur Boyle and Sailor Clifton Edmonds shall not be forgotten by a community which will ever link their names with the incident of treachery that cost them their lives one year ago at Pearl Harbor.

As the nation gravely marks the first anniversary of the bestial Japanese attack on a friendly American outpost, and musters all its strength in a tidal wave of avenging might, now a year in growth, their home city pauses to Remember Pearl Harbor for the loss of two of its finest sons.

Edmonds, a seaman first class on the aircraft carrier Curtiss, was drowned in a boiling sea on that day of infamy. The sone of Mr and Mrs Robert J Edmonds of 74 Merrill avenue is remembered in the single gold star on the service flag of the Matthews Memorial P M church among 37 stars of blue.

Boyle probably was the first of the two Lowell boys to die. The 23-year old youth was killed instantly when a direct hit from a Jap dive bomber struck the first hangar on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941. Pvt Arthur Boyle never lived to see the remainder of the attack and its terrible toll. He was at his post, racing to release some of the US pursuit planes from one of the larger hangars of Hicham field when death struck. By all standards of human combat, he never had a chance, according to word received here by his parents, Mr and Mrs Frank (Phinney) Boyle of 28 Ralph street.

One of the most respected families in St Patrick’s parish, the Boyles are known for their devotion to church interests and fine neighborliness. Years ago, Phinney Boyle was a name that was known everywhere in New England. One of the best lightweight boxers in the nation, Phinney Boyle was idolized by hundreds of youths of the age Arthur Boyle had reached when he died for his country. Since his retirement, Phinney Boyle has lived the exemplary life of a man who learned his lessons of self-care and broad sportsmanship well.

He brought up his two boys in the American way. He had no discernable aspirations to making boxers or athletes of them, but led them along the paths of life with a paternal eye for character. In the parlance of the times, Phinney knew a “right guy” from old when he saw one, and if his sons never became famous in sports or in other forms of achievement, he at least wanted them to be “right.” And they were. Respected, popular, manly and generous, Arthur and his brother, Francis, were welcome in every home, the choice of all the other kids at play.

Francis, now 21, did the “right” thing by his father’s and his country’s code when the tragedy of Pearl Harbor saddened the Boyle home. He only ascertained that his presence was no longer needed to keep the home going after its hour of grief — and enlisted.

One Response to “Pearl Harbor anniversary touches heart of Lowell”

  1. Patricia J. Boyle says:

    What a shame…. Every single year, another Dec 7th passes and these two young heroes are never mentioned or remembered by their own City or the very same hometown NEWSPAPER that published their obituaries. What a message Lowell is sending to the young Men.that are defending our Country now.