Program recap

The Sunday Sun of December 26, 1943 featured a front-page story about the radio show, listing all the soldiers and Red Cross workers who were on air. (Baltimore Sun file photo / November 20, 2013)

(Originally published December 26, 1943)

For an hour yesterday, over a radio network that extended through Maryland and into Pennsylvania and Virginia, a special Sunpapers’ Christmas broadcast brought to their folk and friends back home the voices and music of more than two-score soldiers from the three states who are stationed in the British Isles.

The broadcast came from an army camp “somewhere in England” where invasion forces are training, and from a base of the Eighth Air Force elsewhere in the British Isles, through arrangements with the Army Special Services and the British Broadcast Corporation.

Listeners here – families and friends of the men who participated – reported reception to be exceptionally fine.

Masters of Ceremonies

Lieut. Col. Ben Lyon, Maryland-born actor who is attached to the Eighth Air Force; Corporal Jean Lowenthal, of Baltimore, and Warrant Officer William Fisher, of Frederick, were the masters of ceremonies – Colonel Lyon at the bomber base.

With WFBR of Baltimore acting as the monitor; nine other radio stations – WJEJ, Hagerstown; WBOC Salisbury; WTBO Cumberland; WRNL, Richmond; WSVA, Harrisonburg, Va.; WINC, Winchester, Va.; WGAL, Lancaster, Pa.; WKOB, Harrisburg, Pa., and WORK, York, Pa. – carried the broadcast.

The broadcast from the army base came from the gymnasium of the home station of a famous British regiment which, Corporal Lowenthal said, was spending its Christmas in America a century and a half ago fighting Colonial troops from Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

After Soldiers’ Dinner

The soldiers had their Christmas dinner – the program starting at 4:45 P.M., British Wartime, or 12:45 P.M., Eastern Wartime.

A quartet – Sergeants Benny Blubaugh, Jose Casanova and Sol Lurie, of Baltimore, and Warrant Officer Larry Smigel, of Philadelphia – sang their interpretation of another quartet singing “Java Jive.” Sergt. Nick Grimaldi, of Philadelphia, was at the piano.

Mrs. Blubaugh, listening with her husband’s parents, the Reverend and Mrs. Benjamin F. Blubaugh, at their home at 510 North Monroe street, had hoped to hear a few words from the sergeant in addition to his tenor voice in the quartet, but decided it was “a big thrill” to hear him, even in song. Sergeant Blubaugh went abroad soon after their marriage in September, 1942.

“It was the first time we’d heard the boy’s voice in fifteen months,” the Rev. Mr. Blubaugh said. “It helped so much to brighten our Christmas Day.”

Bride and Groom Speak

Corporal Lowenthal next brought to the microphone a bride and groom of a few hours – Private Melvin Carbaugh, of Frederick, and a British girl, named Dorothy, a member of the Women’s Land Army, who had a chance to tell her parents-in-law in Western Maryland that she’s looking forward to a visit with them.

The bridegroom’s mother, Mrs. Melvin Carbaugh, Sr., said her new daughter-in-law’s British accent was “somewhat startling,” adding that she believed that her son had “caught a little of it too.”

“The nicest part of it all,” said Mrs. Carbaugh,” was when the two said together, ‘We’re looking forward to Frederick.’ That warmed by heart.”

Violin and Guitar

 Sergeants Melvin Sherr, of Baltimore, and Corporal Frank Meneguzzo, of Pringle Hill, near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., followed the newlyweds with a violin and guitar arrangement of “Stardust.”

A former shipyard worker who went into the army with the National Guard in February 1941, Charles Rohlfing, of Baltimore, told how he had become the dining-room manager for a headquarters company.

Sergt. James Albright, of Frederick, who said he was sure his parents were listening, added for their benefit that next Christmas “they won’t need a radio to hear me.”

Looks To Real Home-Coming