Newark's Newspapermen During World War II - Who They Were and What They Did

by Nat Bodian


(Footnotes are at the bottom of the page)

At the outset of World War II, the 68-year old Newark Evening News was New Jersey’s newspaper of record, and ranked with the county’s best newspapers.

It was not surprising, therefore, that during World War II, Newark Evening News reporters were widely placed, whether in the battle zones, at Allied Headquarters, or at the base of it’s Commander-In-Chief in Washington, DC.


A number of reporters from the Newark News distinguished themselves reporting the war from different war zones. The most notable among them was Warren H. (Harry) Kennet.

Kennet had been the Military Affairs writer from the Newark Evening News and pre-war had made the Essex Troop Armory in Newark a base of operations.

Therefore, it seemed logical that when the 102nd Cavalry of the Essex Troop was dispatched to England in September of 1943, that Kennet traveled with them and was embedded with the Essex Troopers from their arrival in England and through the invasion of Southern France on June 5, 1944.

Kennet landed with the men and dispatched regular reports to the News as the men broke through the hedgerows of Normandy Beach with their tanks and stormed inward.

Driving a captured German scout car, emblazoned on its front bumper with the Newark Evening News logo, Kennet followed and reported on the 102nd Cavalry tank men as they made their way through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, and ultimately, into Czechoslovakia.

Kennet’s eyewitness dispatches were followed avidly by Newark Evening News readers.


Wes Gallagher: His Newark News reports carried the most credibility. He was embedded in Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF). At its inception in 1943, SHAEF operated out of London under General Dwight Eisenhower. After the D-Day Invasion of Southern France, when there were sufficient forces ashore, the SHAEF moved its base of operations to France.

Henry T. Gorrell: One of his Newark News reports was on one of the hardest fought battles of World War II – the assault and capture of German defenses at the German rail center near the Dauve River in Carentan, France, by the U. S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

The Division had been pinned down by intense fire from well-prepared and heavily fortified German positions within 150 yards. Ignoring withering fire, the unit’s commander, Col. Robert Cole, led the remnants of his unit in a charge, capturing the German positions at the cost of his life, at dawn on June 12, 1944.

Roland Lindbloom: The Newark News sent him to the Pacific to search out and file reports on “anyone around here from New Jersey?” His name was given to me by a fellow Newark News reporter who had worked with him at that time.

Eddy Gilmore: One of his dispatches was sent from an American air base tagged “Somewhere in the Soviet Union.” It greatly surprised me to learn, for the first time, that the U. S. had a secret air base in the Soviet Union during the war.

David Lawrence: He was based in Washington, D. C., an important center for official releases from the various military commands based there.

John T. Cunningham: At the outbreak of World War II, Cunningham headed the Dover office of the Newark News. It was a sensitive spot because of its proximity to the Kenvil Powder Company and the Picatinny Arsenal. But Cunningham's war-related writing was limited to writing reports of area war casualties. He entered the Army Air Force in 1943 and wound up serving on Okinawa. While in service there, he dispatched two articles to the Newark News, both of which were published.


Robert Parker: A one-time reporter for the Newark Sunday Call, during World War II, he served as Chief, Office of War Information for Eastern Europe.

The Office of War Information (OWI) was a U. S. Government agency, established in 1942 to coordinate the release of war news for domestic use.

During the later part of the war, its focus was largely directed toward actions for undermining enemy morale.

Parker had worked for the Newark Sunday Call prior to becoming Director of the Associated Press in Eastern Europe prior to World War II.


A number of journalists who reported on World War II had prior newspaper experience at Newark newspapers.

One such was Tania Long whose ties were to the Newark Ledger. Her career was a distinguished one.

She launched her journalistic career in 1936 by breaking in as a reporter with the Newark Ledger. By the fall of 1938, as war neared in Europe, she took a leave of absence from the Ledger to spend time with her parents who were residing in Berlin.

Once there, she decided to remain in Berlin and become a writer there for the Berlin bureau of the New York Herald-Tribune. As war drew closer, she transferred to the Tribune’s Paris bureau, and in 1939 was promoted to the London bureau.

By September of 1940 she was covering the bombing of London and other war happenings. Her own hotel was bombed out.

In 1941 the New York Newspaper Women’s Club named her for their annual award for her outstanding work in London as a war correspondent. In 1942 she became a war correspondent for the New York Times and followed the Allied forces into Berlin in 1945.


Newspapermen from Newark were active in all three of the three uniformed news organizations: Stars and Stripes … YANK—The Army Weekly … and the Army News Service.

Following is a round-up of what these news organizations were and the Newark journalists who worked in them.

Stars and Stripes

The World War II Edition of Stars and Stripes was born on April 18, 1942, during the blitz in London, as a four-page weekly, by a group of U. S. Army servicemen. One of the early editors of the Stars and Stripes edition published in London was Lt. Bob Moora, a former Assistant City Editor of The Newark Sunday Call.

Operations expanded to the battlefront to bring the news to the men there. At one time there were as many as 25 publishing locations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Hawaii. Circulations reached as much as one million.

Stars and Stripes was always produced by wartime Army military staff, and was free of propaganda, even though under military supervision. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was its sponsor.


The European edition of Stars and stripes had two staff writers from the Newark Evening News: Whitney Ball and Paul Horowitz.

I had worked alongside Paul in pre World War II years on sports assignments for the Ledger.


In addition to the representation on the European Edition of this Army newspaper, there was a late war connection with the Stars and Stripes China Edition – John O. Davies.

Davies had been a reporter with the Newark News for five years when the war started. His entry into the war, as later reported in the Harvard crimson, was reported thus: “When the war started, I decided I wanted to get into the action as quickly as possible. So, instead of waiting for the News to News to send me, I joined the Marines and was sent to china as a combat correspondent.” 1

Although Davies remained in the United States Marine Corps, he wound up becoming editor of the China Edition of Stars and Stripes in Shanghai, which was published in 1945 and 1946 to provide news and information to servicemen in the Pacific. 2

YANK – The Army Weekly 3

YANK – The Army Weekly was a weekly magazine published by the U. S. Army during World War II.

It was written by enlisted-rank soldiers only and made available to soldiers, sailors, and airmen serving overseas. It was published in 21 editions 17 countries. It was the most-widely read magazine in the history of the military with a worldwide circulation of 2.6 million.

Each issue was edited in New York City and then shipped for printing around the world where staff editors added local stories.

It was edited by Major Hartzell Spence. It was he who appointed me a South Atlantic Field Correspondent early in 1943. I was the only Newark newspaperman associated with YANK. I served in that capacity to the end of my war service in 1945. YANK ceased publications in that year.

I recall with pride that my name appeared on the editorial masthead of each issue of YANK along with the names of such notable staffers as Andy Rooney, William Saroyan, Marion Hargrove and Irwin Shaw. Also with John Bushemi, the only YANK correspondent killed in action in the war.

Army News Service

During World War II there were untold hundreds of unit, squadron, and ship newspapers which provided general and wartime news to the units they served. Army News Service was operated by military staff and regularly provided packets of ready-to-use information, jokes, comics, and the like, to unit publications that could regularly be adapted to their local needs.

I myself used such material in the several base newspapers I published or edited during my overseas service.

The BODIAN BUGLE & NEWS, which I published in my spare time from various overseas bases and mailed to Newark friends in service around the world, also included Army News Service fillers.

Newark Evening News reporter Frank Romain was on the Army News Service staff during the war.


The wartime dispatches of Newark’s accredited war correspondents were not subject to military censorship. However, all had been requested to follow a voluntary censorship code and to refrain from disclosing sensitive information.

No print journalist in World War II ever deliberately violated that voluntary censorship code.

This voluntary censorship code for civilian newspaper correspondents did not apply to military journalists, such as myself – a YANK field correspondent. All of my dispatches to YANK had to be cleared by the chief base censor.

On my first dispatch from Ascension Island, in the spring of 1943 to YANK headquarters in New York City, I was informed by the YANK editor that my report had been received, but that it was too heavily censored to be understandable.

Ascension Island, at that time, was classified as a “Secret” base and my dispatches from Ascension had to be tagged “Somewhere in the South Atlantic.”


While in overseas service with the AAF during World War II, I utilized some of my free time at three AAF bases by publishing a “NEWARK NEWSPAPER” which I circulated to friends and acquaintances in the armed forces as well as to servicemen on my base from the Newark area.

The mimeograph paper recycled bits of wartime news from Newark and comments submitted by its uniformed ‘subscribers’ on scattered war fronts around the world.

It was called “THE BODIAN BUGLE & NEWS.” It was recognized as an Army newspaper and was a recipient of ‘filler’ news items from Army News Service.

During its initial year of publication it caught the attention of the Commanding General of the South Atlantic Theatre and was permitted to continue publication with his approval. It had also been cited in YANK-The Army Weekly as “an outstanding GI publication.”

One of its guest-recipients was Newark wartime Mayor Vincent J. Murphy. He once sent a ‘letter-to-the-editor’ inviting Bugle readers to visit him in Newark City Hall.

During the year that it was published on Ascension Island it had a volunteer circulation manager, and a volunteer staff cartoonist. The cartoonist was Jack Levine, an artist of world renown.


Chief of U. S. Treasury War Bond Drives

When I started at the Newark Ledger in the late 1930’s Jake Mogelever was the City Editor. With the approach of World War II Mogelever took up a post with the U. S. Treasury in Washington as Chief of the various War Bond Drives. I had a single mail contact with him during my war service.

How Successful Was Mogelever?

Months before Pearl Harbor the first Savings Bond to help finance what became World War II was sold to President Franklin Roosevelt by Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau.

On January 3, 1946 the last proceeds from the Victory Bond campaign was deposited to the U. S. Treasury.

The loan drives had sold a total of 185.7 billion of securities, and by the end of World War II, over 85 million Americans had invested in War Bonds.

My War Bond Participation

I had been responsible for the bond sales during the Sixth War Loan Drive while stationed on Ascension Island. I sold more than $20,000 worth of bonds among the 150 men in my Air Force unit.

For that same drive I’d written a V-Mail letter from Ascension Island urging public support for the drive. The letter had been enlarged into a poster that was displayed in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood.

Newark War Reporting Before Pearl Harbor

A year and a half before the U. S. joined the Allies in World War II, I interviewed then Mayor Meyer C. Ellenstein about a serious British concern: the evacuation of British children to America during the height of the German Luftwaffe blitz of London.

International News Service, for whom I served as a ‘stringer’ in Newark on a number of important assignments, asked me, on behalf of the London Times, to interview the Mayor of Newark abut his feelings on the evacuation of British children from the blitzed areas to ‘namesake cities in America.’


1. Early in World War II I had gotten word of the formation of a Marine Combat Correspondent Corps and had promptly sent in a request for consideration as a member. I was subsequently informed that the number of openings had been limited and that the quota had already been filled.


2. John O. Davies worked at the Newark Evening News for 25 years.

He was the only reporter from that paper to have covered three wars: A U. S. Marine Combat Correspondent in World War II … the Chinese Civil War in 1948-49 … and the Korean War in 1950 for the Newark Evening News.

Davies, in 1950-51, was the first journalist from New Jersey ever to win a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. This prestigious award, given to mid-career journalists by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, allows the winner time to reflect on his career, and hone his journalistic skills.


3. All the issues of YANK--The Army Weekly, 1942 to 1945, were published in four massive bound volumes in the early 1970s. I reviewed that "YANK" publication for Social Science journal published at Rutgers University. In return, I was able to retain the four bound volumes. They were donated to the Cranford Public Library, where they are available to the public.


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