PHS Fallen Heroes of World War II

At the height of its strength in 1945, the United States had six million men and women in the Army; 3,400,000 in the Navy; 2,400,000 in the Army air forces;
484,000 in the Marine Corps; and 170,000 in the Coast Guard.

Over 295,000 enlisted men and women died in the conflict.

We do not know how many Peekskill men and women served their country during the war,
but these are the names of the men who were killed in action.

We are grateful for what we have learned about these heroes and would like to learn more about them.
If you have information about these men, or anyone we may have accidentally overlooked,
please contact the webmasters

The World War Two Honor Roll
Some class years have been found

John Astrab

John Berta 1941

Russell Beskin

Lester Conklin, Jr.

John Cox 1933

Sheldon Craddock

Harold Cruger 1932

Paul Dietz

George Enterlein 1944

Lee Ferris

Steve Forman

John Fisher 1939

Everette E. Goethe 1937

Steve Gerlich


Morris Gerlich 1930

Theodore Grouez

Vincent E. Hiland

Loftus J. Hoffman

David J. Kiley

Richard Lent 1943

Donald McCrae

George MacDonald

Thomas J. McGee

Franklin C. Miller

George A. Miller, Jr.

Charles T. Minor

Charles Neidhardt 1942

Alfred J. Rasmus 1940

Edward L Rehak


John A. Salerno 1942

Anthony Scarmellino

George F. Simon, Jr.

Gilbert Singer 1940

Raymond Smallheiser

Fred P. Smith

Frank Snyder

George W. Squires, Jr.

William Stern 1943

Paul Tepper

James J. Timko

Barnard K. Timm, Jr.

William P. Villetto

Joseph J. Williams

John J Walsh 1940

Aaron W. Wyatt, Jr.

With a special thanks to Margaret (McKeon) Conklin, Class of 1958, who copied these names
from the Peekskill Memorial Monument on Highland Avenue
and supplied some of the pictures included below.
Not all attended or graduated from Peekskill High School but are honored here.
We will welcome any additional pictures or comments from you.

We are making an exception to the limiting of the Fallen Heroes pages in order to publish a story that appeared in The Peekskill Evening Star back in the 1940’s which told of the war in the Pacific and a local youth, KEN SCHROTT (class of 1938) who was aboard the USS Wasp when it engaged the Japanese fleet and was subequently sunk. What makes Ken’s wartime experience unique is that he was thereafter assigned to the USS Princeton (also an aircraft carrier) and that gallant ship was also sunk in yet another action with elements of the Japanese fleet and their aircraft. click HERE for Ken’s story and the details of the cruises of the Wasp and the Princeton.


(As reported in the Peekskill Home News, August 1942)
GEORGE MAC DONALD, Class of 1932,
was the first loss at sea of a Peekskill boy.

The ship, on which he was chief engineer was torpedoed in the Gulf of Mexico. On or about May 19, 19??.
The unidentified ship sank within 3 minutes with the loss o 37 of her crew







We have received word from Alex Astrab, Jr. that his fathers cousin,
Second Lieutenant JOHN J. ASTRAB, was killed in action at Anzio, Italy on May 23, 1944. He was a member of the 157th Inf., 45th Division
John is buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial




The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart were posthumously awarded to
First Lieutenant Harold H. Cruger
of Peekskill,
who was killed in action in Belgium on January 1, 1945.
He was attached to the 347th Infantry Regiment,
87th Golden Acorn Division

The Bronze Star medal was accompanied by the following citation:

"For heroic achievement in action against an armed enemy of the United States near Remagen, Belgium on 1 January 1945. While crossing an open field in an attack upon high ground beyond a wooded area, Lieutenant Cruger's company received direct fire from enemy tanks. Despite this and additional heavy fire from hostile machine guns, Lieutenant Cruger continued to lead his men forward until he was mortally wounded.

Lieutenant Cruger's courageous and aggressive leadership enabled his company to gain its objective and is in keeping with the highest traditions ot he United States Army."

According to news reports of this period, United States troops were then engaged in particularly heavy fighting with strong enemy forces in the Remagen area of the Ardennes salient.

Lieutenant Cruger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Cruger, volunteered for Officers Candidates School and was accepted on June 17, 1942. His training period was spent at Camp Croft, South Carolina, and the infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga. On February 18, 1943, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army of the United States and stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, as an instructor. He was appointed a First Lieutenant in April 1944 and assigned to an infantry regiment at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. Shortly after, he embarked for overseas duty and his regiment was subsequently attached to the American Third Army commanded by Lt. General George S. Patton.

Lieutenant Cruger was graduated from Peekskill High School with the Class of 1932. He was captain and played end on the 1931 high school football team. After graduation from high school, he attended Duke University and later the American Institute of Banking. He was employed as a teller by the Westchester County National Bank at the time he entered the Army.

On October 5, 1940, Lieutenant Cruger was married to Miss Rhoda Conklin. A son, Michael Hilliard Cruger, was born March 13, 1945.

The above information was provided by George Cruger
Nancy Niles has contributed the following account about Lt. Harold Cruger,
who was a member of the Class of 1932 - Thanks Nancy.

According to an account written by my father, Harold Cruger was killed on New Year's Day, 1945 near a town called Labaschere, which I assume is in France. He took a direct hit from a German 88. There was "little left to bury" my father wrote. He said Harold was a bank teller in Peekskill. My father wasn't from Peekskill -- he grew up in Cobleskill and Oneonta, so Iassume their friendship formed because they went through basic training and went overseas together in the 87th Division (Golden Acorn)


JOHN J. WALSH, Class of 1940 WWII "Shagger" was known for his dancing ability and as a running back on the football team.
He was also Hudson River League Champion miler in 1938.

His nephew John C. Walsh and brother Donald Walsh informed us that John was in the “Timberwolves" 104th Infantry Division, 415th Infantry Regiment. On November 3, 1944, John's company was assigned the job of crossing a river in Belgium (probably the Mark), he was in the first wave as a BAR man. German tanks and infantry were waiting for them at the landing. Out of 120 soldiers in the first wave, only 12 survived the attack. John is buried in the Henri-Chapelle cemetery in Belgium




The picture above was taken at Depew Park, prior to one of the track meets. On the left is Robert(Greek) Pappas who was All-County 100 yard dash champion, John (Shagger) Walsh is in the middle. Shagger was All County miler. On the right is Coach George Peterson who fielded many championship track teams in the late 30's and 40's. Bob Pappas was a Bangalore Torpedo man and was severely wounded but survived the war. He passed away in 2003.


Shagger was also a regular on the PHS football squad in 1940


John is pictured here during an All-County track meet. It was always his running plan to be
 out in front from start to finish.


John Berta -- Class of 1941.


John had the ambition to become an aeronautical engineer. He was a member of the National Honor Society, Airplane Club and Press Club



John Fisher -- Class of 1939

John's Yearbook described him as being quiet, witty and with impeccable manners. John was well liked. As President of the Band Club and a member of the Orchestra, music was his outstanding activity.




Charles Neidhardt Class of 1942.


He was an active member of the Swimming Club for three years. He was described as having a well rounded personality and varied talents.


FH_navy_seal-new Gilbert “Bill” Singer USN -- Class of 1940

Bill was a member of the Cheerleaders, Hi-Y, Consumers Union, and the Engineering Club. His ambition was to become a civil engineer. He was killed in action and held the rank of Ensign

We understand that a park has been named the Gilbert Singer Memorial Park but we do not have any details

Lucy Pinon informs us that:.
The park named after him is actually a lake in Lake Peekskill N.Y. named Singer Beach and we live in the singer house across from the lake.

A Small brick tutor were his father judge Wilbur Singer  A plaque was just put up for him and his father, the previous one was vandalized. 



uss herringWilliam Stern

We have received word from D. Kuritzky that William Stern, who was a member of the class of 1943 but enlisted before he graduated, was killed in action in WWII. Bill was on the Submarine USS HERRING, the only US sub sunk by a Japanese shore battery. Bill played football and swam the breast stroke on the swimming team. His father and his sister both served in WWII. We have learned from Don that a memorial service was held at Seal Beach Calif where the names of the crews of ships and boats (subs) are enshrined. More information about the USS HERRING can be found at


This picture, taken from the 1941 Class Yearbook, we think is a picture of Bill who was a member of the Swimming Team of that year.



For more information about World

War II on the Web
the webmasters recommend
the Wikipedia and


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