Foster veterans reach out for help with old photo

Foster veterans reach out for help with old photo

'Welcome home' clambake of 1946 captured 72 of the town's greatest

FOSTER - Town veterans of World War II need your help.

Three of them - George Newman, George Brayton and Maurice Dunbar - have been working to identify every last one of a group of 72 veterans of World War II, all Foster residents, whose photo was taken in August, 1946, when they gathered at Moosup Valley Grange for a "welcome home" clambake.

The picture, reproduced with this story, will be on display at two sites during Foster Old Home Days this coming weekend - at the Town House and at the American Legion Post 101 booth. Old Home Days runs from Friday through Sunday, July 26-28, at the fairground behind Town Hall.

Newman, a decorated World War II veteran who was wounded at Iwo Jima and received the Purple Heart among other honors - he was the Foster Preservation Society's "Man of the Year" last year - said he and his colleagues have managed to identify all but about four of the former soldiers in the photograph.

"We're looking for help on who these people are," Newman told The Valley Breeze & Observer. It is important, said his son, Dan Newman, to identify each and every one in the picture. "They want the list to be complete," the younger Newman said of his dad and colleagues. "They don't want anybody to be forgotten."

No one is sure exactly how many Foster residents went to war against Germany and Japan, but George Newman said it was a lot for a small town and certainly more than the 72 men and women shown here.

George Newman is in the photo; he's in the first row, on the right, second one in from the right. Enlarged photos of the missing four will be available at Old Home Days; also, anyone who can offer IDs can contact the preservation society via email at

The four in the photo needing IDs are:

1. Three women, former nurses, standing in a row in roughly the middle of the picture. They are known, but the man standing behind and between the last two women needs an ID.

2. In the same row as the three women, the fourth man to the right after the women, leaning to his left with a big dip in his hair and a grin, needs an ID.

3. On the right side of the picture, a man who has been identified stands on the stairway of the porch straddling a post. At his left shoulder, standing behind him, is a man who needs an ID.

4. Also on the stairway is a man in a dark sweater with a white collar sticking out. He is known, but directly behind him is a man who needs an ID.

Once all the people have been identified, the photo probably will go on permanent display at the Foster Preservation Society headquarters in town, Dan Newman said.

Ed Robinson, vice president of the preservation society, said it is important to remember the World War II veterans because their likes will never be seen again.