Tuesday, November 24, 2015

46. 1945 Football and Returning Veterans

The Gettysburg High School football team in 1945 ended their season in the middle of November with a 32-13 loss to Mechanicsburg. In seven straight losses, the team was outscored by a total of 155 points. In three consecutive seasons, the varsity football team won only one game. Students and all football fans in Gettysburg were hungry for a win.

On December 6, the Gettysburg Times reported absences in the Gettysburg Schools of more than 25 per cent. The wave of illnesses was the result of grippe and colds. Today, we call the “grippe” influenza.

With the end of World War II in 1945, our veterans were returning home in large numbers. On December 6, for example, ten countians were discharged from Indiantown Gap, the U.S. Army Post northeast of Harrisburg.

Sterrett “Duke” Dorsey, who left  the Class of 1946 before graduation, did not come home to finish his degree. He died on December 3, 1945 of injuries sustained while serving in the Navy in the South Pacific. Twenty-five other graduates and former students of Gettysburg High School made the supreme sacrifice for their country in WWII.

Many of those who did return home after the war attended college on the GI Bill which paid for veterans’ tuition and living expenses. The Gettysburg College basketball team boasted eight veterans playing during the 1945-46 season.  Under coach Hen Bream, the team won seventy-five percent of their games and set a new gym scoring record against LaSalle winning 79-34.

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