Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sailors Reunite Along Lowell Avenue in 1943

Three childhood friends, Harry Perkins, Leland Dickerson, and Robert Morris, joyfully gathered in February of 1943 at the home of the Perkins family.  All three had joined the U.S. Navy after the start of World War II.  Harry and Leland both attained the status of Second Class Aviation Machinist Mate although they had been separated by thousands of miles during the war.  Harry patrolled the Caribbean Sea looking for enemy subs while Leland patrolled the Pacific coast near Astoria, Oregon.  Leland (or Lee) once called out that he saw an enemy sub, but was quickly informed by his crew that the sub was, in fact, a whale.  Robert Morris also known as Curly the Mouse Morris,  (No one knows how he obtained either nickname.) was classified as Seaman First Class.  He spent time on an aircraft carrier in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In February of 1943, they gathered along Lowell Avenue with snow melting at their feet. One can only imagine the stories they had to tell.  All three returned to their posts shortly after these photos were snapped.  Harry was later informed that his division was being taken over by the marine corp.  He then went through extensive training for a possible invasion of Japan.  Leland applied to get on the U.S.S. Indianapolis as he longed to be on a heavy cruiser.  There were no openings and as fate would have it, that ship met a terrible end after being torpedoed and sinking into shark-infested waters.  Curly the Mouse sailed through the Panama Canal and spent time in many interesting ports.

Thankfully, all three returned home at the end of the war.  Harry finished his degree at Purdue University.  He married and moved to Decatur, Illinois where he helped to build a nuclear power plant.  Leland came home to Indianapolis and married an Irvington girl, Anna Belle York (121 South Berry Avenue).  He graduated from Butler University and worked for Western Electric for decades.  Curly the Mouse Morris married and lived on a plot of land near Mooresville, Indiana.  He worked for the U.S. Post Office delivering special packages.  Both Harry and Curly have since passed away.

The Images:

Harry Perkins, Leland Dickerson, and Robert Morris gathered for a photo in mid-February 1943 in the 5800 block of Lowell Avenue.

Best friends:  Harry Perkins and Leland Dickerson home on leave gathered in early February  1943 in the 5800 block of Lowell Avenue.
Curly Morris, Harry Perkins, and Leland Dickerson posed for this photo in February of 1943. Behind them, you can see the home at 5850 Lowell Avenue.  
The images and stories for this post are courtesy of Leland Dickerson.


  1. Bill, that's my house in the background, 5855 Lowell Avenue. I really appreciate seeing the picture of the house before it got siding.

  2. Isn't fun to see these photos? I am glad you enjoyed it! Did you see the grove of trees that used to be next to your home as well?

  3. Incredible! It breaks my heart that the beautiful facade was covered with siding. The trees next door were beautiful; I don't think they were there 35 years earlier when the house was constructed. I have a picture of the house from 1908 and don't remember those trees. When this picture was taken, my house was owned by Fred and Catherine Pickett. I checked my abstract to see if any of the boys lived in my house.

  4. 1908! I would love to feature your home on this blog!! You are so fortunate to have a photo dating back that far. My e-mail is sleeth28@rock.com I would love to chat with you!! Sincerely, Bill