Newburyport in WWII
In her latest documentary, local historian Jean Doyle explores WWII history through the lens of Newburyport. Using first-hand accounts of local people, the film highlights the experiences of soldiers in battle and the sacrifices of those who remained on the home front.
Doyle’s film centers around a collection of interviews with local veterans, including their accounts of Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, and Iwo Jima. Several of the men interviewed returned from the war to take part in city affairs. Some were involved in politics (Ed Molin), others in the school system (Donald Zabriskie, Leonard Knox and Norman Doyle), and the Police Department (Michael Twomey). Three of the men interviewed are still alive. They live in the Newburyport area, and all three fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
The program also shows how music and movies played a part in keeping morale up, both on the front lines and the home front. As in cities around the country, Newburyporters rallied together during this difficult time to further the war effort and support one another.
Through her film, Doyle has striven to honor those who served and survived, and those who never came home. She notes that “it is estimated that 40 million people died worldwide in World War II. The mind cannot comprehend such a figure, or a cataclysm of such dimensions. The mind and the heart are, however, capable of understanding forty-three, the number of Newburyporters lost in the war. They died a long way from the North End and the South End, from Three Roads and Joppa, from March’s Hill and Break O’Day Hill, from Chain Bridge and Bummer’s Rock, from Mt. Rural and Old Town Hill – a terrible distance from home.”
At the Newburyport Public Library, 94 State Street
Seating limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Image: WWII scrap metal drive in Market Square, Newburyport