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Interview with Dr. Alvia Royce Morrow
of the 52nd General Hospital, Van Dyne Unit
by Sergeant Jim Young, United States Radio Service,
Broadcast on WSYR, Syracuse, NY, August 8, 1943

Transcribed from the original recording by
His Grandson, Daniel H. Weiskotten
Posted 8/19/2002
Last modified 2/7/2005

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Go to the Recording
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On this page I have a link to a wonderful recording made for WSYR radio during World War Two.  The interviewee is my grandfather, Dr. Alvia Royce Morrow, of Cazenovia, NY, (1898-1968).  At the time of this recording, made on August 8, 1943, "Deke" Morrow was the Medical Corps Chief of Medical Services with the 52nd General Hospital ("The Fightin' 52nd" Van Dyne Unit [mascot "Fitz"]) in England.  He had served in World War I in a surgical unit, and received his medical training at Syracuse University School of Medicine, where my other Grandfather, Dr. Herman Gates Weiskotten Sr. was the Dean, and at the University of London.  After graduation from school he moved to Cazenovia in 1924 where he began his family.  They lived for many years in the large house on Albany and Hurd Streets, with his office in the cellar, practicing small-town medicine and becoming a beloved General Practitioner in Cazenovia.

The interview was conducted by Sergeant Jim Young of the United States Army Radio Service, European Theater, for WSYR radio in Syracuse.  While there is plenty of interesting personal and local reference, much of the talk is patriotic praise of the war effort, the troops and the "Anglo-American relations."

This recording was originally on a 33 rpm hard paste disc recording (I do not exactly know what it was, it was almost like bakelite with a black varnish coating).  I made this recording from the original record about 20 years ago and since that time the original recording has disintegrated and has been lost.

The Recording

The recording is 4 minutes 52 seconds.

The file is pretty big (4,672 KB), but click here to hear the .wav file: "ARMorrowWW2.wav" (4,672 KB)

or you can hear it in two parts:
        Part 1: (1,934 KB) time = 2:00
        Part 2: (2,928 KB) time = 3:03
 The Transcript

Interview with Dr. Alvia Royce Morrow
of the 52nd General Hospital
by Sergeant Jim Young, United States Army Radio Service
Broadcast on Radio Station WSYR, Syracuse, NY, August 8, 1943
Transcribed from the original sound recording
By his Grandson, Daniel H. Weiskotten
February 2005


 JY:       Hello Syracuse.  Hello WYSR.  This is the United States Army Radio Service, reporting from London.  Today we bring you an interview with a former instructor of Clinical Medicine at the Syracuse University Medical College.  He is Major Alvia R. Morrow, Medical Corps Chief of Medical Services at the 52nd General Hospital in England.  He is here to tell us the story of the fine record achieved by the City of Syracuse’s own medical unit in caring for the battle wounded since its arrival overseas early in 1943.  Tell us Major, who is listening to this program back home?

 ARM:   Well I hope that my wife, Mrs. Janette Morrow, and my two daughters Jean and Kathryn have tuned in.

 JY        Are there any other members of the family in the service?

 ARM:   No, not at present, anyway.  My two girls are attending Wells College, in Aurora, New York.

 JY:       Well Major, I feel sure they are proud to hear about the work their Dad is doing.  By the way Major, I believe you were a member of the Syracuse Medical Unit during the last war.  Could you tell us something about this organization?

 ARM:   Glad to.  During the last war I served with Hospital Unit G, of Syracuse Medical Unit under the command of Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Van Dyne.  The unit was attached to Base Hospital Number 31, a Youngstown, Ohio, medical group.

 JY:       Where was it stationed, Major?

 ARM:   Near Nancy, France.  Following the Armistice I attended the University of London before returning to the United States.

 JY:       In what capacity did you serve in the last war Major Morrow?

 ARM:   I was an enlisted man working as a Surgical Technician, and believe me I can appreciate the value of these men for their excellent and unselfish work in the medical and surgical wards.

 JY:       By the way, Major, did you complete your medical course after the war?

 ARM:   Yes.  On returning home I completed my training at the Syracuse University Medical College, and after graduation established a practice in nearby Cazenovia.

 JY:       Well, tell us more of the connection between the old Hospital G Unit and the 52nd General Hospital, Major.

 ARM:   Well, Colonel Van Dyne’s fine work in organizing Hospital Unit G was a wonderful inspiration when the time came for the formation of the 52nd General Hospital.  As a matter of fact the number 52nd was given to the Syracuse University Medical School at the conclusion of the last war in readiness for such an emergency as Pearl Harbor.

 JY:       Now, Major, will you give us an idea of the achievements of the medical service?

ARM:   Certainly.  Although the medical cases in our General Hospital have been in the minority, given the greater prevalence of surgical and orthopedic cased, the medical department nevertheless was kept quite busy with many cases of pneumonia and a fair number of meningitis, none of which proved fatal.  Of this we are very proud, and it stands as a remarkable tribute to chemotherapy and penicillin.  Fortunately there have been no traces of the epidemics which so often accompany warfare.

 JY:       Have you encountered any traces of diseases amongst the troops who were transferred from other theaters, Major?

ARM:   Yes we have.  We had expected many types of tropical diseases from North Africa, but only recurrent malarias have cropped up, all of which have promptly responded to Atabrine and quinine.  I might say here that the lower number of medical cases is a remarkable tribute to the training, the general vigor and the natural resistance of the American soldier and the preventive measures he employs.

 JY:       Well, that’s fine.  Today we hear quite a lot about the Anglo-American cooperation.  Could you tell us something about this cooperation in the medical field, Major?

 ARM:   The mutual understanding and fine cooperation between American and British medical men, I feel sure will go a long way in cementing Anglo-American relations.  The British have been very courteous at all times and have invited several of our staff to lecture at their hospitals and Universities.

 JY:       By the way Major, to what do you attribute the remarkable success of the 52nd General Hospital in caring for sick and wounded?

 ARM:   A true sense of service and a personal pride in this well-equipped hospital are the contributing factors.   And now I must take the opportunity to personally ____ (part unintelligible) ____ demanded ceaseless and unselfish work of the officers, nurses and particularly the enlisted personnel for the grand job they have all accomplished.

 JY:       And now as our time is up, we’ll have to say thank you Major Morrow and good-bye Syracuse and Cazenovia.   This program was especially transcribed for WSYR listeners and featured Major Alvia R. Morrow, of Cazenovia, New York, Chief of the Medical Service at the 52nd General Hospital in England.  Sergeant Jim Young speaking for the United States Army Radio Service in the European Theater.