Mail call: Memories of York County’s air raid wardens

I received a nice letter a little while ago from Marl A. Rohrbaugh Jr., who brought up a great question and topic for memories. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts after you read Marl’s!

He writes, “The reason I am writing at this time is to try to get information about Air Raid Wardens and messengers who worked for the wardens during the war years, 2nd World War., carrying messages around York to other Civil Defense workers during air raid alerts. The warden I was associated with had his office at the corner of E. Market St and Columbia Ave., can’t recall his name. During Air Raid Alerts at night time had responsibility of checking any lights showing from homes around the neighborhood. During daylight alerts I was able to leave school and run about 3/4 miles to duty station. Felt very proud to be able to help the war effort at that time. The only other person I remember being a messenger is Bernard “Sonny” Kahley. He retired from the York Bus Co. I think he is the one who got me involved.”

Marl continues, “About 25 years after these experiences, I received a diploma from Washington recognizing the work done in Civil Defense during the wars between Germany and Japan. Although I served 4 years in the Air Force. I was more proud of reviewing these years growing up in York. York was a wonderful city during these years. That is why I get these great feelings reading about days gone by in York. This is from an 80 year old patriotic man. I am sure others from the ‘Greatest Years’ enjoy your column immensely.”

Marl, thank you so much for the kind words. I would love to know if anyone else, or their family members, served in this important role in York County! My mom told me that my Uncle Harold was an air-raid warden in Delaware County, where her family lived for many years, which I hadn’t known; so, this even brought up interesting personal memories for us!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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