American Defense Philippine Defense American Campaign PTO Campaign ETO Campaign Philippine Liberation WWII Victory Occupation

Brightwood Boys, The History of the Men from the North End of
Springfield, Massachusetts, During World War II
by Christopher P. Montagna

Peter’s Joining the Fight


On August 13, 1945, Peter Thomas was to report for duty as a Naval Cadet.  Peter was the son of Elias and Margaret (Stevens) Thomas.    Elias was the proprietor of Tommy’s Corner Store located on the corner of Main and Donald Streets.  Through an error in communication, Peter had missed his induction appointment.  Late that day, Mrs. Thomas response to a knock on the door by being greeted with two uniformed Shore Patrolmen who had come to collect their recruit, Peter Thomas.  After a brief discussion, the error was resolved and Peter was informed to report to the recruit center early the next morning.


The next day, August 14, 1945, Peter Thomas reported to the recruiting center at which point the city began to receive word around 7:00 pm Emperor Hirohito's surrender and victory in Japan declared.  Word soon began to spread among the friends and neighbors that the true reason behind Japan’s surrender was that word had gotten out that Peter Thomas was joining the fight.


The Springfield Republican August 15, 1945:


Cease Fire Order Ends World War 2;

Wild Frenzy Sweeps United Nations


The Springfield Union:

War Ends; World Wild With Joy;

City’s Celebration Biggest Ever


The Springfield Union reported Springfield’s downtown outpouring estimated at more than 100,000 people hailing the end of the war.


"Springfield welcomed the official end of the Japanese war last night with a riotously happy and carefree celebration that will go down in the city’s annals as the greatest outpouring of mass human emotion ever witnessed here."


The celebration in the streets of Springfield began around 7:00 pm when the residents received word of the Japanese surrender.  A mass of young and old gathered downtown.  The throngs of screaming and cheering people filled Maine Street from Liberty to State Street and as far up State Street as the City Library.  The Springfield Union wrote, "The many thousands included whole family groups with babies in arms milled up and down Main Street raising a din that was deafening".


After nearly four years the War was over.  The Brightwood Boys were coming home.