Glendale and World War II

It is almost impossible to describe how much WWII affected everyone’s life. Very few families in Glendale and other South Carolina towns were not touched by it. Many, many men and, lots of women, went into military service. A number of men from Glendale were in combat.

During the War, many families flew a small white flag with a red border outside their door. The flag had a blue star for each man in service from that family. If the man were killed, then the flag flew a gold star. For this reason, women who had lost a son in service were called “Gold Star Mothers.” 

For the duration of the War, almost everything was rationed and hard to get. This included most food, gasoline, tires, shoes and many other things. Ration books were distributed by the Government and to buy something you not only needed the money but a ration coupon or stamp for that item to allow you to buy it. 

Examples of a ration book and ration stamps.

Communication, during the War, was quite different than it is today. There were very few telephones. The most common way to correspond was through letters. Letters to and from soldiers overseas were via “V-Mail”. Letters were reduced in size through being photographed. The resulting film could be shipped overseas much easier that the original letters. The film was printed out as a reduced size letter to deliver to the service man.

Examples of a V-Mail Letter

Another common way to communicate was the use of the telegram via Western Union. Telegrams were delivered by a Western Union Messenger in a specially marked car.

The sight of a Western Union messenger became a dreaded sight as the War went on. The US War Department used telegrams to notify families that a family member had been wounded, was missing in action, or killed in combat. Every family with someone in the service in combat feared getting one of these telegrams that usually started “Regret to inform you ”. 

Copy of a telegram notifying family that soldier had been wounded in action.

The US was only in the War for four years from 1941 to 1945 but for most people from that time, it seemed much longer. Even families that did not have someone in service had their lives disrupted by the War. My father in law, Fred (Doog) Teaster went to work in the Charleston Navy Yard only a month after Pearl Harbor. My  husband's family moved to North Charleston and lived there until the end of the War. My Dad, Bill McKinney, was a carpenter and went to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to work on a secret project. It turned out to be the facility that made one of the atomic bombs that was dropped on Japan to help end the War.

The USS Tidewater (AD-31) being launched at the Charleston Naval Shipyard on June 30, 1945. Shipyard workers were still working on the ship as it was being launched. My father in law was a shipfitter and is one of the people in the gun ring in the front of the ship. As an eight year old, my husband saw this ship during a Shipyard Open House, the day before it was launched.

There were signs of the War close to Glendale. Camp Croft, the huge training base, was only a few miles away. It brought new jobs and new people to the area. The sound of the artillery at the camp could be heard in Glendale.

Soldiers from the Camp, in their rare time off, sometimes visited the Glendale Community. The photo and story of one such visit is shown at Sgt. Robert P. Emerson. (Thanks to Mr. Ron Crowley for making this picture available.)

Nowadays, with a small volunteer army, many people do not know anyone in service. However, in WWII, we had the draft and about 13 million men served in the military and it was a certainty that you knew someone in the service. It was almost a near certainty, that you also had a relative in uniform.

Many soldiers from South Carolina were taken as Prisoners of War (POW).  As far as we know, there are no first hand accounts left by any Glendale POW's. However, there is a detailed story left by a similar South Carolina soldier who was a POW. That remarkable man was Lolace V. Cordray from Ravenel, South Carolina. Lolace was the father of my son-in-law, Michael Cordray. In his youth, Lolace,  had an experience that most of us can barely imagine. In 1988, my daughter, Laura Teaster Vaughan, interviewed Lolace about his POW experience for a college history project at Charleston Southern University.  You can read his story at Lolace V. Corday - A Prisoner of War in Germany. (We are sorry to report that Lolace passed away in July of 2012. His wife of 60+ years, Etheline Grooms Cordray, had died less than three months before.)

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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster. Contact her at: or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.