Deegan, Clarence

The following account of Clarence Deegan's life and service was first published in the Daily Republican, March 28, 1942.

The merciless drumfire that rolled through the hills and steaming jungles of the Philippines during the heroic defense of the islands last January, echoed this week in the heart of Mrs. Mary Deegan, of 11 West High Street. The War Department wrote her that her son had given up his life for his country.
Army Logo Shadow
How Clarence Deegan died, his mother doesn’t know. The letter was the result of several requests to the War Department concerning the whereabouts of her 24-year old son. Months of silence, vain hopes of saddening conjecture were all she had. Earlier this year a radio news bulletin mentioned that three boys had died fighting with MacArthur, but they had no names to announce. She doesn’t play the radio much anymore, she said.

Clarence Deegan hadn’t lived in his mother’s home for some years and three of those years were spent in the United States Army. His death was reported as occurring on January 22, and if he had lived for two more days his term of enlistment would have totaled exactly three years. And Clarence, who made his home in Allentown before his Army service began hadn’t seen his mother for five years. She last heard from him when he was moving out with his regiment from a base in New York State a year ago; to take the road that was to have its ending in the shadow of the grim fortress of Corregidor.

Mrs. Mary Deegan still hopes – she hopes that the war department has made a mistake and that she’ll hear from her boy again.

But that’s not the end of her story ...there’s another son, Lewis, who has been away from home much longer. Lewis is older, and a long time ago – his mother couldn’t remember just how long – entered the Army on a long term enlistment. She heard from him a year ago when he was stationed on the West Coast. Lewis told his mother then that he might go to Iceland because his rate of Army pay would be higher. Since then, silence.

So Mrs. Mary Deegan waits … and writes in hopes of locating both her sons. The West Coast Army post has returned her letters with the word that he’s not there…but somehow she hopes that Clarence and Lewis are both safe –somewhere.