Friday, March 23, 2018

Early History of the Field-Allen Post 148 by Dave Tanguay

The following is the second installment in the series commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Field-Allen Post in Windham.
Twenty years after the Town’s loss of Lt. Field, a number of WWI Veterans and leading citizens of the Town of Windham charted the Charles W. Field Post 148, Windham in 1938.
Those who worked on charting the post included: Roland Ward, Commander (Windham), Charles J. B, McSwigin (N. Windham), Fredrick Lovett (Windham), Harold W. Joy (Windham), Herman P. Haskell (Windham), Sherman T. Lord(Windham), Frederick H. Akins (Windham), Robert A. Partridge (Windham), Maurice l. Rogers (Windham), Harland G. Ward (So. Portland), John W. Dahlgren (Windham), Joseph H. Gorrivan (Windham), Ernest Tobin  (S. Windham), Adolph Secord (Windham), E. Dean Pray (Windham),  Harlan D. Freeman (S. Windham), George W. Andrew (S. Windham), Harry L Lombard (N. Windham), Lawrence H. Hutchinson (N. Windham), Ralph W. Nowell ( S. Windham), Luther A. Estes (S. Windham), Roscoe J. Lowell (S. Windham), Harold Varney (Windham), Samuel E. Whitten (S. Windham), and Edward McKay (S. Windham). this point in the history, I would like to make a request of the community: Scant information about these men remains other than their names, as little documentation has survived from these early years. I would encourage the readers to review the above names. If you have information and or a photo of these charter members of this organization the Field-Allen Post Historian would be most appreciative of any info about the founders that you could provide.  A photo in their WWI uniform would be a bonus. Contact Dave at 892-1306 or

They were the prominent figures of the Town in 1938 and included: the manager of the IGA and Fire Chief, a blacksmith, a school superintendent, a heavy construction contractor and a truck driver, among other professions represented. 

Roland Ward was the first Commander and the infant Post met at various locations around town including the Town Hall and the Old High School (now the Town Office). Little in the form of records remains from this early post formation and subsequent activity, other than a “Marble Leger” dating from the 1940s to1970 with the minuets of the meetings enshrined.

The Charles W. Field Post had a bump in membership from 24 to 47 in 1946-47 with Ralph Miele as Commander. The Post acquired the old Ireland School at the corner of Nash and Falmouth Road from Windham for a dollar. It became the home of the Legion for several years before being consumed by fire.  

The Post was again without a home and reverted to meeting at the old high school. During this period there was a decline in membership as some members transferred to the Gorham Post which had recently acquired the Robie School just across the river in Little Falls. Another bump in membership was seen in the early fifties after the Korean Conflict, with Carroll McDonald as Commander. Except for these two bumps, the Post membership stayed around 24 for most of its early history through the 1990s. 1949-50, The Field Post was re-charted as the Field-Allen Post in memory of USMC Sgt. Jim Allen, who was the first Windham resident Killed in Action in WWII. Sgt. Allen was killed on Iwo Jima during the Island Campaign in the Pacific Theater. Allen was an outstanding academic and star on the athletic field in his high school years.

With the dedication of the Field-Allen School in 1949, the Field Post requested a change in charter and was officially re-charted as of August 25, 1950 as the Field-Allen Post with Ralph Newell as the Post Commander.   

 Records again go thin during the 1970s through 1990s. The Post was hanging on, but, that was about all. The Post continued to coordinate the Memorial Day Parade for the town and support local veterans.

In the late 1980s, the Post attempted to acquire land for the construction of a permanent home on Sandbar Road in Windham but was met with local neighborhood resistance. Following that, the Post started working with the local VFW Post to establish a building that both organizations could use as headquarters and call home.

The resulting collaboration eventually became the Windham Veterans Association (WVA) with land being purchased on a back lot in North Windham from one of the Post members. on the Windham Veterans Center (WVC) commenced with groundbreaking in May of 1993. Through the dedicated effort of the membership of both, the Post and many donations from people and business in the Town of Windham, the WVC was opened with much fanfare in 1999.

The WVC is run by an Executive Committee of the WVA, staffed equally by membership from both Posts. The Center is used as a rental hall as well as a location to sponsor a variety of Veteran and Community Events.

Despite numerous accolades over the years and the construction of a new home, the Post membership was in serious decline. In 1999 the Dept. of Maine intervened and held a general meeting of local veterans to provide an infusion into the Post membership.

(Next article in the series: Revitalization of the Post)

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