Home Local News Repaired, repainted, Cannon Returned To Cemetery

Repaired, repainted, Cannon Returned To Cemetery

MENTONE – There’s a 155 millimeter  Howitzer Model #1918 sitting in the Mentone Cemetery that’s become as much a part of the town’s history as any of its residents, roads or buildings.
Repainted and repaired, the cannon Monday was returned to the Mentone Cemetery, where it had sat since it was moved from uptown Mentone after American Legion Post 425 disbanded in the early 1960s.
The Post had brought the cannon to the town.
Town Councilman Tim Croy said it was believed the cannon was brought to Mentone right after World War II, possibly in 1946, the same year Post 425 was founded. He said it was moved to the cemetery possibly in 1963.
Three of the original Post members were on hand Tuesday to see it, talk about it and get their picture with the Howitzer now that all the work has been finished on it. Town
Councilman Tim Croy said the three veterans were the only living original Post members who could be found. All three men still live in the Mentone area.
RJ Hill was a U.S. Marine from 1951-54, serving in Korea in 1952-53. He was a sergeant.
Hill thought that at its peak, Post 425 may have had up to 160 members, and had 70 when it first started. He identified Bob Kinsey and “Porky” Jones as the guys who put the Post together.
Bill Boardman served in the Army in Korea from 1952-54. He was a corporal.
Gerald Romine served in Italy in 1946-47 in the Signal Corps, and in the Air Force Reserves 1950-54. He’s a life member of the American Legion, celebrating 70 years this year.
Over the last three years, it was Croy who made it his mission to get the cannon restored.
At a March 3, 2014, town council meeting, Croy brought up the topic of the cannon and how it needed repaired. At that meeting, he said he contacted the U.S. Army in Michigan, and was eventually told that if the cannon needed repairs, it was the town’s responsibility to repair it and not the Army’s.
Croy told the council he signed a contract with the U.S. Army in 2009 for the cannon through a loaner program in which the Army deeded the cannon over to the town for as long as it wanted it. However, in 2014, a woman with the Army told Croy the Army wouldn’t have done that.
The cannon became the town’s for as long as it wants it, but if the town ever decides to relinquish it, it has to give it back to the Army and pay for it to be hauled back.
Though it was likely a World War I cannon, Croy said at that meeting, it was probably never taken overseas.
Standing near the cannon Tuesday, Croy said a lot of people helped get it restored.
Schwartz Wheels, Bremen, did the wheels, while Jeremy Lybarger painted it. Burket Boy Scout Troop 782 did a lot of the cleaning.
Croy also gave a big thank-you to Clerk-Treasurer Barb Ross, Barb Smith, CM Tucker Farms, Richard and Carol Long, Jackie Croy, Bill and Linda Cochran, Roger and Linda Montel, John and Lorett Croy, Mentone Utilities Superintendent Josh Shepherd, Terry Dowell, Mervin Jones, Doug Bailey, the town of Mentone and Mentone Fire Department.
“It’s close to what it originally would have been,” Croy said of the cannon. The wheels were made one-eighth of an inch smaller so they can turn.
Boardman told Croy, “I’m glad you took this on, Tim. You did a nice job.” 
“I was glad to do it,” Croy responded.