Harrison County

WWII vet remembered for his love of newspapers


GULFPORT -- Elwin "Al" Bostwick's daughter Cecile Arleth laughed often when recounting some memories of her father, who died Saturday at 93.

She said her father, a World War II veteran, would have been in the second invasion of D-Day had he decided to stay on base.

"He went AWOL for 24 hours and when he came back, he just missed the second-wave of D-Day deployment," Arleth said. "He was sent to the brigs before he was shipped to Europe."

Before his active deployment, Arleth said, her father's knowledge of a second language allowed him to do some undercover work for the government.

"Daddy learned German when he was working on a farm in Michigan," she said. "He was sent to Texas and Alabama to be around German soldiers. He would act as a guard and listen to the soldiers speak to see if they were talking about any sensitive material."

Arleth said Bostwick's knowledge of the German language also came in handy when he was stationed in Europe.

"Daddy said that's how he got his rations -- he would speak with the German farmers and get vegetables and chocolate," she said.

Upon returning from his tour of duty, Bostwick and his wife, Anna, were stationed at Camp Shelby before moving to Meridian.

After her his wife died, Bostwick moved to Gulfport where he lived with Arleth and her family.

"He loved living down here," she said. "He was confined to a wheelchair by then but he loved going to the casinos. He would sit in there and play the nickel slots and have a good old time."

Bostwick was also a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Gulfport.

"Daddy loved St. John's," Arleth said. "He loved the people and the fellowship -- he loved everything about it."

Botwick, Arleth said, was also an avid newspaper reader.

"He used to read the newspaper every morning at breakfast and it would make my mom upset because he wouldn't do anything else until he finished the paper," she said. "She said if she died before Daddy to make sure he was buried with a newspaper."

A Mass was held in Bostwick's memory Friday at St. John the Evangelist. He was buried with a copy of the Sun Herald.