At Superior Court this week, Probation Officer Harold S. Clark of Springfield is again renewing an acquaintance with Sheriff J. Bruce McIntyre which started on a Becket hill in March of 1917.
Mr. Clark is no longer administering Brown's Mixture for colds or CC pills for every other ailment to the National Guard charges of Line Sgt. McIntyre, but nevertheless he's still keeping an eye on the sheriff's wards. He counsels and supervises the offenders who have been spared a jail sentence, and checks the prisoners at the jail for background information to present when cases come to court.
It was the War Department's fear of sabotage to the Becket railroad bridges that brought Mr. Clark to that town in the cold spring of 1917. Sergeant McIntyre, a lieutenant and 30 men from Pittsfield's Company F were stationed in tents on the knoll to the east of the town's railroad station. In the group was John E. Mason, husband of Clerk of Court Irene A. Mason.
Pfc. Clark, who was trained for his medical detachment work through doctors' lectures and a Red Cross manual, came up from Springfield every week to examine and prescribe for the men in Becket from March 25 till early summer.
In France the following year, both he and Sheriff McIntyre, who was with the Fighting 69th Division, received the country's second highest military award, the Distinguished Service Cross.
Pfc. Clark was decorated for gallantry that "greatly inspired the men of his battalion," the 104th Infantry of the 26th Division. He was cited for "repeatedly exposing himself to a concentration of hostile machine gun fire, while applying first aid and carrying wounded men from the front lines." The sheriff's award came for successfully bringing up ammunition and supplies to the front-line battalion "through heavy machine gun, rifle and shell fire," though he was "knocked down several times and once thrown into the Ourcq River."
The bivouac on the Becket hill has shifted to the Berkshire Courthouse; and there, for two weeks at the semiannual criminal sessions, the probation officer and the sheriff relive the days of the surgical assistant and the line sergeant.